California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

April 2014

California Native Plant Society and California Lichen Society in Symbiosis

Fringed Chocolate Chip Lichen Fringed chocolate chip lichen (Solorina spongiosa) was recently added to 2B.2 of the Inventory. It occurs throughout cooler or higher elevation portions of Europe, Asia, and North America, but is only known from a single occurrence in California, from southern Sierra Nevada.

For nearly 10 years the California Lichen Society's (CALS) Conservation Committee has maintained the list of Lichens of Conservation Concern, following the same definitions of ranks used by the CNPS Rare Plant Program and California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB). Yet up until now, rare lichens have not been included in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants (Inventory). In order to better reflect the inclusiveness of rare lichens in the CNDDB, and to bring awareness to their conservation and legal protections, CNPS has teamed up with CALS with an agreement to include Lichens of Conservation Concern in the Inventory.

For over 35 years the Inventory has played a significant role in promoting scientific research, conservation planning, and the effective enforcement of environmental laws pertaining to rare plants, and now it will begin to play this role for California's rare lichens as well. From now on, CNPS will update and maintain lichens in the Inventory based on the completion and outcome of the CALS Conservation Committee's sponsorship process, and through continual review of data submitted to the CNDDB. The CALS sponsorship process involves a rigorous one-year review for assigning rarity rankings to lichens, and results in strongly-justified decisions for lichen conservation.

Fourteen lichens are now included in the Inventory based on CALS Lichens of Conservation Concern. Information about the rare lichens of California can be retrieved in the Inventory, 8th Edition by selecting the “Lichen” search box under the lifeform section of the Simple and Advanced Search pages, or by typing “lichen” into the Full Data Search field on the Inventory home page.

In order to achieve the inclusion of lichens in the Inventory, the existing database and website needed to be modified to accommodate new lichen-specific data categories and fields. A one-time cost was needed in order to make these necessary modifications and for the input of lichen data. Congratulations to CALS for raising the funds required to fulfill this goal. We are very excited to see rare lichens in the Inventory, and are happy to join CALS in promoting the education, awareness, and conservation of these fascinating and beautiful creatures. Please join us in celebrating this momentous occasion, and be sure to search the Inventory for your favorite rare lichen today!

Forest Conservation at the State Capitol

Forest Scene at Calavaras Big Trees SPIn 2012, Governor Jerry Brown's Administration initiated a major effort to create a new funding source for forest management programs, extend the term of a timber harvest plan, and cap wildland fire liability. This led to the enactment of AB 1492 (the Timber Tax law) which placed a new fee on the sale of lumber products and led to a significant and much-needed increase in timber harvest review staff at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW).

CNPS led the way in ensuring that a requirement for developing forest ecological performance standards was included in AB 1492. Such standards could guide forest management work of not only the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFIRE), but also CDFW, the State Water Board, and other agencies with jurisdiction over natural resources linked to private forested lands in California.

There is administrative pressure to develop forest standards. Part of the 2012 timber law requires the Secretary of Natural Resources to prepare an assessment of how Timber Tax funds are being spent. This annual report is required to include an evaluation of the ecological performance of forests in response to impacts from California Forest Practice Act activities. The key question now is, “what gauge or yardstick do we use to measure ecological performance?”

CNPS has maintained from the start that developing science-based forest standards is the first step in evaluating ecological performance as mandated under AB 1492. Standards based on current best-science of forest structure, composition, function, and connectivity must form the framework for defining desired conditions, and can provide a yardstick with which to measure cumulative effects of forest management at multiple geographic and temporal scales. We sought, in 2012, to get an appropriation to fund an independent science panel to do this but were not successful. In 2013 we pursued additional legislation but could find no legislator willing to author the bill we drafted.

In 2014 we continue work to get forest ecological performance standards in place and can report some incremental success. Late last year, CalFIRE proposed having an internal committee take up AB1492's ecological performance question, which would have severely limited the intended objectivity and scope of the requirement, effectively ensuring little new would come from the effort. CNPS rallied allies to join onto a strong letter to the Governor pointing out that the Board or Foresty and CalFIRE were neglecting to carry out the intent and meaning of AB 1492. We made it clear that we have no confidence that the Board would or could develop meaningful standards to guide the full forest management duties for all agencies.

