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Namesakes such as Prairie Avenue and Meadows School describe what was once the main habitat of Manhattan Beach east of the sand dunes to about the 405 freeway. Mounds of undulating evergreen grasses and patches of low shrubs covered the treeless landscape. Wildflowers of blue, yellow and white sprang forth from the greenery in spring, and numerous watery depressions called vernal pools dotted the landscape. One such pool is now a pond at Polliwog Park, and although greatly altered for flood control, remains a rare reminder of the past. The plants of the species-rich coastal prairie habitat are well adapted to the cooling effects of fog as well as rainy winters and long dry summers.



Generally moist to semi-moist all winter and semidry to dry throughout summer and fall. Non-native grasses that make up a conventional lawn require fertilizers and year-round water to remain healthy. Well draining soil with no added fertilizers, but plenty of rain winter-spring and occasional irrigation summer-fall, will do in the home garden planted with local CA native bunch grasses, low shrubs, wildflowers and bulbs. 



Coastal prairie habitat in critically endangered in California. In Los Angeles most has been lost to urbanization, however driving two hours north in spring, one can see an eye-popping array of native wildflowers, grasses and prairie wildlife at Carrizo Plain National Monument in southeastern San Luis Obispo County: 


In addition to grass, wildflowers play a big role in this habitat. Yellow pincushions will draw an assortment of tiny bugs to the garden. They serve as mini-pollinators as well as a protein-rich snack for birds. Hummingbirds love Miniature Bicolor lupine of blue and white, which can still be found wild in sections of Polliwog Park. With white tipped petals, Tidy Tips, along with Goldfields are springtime garden beauties. Aphids will be quickly consumed by ladybug larva (photo below) as well as adults. 


IF YOU PLANT IT ------------->


  1. Wild Onion (bulb)                                (Allium species)

  2. Common Goldenstar  (bulb)                  (Bloomeria crocea)

  3. Clustered Field Sedge                               (Carex praegracilis)

  4. Catalina Mariposa Lily (bulb)                      (Calochortus catalinae)

  5. Yellow Mariposa Lily (bulb)                      (Calochortus luteus)

  6. Paintbrush                                       (Castilleja affinis)

  7. Farewell-To-Spring (wildflower seed)      (Clarkia amoena)

  8. Elegant Clarkia (wildflower seed)        (Clarkia elegans)

  9. Chinese Houses (wildflower seed)        (Collinsia heterophylla)

  10. Blue Dicks (bulb)                                (Dichelostemma capitatum)

  11. Dune Poppies (wildflower seed)                 (Eschscholzia californica maritima)

  12. Blue California Fescue Grass                       (Festuca idahoensis)

  13. California Fescue Grass                       (Festuca californica)

  14. Douglas Iris                                                   (Iris douglasiana)

  15. California Goldfields (wildflower seed)(Lasthenia californica)

  16. Tidy Tips (wildflower seed)                        (Layia platyglossa)

  17. Blue Flax (wildflower seed)                           (Linum lewisii)

  18. Miniature Lupine (wildflower seed)             (Lupinus bicolor)

  19. Blue Blue Eyes (wildflower seed)               (Nemophila menziesii)

  20. Four O'Clock Wishbone Bush                       (Mirabilis californica)

  21. Deer Grass                                        (Muhlenbergia rigens)

  22. Lacy Phacelia (wildflower seed) (Phacelia tanacetifolia)

  23. Blue-eyed Grass                                       (Sisyrinchium bellum)

  24. Foothill Needlegrass                                     (Stipa cernua)

  1. Butterflies; Bumblebees; Native Flies; Moths

  2. Yellow-faced Bumblebees and several solitary native bee species

  3. Umber Skipper and Common Ringlet Butterflies 

  4. Orange Tortrix Moth; Nectar-loving insects

  5. Orange Tortrix Moth; Nectar-loving insects

  6. Host plant for Leanier Checkerspot Butterfly larva; Tortrix Moth

  7. White-lined and Pacific Green Sphinx Moths; Bumblebees; Seed-eating birds

  8. Butterflies; Native solitary bees; Bumblebees; Seed-eating birds

  9. Variable and Edith's Checkerspot Butterflies; Bees; Seed-eating birds

  10. Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds; Native flies and bees

  11. Yellow-faced Bumblebee; Crab Spider; Seed-eating birds

  12. Sandhill and Lindsey's Skippers; Seed-eating birds

  13. Sandhill Skipper; Common Ringlet Butterfly; Seed-eating birds

  14. American Ear Moth; Verbena Bud Moth; Butterflies

  15. Butterflies; Bumblebees; Seed-eating birds; Hoverflies

  16. Small Heliothodes Moth; Diamond Spottail Hoverfly; Bumblebees 

  17. Variegated Fritillary Butterfly; Bees; Native flies; Seed-eating birds

  18. Painted Lady, Gray Hairstreak, & Acmon Blue Butterflies; Finches 

  19. Host plant for Funereal Duskywing Butterfly larva; Seed-eating birds

  20. Butterflies; Bees; Seed-eating birds; Native flies

  21. Seed-eating birds; Provides cover for Fence Lizards, other ground dwellers

  22. Yellow-faced & Sonoran Bumblebees, Butterflies, seed-eating birds

  23. Native flies; Skipper Butterflies; Seed-eating birds

  24. Juba Skipper; Common Ringlet Butterfly; Seed-eating birds


Wild Hyacinth, also known as Blue Dicks, grow from a bulb-like structure called a corm. They are easy to grow and along with California poppies, can turn a native prairie grass lawn into an attractive wildflower meadow in spring. 



Carrizo Plain National Monument in southeastern San Luis Obispo County:  




Las Pilitas  

Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants:  

California Native Plant Society chapters: 

Palos Verdes/South Bay/South Coast   

Santa Monica/Los Angeles



iBird PRO app 

iNaturalist app

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Peterson Field Guides Western Birds  



UC Davis IPM (Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program)



Simple Planting Tips:

Theodore Payne Foundation link to Getting Started with Natives:


* Educational websites 

MANHATTAN BEACH                                       

Deep Roots Nursery                                        

207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.


EL SEGUNDO                                      

International Garden Center                          

155 N. Sepulveda Blvd.                      


REDONDO BEACH                                          

South Bay Gardens                                       

2501 Manhattan Beach Blvd.              


SAN PEDRO                                                          

White Point Nature Center                         

EVENTS on website tells monthly sale             

16oo Paseo del Mar (Access via Western Ave.)

310 561-0917 

PALOS VERDES PENINSULA                   

Natural Landscapes                              

Contact Tony Baker 
for appointment:


South Coast Botanic Garden                            

26300 Crenshaw Blvd.


LOS ANGELES                                                             

* Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants                 

10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley

818-768-1802 (days/hours seasonal, call first) 


Grow Native Nursery – Part of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden          

1500 N. College Ave.nue, Claremont          


Marina del Rey Garden Center                                             

13198 Mindanao Way                      

310 823-5956 

* Matilija Nursery                                               

8225 Waters Road, Moorpark              

805 523-8604 (call for hours)

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA                                         

* Tree of Life Nursery

33201 Ortega Highway

P.O. Box 635
, San Juan Capistrano                   

949-728-0685 (call for retail hours) 

* Las Pilitas Online Nursery                                               

8331 Nelson Way,

760-749-5930 (Great website!) 


California Native Plant Society (CNPS):

CNPS Local Chapter: 

El Nativo Growers :                          

Native Sons:                                

Moosa Creek Nursery:

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