Coastal Exhibit

SoFA Urban Garden

Located at 452 South First Street

The coastal sage scrub uniquely exists on California’s coasts, Baja California, and on neighboring islands. The plant community is dominated by shrubs, and is similar to chaparral habitats. The main differences are that coastal sage scrub plants are much shorter and less woody overall compared to chaparral plants. 

Coastal Sage Scrub

Coast Dudleya

 

Scientific Name: Dudleya caespitosa

Native Habitat: Pacific coast of Baja California and southern California. Prefers well drained soils.

This succulent produces silver colored fleshy leaves that do well in sandy and dry soil. In the winter and spring, the plant sends up a flower stalk 1-2 feet tall that blooms pale yellow flowers. The Coast Dudleya is a great plant to use in any drought tolerant or rocky garden.

Foothill Penstemon

 

Scientific Name: Penstemon heterophyllus

Native Habitat: Found only in California in coastal and northern Sierra mountain ranges.

The Foothill Penstemon is a shrub found in multiple ecosystems ranging from grassland, chaparral, woodland, and forest. It produces clusters of tubular flowers that come in blue, purple, or magenta colors. The flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators, especially bees and bloom in the winter, spring, and summer.

Desert Willow

 

Scientific Name: Chilopsis linearis

Native habitat: Native to southwestern United States and Mexico. Can be found along desert riverbanks.

When the Desert Willow blooms, all sorts of pollinators are attracted to its flower’s fragrant scent. Although dormant during the winter, the flowers bloom during the rest of the year and are highly visited by humming birds and bees. It’s a shrub that is easy to take care of and perfect for any pollinator garden. 

Douglas Iris

 

Scientific Name: Polystichum munitum

Native Habitat: Along the Pacific coast from southeast Alaska to southern California

The Western Sword Fern is one of the most common ferns in western North America, and is often seen living in the understories of coniferous woodlands.

California Poppy

 

Scientific Name: Sequoia sempervirens

Native Habitat: Coasts of California with the southernmost border at Monterey County. 

The Coastal Redwood is one of the most iconic trees in California, and became the state’s official tree in 1937. Many of the oldest and tallest trees in the world are Coastal Redwood trees. During California’s early development in the 1850’s, redwood trees were a valuable resource of lumber until the species were nearly exhausted. Since then, a statewide replanting effort has restored many lumbered areas into Coastal Redwood ecosystems. Even downtown San Jose has a few!

California Pepper

 

Scientific Name: Cornus nuttallii

Native habitat: Pacific coast range from Canada to Central California. Usually found at the edge of forests.

Pacific Dogwoods are small to medium sized trees that produce bright 6-petal flowers that support many bird and insect pollinators. Their seeds are also eaten by bears and beavers in wild areas. It requires low moisture and is great to use in any bird garden.

Silver Bush Lupine

Scientific Name: Lupinus albifrons

Native Habitat: Grows along the coast, foothills, and Sierra mountains of Oregon, California, and Baja California. The plant can be found in dry and open areas in woodlands, prairies, and meadows. 

The Silver Bush Lupine is a pollinator’s friend, but a predator’s enemy. It is a common flowering shrub found in California’s hills and valleys, and its purple flowers provide nectar for a wide range of pollinators. For the federally endangered Mission Blue Butterfly, the Silver Bush Lupine is required for its larvae to feed upon because of the plant’s toxic compounds. Animals that eat the Mission Blue Butterfly will be left with a bitter taste in their mouth. 

Coast Dudleya

 

Scientific Name: Dudleya caespitosa

Native Habitat: Pacific coast of Baja California and southern California. Prefers well drained soils.

This succulent produces silver colored fleshy leaves that do well in sandy and dry soil. In the winter and spring, the plant sends up a flower stalk 1-2 feet tall that blooms pale yellow flowers. The Coast Dudleya is a great plant to use in any drought tolerant or rocky garden.

Foothill Penstemon


Scientific Name:
Penstemon heterophyllus

Native Habitat: Found only in California in coastal and northern Sierra mountain ranges.

The Foothill Penstemon is a shrub found in multiple ecosystems ranging from grassland, chaparral, woodland, and forest. It produces clusters of tubular flowers that come in blue, purple, or magenta colors. The flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators, especially bees and bloom in the winter, spring, and summer. 

Desert Willow

 

Scientific Name: Chilopsis linearis

Native Habitat: Native to southwestern United States and Mexico. Can be found along desert riverbanks.