We learned this week that our effort, along with others, has been noted by the Governor's office. We understand that the Governor will propose additional funding to the Resources Agency to create ecological performance standards for forest management - $200,000 annually for two years. Since we have not yet seen the detailed proposal we will be watching closely as the actual budget language becomes available.

Site Prep - Photo Credit: Jen Kalt

Hopefully in two years we can look back and see that California has taken a positive and significant step forward to ensure healthy and thriving forest ecosystems.

Jewelflower Returns to Tulare Hill

Sowing Metcalf Canyon Jewelflowers into a wet carpet of Plantago erecta seedlings at Tulare Hill.
Sowing Metcalf Canyon Jewelflowers into a wet carpet of Plantago erecta seedlings at Tulare Hill. Approximately 100 seeds were combined with sterile sand to improve the evenness while spreading the seeds.

Justen Whittall

On Sunday, March 2nd, 2014, the Metcalf Canyon Jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus ssp.albidus) was reintroduced to Tulare Hill in southern Santa Clara County. Approximately 16,000 seeds were sown in four locations on Tulare Hill, an isolated serpentine grassland nestled between Santa Teresa Blvd. and Monterey Hwy. The property is owned by Santa Clara County Parks and the Silicon Valley Land Conservancy who are partners in the reintroduction. Seeds will also be planted near existing populations at the Motorcycle County Park atop Metcalf Rd. on March 4th, 2014 as controls and to supplement those existing populations.

This historic population of jewelflower at Tulare Hill declined primarily due to overgrazing by cattle. No jewelflowers have persisted at Tulare Hill since 1980 when the remaining population was extirpated by residential development.

A modified grazing regime and improved understanding of the jewelflower's biology have been a collaborative effort by Santa Clara University's Department of Biology and Creekside Center for Earth Observation. Led by Dr. Justen Whittall and Aaron Thom of Santa Clara University and Dr. Stu Weiss and Christal Niederer from Creekside, the reintroduction represents the culmination of nearly ten years of research and planning to maximize the probability of long-term success. Volunteers from the California Native Plant Society and undergraduates from Santa Clara University have been instrumental in preparing the seeds for the reintroduction.

Although the reintroduction was nearly thwarted by this season's unprecedented drought, the recent rains have improved conditions for the jewelflower's germination and survival. The newly planted seeds will be monitored regularly for germination, survival, flowering and seed set. After a second year of planting next winter, Tulare Hill is expected to support a jewelflower population of over 4,000 individuals capable of producing hundreds of thousands of seeds. The Metcalf Canyon Jewelflower reintroduction has been supported by the Bureau of Reclamation at the United States Department of the Interior.

Tulare Hill
Tulare Hill looking north from Bailey Ave. on March 2nd, 2014. The Metcalf Energy Center is on the right and Santa Teresa Blvd. is on the left.

Four blocks on Tulare Hill were seeded on March 2nd, 2014. Each block has 40 1 x 1 meter plots, which each received 100 seeds. Half of the plots at each block are within a cattle exclosure (visible in the background).

Seeding inside the cattle exclosure where plots are defined by blue and orange whisker stakes. From left to right are Dr. Stuart Weiss (Creekside), Christal Niederer (Creekside), Aaron Thom (Santa Clara University), and Jimmy Quenelle (Creekside).

Team Jewelflower pictured from left to right are Dr. Stu Weiss (Creekside), Jimmy Quenelle (Creekside), Christal Niederer (Creekside), Aaron Thom (Santa Clara University), and Dr. Justen Whittall (Santa Clara University).

Tracking Legislation

State Capitol, Sacramento, CA - Stacey Flowerdew

We have made a change in the California legislative tracking tools available to our members. A change necessitated as a cost savings. A new free online legislative tracking account for CNPS has been established. Login here: using Greg Suba’s email address: and this password: “CNPSTracker” to get a list of all of the California bills CNPS is following at the present time.

