Coastal sage scrub, also known as coastal scrub, CSS, or soft chaparral, is a low
scrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community A plant community is a collection or Association (ecology), association of plant species within a designated geographical unit, which forms a relatively uniform patch, distinguisha ...

plant community A plant community is a collection or association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization founded and funded by businesses that ope ...
of the California coastal sage and chaparral subecoregion, found in coastal
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

and northwestern coastal
Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is ...
. It is within the
California chaparral and woodlands The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion of southwestern Oregon, northern, central, and southern California (United States) and northwestern Baja California (Mexico), located on the west coast of North America. It is an e ...
ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including h ...
, of the
Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub is a biome defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The biome is generally characterized by dry summers and rainy winters, although in some areas rainfall may be uniform. Summers are typically hot in ...
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...


;Plant community Coastal sage scrub is characterized by low-growing aromatic, and drought-deciduous shrubs adapted to the semi-arid
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degre ...
of the coastal lowlands. The community is sometimes called "soft
chaparral Chaparral ( ) is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by shrubs, often also including grasses, Herbaceous plant, herbs, and geophytes. Shrublan ...

" due to the predominance of soft, drought-deciduous leaves in contrast to the hard, waxy-cuticled leaves on sclerophyllous plants of California's chaparral communities. ;Flora Characteristic shrubs and subshrubs include: * California sagebrush (''Artemisia californica'') *
Black sage
Black sage
(''Salvia mellifera'') *
White sage ''Salvia apiana'', the white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage is an evergreen Perennial plant, perennial shrub that is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, found mainly in the coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern Calif ...

White sage
(''Salvia apiana'') * Eriogonum fasciculatum, California buckwheat (''Eriogonum fasciculatum'') * Encelia californica, Coast brittle-bush (''Encelia californica'') * Eriophyllum confertiflorum, Golden yarrow (''Eriophyllum confertifolium'') Larger shrubs include: * Toyon (''Heteromeles arbutifolia'') * Rhus integrifolia, Lemonade berry (''Rhus integrifolia'') Herbaceous plant, Herbaceous plants, Poaceae, grasses, and in some locales, cactus, cacti and succulents, are also part of the flora. Hesperoyucca whipplei, colloquially known as Chaparral Yucca, is commonplace throughout the climate zone.

Geographical subtypes

The coastal sage scrub plant community is divided into three geographical subtypes — northern coastal scrub, southern coastal scrub, and maritime succulent scrub. The coastal scrub communities are divided into three regions: # Northern coastal scrub, Northern Coastal Scrub and California coastal prairie, Coastal Prairie, which lies in San Luis Obispo County, California, San Luis Obispo to Oregon. # Coastal Sage scrub, which lies in San Diego County, California, San Diego to Monterey County, California, Monterey. # Maritime Succulent Scrub, which can be found in the San Diego County to Baja California Peninsula, Baja California. # The Northern Coastal Scrub consists of prairie, which is terraces with deep alluvial soils, and scrub, which is found on steeper slopes and ravine areas. Evergreen shrubs and subshrubs, which are soft leaves. They are found in semi-open with a height of 2–3 meters, with multiple layers. Some examples of the plant species that can be found are Bush monkeyflower (''Mimulus aurantiacus''), Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum, ''Taxicodendron'' ''diversilobum''), Coffee berry (Frangula californica, ''Frangula'' ''californica''), Golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum, ''Eriophyllum'' ''confertiflorum''). California sagebrush (''Artemisia californica'') can be found in Coastal Sage Scrub community, especially in Orange County, California, Orange County. Some other plant species that can be found is also Giant coreopsis (''Coreopsis gigantea''), Black sage (''Salvia mellifera''), California buckwheat (''Eriogonum fasciculatum, Eriogonoum fasciculatum)'', and White sage (''Salvia apiana''). Plant species that can be found in Maritime Succulent Scrub is Coast prickly pear (''Opuntia littoralis''), Coast barrel cactus (''Ferocactus viridescens''), Cliff spurge (''Euphorbia misera''), Bush rue (''Cneoridium dumosum''), and Dudleya spp.

Northern coastal scrub

Northern coastal scrub occurs along the Pacific Coast from the northern San Francisco Bay Area to southern Oregon. It frequently forms a landscape mosaic with the California coastal prairie plant community. The predominant plants are low evergreen shrubs and herbs. Characteristic shrubs include coyote brush (''Baccharis pilularis''), Eriodictyon californicum, yerba santa (''Eriodictyon californicum''), coast silk-tassel (''Garrya elliptica''), salal (''Gaultheria shallon''), and yellow bush lupine (''Lupinus arboreus''). Herbaceous species include western blue-eyed grass (''Sisyrinchium bellum''), Douglas iris (''Iris douglasiana''), and Poaceae, grasses.

Southern coastal scrub

Southern coastal scrub is mostly found along the maritime Central Coast of California, Central Coast region, and the terraces and mountains with coastal climate influence in Southern California. Its distribution extends from the southwestern San Francisco Bay Area in the north, through Big Sur, Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Oxnard Plain, the Los Angeles Basin, most of Orange County, California, Orange County, parts of Riverside County, coastal San Diego County, and the northwestern region of Baja California state in Mexico, including the areas around Tijuana and Ensenada, Baja California, Ensenada. ;Southern California The metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana are located in the southern coastal scrublands, and most of the scrublands have been lost to urbanization and agriculture. The plants of this community prefer the mild maritime climates found along Southern California's coastline. World Wildlife Fund estimates that only 15 percent of the coastal sage scrublands remain undeveloped. Some of the remaining southern coastal scrub in Los Angeles County can be found in dunes under the takeoff path at Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport—LAX, in the coastal Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and at the Robert J. Bernard Field Station at the Claremont Colleges. In San Diego County, the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base protects larger areas, and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar has vernal pools and the endemic mint ''Pogogyne abramsii''. One of the largest remaining areas of inland coastal sage scrub is found in the Temescal Mountains of Riverside County. A few rare species, rare and endangered species occur in southern coastal scrub habitats. For example, the coastal California gnatcatcher (''Polioptila californica californica'') is a threatened bird species endemic (ecology), endemic to the coastal sage scrublands. Other endemic fauna includes the El Segundo blue butterfly in the LAX dunes; and the Palos Verdes blue, Palos Verdes blue butterfly (''Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis''), at only one site on the Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Peninsula. The endangered Torrey pine (''Pinus torreyana'') is the dominant tree at Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego, one of only two known stands of this pine species.

See also

*Terrace (geology) *California coastal prairie *California coastal sage and chaparral



* In: Mayer KE and Laudenslayer WF. ''A Guide to Wildlife Habitats of California''. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game
"Coastal Scrub"
de Becker, Sally. (1988). * Schoenherr, Allan A. (1992). ''A Natural History of California''. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

External links


*[http://www.biosbcc.net/b100plant/htm/soft.htm Santa Barbara College, Biology Dept: "Soft Chaparral or Coastal Sage Scrub Community"]
Calflora Database — Southern California Plant Communities
— ''see #4. Coastal sage scrub''.
Claremont Colleges: Robert J. Bernard Field Station website
— ''Lists and photographs of organisms found in Coastal sage scrub''.
Las Pilitas horticulture database: California coastal sage scrub plant community
— ''text, images, species links''.
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants: Native Plant Guides
— ''Southern California species''. {{clear California chaparral and woodlands Plant communities of California Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub in the United States Ecoregions of California Plant communities of the West Coast of the United States Natural history of Baja California Natural history of the California chaparral and woodlands, *Coast Natural history of the California Coast Ranges, * Natural history of the Peninsular Ranges, *