Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening Article
Your resource for Sacramento-area gardening news, tips and events

Articles Recipe Index Keyword Index Calendar Twitter Facebook Instagram About Us Contact Us

Celebrate California native plants this week and all year

Test your knowledge with a quiz

The California poppy of course is the state flower. It's an important plant for pollinators, including this ligated furrow bee, a type of sweat bee.

The California poppy of course is the state flower. It's an important plant for pollinators, including this ligated furrow bee, a type of sweat bee.

Kathy Morrison

Through Saturday, it’s California Native Plant Week, and I can’t think of a better time to plant two or 12 or 222 California natives. 

These are the plants that grew here before suburbs and urbs, before gardeners from other areas began importing their favorites from other parts of the country or the world. Our native plants are uniquely adapted to our climate and to our native pollinators (including birds). 

In the spirit of celebration, I put together a quick (and fun, I hope) quiz on California natives. See how much you already know about them:

1. Which was the first native plant to receive an “official” state designation?
a) California redwood, state tree
b) Purple needle grass, state grass
c) California poppy, state flower

2. The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), by the way, beat out which other native(s) to win the title of state flower? Choose any that apply:
a) Windpoppy (Papaver heterophyllum
b) Coulter's matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri
c) Mariposa lily (Calochortus sp.)
d) Red ribbons (Clarkia concinna
e) California sunflower (Helianthis californicus)

3. Which of these natives is NOT a ceanothus?
a) Buck brush
b) Coyote bush
c) Deerbrush
d) Oregon tea tree

4. Which native plant has been endangered by poachers in the wild?
a) Bluff lettuce (Dudleya farinosa)
b) Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
c) Desert agave (Agave deserti)
d) Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

5. Oak trees (Quercus sp.) are considered a keystone species for California wildlife – important especially for native birds. Which of these oaks is not a native?
a) Blue oak (Q. douglasii)
b) Garry’s oak (Q. garryana)
c) Engelmann oak (Q. engelmannii)
d) Pin oak (Q. palustris)
e) Black oak (Q. kelloggii)

6. California has how many types of native plants, according to the California Native Plant Society?

a) 1,000
b) 2,500
c) 5,000
d) 6,000

Bonus: How can gardeners celebrate California Native Plant Week?

a) Join CNPS or a local chapter (Sacramento Valley for our region)

b) Sign up for the free Gardens Gone Native tour, to be held April 29 in Sacramento and Yolo counties. The self-guided tour will include about two dozen gardens planted primarily with natives.

c) Plant California natives! See the list of suggested plants and participating nurseries at Bloom! California.

d) Visit the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden to see its many native plantings. Or shop at the next Arboretum Nursery plant sale, which always includes a variety of natives.


1. c) The California poppy became the official state flower in 1903. The redwood was designated in 1937 and the needle grass in 2004.
2. b) and c) They finished far behind in the legislative vote total.
3. b) Coyote bush. Its Latin name is Baccharis pilularis.
4. a) Dudleya farinosa and many other coast Dudleyas are in such danger from succulent poachers that in 2021 Gov. Newsom signed a bill specifically making Dudleya poaching illegal.
5. d) The pin oak is a popular landscape tree in California but it’s an import from the eastern and central United States.
6. d) It’s at least 6,000 and probably higher -- more than any other state. And roughly 40 percent of California’s native plants are found only within its borders.

Bonus: All of the above, of course!


0 comments have been posted.

Taste Spring! E-cookbook


Find our spring recipes here!

Newsletter Subscription

Sacramento Digs Gardening to your inbox.

Thanks to our sponsor!

Be Water Smart

Local News

Ad for California Local

Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

Contact Us

Send us a gardening question, a post suggestion or information about an upcoming event.