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.

PROJECT SCOPE                            

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 today.  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 Sheet

List of Plant Families

Bibliography divided by reference types:

Text References

General References


Frequency Definitions of the plants listed herein.