There are over 200 species of plants found on the James Reserve. They range from the biggest Ponderosa pine in Southern California found near the Trailfinders Lodge to lichens and mosses that seek out moist or dry areas of the forest floor or, often, other plants. The various species of trees give the James its characteristic forest structure but it is the multitude of herbaceous plants found under the trees that provide the colorful flowers and green ground cover that make the forest a verdant and vibrant community. Each plant comes into its own in its appropriate season and so their flowers can be found year round at the James. Here are just a few of the varied plants waiting to be viewed and studied at the James.
Besides the abundant native plants growing on the James, like so many other areas, the James Reserve has been invaded by several non-native species. Some of these invasive species are relatively benign, such as the plantago, which occupies a relatively limited area along the entrance road. Others, such as western cheatgrass become noxious species that invade large areas, excluding native species. Though these invasive species can present problems to the management of the Reserve, they also do provide research opportunities regarding their impacts on the forest as well as how those impacts might be controlled.