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    California (source: Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 Edition)

    The humid transition belt is the habitat of California's magnificent forests. Nut pine, juniper and true sage-brush (Artemisia tridentata) characterize the upper Sonoran, —although the latter. grows equally in the transition zone. Cereals, orchard fruits and alfalfa are of primary importance in the upper and of secondary importance in the lower Sonoran. In the arid portions of this and the tropic areas the indigenous plants are creosote, mesquite and alfileria bushes, desert acacias, paloverdes, alkali-heath, salt grass, agaves, yuccas (especially the Spanish-bayonet and Joshua tree) and cactuses. Among exotics the Australian saltbush spreads successfully. over the worst alkali land. The introduction of other exotics into these zones,-made humid by irrigation, which converts them, the one into true austro-riparian the other into true humid tropical,—has revolutionized the agricultural, and indeed the whole, economy of California. At the two ends of Cajon Pass, only four or five kilometres apart, are the two utterly distinct floras of the Mohave desert and the San Bernardino valley. Despite the presence of the pass, plants do not spread, so great is the difference of climatic conditions. On the desert the same plant will vary in different years from 4 in. to io ft. in height when equally mature; according to the rainfall and other conditions of growth. Many mature plants are not taller than o•4 to o•8 in. The tree yucca often attains a height of 20 to 25 ft., and a diameter of 1.5 it. About 600 species of plants were catalogued in desert California in 1891 by a government botanical party The flora of the coast islands of California is very interesting. On Santa Cruz Professor Joseph Le Conte found 248 species, nearly all of which are distinctively Californian, 48 being peculiar to the surrounding islands and 28 peculiar to Southern California. Various other things indicate a separation of the islands from the mainland in quaternary times; since which, owing to the later 'southward movement on the continent of northern forms in glacial times, there has been,a struggle for existence on the mainland from which the islands have largely escaped. Forests.—The forests and agricultural crops of the state demand' particular notice. In 1900 the woodland was estimated by the United States census at 22% of the state's area, and the total stand at 200,000 million ft. of timber. The variety of forest trees is not great, but some of the California trees are unique, and the forests of the state are, with those of Oregon and Washington, perhaps the most magnificent of the world. At least the coniferous forests which make up nine-tenths of California's woodland surpass all others known in number of species and in the size and beauty of the trees. Forty-six species occur, namely, 32 species of pitch trees (18 pines), 12 species of the cypresses and their allies (2 sequoia), and 2 species of yews or their allies. Peculiar to California are the two species of sequoia (q.v.) the redwood (S. sempervirens), and the big-tree (S. gigantea), remnants of an earlier age when they were common in other parts of the world. The redwood grows only in a narrow strip on the• Coast Range from Southern Oregon (where there are not more than loco acres) down nearly to the Golden Gate, in a habitat of heavy rains and heavy fogs. They cover an area of about 2000 sq. m. almost unmixed with other species. One fine grove stands S. of San Francisco near Santa Cruz. These noble trees attain very often a height of more than 300 ft., frequently of 350 and even more, and a butt diameter of more than 15 to 20 ft., with clean, straight fluted trunks rising 200 ft. below the lowest branches. They grow in a very dense timber stand; single acres have yielded 1,500,000 ft. B.M. of lumber, and single trees have cut as high as 100,000 ft. The total stand in 1900 was estimated by the United States census as 75,000,000,000 ft., and the ordinary stand per acre varies from 25,000 to 150,000 ft., averaging probably 6o,000 ft. The redwood is being rapidly used for lumber. There is nowhere any considerable young growth from seed, although this mode of reproduction is not (as often stated) unknown; the tree will reproduce itself more than once from the stump