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John Muir National Historic Site

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp cerulea)

SANI flowers and fruit by Liz MatthewsBlue elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a deciduous shrub that forms thickets with many branches and can have multiple trunks. It grows up to 25 feet tall. The leaves are divided into 5 to 9 leaflets with toothed edges. The small yellowish-white flowers are displayed in dense clusters.

California Bay (Umbellularia californica)

Umbellularia californica-Californai BayThis aromatic evergreen shrub or tree has greenish to reddish brown bark and can be up to 30 meters tall. The shiny smooth leaves are 3 to 10 cm long. 6 to 8 small yellow-green flowers are arranged in round inflorescences, and each flower has both female and male parts. The solitary fruits are 2 to 2.5 cm and resemble an olive.

California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)

Photo by Liz MatthewsAesculus californica is a deciduous shrub or tree, growing up to 12 meters tall.  Leaves are made up of 5 to 7 palmate leaflets, each 6 to 17 centimeters long.  Flowers are white to pale rose colored, with petals 12 to 18 millimeters long. They are arranged in an erect inflorescence with many showy flowers.

California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)

California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) is a large evergreen tree has a dark grey short trunk and wide spreading branches. Leathery leaves are a shiny green above and dull with fuzz below with spiny holly like margins. The flowers are monoecious; meaning they have flowers with only male parts and flowers with only female parts on the same plant.

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica)


Rosa californica is a shrub that often forms thickets, and its prickly grey-brown stems are strongly curved.  The leaves are made up of smaller toothed leaflets that are often hairy or glandular.  There are 1 to 20 flowers per inflorescence. Flowers are generally pink with petals that are 10 to 20 mm long.  Each rose has five petals and the flower has an open form.  The fruits, called rose hips, are 8 to 20 mm long and turn red when ripe.

Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

This deciduous shrub or tree is densely branched and grows between 0.6 to 1.8 meters tall. It can form thickets with creeping underground stems. The small but showy flowers are white to pink and have both male and female parts. These flowers occur in small clusters of 8 to 16 along the stems and are insect-pollinated.  The round fruit is 8 to 12 mm long.

Download the USA-NPN datasheet for Symphoricarpos albus here.

Coyotebrush (Baccharis pilularis)

BAPI flowers- Liz MatthewsBaccharis pilularis is a shrub in the Aster family that can be up to three meters tall. The leaves are toothed, oval, and sticky. Coyotebrush is dioecious, meaning each plant has flowers with either all male parts or all female parts.

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