PLANTS OF UPPER NEWPORT BAY
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
COMPILED BY ROBERT DE RUFF
Upper Newport Bay
Welcome to The Vascular
Plants of Upper Newport Bay. This page is intended for
educational and reference use in regard to the flora of one of Southern
California's most unique estuaries. Please read the project scope for more
information or proceed to the Introduction
Sheet and list of Plant
Families found here.
Following is a list of Upper Newport Bay plants identified, photographed and in most cases
a specimen collected by Robert De Ruff from December 1982 through
Specifically, the study covers the area from Jamboree Road to the Pacific Coast
Highway Bridge and from the bluff tops to an including the marsh and
islands. Canyons and draws were included for a distance from the bay and
this distance was arbitrary depending upon the terrain. Developed areas
such as Dover Shores were excluded as were the upper portions of the bluffs if
homes were at the bluff tops. The bench between the developed areas of
Eastbluff and the top of the bluff was included and in the Santa Ana Heights
area, near Jamboree Road, where there is no bluff, about one third of the
distance to Bristol Street was included until this area was subdivided.
Now the Santa Ana Heights area remaining in the study is below the horse and
bike path constructed when the area was subdivided. In the Castaway's
area, a small area behind the bluff top was included as it contained the only
vernal pool in the study area. This area was subdivided in about 1997,
destroying the vernal pool. The islands in the bay were included but only
Shellmaker and Tern Island have been studied.
The geographical area included in the study has diminished through the years
as development has encroached into areas around the bay, some of these were a
rich source of native and non-native species.
The upper bay has been divided into sub-areas and these are used in the
plant data sheets when describing where a species was found. A description of these sub-areas and a
picture of their location in the upper bay is shown.
The 567 plants listed include varieties and subspecies. There are 259
native and 308 non-native plants. A total of 95 plant families and 339
genera are represented. The largest families are Asteraceae with 87
species, 49 of these being native; Poaceae with 59 species, 15 of these being
native and Chenopodiaceae with 31 species of which 16 are native. There
are 43 families with only one species represented.
Acknowledgements: Without the encouragement and help
of my old mentor John Johnson this study would have ended long ago. Always
a teacher, John has patiently explained the structure of tough grasses and
plants and his careful keying of the plant material supplied him has made my
work better as I have tried to emulate his procedures just as I did as his student
at Newport Harbor High School many years ago. In the early days of this
study Fred Roberts at the UCI Museum of Systematic Biology was most generous of
his time confirming my identifications or identifying the specimen
himself. When the Museum closed in 1991 those of us who had used its
assets were deeply disappointed. Others who have been helpful include Dr.
Peter Bryant of the UCI Biology Department who aided in the web format and began
the conversion of data to Microsoft Front Page.
Proceed to Introduction
Bibliography divided by reference types: