Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

What does all this mean!?! Help with the native plants.

  • The Scientific Name the formal name for the plant. The scientific name is supposed to be the formal name universally worldwide. We try to find the one that is the most consistent with the world and still makes sense. (California seems to make up their own names sometimes.)The scientific name is the generic and the specific name together, with the generic name always first and capitalized and the specific name always second (and uncapitalized). Everywhere in the world you may go, the scientific name is (supposed to be) exactly the same. Every plant has two names, the name of the genus it belongs to (the generic name), and a specific name, referring to the species to which it belongs; but, and this is the confusing part, all the names are in Latin! The genus is the name of the little related group that the plant belongs to. For example, take maple trees; there are lots of different kinds of maples, but they all have the generic name Acer, which means maples in Latin, and so the Silver maple, Japanese maple, Big Leaf Maple, Vine Maple, and Norway Maple all have the first (generic) name of Acer, but different specific names. Japanese Maple is Acer (again, the generic name) palmatum (the specific name of the species ), Big leaf Maple is Acer (the generic name) macrophyllum(the specific name meaning big leaf ), Vine Maple is Acer circinatum, etc. For example, the specific name for Japanese Maple, as stated above, is palmatum. But that name palmatum, by itself means nothing, because there are more plants than one with the name palmatum. Also, the name Acer means nothing by itself. Acer what? To what maple are you referring? See the problem? Only when you use the scientific name; the generic and the specific name together, does the name have meaning .

  • Genus a group of closely related species.(is like your last name.)
  • Species Classically, a group of very closely related individuals that will only breed with each other.(is like your first name.)
  • spp. - This abbreviation means several species, while sp. means one species. So, if I say Acer spp., I mean several species of maples.
  • Variety variation of a species, where the individuals have different flower color, or leaf color, or leaf shape, etc. In this manual we are also referring to it as a cultivar name which is a cultivated variety, grown by man or a hybrid name, a hybrid being a cross between two species.(is like your middle name.)
  • Cultivar is the name your parents or grandma calls you.
  • The Common Name is like the commonly used name for the plant.are names made up by common people. Fitz instead of Fitzgarald. Liz instead of Elizabeth.  Unfortunately, sometimes created by very common people. Blue flower? Red Flower? How are we supposed to know what blue flower? There are tens of thousands of them. This is why we use scientific names. Again though, they are changing those so some plants have multiple scientific names that the small people in ivory towers yell across the abyss. We try to stay with the scientific name most used in the search engines so you can find it. When they can out yell Google, we change the name.
  • Ranges??
    • pH is the scale of free -OH versus free +H, pH of 7 is neutral(HOH), less than 7 is acidic, greater than 7 is alkaline. 6 is 10 times more acidic than 7 and  100 times more and 8(which is alkaline).   GENERALLY, the higher the rainfall the more acidic(lower pH) the soil, the better the drainage the more acidic. Bad drainage and low rainfall are usually more alkaline. Bakersfield has a pH of about 7.5-7.9, coastal adobe 7-7.2, coastal sand 6-6.5, highest I've measured is about 8, lowest is a shocking  5.  The high and low were in fill piles at the Escondido nursery.
    • Height in meters (the database was started during the enlightened period when we thought we would catch up with the rest of the world.)
    • Width in meters
    • USDA (the ones relevant to California) Average annual low in F.
      5a -20 to -15 F
      5b -15 to -10 F
      6a -10 to -5 F
      6b -5 to 0 F
      7a 0 to 5 F
      7b 5 to 10 F
      8a 10 to 15 F
      8b 15 to 20 F
      9a 20 to 25 F
      9b 25 to 30 F
      10a 30 to 35 F
      10b 35 to 40 F
      11 Above 40 F
      The Santa Margarita nursery is 8a and the Escondido nursery is 8b.
    • Rainfall is the approximate range of the rainfall in centimeters that the plant lives in. This is not perfect as some of the coastal areas get a great deal of fog drip.
  • Communities: Take a look at the communities page.
  • Habitats: These were meant to be a larger worldly community so those of you in England or Japan can figure out what we're talking about.
  • Tolerates: These are generalities, not absolutes.
  • tolerates seaside: can live next to seashore.
  • tolerates alkaline: do not try in a salt marsh but probably would be fine in Bakersfield.
  • tolerates salt: salt spray knocks the poo out of some of the plants and the high sodium is deadly to most plant.
  • tolerates sand: got beach sand?
  • tolerates clay: got adobe?
  • tolerates serpentine: you'll know if you have serpentine soils
  • tolerates no drainage: standing water every time it rains.
  • tolerates seasonal flooding: our house in San Luis Obispo had a foot of flowing water each winter.
  • tolerates high traffic: a dog occasionally walks by is not the same as parking the car on the plant?
  • tolerates deer: do the deer wander through less than once every few years?