Glossary: Descriptors Used On Plants Lists
The descriptors that are used on the lists of recommended plants for Sonoma County are defined below.
When a line in the plant list refers to all of the species in a genus (indicated by "spp" after the genus name), the indicated qualities may not apply to all of those species. When that is true, the exceptions are noted in the comments.
Note: The letters that indicate the applicable descriptions were chosen to be easy to remember, but that led to using the same letter for two different descriptors. To distinguish between the two, lower case is used for descriptors of size (for example, s indicates small, S indicates full sun).
"spp" in the name refers to all species within the named genus. Example: Erica spp
"cvs" in the name refers to cultivars within the named species. Example: Baccharis pilularis cvs
"ssp" in the name refers to a subspecies within the named species. Example: Armeria maritima ssp californica
Plant lists are organized by plant type: Trees, Shrubs, Ground Covers, Vines, Perennials, Succulents, Grasses and Grass-Like, and Ferns. Plants identified here as Ground Covers may be identified by nurseries or others as shrubs or sub-shrubs or perennials.
Plant Size, by Type
For plants other than Ground Covers, size refers to the height of the plant: For Ground Covers, plant size indicates the width of the area covered: The height of all plants identified here as ground covers is 3 feet or less.
|Plant Size||Tree||Shrub||Perennial, Grasses, Succulents, Ferns|
|s = Small||15-20 feet high||3 feet or less high||1 foot or less high|
|m = Medium||20-40 feet high||3-6 feet high||1-3 feet high|
|g = Large||over 40 feet high||6-15 feet high||
over 3 feet high
|Plant Size||Vines||Ground Covers|
|s = Small||8 feet or less high||3 feet or less wide, 3 feet or less high|
|m = Medium||8-15 feet high||3 to 6 feet wide, 3 feet or less high|
|g = Large||over 15 feet high||over 6 feet wide, 3 feet or less high|
Water requirement indicators are based on the WUCOLS (Water Use Classification of Landscape Species) list. More information is available on the WUCOLS website.
|H = high
||Require the greatest amount of water during the summer months to maintain acceptable health, appearance, and growth
|M = moderate
||Need lesser amounts of water. Tolerate some drying of the top few inches of soil; may need water every week to ten days away from the coast or every two weeks in areas with maritime influence.
|L = low
||Perform well with relatively small amounts of irrigation water. Give deep soaking every three to four weeks.
|V = very low||Need no irrigation except during years of below average rainfall for the region. Give deep soaking once or twice during the hottest and driest months of the year|
S = full sun
A = afternoon shade
P = partial shade
F = full shade
For items in the plant list that refer to all species within the named genus (indicated by "spp" in the name), a given quality may not apply to all of the species in that genus. See the comments for that item.
H = Sonoma Superstar - our favorites - the very best plants for Sonoma County
N = CA native
W = provides food and/or shelter for wildlife
B = provides food and/or shelter for beneficial insectsE = evergreen
E = Evergreen
D = deer resistant
C = recommended for erosion control; good for slopes
T = frost tender - may be damaged at temperatures below 32 degrees
X = poisonous - can be toxic to humans or animals if ingested. (Plants toxic only to livestock are not necessarily identified.)
1 = recommended for use as a ground cover
2 = recommended for use in dry shade
3 = recommended for small gardens
4 = recommended by the Master Gardener Garden Sense program