Vascular Plants of
Henry W. Coe State Park
An Illustrated, Annotated Catalog
Compiled by Lee Dittmann
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This section of the unofficial Henry Coe State Park website consists of a comprehensive catalog of over 700 vascular plants known from within the boundaries of the park.  A "vascular plant" is one which has a water-conducting system within its tissues, and includes all seed plants, ferns, plus some other groups of spore-bearing plants.  It excludes mosses, liverworts, mushrooms and other fungi (which latter are not even considered plants anymore), but covers the plants which dominate (and, indeed, cover) the landscape.  The list includes cultivated species persisting around the Coe Ranch and other old settlements—but excludes plants known only from staff residences!

The catalog is divided into the four major groups of convenience linked above; the dicotyledon branch of the angiosperms is by far the largest group.  Within each section, the families are listed alphabetically by scientific name, and within each family, the taxa are also listed alphabetically.  Until such time as I'm able to create an index by common name, you are out of luck if you do not know the botanical name (or you could consult an outside source).  I do not list the author of each scientific name; to my thinking, that would or should imply that this list was based on voucher specimens and reference to original descriptions of each name.  Since that is not the case, and identifications are based on standard manuals for the area, adding authors does not enhance the scientific value of the work.

When the plant has an alternate scientific name or names used in standard works from the last 40 years, that or those names appear after an equals (=) sign.  These "synonyms" include direct equivalents superseded by names believed to have priority, names changed because of new (better, we hope) assessments of the relationships within plant groups, and names that were never valid for the material in this part of the world (misapplied names).

It is an annotated catalog, and each entry includes original data on distribution and relative abundance based on park records and my own field notes.  In descending order, the abundance of each group, when known, is expressed with these terms: abundant, common, fairly common, uncommon, and rare.  On one extreme, "abundant" is used only for taxa which dominate a specific habitat: 50% or more coverage.  On the other extreme, "rare" is used only for plants known from a few individuals within the park; it is not applied to taxa which have been designated rare by state or federal governments, or by the California Native Plant Society, if such plants are known from more than a few individual occurences within Coe.  (Conversely, some taxa marked "rare" in this catalog may be fairly common in other locations outside the park.)

Since many plants are not easily identified, and botanists and plant-lovers of widely differing expertise contributed to the park list, I have devised an annotation for giving the user a general idea of degree of certainty of each identification, as follows:

[++] Clearly fits the published description of the taxon in one or more standard manuals, especially P.A. Munz, A California Flora and Supplement, but also Abrams & Ferris, Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States,  H.E. McMinn, Illustrated Manual of California Shrubs, H.L. Mason, A Flora of the Marshes of California, and Hickman (ed.), The Jepson Manual.  (Most work for this list took place before the publication of The Jepson Manual, and although nomenclature conforms to the Manual, most identifications have not been reviewed using it.)  Or, was reported as certain by a botanist I have reason to believe was highly competent.

[+] Identification fairly certain, but may have small differences from the published descriptions of the taxon.  The plant can generally be considered to fit this name better than any of the alternatives, but perhaps it is an unrecognized variety or the description merely needs to be broadened.  Or, the certainty or ability of the person reporting the taxon is not clear to me, though the identification does not seem unlikely.

[?] Questionable identification.  The plant may be in a difficult group, or insufficient material may have been present at time of attempted identification; the name given may be a best guess based on available features, range, and habitat.

[??]  Highly questionable identification.  Generally, I have purged the list of all in this category, but made an exception for the reported but undocumented occurence of Aristolochia californica.  No one seems to know who even reported it!

Should a taxonomist ever describe a new variety, subspecies, or species of plant based on a Coe Park specimen, then perhaps I would add a [+++] annotation to the list—and a [++++] if other specialists agree that it is valid!

If the entry is preceded by an asterisk (*), this indicates that the plant is not native to this region.

When the range of each plant is given, place names are generally listed from the northwest to the southeast.

Blooming periods are based on original observations from within Coe Park itself.  Sometimes, I have extrapolated; for example, if I noted a plant in full bloom and beginning to set seed toward the beginning of a month, it is safe to assume it was also in bloom in the previous month.  Blooming periods in quotation marks are an exception: they were copied from published works, mostly Munz and Abrams, and therefore reflect the blooming period over a broader range than would be expected within Coe Park.

Habitat descriptions are usually derived from published works, unless I thought a modification based on my Coe observations would be helpful.

All photos on the website are of specimens from within Coe Park itself.  I have included some of my drawings, some of which are not based on Coe specimens, but in which I have not noted any significant characters not found in Coe specimens.  If you like to photograph wild plants, I encourage donations of the use of your images, provided they are from within Coe Park boundaries, are documented with location and date, and are either not yet photographed or which show features not covered by existing photos. If interested, contact me at my business email address question@mindbird.com.  (Please do not email images without arranging a time to do so with me.  Sometimes I am away for a week at a time, and images can quickly fill the mailbox—impeding my ability to make a living with my map sales business.)

Of course, I am also interested in new finds.  If I don't know you and you're not a published botanist, please tell me something about your level of expertise, and on what basis you identified the plant.

Lee Dittmann


Copyright © 2000-2009, Lee Dittmann

Linking to images on this site while omitting the surrounding content of each page is expressly prohibited.

Feel free to link to pages, but please notify me of your linkage.
This version first published online
15 November 2000.

This is a continuing project with occasional additions and revisions.

Revised 20 December 2009.

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