How To Identify Plants At The SRP: Plant Distribution
- (Note to those whose eyes are now glazed over: time to wake up!)
- What does this mean? It means that species are local. Most species at the SRP or anywhere else are found on only one or two trails. We are fooled into thinking that plant species are widespread because we only notice the very few plant species that are indeed widespread.
- So you cannot identify most species at the SRP by using a plant list or flower book from somewhere else, such as the Santa Monica Mountains. Only a small number of species will be found to be in common between two different places. Of course, those will be among the commonest species in each place, so using a picture book from elsewhere may help to identify the most common species. The closer the other area, the more matches there will be.
- Example: the SRP wildflower photo book of the most common wildflowers has 5-10% of the species incorrectly identified because they used a Santa Monica Mountains (SMM) plant book to identify our flowers. The error rate would be much higher for less common wildflowers.
- Example: there are five species of "purple nightshade" in California, whose flowers all look very similar. In the SMM area, the species is Solanum xanti. At the SRP and in San Diego County, the species is Solanum parishii, Parish's purple nightshade.
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 16 October 2003.