The chaparral areas are in yellow. As seen on the map, most of the chaparral is east of the Otay Lakes. There is only a small section (see blue arrow) that is considered chaparral in the Otay River Valley. Vegetation in this area will be highlighted on this page. It is not a comprehensive list.
These are beautiful spring flowers. Succulent native
Photo 1573021, (c) Jay Keller, all rights reserved, uploaded by Jay L. Keller
This perennial grows in large colonies. Petals are pink and violet.
Photo 18675, (c) randomtruth, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA)
Sometimes called Spanish Bayonet. It has been harvested for its fibers.
Photo 25587, (c) Jay Iwasaki, some rights reserved (CC BY)
This is a native shrub that is abundant throughout the canyons and along the river. It is very toxic and causes severe dermatitis.
Photo 4299, (c) Jill Matsuyama, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA)
This shrub is also known as Goat Nut. It's flowers are yellow. It grows clustered nuts. Its oil is used in cosmetics. People have applied its oil directly on the skin for acne, sunburn, psioriasis and chapped skin.
Photo 161244, (c) J Brew, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), uploaded by John Brew
This shrub can become tree-like. It is also called Christmas Berry. The Kumeyaay pound the leaves into a pulp. The pulp was used to treat sores. The bark and leaves were also used to treat wounds. The berries are edible, but have a bitter taste. Early settlers would pick the berries when they were completely ripe to reduce the bitterness.
Photo 2900086, (c) Debbie Ballentine, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND)
It is also called the spiny redberry. Western bluebirds and mockingbirds are attracted to this shrub. Native Americans used the roots to make dye for buckskin. The Kumeyaay would feed them to mockingbirds so they would hang around and provide songs.
Photo 35903, (c) barbarab, all rights reserved, uploaded by barbarab
See also in coastal sage scrub. The Laurel Sumac has large leaves that tend to fold up. Sometimes people call it the “taco plant” because the leaves resemble a crunchy taco. The reason the leaves fold up is to reduce exposure to the sun thereby conserving water in the dry habitat. The Kumeyaay called it “ektii.” They used the wood for construction. They also used the leaves as tea after childbirth.
Photo 2121812, (c) James Bailey, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)
See also in coastal sage scrub. It is an important shrub of the Otay river valley. The common name comes from the sticky pulp on the mature fruits, which have a lemony flavor. This pulp can be used for making a refreshing beverage. People add berries to water and make a lemony drink. Sometimes they seep a cup of berries in hot water to make a strong, lemonade-like drink. People also suck on them right after picking, however, they are pretty sour. The seeds can also be ground and roasted.
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