Plant Communities At The SRP: Floral Changes
- Vegetation in Southern California 50 million years ago: a dense tropical rainforest at the coast, with subtropical monsoonal savanna in Southern California inland. Plant densities everywhere were much higher, equivalent to the tropics today.
Typical vegetation found in the fossil record: tree ferns, cycads, and numerous large-leaved evergreen dicots of (now) tropical and subtropical families in the coastal rainforest.
We had in our flora trees now present in eastern North America and in Asia. The tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, used to be a native here!
- 30 million years ago: Climate was cooler. Plants migrated toward coast, and were replaced by others more tolerant of coolness, like redwoods. Many species typical of the current Rocky Mountains were present here, along with species now typical of the mountains of Mexico.
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 6 November 2005.