The Stream

The natural valley shape of the Garden was formed by an arroyo, or seasonal stream bed. The stream once flowed with water from the winter rains, but was dry for much of the year. Land development has changed water flow in much of California, including here in Tovaangar, as the land is known by local indigenous Tongva people. Today, a recirculating pump keeps the stream running year-round, and provides a habitat for wildlife. Notice the leaf size of the water-loving plants here, like the Monstera deliciosa near the waterfall. These leaves are generally larger than those found in sunnier parts of the Garden.

El arroyo

La forma natural de valle del Jardín fue formada por un arroyo o lecho de arroyo estacional. El arroyo fluía con agua de las lluvias de invierno, pero durante la mayor parte del año estaba seco. La urbanización ha cambiado el flujo de agua en gran parte de California, incluyendo esta zona en Tovaangar, como es conocida por los indígenas locales de Tongva. Hoy en día, una bomba de recirculación mantiene el flujo del arroyo durante todo el año, lo cual provee un hábitat para la vida silvestre. Observa el tamaño de las hojas de las plantas que adoran el agua aquí, como la Monstera deliciosa cerca a la cascada. Estas hojas son generalmente más grandes que las que se encuentran en partes soleadas del Jardín.

Explore Further

Many water loving plants can be seen on the edges of stream, such as bananas, wild gingers, and a towering dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). The stream, with its jungle-like appearance and wildlife, is a highlight for our K-12 tours. This beloved feature was designed and built many years ago, and is in need of extensive renovation. We are currently seeking donors to help us preserve this wonderful space for future generations.

To learn more about Tovaangar and Tongva people, check out these resources:
Mapping Indigenous L.A.
Cooking the Native Way: Chia Café Collective
Tending the Wild (KCET)
Mapping the Tongva villages of L.A.’s past


The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a promoter of nature at a California land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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