Native Plants

Native plants are important to sustain the healthy desert environment that is at the heart of MBCA's conservation mission. At the landscape level it is important to preserve the desert's iconic native plants such as the Joshua tree, but also to nurture native plants in our desert home environments. Native plants are naturally drought-tolerant and need far less water than non-natives. 

News Updates below provide information about recent threats to the desert's native plants, including the Joshua tree and the Dudleya ("liveforever"), pictured below. 
Dudleya bloom photo by Laraine Turk

Learn more about choosing, planting, and nurturing native plants at home through these resources:

Check your local water district website for helpful links.

View MBCA's 2020 Virtual Desert-Wise Landscape Tour to see and hear the experience of local residents in emphasizing native plants in their gardens and landscape. The 2021 Landscape Tour is also online. 

City of Palm Desert Landscape Maintenance Guide (includes but not exclusively related to natives)

Chris Clarke's KCET article The Joshua Tree: Myth, Mutualism and Survival.
Shop for native plants via businesses featured on our Native Plants Nurseries page
  • Featured post

    Western Joshua Tree Endangered Listing Decision Delayed

    Posted by · October 12, 2022 4:06 PM
    In an outcome not entirely unexpected, the California Fish and Game Commission today chose to delay the decision on whether listing the Western Joshua tree as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act is warranted. Today's meeting focused on additional tribal input, which will continue, while general public comment is closed. Much of the concern comes with how the restrictions will be implemented as relates to development, and the idea of more widespread conservation planning is another issue being considered. The item will next be on the agenda at the Commission's February 8-9, 2023 meeting. Here is the story in more detail as reported by the Desert Sun and here is a short summary by local radio station KCDZ.
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  • Featured post

    Decision on Listing Joshua Trees as Threatened is Postponed

    Posted by · June 17, 2022 11:45 AM
    At their June 15 meeting, the four members of the California Fish and Game Commission were split on decisions relating to the status of the Western Joshua tree. Their tie votes of 2-2 applied both to a motion to list the tree as threatened and a motion to continue the decision to the August meeting, with a recommendation to develop a recovery and conservation plan. With no decision on the Joshua tree's status, it continues to be protected in “candidate” status. The topic was continued until the October meeting of the Commission. This Desert Sun article provides a comprehensive summary of the presentations, arguments, and actions taken at the meeting. Additional information and links to the recording of the meeting can be found in this email from the group
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  • Featured post

    MBCA Joins Another Appeal to List the Western Joshua Tree as Threatened

    Posted by · June 09, 2022 12:50 PM
    Along with 18 other non-profit organizations, MBCA signed a letter encouraging the California Fish and Game Commission to reject the flawed findings of the California Fish and Wildlife Department staff and to permanently list the Western Joshua tree as a threatened species in California.
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  • Featured post

    State Agency Recommends Against Threatened Listing for Joshua Trees

    Posted by · April 17, 2022 3:22 PM
    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has published a status review concluding that Western Joshua trees do not warrant threatened status in California. The ultimate determination is in the hands of the California Fish and Game Commission, which in September 2020 granted the species interim threatened status and implemented guidelines for its protection. The official presentation of the status review by the Department to the Commission is scheduled for April 21; however, the Commission’s vote is not expected until its June 16 meeting. This April 13 press release by the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a petition that initiated the status review by the Commission, provides background and outlines the expected sequence of forthcoming actions. Additional information can be found in this Los Angeles Times story and the Times' editorial opinion in favor of listing the Joshua tree.
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  • Featured post

    A Third Option for Homeowners to Preserve their Joshua Trees?

    Posted by · February 17, 2022 9:05 PM
    A Yucca Valley property owner was directed by the Yucca Valley Planning Commission to either transplant or remove a Joshua Tree impacted by trenching near the tree. The property owners believe they should have the option of maintaining the tree. MBCA agrees that there should be a third option intended to retain trees that are not gravely affected by nearby excavation. This MBCA letter to the California Fish and Game Commission expresses MBCA’s request for them to consider such an option in their forthcoming decision-making process about designating the western Joshua Tree as a threatened species in California.
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  • Featured post

    Recording of 2022 Annual Meeting Now Available

    Posted by · February 07, 2022 8:07 AM
    The video recording of MBCA's 2022 Annual Meeting with speakers on "The Last Joshua Tree? Climate Change and the Future of this Iconic Species" is now available. For more background, here is the January 22, 2022 Press Release announcing the meeting. You can find the time stamp for the several sections of the meeting on the YouTube page or below.

         0:06  Introduction and Issue Overview by President, Steve Bardwell
       17:16  Laraine Turk Honoring Ruth Rieman, retiring Board member
       20:15  Remarks by Ruth Rieman
       21:16  Introduction and Remarks by Chris Clarke
       41:16  Presentation by Brendan Cummings
    1:20:05  Questions and Conversation with Chris Clarke and Brendan Cummings

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  • Featured post

    Desert Plants Lost to Heat and Drought

    Posted by · June 26, 2021 4:30 PM
    A recently-published research project by UC Irvine scientists reviewed 34 years of satellite data to analyze vegetation changes in the Sonoran Desert and nearby southern California mountains. They found a "widespread decline in perennial vegetation cover," that is, a significant reduction in even the hardiest desert plants. Researcher Stijn Hantson commented that "They're (desert plants) already so badly beaten by drought or heat that they're at the brink of existence." Read more in the Desert Sun article or view the research study, which includes a "Plain Language Summary." 
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  • Featured post

    MBCA Supports Plant Poaching Bill AB 223

    Posted by · April 07, 2021 2:35 PM
    MBCA is among 34 organizations signing a letter in support of AB 223 which would make it illegal to harvest Dudleya plants in California without a permit or landowner permission. Poaching of this native plant has increased greatly in recent years, and it needs protection against possible extinction. The plants are commonly known as "liveforevers" in California. Learn more at the Dudleya Protection page on the California Native Plant Society website.  
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  • Featured post

    EBlast January 16, 2021

    Posted by · January 16, 2021 11:03 AM
    • Joshua Tree Candidacy as Threatened Status
    • Draft EIS for Amendment to DRECP Issued
    • Federal Energy Policy in Southern California
    • Check the MBCA Calendar for Online Events
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  • Laraine Turk
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