California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

July 2015

CNPS Seed Banking Workshop Held in Berkeley

Rare Plant Seed Rescue
Streptanthus seeds collected during the workshop at Regional Parks Botanic Garden

The CNPS Rare Plant Program organized a Conservation Seed Banking Workshop on July 10th at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley. The workshop was led by Evan Meyer of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) and assisted by Bart O'Brien of Regional Parks Botanic Garden and Holly Forbes of the University of California Botanical Garden. The purpose of the workshop was to train chapter members and other volunteers on the basics of rare plant seed collection. Once the rare plant seeds are collected they will be "banked" at RSABG and elsewhere, as part of the California Rare Plant Seed Rescue Project, in order to preserve the genetic material for research. Thirty four participants attended, including members of the Yerba Buena, Milo Baker, Santa Clara Valley, and East Bay chapters. Chapter members will be helping with scouting for seed collection, attending trips led by CNPS staff and cleaning the collected seeds for deposit in the seed bank. If your CNPS chapter is interested in participating please contact Mona Robison () at the CNPS state office.

Streptanthus seeds collected during the workshop at Regional Parks Botanic Garden

Streptanthus seeds collected during the workshop at Regional Parks Botanic Garden


New Statewide "Ditch Your Lawn!" Workshops are Happening Now

A "lawn" of Collinsia heterophylla at a home in Nevada CountyLawns are dry, watering restrictions are in effect, and all over California, people are asking what they can do to help our state survive the drought. To provide the public with an answer, CNPS is partnering with organizations around California to launch an all-new statewide “Ditch your Lawn!” workshops program, which aims to teach homeowners how to replace their thirsty lawns with water-saving native plants. California natives can use up to 75% less water than traditional lawns, create welcome habitat for local birds and butterflies, and provide a beautiful landscape for homeowners to enjoy year-round. In the workshops, participants who might not have any prior experience with California natives will learn step-by-step how to kill their traditional turf lawns, plan their native gardens, and install and maintain their new native plants. Classes are being held in Sacramento, Redding, Chico, Modesto, and Encino this summer and fall, and CNPS hopes to continue this program into the future and add more class locations as we continue working towards a healthier and happier California. Visit to find a “Ditch Your Lawn!” workshop near you, or contact Becky Reilly () for more information.



Snow Mountain Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Report - July 2015

Just a few days after President Obama declared a large portion of the North Coast ranges to be designated as Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, a small group of CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) volunteers hiked the remote Snow Mountain in search of some of California’s rarest plants. CNPS, the CNPS Sanhedrin Chapter, and the Mendocino NF botanist had been planning the trip for over a month, so the perfect timing was really just a matter of chance. Our goal was relocate Boechera ultraalsa, which is only known from one confirmed location on Snow Mountain, and was last collected by Larry Heckard and Jim Hickman in August of 1981. Although we didn’t find this rare mustard, our group had a great time searching for it. After about a three mile hike, seven RPTHers split up to scour the slopes of Bear Creek in search of the Boechera. With a full hour of searching, the only thing we found was a related plant Boechera breweri. Although we didn’t find our rare plant target this time, we hope to plan a return visit next year to search out a few other possible locations for Boechera ultraalsa.

We did manage to find a number of other rare plants, all of them showier than the tiny rare mustard. The upper reaches of Bear Creek treated us to a stunning display of Sidalcea oregano subsp. hydrophila in full flower, and serpentine outcrops along the way harbored impressive populations of the strange-looking Asclepias solanoana in fruit. We spent a good deal of time each day keying out plants, from rare herbs to common grasses. The group made many herbarium voucher specimens along the way, so that we could confidently report the IDs of these plants and make the specimens available for future research efforts. Special thanks to the grant DEB-1354552 from the National Science Foundation via the UC and Jepson Herbaria, which partially funded this trip. To be notified of upcoming RPTH trips and trainings, send a message to .

