The California Floristic Province is one of 25 internationally recognized botanical hotspots with the most concentrated biological diversity and most severe threat of loss according to Conservation International. Point Reyes National Seashore is a jewel within the California Floristic Province, characterized by its Mediterranean climate.
The broad spectrum of aquatic and terrestrial communities within Point Reyes National Seashore are home to a breathtaking diversity of plants including 900 species of vascular plants (15% of California plants); 61 endemic plants (found nowhere else on the planet), and 51 rare, threatened, or endangered species. These plants do not exist in isolation, but rather as members of plant communities such as forests, grasslands, coastal scrub, intertidal zones/marshes and coastal dunes. The kind of plant community in a given area is determined by soil type, geology, fire, water availability, grazing, human use and development, and invasion by non-native species. Vegetation management in national parks focuses largely on monitoring and mapping plant communities with a special focus on rare plants and controlling invasive species.
The biggest threats to botanical hotspots are development and non-native or invasive species. While Point Reyes is federally protected from development, nearly 300 of the 900 plant species found here are non-native, with 30 species being the most invasive to the native landscape. To clarify, a plant that has been introduced (either intentionally or not) to a new geographical area is non-native, but not necessarily invasive. Invasive plant species display particular characteristics including fast growth, high seed production and rapid maturation that - when combined with a lack of the natural predators and diseases that help control them in their native environment - allow them to rapidly grow and spread, overwhelming and displacing native vegetation. These more aggressive species include but are not limited to: South African capeweed, ice plant, scotch broom, pampas grass and European beach grass. These species are most commonly seen in the pastoral zone where humans have historically altered the landscape and where seeds are blown around with the prevailing winds. Learn more about high priority invasive plant species for early detection in Point Reyes National Seashore here.
Become a Citizen Scientist
Learn to identify invasive plants of the region and report your findings. Discovering nonnatives and invasives species before they become well-established is critical to reducing damage to ecosystem integrity, preventing the loss of habitat for rare plants and animals, and preventing costly natural resource management. Deepen your understanding of the natural world while playing an important role in the protection of the unique resources at the park by volunteering, or submitting important data in your region.
Stay tuned for the Point Reyes Bio Blitz at the Giacomini Wetlands this coming March 2014. More details coming soon.
Volunteer with Point Reyes National Seashore's Habitat Restoration team to help remove nonnative/invasive species and learn more about the area's plant life in the process.
Download the Point Reyes "Plant Out of Place" ID Cards and start learning to identify common threats.
Download the "What’s Invasive" smartphone app to learn about plant identification and document up to 14 invasive species located in the park.
For further study, pick up “A Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula” by Jules Evens and other field guides in our bookstores located in park visitor centers.