Pleistocene Garden

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Plants from the Ice Age

Based on plant fossils we discovered in the La Brea Tar Pits, we re-created the vegetation that clothed the landscape of the Los Angeles Basin 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Visit the Pleistocene Garden

Long before palm trees lined its busy streets, Los Angeles was an oasis of pine, sage and buckwheat.  Scientists at the Page Museum have recreated this original habitat with the Pleistocene Garden, a prehistorical landscape in Hancock Park representing the native vegetation of the Los Angeles Basin 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. Planned entirely from a plant list that was gathered from 35 years of research in the Pit 91 fossil excavation, the garden was started in 2004 and was divided into three ecological systems: Coastal Sage, Riparian and Deep Canyon.  A fourth system, Chaparral, was recently added with the help of UCLA volunteers. Whether you want to read its informative signs about native plants, gaze at its soothing stream or just take in its many fragrances, the Pleistocene Garden is a welcome step back in time, away from the hustle and bustle of Wilshire.

Featured Plants

  • California dogwood (Cornus californica)
    Habitat: Deep canyon
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  • Seacliff buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium)
    Habitat: Coastal sage and chaparral
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  • White sage (Salvia apiana)
    Habitat: Coastal sage and chaparral
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  • Salt or Quail bush (Atriplex lentiformis)
    Habitat: Coastal sage
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  • Arrow weed (Sagittaria sanfordii)
    Habitat: Riparian
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  • Sagebrush (Artemisia californica)
    Habitat: Coastal sage and chaparral
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  • Blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana)
    Habitat: Coastal sage
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  • Purple sage (Salvia laucophylla)
    Habitat: Coastal sage and chaparral
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  • Arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis)
    Habitat: Riparian
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  • Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)
    Habitat: Riparian
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  • Giant buckwheat (Eriogonum giganeum)
    Habitat: Coastal sage or chaparral
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  • Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
    Habitat: Deep canyon
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Flora

Click here for the list of plant species from Rancho La Brea

Current Excavations

We excavate seven days a week at the tar pits, because of the extraordinary number of fossils still in the ground.

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