california plants

California Rare Plant Treasure Hunt


California Data Collection, rare plant, adventure, hiking for science,


Search around California for the rarest plants out there!

The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Project

The California Native Plant Society is recruiting adventurer volunteers to go to remote places all over
California to find and document historic rare plant populations. We need updated data on these rare
plants that may have not been seen in decades. Data, including GPS coordinates, habitat description and
population numbers, will go into the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) and be used by
scientists and land managers all over the state for conservation purposes.

Volunteers can either request a location to study or give us their planned routes and we will provide
maps, identification materials, data forms, and training for plants in those areas. Participants can also be
paired with botanists in certain locations to aid in their search. 

This is an on-going project called the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and volunteers can take part almost all
year long (depending on the plant and area).  The challenges to this project include difficulty finding and getting to the plants due to extinct populations, poor growing conditions that year, vague location descriptions and remote locations, including poor and closed roads.  If participants find a plant they cannot correctly identify, photos and a plant sample can be sent to the coordinators.

This is a fun project, something like geo-caching or perhaps we could call it eco-caching. Along the way
you will see beautiful wildflowers and feel the satisfaction of contributing to science and conservation

Want to learn more?

Necessary equipment includes:

  • a GPS unit,
  • a camera and an inexpensive hand lens  hiking/camping gear. 
  • Topographic maps and
  • wildflower guides will also be useful.