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The community composition of Californian coastal sage scrub

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Summary

Coastal sage scrub is a community found extensively throughout cismontane California south of San Francisco, but has been surprisingly little studied. In the study area, which extends from Santa Barbara to the San Gorgonio Pass, two major floristic groupings can be found. In the basin bounded coastwards by a line drawn along the axis of the Santa Ana Mountains a large number of native and introduced annual herbs and a few shrubs (e.g.Encelia farinosa), rare or absent in the remainder of the study area, characterize one floristic group. In the coastal region the variety of shrub species increases, and the herbs are predominantly native and more restricted in number. Eleven groups defined by physiognomy, structure and species dominance, and arbitrarily called associations, are recognized. These associations can be grouped into four physiognomic-structural types which transgress the boundaries of the floristic groups. The results of this study and the limited previous literature suggest that Californian coastal sage scrub could be divided, mainly on floristic criteria, into Venturan, San Diegan and Riversidian sage.

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Plant nomenclature follows Munz & Keek (1968).

We gratefully acknowledge the financial help provided by the Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, and the aid in plant identification provided by Mr. Oscar Clarke, Museum Scientist, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside.

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Kirkpatrick, J.B., Hutchinson, C.F. The community composition of Californian coastal sage scrub. Plant Ecol 35, 21–33 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02097132

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02097132

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