The Only Organization Working Exclusively to Conserve and Restore

California's Native Grasslands

Help with Species ID

Get the Grass ID App for Phones and Tablets!

CNGA member Justin Trujillo developed an app for identifying California's most common grasses and grass-like plants. Here is his description of the app: 

The California Grasses & Grass-like Plants app is a user-friendly, offline field app for identifying California's most common grasses and grass-like plants. This app is an essential resource for K–16 educators, students, ranchers, land managers, field technicians, recreationists, and nature enthusiasts.

The app can be downloaded on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Click the links below for links to more information.

Grass App for Apple Devices                            Grass App for Android Devices

Recognizing Plant Families of the West: Field Guide by Carol Dawson. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Denver CO. 2021

Know Your Natives: A Pictorial Guide to California Native Grasses -  Written by Jeanette Wrysinski Photography, design, and layout by David Rosen/Wildside Photography & Public Relations Copyright © 2000 by Yolo County Resource Conservation District

Field Guide for Common California Rangeland and Pasture Plants of California. 2016.  Authors: Larry Forero, Josh Davy, Sheila Barry, James Bartolome, and Stephanie Larson. 

Sedges of Marin County - both image and text keys for identifying sedges. This guide is a resource to assist plant specialists, students and amateur enthusiasts in sedge identification in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Quick Tip for Grasslands: Field-Identifying Native Grass Seedlings

From: Bryan Young, 2011, Grasslands, Vol 21 (2):3

Tip #1: Destructive Sampling

Seeds are often easier to distinguish than seedlings. In the days or early weeks following seedling emergence, use a knife blade to extract the seedling from the ground, along with a cubic inch or so of soil. Carefully, remove soil from the seedling roots.

At the point where the radical (primary root) first emerges from the seed, you will often find that the seed is still attached to the seedling. If yo recognize the seed then you will know your seedling. This technique works best on larger-seeded species. 

Tip 2: Reference Planting

Save a handful of seeds from your grassland restoration project. Sort your seeds by species. Using a separate container for each species, plant your seeds in weed-free potting soil. When your restoration project receives its first germinating rain, it is time to water your test containers, and grow your reference plants. Ideally, your reference plants will grow at a similar rate to your plants in the field. You can bring your containers to the field to help you develop a search image that will help you develop a search image that will allow you to quickly identify your desired species from the weeds. 

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