California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

August 2011

Center for Plant Conservation Prepares Special Publication on California's Flora

The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is a national organization dedicated to preventing the extinction of native plants in the United States. Headquartered at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, CPC publishes the newsletter, Plant Conservation. In 2001, CPC created a special issue of Plant Conservation that focused on the imperiled flora of Hawaii. This year they are preparing a second special issue that will focus on plant conservation efforts in response to threats to California's diverse native flora.

Earlier this month, CPC flew five journalists from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism out to California for an intensive 10-day tour around parts of the state to gather information for both their newsletter publication and web-based video stories. During their travels, the CPC team met with several people affiliated with CNPS:

  • Lech Naumovich, former East Bay Conservation Analyst, led them on a tour of East Bay serpentine prairie in Redwood Regional Park;
  • Holly Forbes, Curator at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, escorted the group on tours of the gardens and Muir Woods;
  • Jane Strong of CNPS San Gabriel Mountains chapter, accompanied the team to areas of the 2009 Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest;
  • Dieter Wilkin, CNPS Rare Plant Program Committee member, directed the group in a discussion of rare plants while touring the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden;
  • CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt desert coordinator, Amber Swanson, led the team on a successful hunt for Coryphantha chlorantha (Desert pincusion cactus) in the Clark Mountains;
  • Jim Andre, CNPS Rare Plant Program Senior Advisor and Director of the UC Riverside Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, met the group at a site overlooking the Ivanpah solar project and spoke of the impacts of renewable energy projects on desert habitat;
  • CNPS Conservation Program Director Greg Suba, and CNPS Legislative Analyst Vern Goehring, also presented talks to the team during their initial orientation day in Sacramento, CA.

The CPC group met with a long list of others, including several state and federal agency staff, during their mostly southern coastal, transverse range, and desert-focused itinerary, and we eagerly await the CPC's Plant Conservation special issue on California's native flora, due in late 2011 or early 2012.


New CNPS Online Inventory (8th Edition) Updates and Tips

Aaron E. Sims

Inventory Update:

Sulphur Creek brodiaea (Brodiaea matsonii)
© 2007 Robert E. Preston, Ph.D.

The featured new addition to the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants is Sulphur Creek brodiaea (Brodiaea matsonii). Sulphur Creek brodiaea is a perennial, bulbiferous herb that occurs along streambanks in Cismontane woodland. It is unique among other brodiaea's in having pale pink flowers (most other brodiaea's have purple or deep-blue flowers). Sulphur Creek brodiaea was added to the CNPS Inventory on July 12th, and was afforded the highest rarity and threat rank possible: California Rare Plant Rank (formerly List) 1B.1 – plants rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere; seriously threatened in California.

Sulphur Creek brodiaea is only known from a few hundred individuals in the vicinity of Sulphur Creek, north of Redding. It is potentially threatened by powerline maintenance, foot traffic, and horticultural collecting; and possibly threatened by development. Brodiaea matsonii was described by Rob Preston, a Sacramento botanist, who named the plant after the late Gary Matson.

Gary was a well-known horticulturist from Redding who first spotted the plant in 1993. He joined CNPS in 1983 as a charter member of the Shasta Chapter. In 1999, Gary and his partner Winfield Mowder were murdered in an apparent hate crime at their home in Happy Valley, just outside of Redding. Amongst being a teacher and community activist for the protection of rare plants and their habitats, Gary promoted horticultural use of native plants and was a founder of the Redding Arboretum. He also helped form the Redding Museum/Caldwell Park complex and the Carter House Children's Science Museum. In addition to these projects, Gary made various other significant contributions that are far too numerous to include here. It was a very nice gesture for Rob Preston to name this plant after Gary.

More information about Gary Matson can be found in "In Memoriam – Gary Matson 1949-1999", Fremontia Special Issue – Vernal Pools pp. 71-72.

More information about Brodiaea matsonii can be found in the Online Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants or by contacting Aaron E. Sims ( In addition, see for an article by Laura Christman on the discovery of Brodiaea matsonii.

Inventory Tip:
Did you know that you can now search for plants added by year in the new Online Inventory, 8th Edition? This allows one to review what plants have been added recently as well as those that have been included in the Inventory since its foundation in 1974. You can also search for plants added before and/or after any year of your choice. This is helpful for determining when plants were added to the Inventory, how many plants were added in a given year or over numerous years, and what plants were added when.

In order to search for plants added by year, visit the Inventory "Simple Search" page and enter a year in the before and/or after box in the "Plants Added by Year" section located towards the bottom center of the page.


