California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

April 2016

2016 Rare Plant Treasure Hunts Announced Soon

Steve SchoenigThe CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) season is off and running, trying to catch up to the early start to the flower season and ushering in a new statewide coordinator – Steve Schoenig. Many chapters and individuals have already been out; trying to either re-visit or discover new rare plant populations. With 1771 ranked plant taxa (not including list 4s) comprising a total 39,404 known localities keeping current data on population condition and threat status is a very daunting undertaking! The good news is that searching for rare plants is exciting, fun and rewarding! The local chapter and state-wide coordinated trips are often a combination of local rare-plant experts and less experienced native plant lovers who form a team to learn details about recognizing the targeted plants and then fanning out over the landscape finding things that one person alone would never have seen.

To join a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt keep an eye on your local chapter newsletter or visit the statewide CNPS webpage for RPTH news. Statewide and local trips will begin to be announced May 1st. If you want to be included on the statewide RPTH mailing list or create your own RPTH trip, email Steve at .

Desert RPTH Finds Rare Species

Spermolepis infernensisThe first statewide coordinated RPTH was conducted in Anza Borrego Desert State Park on March 31st looking for a newly described little carrot-family (Apiaceae) annual - Spermolepis infernensis.  This plant had only been collected four times and was never correctly recognized as a unique rare plant until 2012. Local experts Larry Hendrickson and Tom Chester prioritized the search areas and after a lot of searching a moderately thriving population was found on park property! Searches are continuing on similar habitat throughout the Borrego Valley. Hopefully all RPTHs will be similarly successful this year.

2015 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Awards Announced!

2015 RPTH 1st Place, Clyde Golden, Nemacladus secundiflorus var. secundiflorus, CNPS Rank 4.32015 was a busy year for the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt program. We would like to thank our former RPTH Coordinator, Danny Slakey, for making it happen and selecting these award recipients based on their data submitted and time spent in the field. Congratulations to our winners and more details are included below on their accomplishments.

Individual Awards

  • 1st Place, Eric Nielsen
  • 2nd Place, Jane Tirrell
  • 3rd Place, Toni Corelli

Chapter Awards

  • 1st Place, Santa Clara Valley Chapter
  • 2nd Place, Alta Peak Chapter

See all the awards here.

El Dorado Chapter's First RPTH of 2016

El Dorado RPTHCNPS Chapters and individuals often lead their own Rare Plant Treasure Hunts. In February, El Dorado Chapter members Annie Walker and Debra Ayres lead a group that hunted for a certain dry land sedge peculiar to gabbro and serpentine soils. This sedge, Carex xerophila, was recently (2014) described formally by Lawrence Janeway of the CSU Chico Herbarium and two other West Coast botanists. Associated with the sedge, they noted many of the other rare species of the Pine Hill rare plant complex: Ceanothus roderickii (in bud); Calystegia stebbinsii, Wyethia reticulata, Chlorogalum grandiflorum, Crocanthemum sp., and Packera layneae.

The RPTHers assembled at a small Preserve known as 50 at 50, and found the type locality of their target species after walking down a dirt frontage road at Highway 50. The whole group then surveyed down dirt road and found several more dense groupings of our sedge. Treasure hunters also made short forays into the thick chaparral to discover the sedge was not hiding in the shrubs and hunted along a fire line likely constructed during a 2007 fire on the property. The sedge seems to crave sunshine and human-caused disturbance on gabbro soils. It seemingly does not occur within mature chaparral, likely due to shading. Its absence on the burned site may be due to its absence there before the fire under the dense shrub canopy, or inability to survive fire (via deep rhizomes or buried seed).

At the end of the day, the RPTHers reported to the BLM Manager of the Pine Hill Preserves, Graciela Hinshaw, and her intern, Mia Dawson, about the problems observed with weed and vehicle disturbance on the property.  An observation report to the CalWeedMapper is pending.

Professional Botanist Certification Now Available

It's official! For the first time anywhere in the United States, botanists can earn a certification as a capable and responsible professional from a body of their peers. Certification will formally recognize those who have a high level of knowledge and experience in the field of botanical consulting in California. Certification is offered at two levels: one for the professional botanist who works primarily in the field conducting surveys of project sites (Field Botanist), and another for those who have demonstrated additional abilities to report on and analyze results of field surveys (Consulting Botanist). Certification will be awarded to those who successfully pass examinations and agree to abide by a professional code of ethics.

This project has been developed by CNPS in collaboration with numerous botanical groups and organizations in California, including the California Botanical Society, Northern California Botanists, Southern California Botanists, University of California, Berkeley Jepson Herbarium, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. For more information, click here.

BIG Day of Giving 2016

BIGDog 2016CNPS is excited to participate in this year's 2016 BIG Day of Giving on Tuesday, May, 3, 2016. For 24 hours, from midnight to midnight, online donations will be accepted through with a goal of $6 million for hundreds of nonprofits based in the Sacramento region.

