California's Sagebrush Scrub Plant Community
Basin Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), Rabbitbrush
(Chrysothamnus nauseosus), Fourwing
Saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Antelope Bush (
Soil and climate notes:
Crummy climate, sometimes awful soil. Soil varies from acidic
sands(granitic where water flows) to highly alkaline clays. Many of the
areas have a pH of 9 on the surface,(highly alkaline) to 1000-10000
times more acidic 3 ft. down.(see Pull a soil analysis from different
soil depths and any soil differences to see if it's good, bad or ugly.
Climate can be worked with, but you have to pay attention.
The area below Pinyon-Juniper
Woodland and above Joshua Tree
Woodland is where the Sagebrush Scrub plant community usually
This strip of a plant community, in some places like Lake Of the
Woods, Quail valley or Lake Hughes may only be a valley a few hundred
meters wide. In other areas like Owens Valley it may be 10 Kilometers
wide. In southern California it is disjunct and spotty, existing in
between the Yellow Pine Forests in areas like Mountain Springs. The
Sagebrush Scrub plant community looks and feels like a low, cold, soft,
gray chaparral plant community. A number of very cool perennials live
in this plant community that happily live at lower elevations.
'Margarita BOP' is a hybrid from this area; Rydberg's
Penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii var. oreocharis), and
Penstemon (Penstemon speciosus) also come to mind.
Many ecologists include California's Sagebrush Scrub plant
community in the Great Basin zone. Intermountain Flora separates the
two and is probably right. The Great Basin is colder, harsher, and the
growing season is later and shorter. The Sagebrush Scrub plant
community usually has a faster draining, less alkaline soil and you can
grow some excellent commercial crops like apples. Apples in the Great
Basin are iffy at best. Native plants grow likewise; many of the
species that can exist in places like Frazier Park, Susanville, or the
Alabama Hills cannot survive the colder winters in the Great Basin. The
opposite is often true; many of the Great Basin plant species cannot
survive the hotter, drier, Sagebrush Scrub plant community of
California. The Antelope Bushes (Purshia spp.) seem to be indicator
tridentata lives in the Great Basin, while Purshia
glandulosa lives in the Sagebrush Scrub; hybrids of the two
occur where they overlap. Both species wander into the Pinyon Juniper
Woodland and even sometimes other close communities.
The creeks running down from the Sierra Nevada mountains support
a wider range of species because the Sierran rainfall is acidic, while
the natural soils of the area are slightly alkaline. In those areas you
can find Golden
Currant (Ribes aureum), Antelope Bush (Purshia tridentata
var. glandulosa, Purshia mexicana var. stanburyana) and a number of
other species hiding out.
list of California native plants that grow in the Sagebrush Scrub plant