Plant Communities of the San Gabriel Mountains
Chaparral (Hard Chaparral)
- chest to head height
- densely spaced thickets
- thorny, spiny, spiky, many-branched, multi-stemmed shrubs
- leaves hard and rigid; hence, the alternative name, "hard chaparral"
- leaves often shiny, small, thick and leathery, evergreen
- hot and dry slopes
- between montane forest and coastal sage scrub or desert scrub communities
- Dominant species
- Chamise Adenostoma fasciculatum
- Manzanita Arctostaphylos spp.
- Ceanothus spp.
- Mountain mahogany Cercocarpus betuloides
- Yucca Yucca whipplei
|Special Feature: Fire Followers|
|Fire is a common and natural occurence in the chaparral because of its structure and location. In these recently cleared patches after the spring rains, massive displays of colorful flowers bloom: gorgeous California poppies, big-flowered purple phacelias, pale whispering bells and sunny golden yarrow. The rabbitbrush is particularly stunning in September at Lightning Ridge. Glendora Ridge Road because of its long length and location frequently has new burns and thus spectacular shows of wildflowers. San Gabriel Canyon, Mt. Baldy Road and the Blue Ridge also have had recent fires. Gradually the tough, dense shrubs will grow back and the flowers will disappear.|
|Special Feature: Escaped Exotics|
|Along the forest (fire) roads and paved highways many naturalized plants bring color to the hillsides. Familiar early spring bloomers are sweet alyssum, black mustard and wild oats. Spanish broom which smells and looks heavenly in the late spring is quite commonly found lining the roads between 3,000' and 5,000'. Check Barley Flats Road, Angeles Forest Highway just north of the junction with Big Tujunga Road and Sawpit Fire Road near the shooting range. Euphorbia characias is found many places as well as cistus, the Mediterranean rock rose, in both white and dark pink forms. At Echo Mountain, the white form with the dark crimson blotch varies from pure white, white with a tiny spot to white with a large blotch half the size of the petal. Pink ones can be found along the Sunset Ridge road.|
- For more information
- Hard Chaparral Plant Communities of Mount Diablo State Park
- Chaparral: California and Southwestern U.S.
- Ashes to Wildflowers
- Sample CNPS vegetation series, their formal name for a plant community, include descriptions and pictures of the habitat, as well as of the individual species: Bigberry manzanita series, Chamise series, Chaparral whitethorn series, Birchleaf mountain-mahogany series and Yucca from A Manual of California Vegetation
Copyright © 2000 by Jane Strong
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Jane Strong
Updated January 25, 2000