Forest Home

The Broadleaf Families of Trees in Southern California

The Broadleaf Families of Trees in Southern California
by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

What native broadleaf trees can you find in Southern California, from San Diego and Imperial counties in the south up to Monterey, Kern, and Inyo counties?

You can see these families of broadleaf trees in Southern California.

Agave Family (Agavaceae).

  1. Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia).
  2. Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera).

Beech Family (Fagaceae).

Southern California Genera are in the Chinquapin genus (Castanopsis), specifically:

  1. Golden Chinquapin (C. chrysophylla var. minor).

or in the Oak genus (Quercus):

  1. Blue Oak (Q. douglasii) -- deciduous.
  2. California Black Oak (Q. kelloggii) -- deciduous.
  3. Canyon Live Oak (Q. chrysolepis) -- evergreen.
  4. Coast Live Oak (Q. agrifolia) -- evergreen.
  5. Engleman Oak (Q. englemannii) -- evergreen.
  6. Interior Live Oak (Q. wislizenii) -- evergreen.
  7. Oracle Oak (Q. morehus) -- evergreen.
  8. Palmer Oak (Q. palmeri) -- evergreen.
  9. Valley Oak (Q. lobata) -- deciduous.

or in the Tanoak genus (Lithocarpus):

  1. Tanoak (L. densiflora).

Bignonia Family (Bignoniacae).

The only native species is:

  1. Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis).

Birch Family (Betulaceae).

The tree-sized natives in Southern California are:

Buckeye Family (Hippocastanaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. California Buckeye (Aesculus californica), also called horse chestnut.

Cacao Family (Sterculiaceae).

This family contains:

  1. California Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californica). Also called slippery elm.
  2. Mexican Flannel Bush (F. mexicana).

Dogwood Family (Cornaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. Mountain Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).

Heath Family (Ericaceae).

This family contains:

  1. Madrone (Arbutus menziesii).
  2. Big Berry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca).

Honeysuckle Family (Capriofoliaceae).

The Elderberry genus (Sambucus) is present as:

  1. Blue Elderberry (S. caerulea).
  2. Mexican Elderberry (S. mexicana).

Laurel Family (Lauraceae).

The only native species is:

  1. California Laurel (Umbellularia californica). Also called California Bay, Bay Laurel, Pepperwood, or Oregon Myrtle.

Maple Family (Aceraceae).

Maples found in Southern California are:

  1. Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum).
  2. Box Elder (Acer negundo).
  3. Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum).

Olive Family (Oleaceae).

The tree-sized natives of this family are in the Ash (Fraxinus) genus:

  1. Arizona Ash (F. velutina).
  2. Dwarf Ash (F. anomala).
  3. Flowering Ash (F. dipetala).

Palm Family (Palmaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera). Also called Desert Palm.

Pea Family (Leguminoseae).

Southern California genera and species are:

Rose Family (Rosaceae).

The tree-sized natives in Southern California are in these genera and species:

Sycamore Family (Platanaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), also called the Plane Tree.

Walnut Family (Juglandaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. California Walnut (Juglans californica), a small evergreen.

Wax Myrtle Family (Myricaceae).

The only native species is:

  1. Wax Myrtle (Myrica californica).

Willow Family (Salicaceae).

Members of this family produce catkin flowers (spike-like), both male and female. The flowers that produce seeds are on separate trees from the flowers that produce pollen. Willows are hardy and grow quickly. They are common near streams and in other moist places. The natives in Southern California are in the willow (Salix) genus:

  1. Arroyo Willow (S. lasiolepis).
  2. Black Willow (S. gooddingii).
  3. Golden Willow (S. lasiandra).
  4. Nuttall Willow (S. scouleriana).
  5. Red Willow (S. laevigata).
  6. Sandbar Willow (S. hindsiana).
  7. Watson's Willow (S. lutea var. watsonii).

The poplar (Populus) genus includes:

  1. Aspen (P. tremuloides).
  2. Fremont Cottonwood (P. fremontii).
  3. Black Cottonwood (P. trichocarpa).

For More Information.

Resources - Book.

Resources - Related pages.