purple owls clover

Removing invasive plants and weeds is a large part of the restoration work that takes place in our preserves. This can be challenging, since some invasive species look similar to California natives. Help us protect native plants—become a community scientist and record your observations in the free iNaturalist or Calflora apps. This information helps us monitor the open space lands and identify areas of concern.

Please do not pull any plants on Midpen lands—we follow a strategic plan when dealing with invasive species and removing plants can actually spread the growth of unwanted species.

Native plant and their non-native look-alikes. Can you tell the difference?


California Bay Laurel by Barry BrecklingNATIVE
California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)

  • Broad-leaved evergreen tree
  • Height: 25-40 feet, old trees can reach 100 feet
  • Creamy white-yellowish flowers bloom April - September
  • Nicknamed “pepperwood,” because of the pepper scent, dried leaves are used in cooking.


Blue Gum Eucalyptus by Zoya AkulovaNON-NATIVE
Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

  • Tree with long, waxy blue leaves
  • Height: 150-180 feet
  • White flowers bloom October - March
  • Fruit, leaf and bark litter is extremely flammable 


California blackberry by Keir MorseNATIVE
California Blackberry (
Rubus ursinus)

  • Upright, sprawling vine or shrub
  • Typically has three leaflets
  • White, fragrant flowers bloom February - May
  • Valuable for preventing soil erosion at disturbed sites due to its ability to grow in infertile soils


Himalayan Blackberry by Barry BrecklingNON-NATIVE
Himalayan Blackberry (
Rubus armeniacus)

  • Sprawling, evergreen shrub
  • Typically has five leaflets and large thorns 
  • White/light pink flowers bloom April - August
  • Rapidly displaces native plant species by producing dense canopy and limiting sunlight for understory plants