California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

June 2013

New CNPS Horticulture Program Director Position

The California Native Plant Society is pleased to announce an employment opening for the newly created staff position of Horticulture Program Director. Please share this announcement with any interested friends. Resumes will be accepted immediately and review of applicants will begin July 9.

Soap Plant in the Native Garden

Bill Hunt

Soap Plant - Bill HuntAn experience you may not get from seeing native plants in the wild.

We re-did our back yard landscaping in winter of 2011-2012. We expected to have a few sparse years but apparently our soil contained plenty of California poppy seed waiting for the opportunity that expanses of bare ground provided them. We've had two springs of saturated orange color from the thousands of poppies but we have other plants to enjoy as well.

After the landscaping was done, my wife Lesley planted a dozen soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum. The first spring, most survived and one plant produced flowers. This year, four of the soap plants bloomed. The leaves of the soap plant don't get far above the ground so when the plant begins to produce a four to six foot tall stalk, it is a very dramatic announcement of things to come. When the flowers appear, they are worth the wait.

Continue reading here.

Battle of the Pond

Liz Katz

Garden View - Liz KatzI wanted a natural-looking artificial pond: an elaborate lie, difficult to achieve. To create this illusion, I envisioned an irregular shape, lush ferns, towering granite boulders (I wish). Roughly fourteen feet long and one-third as wide, it would echo the proportions of the backyard. Up behind the pond, a modest cascade of recirculated water would flow down atop wide, flat stones.

Along one edge of the water would lie a sloping beach of rounded river stones, so that humans and birds could approach without muddy feet. Half-buried rocks would stabilize other edges. Thick, high-tech black plastic (EPDM, a very durable and strong material) was specified for the liner. However, the liner edge would ruin the illusion I craved unless it was carefully hidden.

Continue reading here.

Matilija Poppy, “Queen of California Flowers”

Laura Camp

Matilija poppy - Laura CampArticle adapted by Laura Camp with permission from Tree of Life Nursery.

Matilija Poppy has been called the “Queen of California Flowers,” In the words of Mary Elizabeth Parsons, from The Wild Flowers of California, 1897: “The Matilija poppy (pronounced ma-til’li-ha) must be conceded the queen of all our flowers. It is not a plant for small gardens, but the fitting adornment of a large park, where it can have space and light to rear its imperial stems and shake out its diaphanous flowers. It is justly far-famed, and by English gardeners, who now grow it successfully, it is regarded a priceless treasure, and people go from many miles around to see it when it blooms. It is to be regretted that our flowers must go abroad to find their warmest admirers.”

Continue reading here.

CNPS Orange County Chapter Announces New Guide

Wildflowers of Orange CountyThe Orange County chapter is proud to announce and participate in the release of Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains from Laguna Wilderness Press. This unique field guide is the result of more than a decade of dedicated work from local expert botanists, photographers, CNPS members, and pollinator experts Bob Allen and Fred Roberts. This is a guide that will be essential reading and reference for anyone interested in Southern California flora and insect interactions. Check out the sample pages, and order your copy from the Orange County chapter. So far two book launch events, with talks by the authors, signings and general celebration, are planned - July 18 7 pm at the Duck Club in Irvine, and July 26 from 4-8 pm at Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano. Check the website for up to date details on these and other events throughout the summer.

Upcoming CNPS Workshops

Further details on all workshops are available here. Contact Josie Crawford for more information.

Ecology of Edible and Medicinal Natives
Instructors: Alicia Funk and Farrell Cunningham
Nevada City
July 24, 2013

elderberriesThis classroom and field course will give participants the knowledge of how to combine available science, traditional knowledge and current interest in wild foods as a basis for instruction in the sustainable use of native plants. The classroom section will focus on the scientific information supporting native plants for food and health, as well as top priorities for additional research and an overview of sustainability issues. Participants will receive hands-on demonstrations of current processing methods of edible and medicinal native plants and sample recipes. The field portion will be conducted at 3,000’ in the Sierra Nevada region, near Nevada City, California, with views of Donner Summit and the Yuba River, and will focus on identifying edible and medicinal natives in the field and reviewing uses within traditional, Native American ecology. Registration opens soon!

Cost: CNPS members $175 Non-members $200.

Vegetation Rapid Assessment
Instructors: Julie Evens and Jennifer Buck-Diaz
UCNRS Sagehen Field Station
September 10-12, 2013

The course will be a combination of lecture and field exercises in vegetation sampling with a focus on collecting data using the CNPS-CDFW combined vegetation rapid assessment/ relevé method. We will discuss applications of fine-scale vegetation sampling, classification and mapping, how to document rare natural communities, and how vegetation information fits into planning documents. The workshop begins Tues. afternoon at 4:00 pm with an evening presentation followed by two days in the field learning sampling methods. Registration opens soon.

Cost: CNPS members $310; Non-members $355
Camping or cabin fee @ $30/night: $60

Details and registration for all workshops:

Chapter Events - A Sampling from Around the State

To connect to your local chapter, or to find other events in your region, see this page for a list and map of CNPS chapters.

South Coast Chapter

"Munchings at the Marsh"
Monday, July 1, 6:00 PM

"Munchings at the Marsh" - Come for the Pizza, Stay for the Marsh. The July 1 meeting will be a picnic at Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center. Pizza will be provided and you may bring a dish to share if you wish. Tracy Drake will offer her insights in a 20-minute presentation during dinner. After the presentation, you can walk out on the Preserve, stroll the native plant garden, and see the Exhibit Hall and its treasures. Madrona Marsh Nature Center, 3201 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance, CA 90505.

