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About Calscape

Our goal at Calscape is to help Californians restore nature and save water one garden at a time. We do this by showing people which plants are really native to any location in the state, helping them figure out which ones they want, and where to buy them and how to grow them.

California is an extremely environmentally diverse state. Different California native plants evolved to grow in areas of the state with very different temperatures, rainfall levels, summer drought periods, air moisture levels, and marine influences, among other factors. Because of this, it's always best to grow California native plants in the areas in which they evolved. They are easier to grow, healthier and require little or no artificial irrigation when they are planted in an area in which they evolved and naturally belong. Native California plants that aren't really native to that location will often struggle or die no matter how much you water them.

True native plants are the foundation for nature restoration. They attract butterflies, birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bees and other pollinators that evolved with those plants, and over time create a working natural ecosystem, without pesticides, and without artificial fertilizers. The butterfly and bird life in particular in a true natural garden is often spectacular. With the right plants, it's not hard for homeowners to create small patches of nature throughout even the developed part of the state.

Thanks to U.C. Berkeley and in particular the Jepson Flora Project for their support to make Calscape possible.

Our estimates for which plants naturally grow in any given location in California are based on almost 2 million field occurrences of native California plant species collected over the last 150 years by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria (CCH). For a given location to be included in a given plant's geographic range, a natural specimen of that plant needs to have been observed by a CCH botanist within 10 miles of that location, and the location must be within the elevation, annual precipitation, summer precipitation, coldest month average temperature, hottest month average temperature, and humidity ranges in which that plant grows in the Jepson geographic subdivision in which the location falls. Special thanks to the Jepson Flora Project at U.C. Berkeley for their help in analyzing this data and creating the Calscape plant range maps. Note that for successful native plant landscaping and nature restoration, it's important to grow plants that are native to your location AND placed in spots with the right soil, sun and water conditions. Before you finalize which native plants to grow and exactly where to place them, please review the Calscape plant descriptions to make you place them in spots with the conditions they require.

Our estimates for the natural geographic range of butterfly and moth species in California are based on approximately 200,000 geo-referenced field observations provided through GBIF (GBIF.org (27 August 2019) GBIF Occurrence Download https://doi.org/10.15468/dl.rywrmh), iDigBio, the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network and Butterflies and Moths of North America, aggregating digitized collections of 40 universities, entomological museums and other institutions, and research grade observations from iNaturalist. For a given square mile to be included in the estimated geographic range of a particular butterfly or moth species, that species must have been observed within 50 miles of that square mile, and that square mile must fall within annual precipitation, summer precipitation, coldest month average temperature, hottest month average temperature, and humidity ranges in which that species has been observed in the state.

Climate data used in creation of plant and butterfly/moth range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual normals at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Sources for genus level butterfly and moth host plant information include; The National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder, with thanks to Doug Tallamy and Kimberley Shropshire for researching and sharing this information, the National History Museum's Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants, and Butterflies and Moths of North America. Special thanks to Calscape volunteer Bridget Kelley for her tireless work aggregating host plant data from all these sources. Plants shown as hosts for a particular butterfly or moth species must meet two requirements: 1. the genus of that plant species must be a known host for that species of butterfly or moth, AND 2. the natural geographic range of that plant species must overlap with the natural geographic range of that butterfly or moth species.

All geographic data is structured using the Google Maps API, with special thanks to Google Non-Profits for their generous grant support.

Sources of plant and butterfly and moth photos include Calphotos, GBIF (GBIF.org (27 August 2019), iDigBio, the Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network and dozens of amazing plant photographers who have agreed to share their photos with Calscape. Special thanks for Calphotos for their invaluable help in acquiring these images. Authorship and copyright information is shown under each plant photo.

Other sources include Wikipedia, which is an important source for the "About" sections in the Calscape plant pages. In many cases the sections have been edited and built on by Calscape volunteer editors. Please note that all text shown in the "About" section is available for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia is also a source for a number of plant photos available through Wikimedia Commons. All photographs on Calscape that were originally from Wikimedia Commons are available for reuse under conditions set by the authors and described in each photo.

Sunset information was provided was provided by The Jepson Flora Project. Propagation from seed information was provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson eFlora, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout.