Here are books and web links for anyone interested in exploring the San Gabriel Mountains and neighboring areas, whether it is to identify wildflowers in spring or for more serious botanical projects. Books and other references related to nearby locations, such as the Santa Ana Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, and the Mojave Desert, are often highly applicable to the San Gabriel Mountains.
NOTE: Click here for our a separate page of references for native plant gardening.
See also our Links Page.
Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains, Robert L. Allen and Fred M. Roberts, Laguna Wilderness Press, 2013. 500 pages, over 800 wildflowers, with photos and descriptions, a good reference for the San Gabriel Mountains. Available through the Orange County Chapter of CNPS.
Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs: with references to world botany, Oscar F. Clarke et al, Heyday Books, 2007. 496 pages, 900 plant species, 3,200 images and illustrations. A classic reference.
The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, 2nd Edition, Bruce Baldwin et al, University of California Press, 2012, 1600 pages, with keys for virtually all the California flora. Also available in an e-version for tablet or computer.
Field Guide to the Flora of the San Gabriel Mountains, Orlando Mistretta, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now California Botanic Garden), 2020. 340 pages, containing plant keys. Available through the CalBG librarian, or at the Poppy Shop kiosk near the entrance.
Southern California Mountains Wildflowers — a field guide to wildflowers above 5,000 feet: San Bernardino, San Gabriel, and San Jacinto Ranges, Pam MacKay and Tim Thomas, Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, a Falcon Guide. 326 pages, 360 plant species, with photos and descriptions.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Pam MacKay, The Globe Pequot Press, 2003, A Falcon Guide. 340 pages, over 300 plant species, with photos and descriptions. Covers wildflowers, trees, and shrubs of the Mojave Desert including the Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park.
Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains: Foothills and Canyons, Gabi & Cliff McLean, 2008. Originally produced as an interactive CD. Now available on-line, free of charge.
Jepson eFlora, The Jepson Herbarium, University of Californbia, Berkeley. A free on-line resource providing the latest information on California vascular plants.
Calflora: information on wild California plants. An extensive collection of data about plants that grow wild in California. Especially useful is the What Grows Where tool.
CalPhotos: A database of digital images of plants, animals, and other natural history subjects.
iNaturalist.org: A web site and app used to collect and identify observations of plants and animals around the world. It can be used to explore the species that appear in your area, to ID species, and to help others identify their observations.
Wildflowers and other plants of southern California: Extensive photographic albums from locations in the area, by Michael Charters.
Tom Chester's web pages: An extensive collection of information about the natural areas of southern California.