Santa Cruz County Chapter

Sunset Beach Hike
Saturday, July 6, 10:00 AM

Part of the Natural History Field Trip Series with Randall Morgan and Ken Moore. One of our county’s real biological hotspots, full of rare and other special-interest plants, also a great birding location. Last year we even saw a rare horsefly!—first record for the county. Meet at end of Shore Rd (entrance to Shorebirds Apts). From either Hwy 1 or San Andreas Rd, take Beach Rd (toward bay), then right on Shore Rd to end. (NOT the main park entrance off San Andreas Rd). For any questions, contact Randall Morgan or Ken Moore.

Marin Chapter

Low Tide at Corte Madera Creek
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:00 AM to noon

Have you ever wondered about the unusual plants that can live with their feet in the water? Join Paul da Silva on a low-tide trip to Corte Madera Creek to find out. We will do a circuit that will introduce us to both salt-water and fresh-water marsh inhabitants and discuss the effect of the progress of time and tide on their habitat. Meet at the west end of College of Marin’s parking lot #13 (the “free lot”). From intersection of College Ave. and Kent Ave. in Kentfield, enter the lot next to the Physical Education Building and continue off the pavement at the end to the meeting point. Leader: Paul da Silva.

Kern County Chapter

Mt. Pinos, Los Padres National Forest Trip
Saturday, July 13, 8:00 AM

Fellow Chapter member Pam DeVries will host our mid-summer field trip to the summit of Mt. Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest. It’s a beautiful place any time of the year but should be in full flower in July, at over 8,000 feet in elevation. We will drive to the parking lot where the trail to the summit starts. There are port-a-potties at the parking lot. For those who don’t want to hike, there are some wet meadow habitats around the parking lot to explore. The hike to the summit is a slow and easy walk. In the 1.5 miles to the summit, one passes through conifer forest habitats and finds a sub-alpine habitat at the top. There is a huge variety of unusual plants on the hike and a spectacular view at the summit. Bring your binoculars since condors are sometimes spotted from the summit. Please meet at the Park & Ride lot at the corner of Real Road and Stockdale Highway at 8:00 to carpool. We will leave by 8:15. We will drive south on I-5 and take the Frazier Mountain Park Road exit. Follow the signs to Mt. Pinos and the large parking lot at the end of the road. This will be a full-day trip. Please RSVP by 8 PM July 8 to Patty Gradek.

Bristlecone Chapter

Mammoth Lakes Basin, Heart Lake and Arrowhead Lake Trip
Saturday, July 13, 9:00 AM

Meet at the far end of the parking lot that is beyond the Coldwater Campground, at 9:00 a.m. We will hike up the Heart Lake trail, through the montane form of sagebrush scrub that is “enriched” with many wildflowers, then cross a talus slope with an array of multi-colored hybrid columbines, then return from Arrowhead Lake through subalpine forest. This is a moderately strenuous, although short (approximately 2.5 mile) hike. We should return to the parking lot by mid-afternoon. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen and a hat; and hiking poles if steep downhill bothers your knees. For more information contact Ann at (707) 721-6120.

Monterey Bay Chapter

Potluck Picnic: Indian Village Picnic Grounds in Pebble Beach
Sunday, July 14, 1:00-4:00 PM

Join CNPS members and guests Sunday, July 14, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm for our Monterey Bay Chapter CNPS potluck picnic! It will be at the Indian Village Picnic Grounds in Pebble Beach where you can enjoy good food, good company, guided wildflower walks (coastal dunes and the Monterey Pine forest), and horseshoe tossing. Please contribute an appetizer, salad, bread, fruit or a yummy dessert. Bring your own beverages if you choose. Be sure to dress in layers—be prepared for sun or fog. For a map and directions to the Indian Village,  ‘View Map' on this page. The gate next to the Gingerbread House will be open so that you may park at the picnic area— it is handicapped accessible. If you will be attending, please RSVP to Linda Smith by July 8 so that we can plan accordingly. Either call (410) 562-4813 or email her with your name and the number in your party. You will be given free entrance into Pebble Beach by informing the gate attendant at any entrance gate that you are attending the CNPS picnic at the Indian Village.

Mount Lassen Chapter

Hat Lake to Paradise Meadow Lassen Volcanic National Park
Saturday, July 27, 8:30 AM

Meet at the Chico Park & Ride west lot (Hwys 32/99) in time to leave at 8:30. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring lunch, water, sun/insect protection, and money for ride sharing. Take your park pass if you have one. We will drive Hwys 32 and 89 a distance of 86 miles to the trail head in Lassen Park. For wildflowers during midsummer, Paradise Meadows is one of the best areas in the park and one of botanist Vern Oswald's favorite places for flowers in the forest. The meadow, at 7200' has a glaciated head-wall for a scenic backdrop. Elephant head and gentian near Hat Lake; scarlet gilia among the first mile, satin lupine in timbered openings; columbine, lupine, monkshood, penstemon, Copeland's owl's clover, bog orchid in the meadow. Call leaders for alternate meeting place. Leaders: Gerry Ingco 530-893-5123; Wes Dempsey 530-342-2239.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Bill Hunt
  • Liz Katz
  • Laura Camp
  • Josie Crawford
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Bill Hunt - Soap Plant
  • LIz Katz - View of pond and yard
  • Laura Camp - Matilija Poppy
  • Alicia Funk - Elderberries


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