Morella californica Shrubland Alliance
Wax myrtle scrub

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormShrub
  • Elevation0-300 m
  • State RarityS3
  • Global RarityG3
  • DistributionUSA: CA (NatureServe), OR, WA? (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Morella californica is dominant in the shrub canopy with Baccharis pilularis, Garrya elliptica, Holodiscus discolor, Marah fabaceus, Ribes sanguineum, Rubus parviflorus, Rubus spectabilis, Rubus ursinus, Toxicodendron diversilobum and Vaccinium ovatum. Emergent trees may be present at low cover, including Picea sitchensis or Pinus contorta ssp. contorta.

Vegetation Layers

Shrubs < 10 m; canopy is intermittent to continuous. Herbaceous layer is sparse.

Membership Rules

  • Morella californica > 50% relative cover in the shrub canopy (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003a).


Surrounding brackish and freshwater lagoons, along small seeps, streams, on coastal dunes and bluffs. Soils are moist or wet and include moderately coarse sandy loams. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Myrica californica as a FAC+ plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Salal-blackberry series
NVCS (2009) Morella californica shrubland alliance
Calveg Salal-California huckleberry
Holland Northern coastal bluff scrub, Northern (Franciscan) coastal scrub, North Coast riparian scrub
Munz Coastal bush scrub
WHR Coastal scrub
CDFW CA Code 37.930.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Temperate Flooded and Swamp Forest
Division Western North America Flooded and Swamp Forest
Macro Group Western Cordilleran montane-boreal riparian scrub
Group Vancouverian coastal riparian scrub