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Street Plants of San Francisco

By: Rida Jan

Despite San Francisco’s dense population and development, its rich biodiversity and wildlife provide great value to the city’s ecosystem and environment. This blog examines a few of the many unique plant species found in my neighborhood.

The species Euryops chrysanthemoides is a small herbaceous shrub part of the Asteraceae, or daisy, family commonly known by the names “African bush daisy” and “bull’s eye.” It is not native to California, rather to Southern Africa such as in the Eastern Cape and Swaziland, and is additionally grown in tropical and subtropical regions around the world as a horticultural/ornamental plant.

This daisy is typically found on forest edges, and in coastal scrubs, grasslands, disturbed areas, riverine bushes, and ravines. Although it is present as an invasive weed in some areas such as South Wales, it is not known to be invasive in other places such as California where it has cultivated and naturalized.

This perennial plant grows year-round and thrives in dry, full-sun conditions. The bright yellow color of these flowers attract butterflies as well as other pollen and nectar-feeding insects, and its seeds are eaten by birds.

The Pleroma urvilleanum is an ornamental flowering plant of the family Melastomataceae, and goes by many common names that depict the delicate appearance of this flower, such as “princess flower,” “glory bush,” and “purple glory tree.” This species is native to Brazil, but is not known to be invasive to California and other states.

This princess flower can grow as an evergreen shrub and as a small tree ranging anywhere from 10 to 20 feet in height. Some of these flowers are open all year, but are especially foun in abundance from spring to winter.

Round and dry brown fruits are produced by these plants, but this typically does not attract any wildlife. The growth of these flowers are enhanced by full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

The Rosaceae family hosts many different species such as the one shown above, Rosa spithamaea, more commonly known as the ground rose. It grows as a small perennial shrub native to California and Oregon, flowering mostly during the spring and summer especially during April to July. These ornamental plants are typically pink in color, but can turn bright red during the fall. It is found to grow primarily in forest and chaparral habitats, especially in recently burned areas.

The structure and material of the ground rose allows great usage for surrounding wildlife. Its dense thickets give protection and nesting shelter for birds, mammals, and bees. Cavity-nesting bees are able to nest in its small hollow stems, and leafcutter bees collect leaf material for their nests. The brightly colored flowers attract native bees and other insects as a so