The San Francisco Plant Finder is a resource for gardeners, designers, ecologists and anyone who is interested in greening neighborhoods, enhancing our urban ecology and surviving the drought. The Plant Finder recommends appropriate habitat-building plants for sidewalks, backyards and roofs that are adapted to San Francisco's unique environment and climate.
This tool was developed as part of the Green Connections project and provides a centralized location to learn about plants and trees recommended by City agencies and local ecology experts. The tool includes links to the Green Connections Ecology Guides – route-specific recommendations to support target species and habitat along the 24 Green Connection routes.
The plants in the database include Mediterranean climate exotic plants, California natives and mostly local San Francisco natives that evolved right here, and thus are particularly adapted to the local climate. They are the best plants for wildlife and biodiversity since, they provide nectar sources for insects and birds, and act as breeding hosts to our indigenous insects, upon which our native birds and other critters depend.
The plants have been selected in consultation with San Francisco Public Works (SFDPW), San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE), Urban Forestry Council, Nature in the City, and experts on local ecology and horticulture. Additional resources that were incorporated into the database include:
- A Flora of San Francisco California, 1958 by John Thomas Howell
- Shoreline Plants Guide, Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)
- California Native Plant Society: Conservation Committee Botanists, Jake Sigg and Gail Weschler
- San Francisco Department of the Environment: Peter Brastow, Senior Biodiversity Coordinator
- Recommended Street Trees, San Francisco Public Works and Urban Forestry Council
- Recommended Drought Tolerant Plants for Sidewalk Landscaping, San Francisco Public Works
- Stormwater Design Guidelines, Appendix D: Vegetation Palette, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
We have tried to provide as specific information as possible. The data and information presented on this site were obtained from many different sources, and some of the fields are based on general estimates (e.g., watering needs). Due to the high variation of species, specific site selection and conditions are important to consider when planting your habitat garden.
Download the Data Set
The entire SF Plant Finder data set can be downloaded for free from DataSF under a Creative Commons license. The download is a zip file which contains an Excel spreadsheet listing appropriate plants recommended on this web site, and also a GIS shapefile of plant community areas.
Questions or Feedback
For questions related to content on SF Plant Finder please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at the Department of the Environment.
For questions about using this website, technical feedback or suggestions to improve this site please contact Mike Wynne (email@example.com), GIS Analyst and developer of this website at the San Francisco Planning Department.