Rare Plant Treasure Hunters in a botanical keying circle. Photo by Sylvia Wright.
Botanical keying circle

Snow Mountain, as seen from the Summit Springs Trail

RPTHers keying out Streptanthus breweri plants

The group strategizing before a long day of hiking and botanizing

Asclepias solanoana
specimen taken for vouchering in an herbarium

All photos by Sylvia Wright ()


New CNPS Rare Plant Program Manager

Mona Robison, CNPS's new Rare Plant Program Manager, has now been working with Aaron Sims, Rare Plant Botanist, and Danny Slakey, Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Coordinator, in the Rare Plant Program (RPP) for almost three months and is learning about all the diverse projects the Program is involved in. Danny continues to lead exceptional Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) field trips and Aaron works on status updates for the California Rare Plant Ranks. In addition to the RPTH, the Program has many exciting new special projects, part of implementing the new RPP strategic plan. Some of the new areas of emphasis include rare plant seed and specimen collection in support of research on California native plants. Program staff are looking for chapters interested in seed collection and will be offering additional trainings and workshops to support this effort. Mona, Aaron, and Danny are also available to give chapter talks or meet with interested volunteers. Mona will be contacting CNPS chapter rare plant chairs over the next few months and planning some trips in order to learn more about what is going on locally and how the state RPP can support your efforts at the local level.


New CNPS Chapter - the Bryophyte Chapter!

CNPS Bryophyte ChapterThe first "virtual" CNPS chapter, the Bryophyte Chapter, was just formed at the last CNPS Chapter Council meeting, May 30, in Quincy. If you are interested in joining, please be sure to add the Bryophyte Chapter as your first or second chapter selection by updating your individual online CNPS membership profile here or by contacting the CNPS State Office (). The chapter is currently calling for Board of Director nominations for the chapter with an election soon to follow. The Chapter's inaugural newsletter, Bryolog, will be launched at the end of August. Articles that are planned include announcing up-coming events, reporting on how the Chapter is getting up and running, and some timeless bits on the life of bryophytes. For a sneak peak of what's in store for the chapter, see San Gabriel Mountain's field trip listed in Chapter Events below in this newsletter.


Upcoming CNPS Plant Science Workshops

We are working on finalizing details for our 2015 Plant Science Workshops, and have an exciting schedule in the works! More details, pricing, and registration information will be posted very soon on the workshops webpage. Please contact Becky Reilly (), CNPS Events Coordinator, for more information.

Vegetation Mapping
UC Berkeley GIF Lab
Aug 3-5

CEQA Impact Assessment
Ventura Area
Nov 4-5


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.

Bristlecone Chapter
Second Mammoth Area Native Plant Sale of the Summer
Saturday, August 1, 9:00 - 11:00 AM

The second native plant sale of the summer has been scheduled for Saturday, August 1 from 9-11 AM. All of the plants have been grown from seed collected locally. If you have specific questions about growing conditions or care, it is best to email in advance because it is sometimes difficult to talk the day of the sale. Mammoth holds 2-3 smaller sales of plants that will grow well in the Mammoth area each summer. Contact Mammoth Plant Sale Coordinator, Sherry Taylor () and ask to be put on her mailing list for future updates. Please bring a box to transport your new plants and any recycled one quart tall square plastic pots you would like to return to the plant sale coordinator. 107 Sugar Pine Drive, Mammoth, CA. See the sales flyer for more information.

Dorothy King Young Chapter
Discover the Coast @ Point Arena
Saturday, August 1, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

This is a self guided hike through 3.5 miles of coastal trail between City Hall and Lighthouse Road with "Explore at Your Own Pace" stations staffed by docents. Julia Larke will be at the CNPS native plant station near the the Lighthouse. Jon Thompson will be at a plant identification station located at the headlands near City Hall. City Hall will host information booths, food vendors and an art fair. Mendocino College Coastal Field Station will have an open house between 10-2. From 10-4 the lighthouse will offer free Tower tours.

