Presentation on theme: "California Native Plants: The Most California Friendly Plants on Earth."— Presentation transcript:
California Native Plants: The Most California Friendly Plants on Earth
California is Unique (especially SoCal) The San Andreas Transform System has made a great diversity of rocks, soils...
…and plants! California has over 6,000 species of native plants. Over one-third not found anywhere outside California.
~ 120 years ago... Theodore Payne came to California (1893). In his lifetime, he introduced over 400 species of California native plants to the horticultural trade.
The Theodore Payne Foundation: Gardening to Save Californias Water & Wildlife
Use, on average, one-seventh the water of most non-natives Know how to deal with drought Do not need fertilizers, soil amendments or pesticides California native plants:
In California, 37 of the last 40 centuries were dry. The 20 th century was one of 3 wet centuries in the last 4,000 years. Californias growth was predicated on the expectation of an uncharacteristic amount of water. (Introduction to WATER in California, David Carle. U.C. Press; California Natural History Guides, 76, p. 28) DROUGHT IS NORMAL. Water Facts:
Sublime Co-evolution As the California landscape evolved, its plants and animals evolved with it. Evolution has made 90% of insect species able to eat only native plants.
Native Insects Need Native Plants 90% of plant-eating insect species are specialists -- able to eat just a few types of related native plants. Most caterpillars can eat only native plants.
Animals Need Insects Most non-domesticated land animals depend upon insects in some way for their survival. Caterpillars are the main food of baby birds.
Love Insects! Insects convert leaf matter to protein -- they are the protein. Insects become food for other animals. Its a food web, and native plants are the foundation!
Compared to alien species, native plants... support over 3 times more plant-eating insect species. produce over 4 times the amount of plant-eating insects. produce 6 times the amount of plant- eating insects that are generalists. support 35 times more caterpillars.... WOW!
WAIT?!!! Wont those insects… devastate my plants? bite or sting me? DONT WORRY! Native insects eat or damage only 1 in 10 leaves. 99% of all insects are beneficial to people and their households.
What about pollinators? On average, 1 in every 3 bites of food for people is the result of pollination by bees. 40-60% of European honey bee colonies lost to the varroa mite. Compared to European honey bees, native solitary bees: provide faster, more efficient pollination are active earlier in spring
PLUS, native solitary bees: are unaffected by varroa mites and Africanized bees are egalitarian -- the males also pollinate the crop! And, last but not least, solitary bees have shorter stingers and are non- aggressive.
Native solitary bees facts: 3500 known species in North America 1600 known species in California Bumble, digger and sweat bees most common Ground-nesting or wood-nesting
Native Bumblebees Work harder, faster, and at cooler temperatures than European honey bees Highly social, annual colonies of 1-500 bees Prefer to nest underground in undisturbed areas
Native Digger Bees Ground-nesting Hide nest entrances beneath leaf litter Drab, solitary and rarely noticed Perhaps most abundant of solitary bees
Native Sweat Bees Black, brownish, or metallic green Common Range of nesting habits
Pollination ratio of native bees to European honey bees: Native leafcutter bees: 20 times more effective (150 leafcutters do the work of 3000 honey bees; legume blossoms; wood-nesting with evening primrose leaves added) Native mason bees: 240 times more effective (750 mason bees do the work of 120,000 honey bees; fruit crops; wood-nesting with mud and small pebbles added)
Hollyleaf Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) 25 H x 10+ W Evergreen Sun Flowers & fruit
How to Help: Fill your yard with native plants! Permit patches of weeds. Allow areas of bare ground without mulch. Leave old stumps and piles of branches. Mulch with the fallen leaves of your plants. Co-exist with spiders and their webs. Dont use pesticides. Plant for successive flowers & berries/seeds.