Gymnosperm Database
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Cupressus macrocarpa


Ephedra viridis


Pinus contorta var. murrayana


Pinus longaeva


Pinus monophylla


Pinus radiata


Pinus torreyana


Sequoia sempervirens


Sequoiadendron giganteum


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Gymnosperms of Alta California


I made up this list in preparation for a field trip to visit gymnosperms in Alta California. I have also been gymnosperm-hunting in Baja California, but haven't compiled that list yet. As far as differences in taxonomic interpretation permit, this list incorporates all gymnosperm taxa found in The Jepson Manual.

A visit to see California's conifers is well worthwhile (its only other gymnosperms, several species of Ephedra, are of more arcane interest). The state is home to 57 gymnosperm species, including the largest (Sequoiadendron giganteum), tallest (Sequoia sempervirens) and oldest (Pinus longaeva) known trees. California is the center of diversity for Cupressus (10 taxa, mostly endemic except for a little sprawl into southern Oregon and northern Baja). It has one of the rarest firs (Abies bracteata) and spruces (Picea breweriana). There are also a remarkable 20 species of pines, including the largest (Pinus lambertiana) and two of the rarest (Pinus radiata and P. torreyana) species. The state is second only to New Caledonia in conifer endemism, having 17 endemic species. Several other species are found only in immediately adjacent parts of Oregon, Nevada or Baja California Norte, and there are also several endemic varieties of species having a larger distribution.


Besides The Jepson Manual and general floristic information such as is provided by Burns and Honkala (1990), useful sources for information on California taxa include:

Species List

Abies amabilisPacific silver fir
Abies bracteataBristlecone fir
Abies concolorWhite fir
Abies grandisGrand fir
Abies magnificaCalifornia red fir
Calocedrus decurrensIncense-cedar
Chamaecyparis lawsonianaPort Orford cedar
Cupressus nevadensisPiute cypress
Cupressus stephensoniiCuyamaca cypress
Cupressus bakeriModoc cypress
Cupressus govenianaGowen, Santa Cruz and pigmy cypresses
Cupressus forbesiiTecate cypress
Cupressus macnabianaMacNab cypress
Cupressus macrocarpa Monterey cypress
Cupressus nootkatensisAlaska yellow-cedar
Cupressus sargentiiSargent cypress
Ephedra aspera_
Ephedra californicaDesert tea
Ephedra fasciculata_
Ephedra funereaDeath Valley ephedra
Ephedra nevadensis_
Ephedra trifurca_
Ephedra viridisGreen ephedra
Juniperus californicaCalifornia juniper
Juniperus communis
(vars. jackii, montana & saxatilis)
Common juniper
Juniperus occidentalisWestern and Sierra junipers
Juniperus osteospermaUtah juniper
Picea brewerianaWeeping spruce
Picea engelmanniiEngelmann spruce
Picea sitchensisSitka spruce
Pinus albicaulisWhitebark pine
Pinus attenuataKnobcone pine
Pinus balfourianaFoxtail pine
Pinus contortaLodgepole pine
Pinus coulteriCoulter pine
Pinus edulisCommon piñon
Pinus flexilisLimber pine
Pinus jeffreyiJeffrey pine
Pinus quadrifoliaParry piñon
Pinus lambertianaSugar pine
Pinus longaevaGreat Basin bristlecone pine
Pinus monophyllaSingleleaf piñon
Pinus monticolaWestern white pine
Pinus muricataBishop pine
Pinus ponderosaPonderosa pine
Pinus quadrifoliaParry piñon
Pinus radiataMonterey pine
Pinus sabinianaDigger pine
Pinus torreyanaTorrey pine
Pseudotsuga macrocarpaBigcone Douglas-fir
Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesiiCoast Douglas-fir
Sequoia sempervirensRedwood
Sequoiadendron giganteumBig tree
Taxus brevifoliaPacific yew
Thuja plicataWestern redcedar
Torreya californicaCalifornia nutmeg
Tsuga heterophyllaWestern hemlock
Tsuga mertensianaMountain hemlock

Last Modified 2017-01-16