Shasta Chapter
Field Trip: King Creek Falls to Corral Meadows
Saturday, August 1, 8:30 AM

This is a 7 mile, one way hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park. We will do a car shuttle to start and finish the hike. We will start out at the cool 7300' elevation at Kings Creek Falls Trail and hike down to the falls and then onto Corral Meadows for lunch at 6000'. From here we will hike back uphill 650 feet to Summit Lake at 6685', so most of the hike will be downhill. The Corral Meadows Trail is one of the lesser used trails in the park, so we should have the trail to ourselves. This field trip will cover moist riparian streams, wet meadows, red fir forests, and open rocky areas. The trail does have some uneven places; people with poor balance or endurance should not go on this trail. Meet at the Mt. Shasta Mall near Chase Bank at 8:30 AM. Bring water, insect repellent, lunch, and gas money. No dogs, please (they're not allowed on trails in the national park). For more information, call David Ledger at (530) 355-8542.

Mount Lassen Chapter
Field Trip: Saucer and Green Island Lakes
Sunday, August 2, 8:30 AM

Meet at Chico Park & Ride west lot (Hwys 32/99). Leaders: Gerry Ingco 530-893-5123 and Wes Dempsey 530-342-2293. Wear sturdy shoes, bring lunch, water, sun/insect protection, and money for ride sharing. We'll drive northeast 27 miles on Hwy 32, then 12 miles north on paved county road to Butte Meadows, then 9 miles on unpaved graded roads to Sunflower Flat trailhead. See California asters as we hike 1.5 miles down to Soda Creek, then up 400 ft to Green Island Lake at about 6200 ft. elevation. The 5 acre lake has a floating mat of vegetation rimmed with huckleberry, buckbean, and potentilla. The delightful spring feeding the lake has a display of yellow monkey flowers. California fuchsia is in flower along the trail to Saucer Lake. On the way back we stop at tiny Frog Lake and step out on its tiny floating island. We've seen Pileated Woodpeckers on this delightful hike. Round trip is 4 mi, difficulty is moderate due to uphill climbs and high elevation. Call for alternate meeting place.

Yerba Buena Chapter
Program Meeting: Regional Parks Botanic Garden
Thursday, August 6, 7:30 PM

The Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley Hills is celebrating its 75th Anniversary (1940-2015). The most remarkable array of California native plants in cultivation are grown here. Bart O'Brien will be discussing several projects, which include three large new rock gardens created by Phil Johnson and the new serpentine bog. Bart will also discuss some of the garden's noteworthy collections and new plants including a number of unusual "California" plants from south of the border. Bart O' Brien is the Botanic Garden Manager of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Prior to this position, he held a variety of senior staff positions at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA, and was the editor of CNPS's journal, Fremontia. Location: Recreation Room, San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park.

San Gabriel Mountains
Field Trip: Mountain Mosses
Saturday, August 8, 8:00 AM

Paul Wilson of the newly formed Bryophyte Chapter will lead a walk emphasizing mosses and liverworts. The location will be determined close to the day, and will possibly be near Buckhorn. Meet just north of the La Cañada Flintridge exit off the 210 freeway on Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2) at 8:00 a.m. Paul Wilson is a Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. Telephone: 818-677-2937. Email with questions or to RSVP. . This is a full-day trip. Bring sun protection, water, and lunch.

Marin Chapter
Habitat Restoration: SP Taylor Park
Sunday, August 9, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Join the Zen of Weeding Volunteers just before 1pm at the far end of the picnic area. This is easy companionable work, and spending time under the redwoods restores our spirits as well as the habitat. Bring gloves, and get a free parking pass when you volunteer. Contact Nancy () if you want to attend, need more park info, or want notification of other work parties at the park. Camp Taylor, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Lagunitas, CA 94938, 415-488-9897.

North Coast Chapter
Field Trip: Pine Ridge Prairies Day Hike
Sunday, August 9, 8:30 AM

"Prairies" and the oak woodlands mixed with them are two of our shrinking habitats, as lack of fires and reduced grazing allow conifers to grow, shading out a diverse mix of grasses and herbs, as well as the oaks. Many of our favorite sun-loving wildflowers thrive in these open habitats. A few may still be blooming when we explore the prairies of Pine Ridge, making use of new trails created by the Bureau of Land Management, Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association, and the Humboldt Trails Council on this ridge in the BLM's Lacks Creek Management Area (north off Bair Rd., between Redwood Creek and Hoopa). We will hike about 4 miles. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata). Dress for being in mountain weather all day. At elevation 3,600 ft. it can be hotter or colder than on the coast. Bring lunch and water. Return late afternoon. Let Carol know you're coming 822-2015.