Multi-Agency Group Looking for Data-Tracking Partners

Have you noticed the flowers in your neighborhood blooming sooner? Do the geese seem to be migrating a little earlier every year? The National Phenology Network, which includes its California affiliate the California Phenology Project, are recently formed multi-agency partnerships interested in tracking changes like these so state and federal natural resource agencies can get a better handle on how climate change is affecting the phenology (biological timing) of wildlife, and when and how these data should be used in developing management decisions.

The California Phenology Project is looking for organizations, academic institutions, and citizen scientists who can provide data such as when certain species of tree leaf out, when plants flower in spring, and when pollinators emerge from their winter slumber. Many members and employees of CNPS are keenly attuned to the yearly timing of these events, and CNPS has begun to explore what role our Chapter members can play in this project.


Meet Susan Little, recipient of the CNPS Legislative Staff Person of the Year Award

Susan Little, CNPS Legislative Staff Person of the Year

Executive Director Tara Hansen and CNPS Legislative Advocate Vern Goehring will be presenting the statewide Legislative Staff Person of the Year award to California Assembly Floor Analyst, Susan Little at the local Sacramento Valley Chapter meeting on October 12th.

As a staff analyst in the Assembly Floor Analysis office, Susan Little, along with her colleagues, reviews and prepares a final analysis on bills before they are voted on by the full Assembly. In this role she is independent of the various policy committees and the analysts working for the policy committees. In other words, she is responsible for independently reviewing committee bill analyses for accuracy and consistency with a bill's final provisions.

Susan was recommended for this distinguished statewide award by Vern Goehring, CNPS's Legislative Consultant. In recommending Susan for this award, Vern describes how her sharp attention to detail and superb analytical skills have identified serious potential impacts to plants and wildlife in proposed legislation. When these details and impacts are brought out in the final analysis, it alerts CNPS and other conservation groups to advocate for amendments to improve legislative outcomes for the environment. Without individuals like Susan that have the strength of character to raise these important flags even at the 11th hour, some of these impacts could be missed and a bill could pass without an opportunity to amend – all to the detriment of CNPS and the California public.

The state office will be providing desert and coffee after the meeting to help celebrate Susan's award. If you live in or near Sacramento please come join us at the McKinley Park Shepherd Garden & Arts Center and help us recognize Susan Little for her outstanding work in the California Legislature. For more information see

CNPS Statewide Awards: Outstanding Agency Personnel
This award honors agency staff who have provided extraordinary service in conservation of California’s flora. Agencies are the keystone of native plant management in California through management of millions of acres of Federal, State, and privately owned lands and through implementation of our environmental laws and programs. CNPS recognizes that agencies can be difficult environments in which to achieve conservation due to budgetary, political and bureaucratic obstacles. This award celebrates both the recipients’ conservation achievements and their determination and ability to do what is needed to conserve California’s flora.

Greetings from Our New Conservation Communications Coordinator

William Hamilton, CNPS Conservation Communications CoordinatorCNPS welcomes William Hamilton who has recently joined CNPS to take over the duties of Conservation Communications Coordinator at the state office. William first became involved with the Sacramento Valley Chapter of CNPS over six years ago when he began leading vernal pool tours at Mather Field. In addition to his work with CNPS, he has spent time in the field doing plant surveys while teaching part time.  

"I was drawn to CNPS because of all the wonderful work they do in preserving California’s beautiful native plants," William says, "and I look forward to helping the society achieve its mission and goals."


CDFA to Create Far Reaching Programmatic EIR for Pest Management

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is proposing to create a programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for pesticide and herbicide spraying throughout the state. This PEIR would reduce the amount of subsequent analysis required for individual spraying projects new areas. Some are concerned that the PEIR would lock in an antiquated approach of spraying as better, less chemically dependent methods become available. There is also concern that once the PEIR is in place, future public input on individual programs will be overly-restricted and minimized. Some potential benefits of the PEIR are that it could streamline local invasive plant management projects, and would allow for a full review and vetting of chemicals to be employed by the statewide program.

CNPS shares the concerns of others about the potential pitfalls of creating this PEIR, while also recognizing that when well-managed, some herbicide use can be an effective invasive weed management tactic. CNPS wrote CDFA a letter stating our position and our concerns about the creation of the Pest PEIR. You can read that letter here.


Important Message to CNPS e-Newsletter Subscribers

The CNPS e-newsletter has a new look!

As you may have read in last month's e-newsletter, CNPS has upgraded to a new member web interface. This new interface also allows CNPS to send newsletters and other messages to members and subscribers. As we are switching providers, it is very important if you signed up to receive the CNPS e-newsletter prior to August 31, 2011, to please go here to create a user profile. Doing this will ensure that you can opt-in to continue receiving the CNPS e-newsletter and other CNPS communications under the heading "My Email Preferences". (If you have already created a user profile, please make sure that you have selected to receive the e-newsletter in your email preferences.) If you do not opt-in to receive the e-newsletter through the new CNPS portal, you might stop receiving these interesting and informative newsletters!