Donations made to the California Native Plant Society through the BIG Day of Giving website on May 3 will be eligible for additional Incentive Pool funds and prizes. Imagine: a donation of only $25 could help CNPS win a $5000 prize! Also, donors to CNPS will be entered in an opportunity drawing to win copies of The Best Spring Ever, Wildflower posters, a gift CNPS membership, and a "Native Plants Live Here" garden sign!


Upcoming CNPS Plant Science Workshops

The CNPS Education Program is gearing up for another year of exciting plant science training workshops! Full details and registration will be posted at as it becomes available, or contact Becky Reilly at for more information.

Introduction to Plant Identification, Northern CA - Register
May 3-5, Dye Creek Preserve, Los Molinos
Taught by Josie Crawford, Botanist

Wetland & Riparian Plant Identification - 
May 18-20, Taft Gardens, Ojai
Taught by David Magney, Botanist/Certified Arborist

Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé
July 19-21, White Mountains
Taught by Julie Evens, Vegetation Program Director, CNPS; Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Vegetation Ecologist, CNPS

Vegetation Mapping
Summer 2016 (TBA), SF Bay Area
Taught by Julie Evens, Vegetation Program Director, CNPS; Todd Keeler-Wolf, Senior Vegetation Ecologist, VegCAMP Program, CDFW; John Menke, Senior Vegetation Mapping Specialist, AIS

Introduction to Plant Identification, Southern CA
Dates, exact location, and instructor TBA

Introduction to Plant Identification, SF Bay Area
Dates, exact location, and instructor TBA


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

Orange County Chapter
Field Trip: San Mateo Wilderness
Sunday, May 1, 8:00 AM

Strenuous hike led by Ron Vanderhoff. The San Mateo Canyon Wilderness is one of the greatest natural resources in our area. This trip will take you, by foot, into the heart of the wilderness, remote San Mateo Canyon. We will hike the Fisherman's Camp Trail (1.7 miles) to San Mateo Creek and then follow the trail through the canyon westward to at least the intersection of The Bluewater Trail (another 1.7 miles). The rocks, plants and wildlife here are spectacular and still very wild. Full day. Meet 8 AM at the parking lot at Bravo Burgers, 31722 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano (just off Hwy 74 near Int.5).

Bristlecone Chapter
Field Trip: Union Wash
Saturday, May 7, 8:00 AM

This will be part driving tour and part hiking tour of this rarely botanized southern Owens Valley alluvial fan. The bottom of the fan is down in the Owens Valley's Great Basin flora, and as we ascend up the alluvial fan, we will enter into Mojave flora. There are also a few spring ecosystems with perennial water. With the long awaited El Nino moisture finally here, we can expect annuals alongside the persistent drought adapted perennial shrub flora. This will be a full day of exploring, so you will need to bring lunch, snacks, fluids and dress to be outside all day. Also have hand lens, field guides, and binoculars. We will meet at Independence Park, on the south end of Independence, on US 395 (Edwards St) at 8:00 am, and we should be done by late afternoon. Contact info: Jerry Zatorski .

Willis Jepson Chapter
Plant Sale: Spring Native Plant Sale
Saturday, May 7, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

A large variety of native plants will be available for purchase and experts will be on site to answer your questions. Benicia Community Garden: 1400 East Second St, Benicia, CA. For more information call 707-365-1854.

Monterey Bay Chapter
French Broom Weed Bash: Point Lobos State Reserve
Saturday, May 7, 1:00 PM

We'll use several techniques to remove French broom and help restore this area that wants to thrive with native plants. Meet at 1pm in Carmel at the Rio Rd. Park n' Ride (across from the Chevron Gas Station). All supplies provided. Bring a friend, water, and a snack. Contact Bruce Delgado or 831.277.7690 for more info.

Redbud Chapter
Mother's Day Wildflower Walk: South Yuba Trail Near Washington
Sunday, May 8, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

This trail follows a beautiful stretch of the South Yuba River. We will walk about three miles in and three miles out, enjoying the river and wildflowers as we go! We will stop for lunch beside a small stream. The water will probably be too high, cold, and swift for swimming or wading, but we should see LOTS of wildflowers! Bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Leader: Roger McGehee. For carpooling, meet at the Full Circle Demonstration Garden at the Nevada County Government Center (Rood Center) on Maidu Ave, just off of Highway 49 in Nevada City at 9AM.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter
Evening Program: Rare Dudleyas of the Santa Monica Mts
Tuesday, May 10, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Presented by Luis Aguilar, National Park Service, Dudleya is a large genus consisting of many species that are native to California. Verity's dudleya (Dudleya vertyii) is a threatened species endemic to Ventura Country occurring only in the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over 90 percent of the remaining individuals were lost from the 2013 Camarillo springs Fire and the drought has impeded the recovery. Habitat restoration efforts are being carried o ut as part of a conservation effort for the federally listed species. The presentation will share with you the status of Verity's dudleya and the efforts to restore this rare species. Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd, Encino, CA.

