California Coastal Commission

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Upper Newport Bay Project Plant Identification
Acknowledgements and References

Notes from Don Millar, 2004

Upper Newport Bay is an Ecological Reserve created in 1975 to secure this area as a home for native plants and animals that live here and as a resting place for migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway. The Reserve exists today due to the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals, led by Frank and Francis Robinson, who started the interpretive programs and saved the Bay from development.

Upper Newport Bay is managed jointly by the California Department of Fish and Game and the County of Orange Department of Harbors, Beaches and Parks in cooperation with the California Coastal Commission, the City of Newport Beach and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Newport Bay Conservancy coordinates the efforts of volunteer Naturalists with programs to educate the public about the importance of the Bay and coordinate programs to preserve and restore native habitat.

As a recent graduate of the Upper Newport Bay Naturalist program one of the tasks I was faced with was that of learning to identify the plants found here, their characteristics and uses. This document is a result of that effort.

The purchase of a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera in early 2002 and later a Canon G3 allowed me to collect pictures of the plants in many stages of development throughout the year. The pictures in this document are taken from that collection. Most of the images have had no processing done except to reduce them to an image size of 640 x 480. Pictures were taken at the Bay with few exceptions.

This document is a guide to Upper Newport Bay plant identification for naturalists and the general public, rather than a scientific treatise. In most cases the descriptions use common terminology instead of the scientific terms. Although less accurate, this will hopefully lead to better understanding for the general public.


Thanks to all Friends and Naturalists of upper Newport Bay for their continuing support for the preservation of this Gem.

Special thanks go to Roger Reinke and Bob De Ruff for their long term study of the plants of the Bay and their generosity in sharing this information in numerous public and private tours.

Special special thanks to Dick Newell for many hours of research in identifying the plants and many pleasant hours of field work and especially for being such a good friend.


There is no warranty expressed or implied as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the furnished data or pictures.

All pictures copyright Don Millar, January 17, 2004.



Balls, Edward K. Early Uses of California Plants. University of California Press. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1962

Belzer, Thomas. Roadside Plants of Southern California. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Missoula, 1984

Campbell, Paul D. Survival Skills of Native California. Gibbs Smith. Layton, 1999

Crampton, Beecher. Grasses in California. University of California Press, 1974

Dale, Nancy. Flowering Plants. California Native Plant Society. Sacramento, 2000

Jepson, W. L. A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California, 1970

McAuley, Milt. Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains Second Edition. Canyon Publishing Company. Canoga Park, 1996

Upper Newport Bay Naturalists Training Manual

Web Pages:

The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California,
A comprehensive identification guide to nearly eight thousand native and naturalized California plants

Comprehensive and searchable information on all 7,660 wild California plant species

Southern California Wildflowers and Other Plants,
Michael L. Charter's plant pictures and other information

California Native Plant Society,

Orange County Chapter, California Native Plant Society,

Wildflowers of Southern California,
Photographs of wildflowers of the southern California chaparral, desert, mountains, and north coast by Barbara J. Collins, Ph.D.

Photo Key to Identify Wildflower Species,
Ken Bowles Photo Key to Identifying the Wildflowers of San Diego

Wildflower Identification Guide,
Sharon L. Nixon's Wildflower Identification Guide, Park Sierra (Coarsegold, CA)


For more information on the Upper Newport Bay Project, contact Matt Yurko at