When the Desert Willow blooms, all sorts of pollinators are attracted to its flower’s fragrant scent. Although dormant during the winter, the flowers bloom during the rest of the year and are highly visited by humming birds and bees. It’s a shrub that is easy to take care of and perfect for any pollinator garden. 

Cliff Maids

 

Scientific Name: Lewisia cotyledon

Native Habitat: Southern Oregon and northern California in rocky forests. 

Cliff Maids are both an herb and succulent. Its fleshy leaves form a rose-shaped pattern. When Cliff Maids flower during the spring and summer, its flower cluster raises up from one or more 30-40 centimeter long stems. The flowers are bright, with colors ranging from orange, yellow, white, and pink.

Douglas Iris

Scientific Name: Iris douglasiana

Native Habitat: Coastal regions of southern Oregon and northern California

The Douglas Iris is a common flowering perennial herb that comes in multiple colors between purple and white. It is often used as ground cover in landscaping, and is also deer-resistant due to its bitter taste. 

California Pepper

 

Scientific Name: Schinus molle

Native Habitat: Originally from Peru’s Andean deserts, but is now very common in California

The California Pepper is a fast growing evergreen tree that is unrelated to the common pepper tree. The tree has many historical uses and was planted abundantly throughout California in the 19th century. Its red berries grow in clusters and can be seen year round. 

Pacific Mist

 

Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos ‘Pacific Mist’

Native Habitat: Coastal gardens and beach sand.

Pacific Mist is a hybrid of various native manzanitas. This variety grows outward and close to the ground, making it an ideal ground cover for coastal gardens. The plant blooms year round and its white flowers attract hummingbirds.

Seaside Daisy

 

Scientific Name: Erigeron glaucus ‘Wayne Roderick’

Native Habitat: Coastlines of Oregon and California, particularly in coastal bluffs, beaches, and dunes.

The Seaside Daisy is a wild daisy that shows lavender and yellow flowers. It blooms during the winter, spring, and summer, and supports bees and butterflies. Seaside Daisy requires little water, and is a great addition to any coastal garden.

California Poppy

 

Scientific Name: Eschscholzia californica

Native Habitat: Includes California and extends to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and northwest Baja California

The California Poppy is an iconic flower in the American West. It became California’s state flower in 1903, and its image can be found here in SoFA District on the California Theater’s light sign. California poppies bloom between February and September, and its flowers only open during the day time. At night or during cold weather, the flowers close up. California poppies are also drought tolerant, self seeding, and easy to cultivate in any garden.

explore Other exhibits

Redwood Forest

Redwood forests are among the oldest in the world. The redwoods in the Bay Area were also used to construct many early buildings in its surrounding cities and played an integral part in the Bay Area’s development in the 1800’s. In Downtown San Jose, one coastal redwood can be found in Cesar Chavez Park.
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California Grassland

California’s hills are famous for their decorated wildflowers and grasses. During the spring, these beautiful grasslands emit a wonderful array of colors from orange to purple. California’s state flower, the California Poppy, is one of the most recognizable native plants and is adopted into the California Theater’s historic and iconic sign on First St.
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Oak Woodland

The oak woodland is an expansive ecosystem in California and here in the Bay Area. In fact, a large portion of open space around San Jose is made of oak woodland. Plant species here are very well adapted to dry climates and can survive California’s heat waves. Many animals live among oak trees, which provide shelter and nutrients for critters such as turkeys, coyotes, mountain lions, deer, and large birds of prey.
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California Chaparral

California’s chaparral landscape is home to many of the state's drought tolerant plants that include woody shrubs, oak trees, and wild grasses. These species are often found in urban and residential landscapes too due to their low water usage and survivability during heat waves. The chaparral landscape is known for its distinctive Mediterranean-like appearance, and is a common site while driving through California’s rolling foothills. San Jose is also home to many chaparral open spaces due to the city’s warmer climate.
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California Wetland

Wetlands are found where land and water meet. Common plants that make up riparian zones include grasses, shrubs, and trees that can tolerate a changing aquatic environment. Riparian habitats are found in many cities and are important for water storage, flood control, water quality protection, recreation, nutrient cycling, and habitat for fish and wildlife. This is a common ecosystem in San Jose, such as the Guadalupe River Park that runs through Downtown San Jose, providing lots of urban wildlife to the City’s center.
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Urban Garden Main Page

Experience SoFA District’s newly imagined landscape along First St. that offers the public a self guided botanical garden tour decorated with plants native to California. Each planter is installed with QR-code signs that connect visitors and the local community to a smartphone accessible online exhibit. Information in our online exhibit can also serve as a source of information about each plant community’s ecology, history, and cultural significance.
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