East Bay Chapter
Restoration: Huckleberry Park in the Oakland Hills
Saturday, May 14, 9:30 AM

Please note that you may be exposed to poison oak during this event so if you are sensitive to it you may wish to consider another event. We meet year-round at 9:30 am on the 2nd Saturday of the month to remove invasive plants by hand from Huckleberry Park, one of the very few botanic preserves in the East Bay Regional Park system. Several plant communities thrive in Huckleberry Park, including live oak-bay woodland and maritime chaparral, which has several species and unusual plants now threatened by development. Meet at Huckleberry Parking Lot: 6934 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA.

Napa Valley Chapter
Field Trip: Bothe Napa Valley State Park
Saturday, May 14, 9:00 AM

Leaders: Linda Price and Mike Parmeter. Carpool leaves from the parking lot between Target and Pharmaca in BelAire Plaza off Trancas Street in Napa near Highway 29, at 9:00 AM. Bring snacks, lunch, ample drinking water, and sturdy hiking shoes. Steady rain cancels.

Kern Chapter
Field Trip: Higher Elevation Portions of Tejon Ranch
Saturday, May 21

Mike White, Tejon Conservancy's Conservation Science Director, will be leading us on a field trip to the higher elevations of Tejon Ranch. Plan on this being a full day trip. The meeting place and time will be determined later. Those who RSVP will be given the meeting place and directions and time we will meet. Pets and smoking are not allowed on the Tejon Ranch. You may want to bring the Tejon Ranch Plant List available on our chapter web site:, as well as any other references that are appropriate. If you have a four-wheel drive or AWD, please plan to drive it. We have to inform the Conservancy of the numbers that will be attending and they will limit the field trip to 30 participants. Contact: Patty Gradek. RSVP Deadline: 8pm, Tuesday, May 17th.

Sierra Foothills Chapter
Field Trip: Evergreen Road. 3 Years After the Rim Fire
Saturday, May 21, 9:30 AM

Hiking level: easy. We last visited this area in 2012, a little more than one year before the 2013 Rim Fire. Highlights will include the uncommon phantom orchids (Cephalanthera austiniae) and the rare mountain ladyslipper orchids (Cypripedium montanum), slender-stemmed monkeyflower (Mimulus filicaulis) and the aquatic lichen, Goward's waterfan (Peltigera gowardii). We'll check out the progress of post-fire restoration efforts in the area. Meet at 9:30a.m. at the library parking lot in Groveland (next to Mary Lavaroni Park on Main Street, Highway 120). Leader: Jennie Haas 209-962-4759.

El Dorado Chapter
Field Trip: Kanaka Valley, Pine Hill Preserve
Tuesday, May 24, 7:00 PM

Join us for a virtual tour of wildflower adventures close to home. Chapter member Sue Britting will take us from the foothills to the crest of the Sierra Nevada while highlighting unique plant communities and spectacular landscapes in El Dorado County. This will be a slide tour of hikes that you can take throughout the year. This program will be held on Tuesday, May 24, at 7 PM at the Planning Commission Room, Building C, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville.

San Gabriel Mountains Chapter
Program: The effects of historic drought in CA on chaparral
Thursday, May 26, 7:30 PM

Presented by Dr. Stephen Davis. Dr. Davis writes of this talk: “Over the last three years, California has experienced the worst drought in recorded history. We hypothesized that drought-hardy chaparral shrubs would display differential levels of drought–induced mortality, depending on their species. Our results supported this hypothesis, indicating the possibility of drought-induced changes in plant community structure." Dr. Stephen Davis is Distinguished Professor of Biology at Pepperdine University. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, UCLA, University of Utah, and Baylor University. Eaton Canyon Nature Center 1750 N. Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107.

Yerba Buena Chapter
Nature Walk: Montara Mountain Manzanitas in Spring
Sunday, May 29, 11:00 AM - 3:30 PM

This trip is the second in the manzanitas-through-the-seasons series planned for 2016, allowing participants to observe plants in a single location as they go through their annual cycle of growth and reproduction. Mike Vasey is a coauthor of the excellent new Field Guide to Manzanitas. He will give tips on how to identify manzanitas and discuss what makes this a quintessential California genus. Montara's manzanitas already flowered in December-January, and by late spring we expect to see fruit and immature inflorescences. Meet at San Pedro Valley County Park near the visitor center, at the end of Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica. Seriously wet weather will postpone this trip to June 5. Contact: Gail Wechsler.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Steve Schoenig
  • Mona Robison
  • Chris Brown
  • David Magney
  • Robin Barron
  • Debra Ayres
  • Becky Reilly
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Photo courtesy Steve Schoenig
  • Spermolepis infernensis  - Steve Schoenig
  • 1st Place 2015 RPTH Photo Contest, Nemacladus secundiflorus var. secundiflorus - Clyde Golden
  • El Dorado Chapter RPTHers - Robin Barron



Copyright © 1999-2019 California Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Contact Us | Privacy