Select “My Favorites” then “2013-2014” to bring up the list of bills. Clicking on a bill number will take you to a page where the current and previous versions of the bill, committee analyses, votes, and the status and history can be found. This information changes automatically as the bill moves through the Legislative process.

Since this online system does not allow us to add a CNPS position, learning our adopted positions will require a second step. We have posted a separate legislative report on the Legislation Tracker page of the CNPS Conservation website. This report will include the position we have taken for each bill. At the present time we are simply watching many of the bills on the list because we are still studying it or the content is still evolving. This report will be updated periodically as things change.

We hope this combination of legislative tools will provide important information you need. If you have questions please ask either Greg Suba, or Vern Goehring, .

The CNPS Rare Campaign

Rare CampaignFor over 45 years the CNPS Rare Plant Program has worked diligently to fulfill its mission, with the primary example being its ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California (the CNPS Inventory). In collaboration with the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) and hundreds of botanical experts and volunteers, the Program has managed to preserve this vital resource at the highest of standards, making the CNPS Inventory the single most reliable and authoritative tool for rare plant conservation in California.

Study of the California flora is ongoing, and the review of California's rare plants must keep pace. Your support of the Rare Campaign will help to ensure that the CNPS Inventory accurately reflects the best available information on California's rare plants, and will help promote the preservation and appreciation of California's rare flora for years to come.

Click here to donate.

Upcoming CNPS Workshops

Lupine and Workshop Participants - Josie Crawford

For full workshop descriptions and registration, please click here. Questions? Email Josie Crawford, CNPS Education Program Director at .

May 27-29: Herbarium Specimen Collecting for Floristic Work
Taught by Nick Jensen and Heath Bartosh
Locations: Tejon Ranch Conservancy, Lebec and Tehachapi Mountain Region, Kern County
Cost: CNPS members: $360; Non-members: $395

June 2-3: Introduction to Plant Identification
June 4-5: Introduction to Riparian/Wetland, Invasive, and Rare Species of Northern San Diego County
Taught by:
Michelle Balk, Fred Roberts, and Vince Scheidt
Pala Reservation, Fallbrook, CA
Workshops may be taken together or separately.
Cost both workshops:
Members $290; Non-members $325
Cost Two Day Sections:
Members $150; Non-members $170
Registration opening May 5.

June 10-12: Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé Workshop
Taught by Julie Evens and Jennifer Buck-Diaz
Location: Orange County, CA
Cost: Members $330; Non-members $365

September (TBA): Vegetation Rapid Assessment
Location: Shasta or Tehama County

Click here to register or read full workshops descriptions.

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. Even more events from CNPS chapters and partners can be viewed on the Horticulture Events Calendar.

Sacramento Valley Chapter
Wildflower Wonders
Saturday, May 3, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wildflower Wonders is a wildflower show, plant exhibit, kid's discovery zone, native plant sale, book sale, and picnic. Featuring guest speakers (seating is limited, sign up and see the speaker schedule here). Free plant for new and renewing CNPS members. 2140 Chase Dr, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 on the American River Parkway at Soil Born Farms. Suggested donation $5, but no one will be turned away.

Channel Islands Chapter
Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area Native Plant Hike
Saturday, May 3, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Leader: David Magney. Join CNPS and David on an difficult but rewarding hike up to the top of Dry Lakes Ridge, which is a U.S. Forest Service Botanical Area. Explore this nearly 5,000-foot-high mountain in the middle of northern Ventura County with the author of the Flora of Dry Lakes Ridge. There are four large depression ("lakes") on the very top, which contain a relictual stand of Ponderosa Pine, left behind from the Pleistocene. A good number of plants will be blooming, and maybe we will see the resident Black Bear. This hike is only lead about once every 10 years, so don't miss it. Bring your camera, water, lunch, sturdy hiking boots/shoes, and hat, and you never know, it may be cold, so bring warm clothes, or it could be hot (most likely), we just can't tell anymore. The first (and last) part of the hike goes straight up (down) an old fire break, which serves as the only trail to the top. We will go up, very slowly, to the spine of the ridge, then hike up the spine (easy walking) through Eastwood Manzanita Chaparral until we reach the easternmost "dry lake" where we will find the Ponderosa Pines and Great Basin Sagebrush. RSVP to David at

