I enjoy all of California’s wildflowers, but on occasion I’m very fortunate to come across some that are considered to be very rare. Here’s my gallery of rare California wildflowers, based on rankings by the California Native Plant Society. All photos are available for purchase in a variety of formats.
The California Native Plant Society has a Rare Plant Ranking System that assigns a rank to rare plants that are found in California. In summary:
- California Rare Plant Rank 1A is for plants that are presumed to be extirpated or extinct because they have not been seen or collected in the wild in California for many years.
- California Rare Plant Rank 1B is for plants that are rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere.
- California Rare Plant Rank 2A is for plants that can no longer be found in California but may be common elsewhere.
- California Rare Plant Rank 2B is for plants that are rare, threatened, or endangered in California but may be more common elsewhere.
- California Rare Plant Rank 3 is the review list, plants that might be eligible for 1B or 2B ranking, but not enough information has been gathered to make that determination.
- California Rare Plant Rank 4 is the watch list, plants that have limited distribution in California and are being monitored to see if they become more rare or endangered.
Within these ranks there is a threat rank that is attached.
- 0.1 is seriously threatened
- 0.2 is moderately threatened
- 0.3 is not very threatened
So you may see a plant such as a Coast Lily that has a rank of 1B.1, which means that it is a very rare plant that is seriously threatened.
All of the plants in this gallery are ranked as 1B or 2B. I feel very fortunate to have been able to locate examples of these and take these photos. For information on ordering copies, please see my purchasing photos page.