RIPARIAN WOODLAND & WETLAND HABITATS
Riparian plant communities are found near permanent or seasonal water sources such as ponds, fresh-water marshes, coastal brackish marshes, rivers, streams and creeks. These lovely biomes often contain Sycamore trees, whose single or multiple trunks and twisted branches arch gracefully. A variety of trees, grasses, grass-like sedges and rushes, and colorful aromatic shrubs can be found in these habitats.
Generally moist all winter and dry to semidry throughout summer. Rich organic soil with no added fertilizers, but plenty of rain winter-spring and occasional irrigation summer-fall will do in the home garden. A backyard pond can be designed to mimic natural conditions and will provide a drink, bath, food and cover for a surprising number of birds and other wildlife.
WHERE TO FIND IN NATURE LOCALLY
Hiking trails in Los Angeles often meander near streams. The Palos Verdes Peninsula, Santa Monica Mountains and Verdugo Mountains behind Glendale/Burbank all have canyons lined with Sycamores beside rocky winter-wet/summer-dry creek-beds.
Although most natural marshes have been greatly altered in Los Angeles, here are some which have been restored and mimic the natural biodiversity of their forbearers: Ballona Freshwater Marsh located southwest of the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson Boulevards, Madrona Marsh Preserve in the city of Torrance, Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve, the Los Angeles River, and Malibu Creek State Park's Saltwater Marsh. (see links below)
RIPARIAN WOODLAND & WETLAND PLANT and WILDLIFE COMMUNITIES
A water feature is the most important component of any wildlife habitat!
The sound of water will attract birds such as the striking Cedar Waxwings shown above. They appear in winter, often in large flocks looking for places to bathe and feed. Dragonflies will hunt for small insects as well. To best attract wildlife, the plant community surrounding a pond or fountain, as in nature, is best comprised of one or more large bushes or trees that provide cover, and smaller shrubs and grasses at water's edge.
Coast Live Oak (left) and White Alder (right) offer cover, lookout sites, nesting habitat and food such as insects and seeds for Bushtits, Western Scrub Jays, House Wrens, Red-tailed hawks, Fox Squirrels and Dark-eyed Juncos. On the forest floor lizards hunt for insects between rocks and bacteria decompose leaf litter.
IF YOU PLANT IT --------------->
THEY WILL COME!
Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
California Dutchman's Pipe Vine (Aristolochia californica)
Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia)
Clustered Field Sedge (Carex praegracilis)
Seeps Monkey Flower (Erythranthe guttatus)
Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)
Common Rush (Juncus patens 'Occidental Blue')
Scarlet Monkey flower (Mimulus cardinalis)
Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
Sycamore Tree (Arctostaphylos glauca)
Golden currant (Ribes aureum)
Evergreen or Catalina Currant (Ribes viburnifolium)
Pink-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguinium glutinosum)
Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosa)
Blue or Mexican Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)
Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
Yellow-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium californicum)
Wild grape (Vitis californica)
Giant Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata)
Insects consuming its nectar attract Pacific Tree Frogs and birds
Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly larva host plant; Small insects consume nectar
Host plant for Monarch larva; Bushtits & ladybugs eat aphids on it
Host plant for Tiger Swallowtail and Monarch butterfly larva
Host plant for Fatal Metalmark Butterfly larva; Seed-eating birds; Butterflies; Bees
House Finches; California Towhee; and a wide variety of other seed-eating birds
Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds; Bees
Butterflies; Moths; Ground-dwellers seeking shelter
Common Yellow-throat Warblers; Red-winged Blackbirds
Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds; Bees and Butterflies
Host plant of Green Cutworm Moth larva; Finches and other seed-eaters
Downy Woodpeckers; American and Lesser Goldfinches; Fox Squirrels
California Scrub Jay; Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds; Cedar Waxwings
Host plant for Tailed Copper Butterfly and White-lined Sphinx Moth caterpillars
Host plant for Satyr Comma Butterfly larva; Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds
Host plant for Tailed Copper Butterfly larva; Allen's and Anna's Hummingbirds
White-lined Sphinx and Polyphemus Moths
Allen’s, Anna’s and occasionally Rufous Hummingbirds
Native flies and Skipper Butterflies; Seed-eating birds
Birds consume seeds; Nectar attracts small insects
Orange-crowned, Townsend's and Common Yellowthroat Warblers
Large fronds provide cover for ground-dwelling wildlife
Blue Elderberry attract both
White-lined Sphinx moths and their caterpillars (left) and Polyphemus moths. (lower right).
Sweet-smelling Hummingbird Sage attracts Anna's (right) and Allen's hummingbirds, as well as Monarchs and other butterflies.
California native grapes are smaller than wine grapes; perfect for Orange-crowned warblers.
Ballona Wetlands: https://www.ballonafriends.org
Madrona Marsh: http://www.friendsofmadronamarsh.com
Gardena Willows: https://www.gardenawillows.org
Los Angeles River: https://folar.org/river-experiences/
Las Pilitas Nurserywww.laspilitas.com
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants: www.theodorepayne.org
California Native Plant Society chapters:
Palos Verdes/South Bay/South Coast www.sccnps.org
Santa Monica/Los Angeles www.lasmmcnps.org
iBird PRO app
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Peterson Field Guides Western Birds
UC Davis IPM (Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program) www.ipm.ucanr.edu
Simple Planting Tips
Theodore Payne Foundation link to Getting Started with Natives:
WHERE TO PURCHASE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANTS
* Educational websites
Deep Roots Nursery
207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
International Garden Center
155 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
South Bay Gardens
2501 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
White Point Nature Center
EVENTS on website tells monthly sale
16oo Paseo del Mar (Access via Western Ave.)
PALOS VERDES PENINSULA
Contact Tony Baker for appointment:
South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd.
* 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 Avenue, Claremont
Marina del Rey Garden Center
13198 Mindanao Way
* Matilija Nursery
8225 Waters Road, Moorpark
805 523-8604 (call for hours)
* 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, Escondido
www.laspilitas.com (Great website!)
California Native Plant Society (CNPS): www.cnps.org
CNPS Local Chapter: http://sccnps.org
El Nativo Growers : www.elnativogrowers.com
Native Sons: www.nativeson.com
Moosa Creek Nursery: http://www.moosacreeknursery.com