Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains: Foothills and Canyons

Interpretive Guide on CD

Reviewed by Norman Ackerman

(reprinted with permission from the The Paintbrush, January-February 2009, California Native Plant Society, San Gabriel Mountains Chapter)

Find out more about the CD

 Find out how to buy the CD  

This is a terrific CD full of information, and after you've used it for about a week you will begin to discover how much interesting detail is packed into many nookS and crannieS. You can return from a hike an use a built-in quick search feature for the blue flowers blooming in July and there's even a quiz for students of all levels. Get this CD! (Mickey Long)

Home gardeners as well as landscapers, botanists and other professionals will find this easy-to-use resource to contain a wide variety of information about our native plants. This mini-encyclopedia includes 258 plants, 1600 photos (many appear in this Paintbrush), and much more.

Don't let the name of the CD dissuade you from buying it; most of the plants are found over much of California, not just in the San Gabriel Mountains.

So let's start with where and how to buy it.

Price: $18.50 plus tax and shipping where applicable
Vroman's Bookstore
California Native Plant Society
  • State Headquarters
  • San Gabriel Mountains Chapter
  • Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter
  • Orange County Chapter

Eaton Canyon Nature Center
San Dimas Canyon Nature Center
Whittier Narrows Nature Center
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
And using PayPal at the McLean's website,

The CD is structured like a website with menus, submenus, menubars and links that allow you to explore it and easily find exactly the information you want.

When you start, you will see the menu in Figure 1. Click on any choice in Figure 1, and you get a submenu and an adjacent area of information about that topic. For example, if you clicked on Plant Community in Figure 1, you would see the submenu in Figure 2. Then if you click on Chaparral, the submenu in Figure 2 will expand to list the plants in the Chaparral community. Figure 3 is a self-explanatory menubar that appears on many screens.

When you select a specific plant, you will see a screen with multiple photos of the plant. You will aso see another munubar containing a set of buttons, selected from the following list, that relate to that plant. Click on a button, and a screen full of information on that topic appears.
General description of the plant
Leaf characteristics
Stem and leaf descriptions
Trunk and needle information for conifers
Flower descriptions, inflorescence, when it blooms
Fruit type and appearance
Cone description, male & female
Ferns: Descrip[tion of fronds & reproductive parts
Habitat: Plant communities, terrain, elevations
Range: Geographic regions & map of the range
Related species
Gardening: Basic requirements of the plant
Birds: How to attract, how they use the plants
Butterflies: how to attract, how they use the plants
Fire Effects: Response, contribution after-effects
Name changes and meaning of the name
New name changes

The sound button stands alone on the page. Click it and you'll hear the botanical name pronounced.

There's much more, including these other major topics on this CD which remain to be explored:

  • Natural History Information: Geography, Geology, Mediterranean Climate, Fire, Plant Adaptations, Plant Communities, Birds and Plants, Butterflies and Plants, Threats to Wildlands
  • Gardening with Natives: How Do I get Started?, How Should I water?, What about Maintenance?, Where Can I find Native Plants?
  • Botany Basics: Parts of a Vascular Plant, Leaf Illustrations, Flowering Plants, Conifers, Ferns and Fern Allies, Plant Names
Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 2

Figure 3
Figure 3

Keywords: Gabi McLean, Cliff McLean, Gabriele McLean, Clifford McLean, Nature at Hand, Gabi Horn, Gabriele Horn, Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains: Foothills and Canyons, Plants of the San Gabriels, California native plants, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Gabriel Valley, Southern California, Altadena, Covina, natural, nature photography, photograph, environmental education, naturalist, docent, hike, hiking, CD-ROM, California native garden, gardening, flowers, wildflowers, San Gabriel Mountains, Angeles National Forest, California Native Plant Society, CNPS, Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates, ECNCA