Chapter Events

Sierra Foothills Chapter
Gardening with Natives Seminar
Saturday, September 10, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The Sierra Foothills Chapter is sponsoring its second annual Gardening with Natives Seminar entitled "How to Transform Your Traditional garden into a Beautiful Native Landscape" on Saturday, September 10, in the Manzanita Building at the Motherload Fairgrounds in Sonora. The featured keynote speaker will be Bart O'Brien from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Early registration is $35 for non-CNPS members and $30 for CNPS members until September 1. Lunch is included. and more information will be posted on Sierra Foothill Chapter's website as the date approaches. For more information, call 209-753-4313.

East Bay and Yerba Buena Chapters and
Claremont Canyon Butterfly Field Trip
Sunday, Sept. 11, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

We will likely see three Vanessa species (American, west coast and painted ladies to butterfly newbies), plenty of skippers, and possibly some migrating Monarchs. Lepidopterist Liam O'Brien will walk you through Butterflies 101 and give tips on identifying butterfly species, plus an understanding of the close relationship each species has with its host plant(s). Because parking is scarce, we will meet at Rockridge BART in the parking lot, near the escalators, to form carpools. See the East Bay chapter web site for specific directions. If you have questions, please contact Liam O'Brien at or 415-863-1212.  

Santa Clara Valley and East Bay Chapters and
Growing Natives Symposium
Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, 2011
Leading practitioners of native plant horticulture come together in this two-day symposium focusing on designing, installing, and maintaining native plant gardens of lasting value. The Saturday, September 17, 2011 program in Lafayette features talks by Carol Bornstein, Michael Craib, David Fross, Luke Hass, and Deva Luna. The Sunday, September 18, 2011 program in Berkeley consists of workshops by Jocelyn Cohen, Stephen Edwards, Katherine Greenberg, Don Mahoney, and Pete Veilleux, and guided tours of Regional Parks Botanic Garden and Native Here Nursery, both in Tilden Park, Berkeley. For more info or to register, see

Shasta Chapter
Fall Plant Sale and Members-Only Presale
Friday and Saturday, Sept 23-24.

Presale for members only: Friday, Sept 23, 4-5 pm. Sale to the general public: Saturday, Sept 24, 2011 9 am-2 pm. Shasta College Greenhouses and Farm, 11555 Old Oregon Trail, Redding, CA 96003.

Sequoia Chapter
Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, Sept 24, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The Sequoia Chapter fall plant sale is Sept 24 at The Clovis Botanical Garden. We do a separate plant sale of California natives and the Clovis Botanical Garden sells water-wise plants from other areas in a combined event we call the Water-Wise Plant Sale & Fair. Clovis Botanical Garden 945 N. Clovis Ave. (corner of Alluvial & Clovis Ave. by Dry Creek Park) Clovis, CA 93611.

Sacramento Valley Chapter
Fall Plant Sale and Native Plant Clinic
Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 & 25, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Free plant for new or renewing memberships! When you join or renew your CNPS membership you can choose any 1 gallon Elderberry Farms Plant. A class in "Native Gardening Basics" will be held at noon on Saturday and a drop-in native plant garden and design clinic will be open all weekend long. Location McKinley Garden and Arts Center: 3330 McKinley Blvd, Sacramento, CA.

Dorothy King Young Chapter
Fall Plant Sale
Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

The first of two DKY chapter plant sales will be held at Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center St, Gualala, CA 95445 on September 24 from 10 am - 2 pm. The second one will be Oct. 1 in Fort Bragg at the  Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens - check with the chapter for further details!

Willis Linn Jepson Chapter
Program Meeting: "Native Plants to Use in Your Garden"
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, 7:00  - 8:30 PM

Join the Jepson chapter on an informative talk by Bert Johnson, Gardener at the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Heritage Presbyterian Church, 1400 East 2nd Street, Benicia, CA.


For Chapter Events in your area, please visit the CNPS Website at


Contributors and Photo Credits


  • Greg Suba
  • Aaron Sims
  • William Hamilton
  • Tara Hansen
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger  

Photo credits:

  • Coryphantha chlorantha, Amber Swanson
  • Brodiaea matsonii, ©2007 Robert E. Preston, Ph.D.
  • Butterfly on thistle (Clodius parnassian? on Cirsium douglasii var. breweri), Stacey Flowerdew
  • Susan Little, Jeff Walters
  • William Hamilton, Stacey Flowerdew


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