Channel Islands Chapter
Program Meeting: Botanist Certification Program
Wednesday, August 19, 7:15 - 9:00 PM

Speaker: David Magney. Learn about the new program to certify botanists in California. David is chairman of the CNPS Botanist Certification Program Committee, which is finalizing the program through CNPS to determine who can call themselves a Certified Botanist in California. The Committee has decided to have two levels of certification, one for field botanists, and one for consulting botanists. The Certified Consulting Botanist will need to know everything the Certified Field Botanist must know. Come and learn about this new program and the purpose and goals. Bring your unknown native plants to ID before the talk. Topping Room, E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA.

Milo Baker Chapter
Tour of Pat Sesser's Home Garden
Saturday, August 22, 10:00 AM - Noon

Take a stroll with Pat through her mostly native habitat garden. It is a Certified Wildlife Habitat Garden (National Wildlife Federation). The garden has changed a lot in the past 36 years. For quite some time it was a traditional garden, but has transitioned from non-natives to mostly natives in the past 10 years. It continues to be a work in progress. California fuchsia, Zauschneria or Epilobium canum should be blooming profusely along with other perennials and possibly some annuals hanging on. Late summer is a beautiful time to enjoy our natives. Bring a bag lunch and your questions. Directions or questions call Pat at 707-528-9197. Bring bag lunch and eat in the garden after the tour. Contact: Betty Young ().

San Diego Chapter
Field Trip: Late Summer Blooms Along the PCT
Sunday, August 23, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Summer “monsoonal” rainstorms in the mountains of San Diego County bring up an array of beautiful plants that flower in August and September. We will go for a three hour walk along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to see those plants. The PCT skirts the east side of the town of Mt Laguna including the eastern edge of the USFS Burnt Rancheria Campground. Higher rainfall on the ridge supports a mixed conifer forest, while drier conditions on the east side of the mountain ridge support a rich and varied chaparral with junipers. A highlight on the trail on our last field trip was bouquet-sized clusters of magenta blossoms of Mirabilis multiiflora. Potentilla gracilis v. fastigiata, the slender cinquefoil, was also a beauty, with butter-yellow flowers glowing below the pines. The walk will ramble up and down, gaining and losing at the most a few hundred feet elevation along the southerly leg of the segment. The trail is well maintained but has some rock stairways so wear good hiking shoes with ankle support. Long pants are recommended or gaiters if you want to go off trail into snake territory. We may have time to explore the hill on the south side of the campground where plants not seen along the trail were observed at the field trip three years ago. Meet at 10 AM in the USFS free parking lot off the Sunrise Highway opposite the Mount Laguna Fire Station. The fire station is about ¼ mile south of the small town of Mount Laguna. We will cross the highway and walk north 1/8 mile to Burnt Rancheria, then walk through it to the PCT. If you want to ride-share from central San Diego, meet at 8:30 in the parking lot behind the Denny’s on Friar’s road just east of HWY 163 or at 8:50 at the Fuerte-Severin park-n-ride on the south side of I-8 east of Grossmont. Bring a lunch and water. No dogs, please. Before leaving home, please check the National Weather Service zone weather report. If it is raining on the mountains, the trip is postponed to Sunday August 30. Questions? Email up to 5 PM the day before.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Mona Robison
  • Danny Slakey
  • Becky Reilly
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • A "lawn" of Collinsia heterophylla at a home in Nevada County - Stacey Flowerdew
  • RPTHers keying out a Streptanthus breweri plants - Sylvia Wright
  • Mona Robison - ...
  •  Bryophyte Chapter Announced at CNPS May Chapter Council - Nancy Morin



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