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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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Monday - August 31, 2009

From: Aguanga, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Native plants and possible poisonous plants in Aguanga, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am in the process of moving to Aguanga California. I am interested in knowing what the native plants are in that area. Are they poison to animals and kids?

ANSWER:

Our Native Plant Database, a work in progress, doesn't yet contain all the native plants that occur in California, but you can find a list of 2,389 native California plants listed there.  Since California is such a large state with many different climates and terrains, those more than 2000 plants won't occur in all of California.  We can narrow the list down for southern California plants by looking at a list of commerically available native plants suitable for landscaping in our California-Southern Recommended list.  This doesn't by any means give you all the plants native to southern California, but it does contain many of the most common ones. 

Now for the poisonous native plants in southern California I actually found a couple of lists.  One list by Owen E. Dell, The Big Ten: Southern California Plants Seriously Poisonous to Humans, as its name suggests lists ten highly toxic plants. Only one of these, however, Toxicodendron diversilobum (Pacific poison oak), is native to southern California and North America.  You certainly would want to recognize those nine other toxic plants so I suggest that you do an internet search on each of them using their scientific name to see photos and read more about them.  Another list (also by Owen E. Dell), Poisonous Plants Commonly Occurring in Southern California, is a more extensive list that includes plants with various degrees of toxicity—some mild and some severe.  This list does contain many plants native to southern California that you can find by searching in our Native Plant Database.  There is also a small book, Poisonous plants of southern California, published in 1998 by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation that should be available in a nearby library or is possibly still in print.

 

 

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