• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California


Pond at Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa

The Santa Monica Mountains are home to 12 vegetation communities, which are derived from 26 vegetation associations identified by the California Natural Diversity Database classification system (Holland 1986). These include coastal salt marsh, coastal strand, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, coast live oak woodland, riparian woodland, valley grassland, valley oak savanna, freshwater ponds/lakes, rock outcrops, and suburban development.

Vegetation communities are determined by the following factors: presence of water, elevation, aspect, soil, proximity to the ocean, and presence or frequency of fire.

Click here to download a checklist of the plants of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Euphorbia teracina or Terracina Spurge grows rapidly and is a prolific seed producer, easily invading coastal scrub lands and out-competing native species for space.

Terracina Spurge (Euphorbia terracina)

Photo: NPS

However a battle to protect this ecosystem from invasive plants is being waged in the mountains. Noxious invasives commonly called weeds are still spreading through out the Santa Monica Mountains. Early dectection is key in preventing large ecosystem impact.

Download our free invasive weed field guide.
Click here (2MB)


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