Native Plants and California
As we drove down the 10 freeway from Los Angeles towards the Premium Outlets in Cabazon I kept thinking about native plants.
The native plant thoughts happened because we started to enter the new larger subdivisions heading towards Palms Springs. On both sides of the freeway subdivision after subdivision of nice new housing. But what sticks out? No plants seem to be alive. These nice new houses with people living inside have dead plants wrapping the properties. Plants are used for multiple purposes on developments. One is the obvious, and that is for looks. Who wants to stare at ugly concrete for miles on end. So landscaping is used to break this up and make the property look better. Next is that we like to be green and having landscaping helps with global warming as compared to blacktop that takes in all of the sun’s energy. And then we have a reason Civil Engineer’s use for landscaping, to help protect slopes and land from eroding prematurely. Now why did I bring up native pants? Because California native plants can exist in California without any special watering or sunlight requirements.
So what makes a plant native to California? California native plants grew in California prior to European contact. These native plants are at the center of the state’s ecosystem and natural communities.
I keep seeing pictures of houses with ivy and palm trees. Palm trees are the staple of California, which have been imported and are not native. As my typical thought process goes I started by wanting to get some new shoes at the outlets and got all the way to thinking about subdivisions falling apart to how scarce water is in Southern California. The simple fact is that Palm Trees require an abundance of water, which was one of the main reasons they were imported to Southern California. What better way to showcase the famous aqueduct than plant trees to show the engineering feats? But then the palm tree is basically useless for anything, it doesn’t grow fruit or create shade.
This is why new subdivisions are supposed to be using approved native plants. Native plants can survive properly in the California environment and give our ecosystem balance. Water consumption will reduced, the landscape will look better, and there is less maintenance involved with native plants. There is a lot of talk about going green and using native plants is the way of making sure that our state stays green.