El Dorado Chapter
Field Trip to Traverse Creek Botanic Area
Sunday, May 4, 9:00 AM

This incredibly rich serpentine area includes a number of habitats, including riparian and blue-green serpentine outcrops. With the Lewisias in bloom, there are dazzling contrasts of color along with often unusual and rare plants in bloom. Always a big favorite of the field trip season, and one of the most beautiful. Meet at the main parking lot of the Traverse Creek Preserve. Level of difficulty: Easy. Bring: water, snack or lunch, sturdy shoes, bug repellent, sunscreen and hat. Contact: Diane Cornwall,, (530) 888-1404. Directions relative to driving north from Placerville: Take Hwy 49 north and go about one mile to Hwy 193 to Chili Bar and Georgetown. Go down to the river, up the grade, then on a few miles past Kelsey. You may notice a road named "Traverse Creek" but do not take it! Instead, continue and watch for the Christmas tree lot on the left, then a mile or so farther, see Black Oak MIne Road, also on the left. Just a half-mile more turn at Meadowbrook Road on the right and follow the road down the hill to the intersection with Bear Creek Road; go across the road and park.

Sierra Foothillls Chapter
Field Trip: Anderson Flat
Saturday, May 10, 9:00 AM

Leaders -Barry and Judy Breckling. Hiking Level: Easy. This will be a discovery trip to see what plants we can find in the beautiful Anderson Flat area. Access is on a decent dirt road, but high-clearance vehicles are suggested. We'll meet at 9:00 AM at the Greeley Hill Market in Greeley Hill, seven miles east of Coulterville on Hwy 132. For more information, contact Barry/Judy at or call them at 209-878-3041.

Willis Linn Jepson Chapter
Spring Native Plant Sale
Saturday, May 10, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Perennials, shrubs, groundcovers, and trees for a drought tolerant, wildlife friendly, and attractive garden. Local experts will be on hand to answer your questions! Benicia Community Garden. Corner of Military and E. Second St., downtown Benicia. 1400 E. Second St., parking at Heritage Presbyterian Church. For more information call 707-747-5815 or visit the chapter website for a plant list of what will be available for sale.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter
Program Meeting: Basics of California Indian Healing
Tuesday, May 13, 7:30 - 9:30 PM

Jim Adams is a Professor in the USC School of Pharmacy, has taught Pharmacy, Medical and Graduate Students for over 26 years. He has a PhD degree in Pharmacology and was trained for 14 years in Chumash healing. He will present the basics of California Indian healing including the uses of several common California plants. White sage, sagebrush, mugwort, black sage, yerba santa and perhaps other plants will be discussed. You will be able to learn how to make medicines from these plants and how to use these medicines in your healthcare. Jim will discuss the pharmacology and safety issues of each plant. Books will also be available to teach you how to use California plant medicines. Sepulveda Garden Center 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino.

Bristlecone Chapter
DeDecker Garden Clean-up
Friday, May 16, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Join Richard Potashin and Nancy Hadlock in pruning back sagebrush and rabbitbrush, mulching, and hauling away garden debris. After work and lunch, we'll take a stroll up the trail to Independence campground looking for anything in bloom. Bring: water, lots of it, lunch, gardening hats, sunscreen, gloves, any hand pruning shears, loping shears or pruning saws you may have, and a notebook to record observations of the garden. DeDecker Garden located behind the Eastern Sierra Museum in Independence, 155 N. Grant Street, Independence, CA 93526. Contact: Richard Potashin, 760-263-5022

Sanhedrin and Milo Baker Chapters
Weekend trip: Galbreath Preserve, Yorkville
Saturday-Sunday, May 17-18

This trip will be a weekend camping trip to the Sonoma State University preserve west of Yorkville. We'll focus on adding to the Preserve's plant inventory, including rare and invasive plant populations we encounter. Some vegetation classification work may also be included in our activities. This outing will be a joint Sanhedrin-Milo Baker Chapter trip, and participation will likely be limited to about 20 people. For more information contact Wendy or Peter Warner at

