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California's Fading WildflowersLost Legacy and Biological Invasions$
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Richard Minnich

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520253537

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520253537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

The Golden State

The Golden State

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Golden State
California's Fading Wildflowers

Richard A. Minnich

University of California Press

California is historically and metaphorically symbolized as the “Golden State” in tribute to the gold rush of 1849, but for many living in the state, gold is also a reminder of its sunny Mediterranean climate, or perhaps the Golden Gate Bridge. After describing California, this chapter introduces the central hypotheses of the book: California's pre-Hispanic vegetation consisted of vast carpets of wildflowers, not bunch grasslands; the introduction of European species triggered a biological invasion; the transformation of herbaceous cover began along the coast and shifted inland, the pace of change was dependent on habitat, climate variability; and, most importantly, the time of arrival and adaptive modes of the invaders; and the collapse of indigenous forblands over most of California happened with the invasion of bromes in the twentieth century.

Keywords:   gold, California, pre-Hispanic vegetation, biological invasion, indigenous forblands

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