Native plants are plant species that existed in the Yuba-Sutter area before people of European descent first visited the area. Native plants have had many more centuries to adapt to the conditions of our local climate, soils, and ecosystems than non-native plants have had, so they are more likely to survive without the help of a gardener than non-native plants are, but also more likely to be kept within reasonable limits by the natural stresses of our climate and ecosystem, rather than spreading out of control and killing every other plant in sight like invasive weeds do.
There are six native plant communities in the Yuba-Sutter area. The pages about each plant community contain lists of plants that grow in each community:
- The central oak woodland plant community grows in the majority of the Yuba-Sutter area.1
- The valley grassland plant community grows in the Josephine, Marchant, Progress, Robbins, and Subaco areas of Sutter County.2
- The yellow pine forest plant community grows in the Brownsville, Camptonville, Challenge, Dobbins, and Strawberry Valley areas of Yuba County.3
- The serpentine plant community grows in certain foothill areas where the soil is derived from serpentine rock.
- The riparian forest plant community grows on the shores of rivers and creeks throughout both counties.
- The freshwater marsh plant community grows in floodwater overflow areas such as the Sutter Bypass, where the standing water is not deep enough to have a current.
The Yuba-Sutter area is part of the California Floristic Province, which is one of the world's foremost biodiversity hotspots. This means that it contains an unusually high concentration of native plant species that grow nowhere else in the world but here. The Yuba-Sutter area in particular is home to at least fourteen governmentally protected rare or endangered plant species: Geyser's rosette grass, fragrant fritillary, Roderick's fritillary, Northern California black walnut, Colusa tidytips, false Venus' looking-glass, Quincy lupine, Layne's ragwort, Hartweg's golden sunburst, coastal sage scrub oak, pine rose, Suisun marsh aster, Pacific Grove clover, and El Dorado mule ears.
The eight largest plant families in the Yuba-Sutter area, by number of native species found in Yuba and Sutter counties, are the aster, grass, pea, plantain, lily, sedge, rose, and phlox families. Garden-worthy native species include many of the following:
Bulbs and Corms
Grasses and Grasslike Plants
- native edible fruits
- woodland stars