Marin Chapter
Tiburon's Middle Ridge with Eva Buxton
Sunday, May 18, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Serpentine outcrops are found in three main locations on the Tiburon peninsula—on Ring Mountain and Old St. Hilary's, both Marin County preserves, and on the Middle Ridge, a Town of Tiburon open space parcel. Eva Buxton, who has led a habitat restoration effort partially funded by Marin CNPS for federally- and state-listed species on the Middle Ridge for several years, will lead a hike on this site to observe some of the rare species such as the Tiburon jewelflower and Marin dwarf flax, as well as other species that occur both on and off serpentine soils. Meet at the top of Gilmartin Drive with the preserve on your left. From Hwy 101, take Tiburon Blvd. east for 2.9 miles to Gilmartin Drive. Make a left and drive uphill for 0.5 mile and park along the curb. Dress in layers; bring sunhat and sunscreen, lunch, and water. Leader: Eva Buxton,, 415.435.2745

San Diego Chapter
Program Meeting: What is a Native Plant? When did it arrive?
Tuesday, May 20, Doors at 7:00 PM

Palynologists such as Dr. Norrie Robbins have a different view about native plants. Dr. Robbins studies the fossil spores and pollen grains of prehistoric plants in sedimentary rocks of different ages. These studies reveal that forests and plant species are ever-changing in response to climatic factors, diseases, tectonic changes, rising and falling sea levels, etc. Studies of more recent (historic) plant pollen and spores from cores drilled into soft sediments postulate on when “early people” may have arrived to our region, how they used and impacted native plant communities, and how these communities continued to change with the arrival of Europeans and other people. At this presentation, Dr. Robbins will examine questions exploring the relationship between native plants and “early people” such as: Did people arrive to California in boats 40,000 years ago planting seeds and plants from their homelands along the seashore which were important to their subsistence? Did the well-studied people who arrived in California 13,000 years ago plant seeds from their homelands to ensure important medicinal plants would be available to them? These questions are likely to spur lively discussions on what constitutes true “native plants” in our region.

Mount Lassen Chapter
Upper North Fork of the Feather River
Sunday, May 25, 9:00 AM

Meet at Chico Park & Ride west lot with lunch, water, sun/insect protection, proper footwear and money for ride-sharing. We'll drive 65 miles one way, mostly on Highway 70 to the Caribou Arm of the river, where we'll make roadside stops to see Shasta lilies, lady's slippers and other orchids and lilies where small streams cross the road. The road ends at PG&E's 1920's company town site and powerhouse. If trail conditions are satisfactory, we'll walk along the river to about 3200 feet, crossing two footbridges along the way. Children will not be allowed on the trail portion of the field trip. As an option, people can view the area's natural features along the paved road only. For more information, call Jerry at 530-893-5123.

Shasta Chapter
McCloud River Falls Trail
Saturday, May 31, 9:00 AM

David Ledger will lead this walk along the McCloud River Falls Trail with its three beautiful waterfalls. Pacific dogwood and Pacific yew are intermixed with other plants along the trail, including choke cherry, bitter brush, service berry, snowberry, pine violet, and bitter cherry. This is a 4-mile round trip hike with a 300-foot elevation gain-a fairly easy walk. A free plant list will be provided to participants. Bring plenty of water and lunch. No dogs, please. Meet at Redding City Hall south parking lot on Parkview Avenue at 9 AM. For more information, call David at 355-8542.

Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Greg Suba
  • Aaron Sims
  • Vern Goehring
  • Justen Whittall
  • Josie Crawford
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Martin Hutten - Fringed chocolate chip lichen (Solorina spongiosa) , California Rare Plant Rank 2B.2
  • Jennifer Buck - Abies concolor, Pinus lambertiana at Calavaras Big Trees State Park
  • Justen Whittall - Sowing Metcalf Canyon Jewelflowers into a wet carpet of Plantago erecta seedlings at Tulare Hill
  • Stacey Flowerdew - State Capitol Dome
  • Josie Crawford - Workshop participants



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