Wildflowers of Southern California: A photographic gallery

About the Author

Picture of Dr. Barbara J. Collins

Dr. Barbara J. Collins

Barbara Collins is a Professor of Biology at California Lutheran University and has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois. She teaches General Biology for the majors, Microbiology, Environmental Ecology, California Plant Communities, Flora of Southern California, and Wildflowers of the Sierras. She has authored 4 books on the flora of Southern California and six other books on botany and biology. In addition, she has written numerous environmental impact reports for various projects in southern California. In 1991, she was the winner of the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award. In 1996, she was voted Professor of the Year, by the senior class. She is presently involved with studying the postfire regrowth in the chaparral after the October 1994 fire.

Dr. Collins moved to California in 1959 and since then has been busy extensively studying the vegetation of southern California. She has spent numerous hours collecting, mounting, and identifying plant specimens and has built an herbarium at the University that houses some 5,000 plants.

Her first book, Key to Coastal and Chaparral Flowering Plants of Southern California, was published in 1972. The book was written so that her students and interested lay people could identify plants using an easy key, rather than the very difficult ones in the larger California manuals. All the plants described were illustrated with line drawings to make identification easier.

In 1974, she published Key to the Trees and Shrubs of the Deserts of Southern California and Key to Trees and Wildflowers of the Mountains of Southern California. Then, in 1976, she published Key to the Wildflowers of the Deserts of Southern California.

The chaparral book is now in its 3rd edition and has been updated with the latest scientific nomenclature given in The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California (edited by James C. Hickman). Likewise, all names used on the web are in accordance with the latest nomenclature.

In the early 90's, Dr. Collins' husband began accompanying her on her field trips and started to photograph the wildflowers, using a Canon camera with a close-up lens attachment. His close-up photos of the plants became an invaluable resource for her classes. All herbarium specimens used in the class were soon accompanied with a color photo making study of the plants much easier.

With the advent of the web and the tremendous capabilities possible, it was decided to place many of the photos on the web for easy access by both students and the public. Each photo on the web is listed with both a scientific name and common name. Plants can be searched on the web using either the scientific name or common name. Further search capabilities will soon be possible through the California Lutheran University Library database.

Although the majority of Dr. Collins' work has been in the southern California chaparral, she has also studied the vegetation in the Washington Cascades and the Canadian Rockies.

Dr. Collins may be contacted via email at bcollins@callutheran.edu.