Aesculus californica Forest & Woodland Alliance
California buckeye groves

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation100-1500 m
  • State RarityS3
  • Global RarityG3
  • DistributionUSA: CA (NatureServe) (FEIS)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaYes
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsYes
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Aesculus californica is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Fraxinus dipetala, Heteromeles arbutifolia, Pinus sabiniana, Prunus ilicifolia, Quercus wislizeni and Umbellularia californica.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 10 m; canopy is open to continuous, one or two-tiered. Shrubs are common. Herbaceous layer is sparse or grassy.

Membership Rules

  • Aesculus californica > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy (Evens and Kentner 2006).
  • Aesculus californica > 50% relative cover or conspicuous in the tree canopy (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b).
  • Aesculus californica > 60% relative cover in the tree canopy (Klein et al. 2007).


Varied slopes and topography. Soils are shallow and moderately to excessively drained.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) California buckeye series
NVCS (2009) Aesculus californica woodland alliance
Calveg California buckeye
Holland Mixed north slope forest, Mainland cherry forest
Munz Foothill woodland
WHR Montane hardwood
CDFW CA Code 75.100.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Warm Temperate Forest
Division Madrean Forest and Woodland
Macro Group California Forest and Woodland
Group Californian evergreen coniferous forest and woodland