Protecting Our Ecosystem: Bring Back OC Natives!


Protecting our local watershed is not only important to our ecosystem, so is preserving the natural flora that is unique to our region. With over 80% of Orange County developed, much of our natural flora and native habitats have been destroyed.

We’re not referring to “California-friendly” or “California Native” plants. We’re talking about the 806 species of plants that are unique to our region, called Orange County (OC) Natives. These “endemic plants” have co-evolved with our ecosystem and adapted to our unique climate and soil, which is why they are found nowhere else in the world…only here in Orange County!

Landscaping with OC Natives not only gives these indigenous species a place to live and thrive, but they also provide habitats for native pollinators and butterflies. What’s more, OC Natives are ideal for water conservation because once they’re established—which takes three months after transplanting from flat or pot into soil—many need almost no irrigation beyond normal rainfall. While saving water is a benefit that most commonly sparks people’s interest, especially during drought years, OC natives are also beautiful. Examples of some species include lemonade berry, ambrosia, California everlasting, prickly pear, California buckwheat, goldenbush, California sagebrush and Coast Live Oak.

Few nurseries carry true OC Natives, the closest one for Santa Ana residents is the Tree of Life Nursery located in San Juan Capistrano. Be sure to specifically ask for OC Natives. You’ll be glad you did once you begin to enjoy your beautiful, maintenance free garden…humming with pollinators and adorned by butterflies! 


Our Mediterranean climate is unique. There are only 5 places on our planet where similar climates exist—certain parts of Chile, Australia, South Africa, Mediterranean Basin, and of course Southern California. The Mediterranean climate in Southern California is different from those found in other parts of the world because it is the driest one of all.