California Native Plant Society

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

2010 Volunteer and Partner Recognition


Duncan taking a photo of Eriastrum harwoodii (Photo by Amber Swanson)

(Photo by Lara Hartley)


Grand Prize – Duncan Bell, Treasure Hunter Extraordinaire
Most occurrences updated by an individual!

Duncan searched the Arica Mountains in Southern California and discovered and documented rare plants there such as Eriastrum harwoodii, the rare Woollystar.




Second Place- Clyde Golden, Intrepid Treasure Hunter
2nd most occurrences updated by an individual!

Clyde, a member of the Kern County Chapter, searched Inyo, Kern, Mono, San Bernardino and Tulare Counties discovering and documenting rare plants, including the rare Calico monkeyflower, Mimulus pictus, list 1B.2.




Third Place – Natalia and Bill Blackburn, Terrific Treasure Hunters
3rd most occurrences updated by an individual(s)!

The Blackburns surveyed in the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests and found populations of Viola tomentosa, Felt leaved violet, list 4.2 and Erigeron miser, Starved daisy, list 1B.3.

L-R Viola tomentosa; Bill Blackburn (Photos by LS Couper - DVM)


Grand Chapter Prize- San Gabriel Mountains Chapter
Chapter with the most hours and occurrences updated!

Dedicated members from this chapter surveyed the Lily Springs Area in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California from May to November and made many interesting rare plant discoveries! Among these discoveries were several sightings of a rare plant that had never been documented in Los Angeles County, Viola pinetorum ssp. grisea, gray-leaved violet, CNPS list 1B.3. See

L-R: Phacelia mohavensis, list 4.3; Viola pinetorum ssp. grisea. (Photos by Jane Tirrell)


Second Place Chapter Prize-San Diego Chapter
Chapter with the 2nd most occurrences updated and volunteer hours!

San Diego chapter’s Rare Plant Treasure Hunt had a single target, the state endangered, federally threatened San Diego thornmint (Acanthomintha ilicifolia), list 1B.1. In conjunction with local conservation groups and the USFWS, they surveyed known, publically accessible populations of the thornmint. The last systematic count of this species was performed by paid consultants in the early 1990s. It covered a fraction of the sites visited by their volunteers, who collectively spent over 300 hours on the survey. They had nine groups who surveyed 15 sites and found over 52,000 thornmints.

L-R: Training session for volunteers (Photo by Frank Landis); San Diego thornmint (Photo by Margaret Fillius).



Best Photo - Lara Hartley, CNPS member Kern County Chapter
Lara’s photo of the rare Desert poppy, Arctomecon merriamii, list 2.2 is stunning. This plant is found in the Eastern Mojave, but Lara takes photos of rare plants all over the California deserts.


2nd Place Photo - Ben Smith
Ben beautifully captured the unique characteristics of Weed’s rare mariposa lily, Calochortus weedii var. intermedius, list 1B.2. This plant is found in Southern California.


3rd Place Photo - Don Davis
Don’s photo of the rare Alkali mariposa lily, Calochortus striatus, list 1B.2, is striking. This plant is found in Southern California.


Clyde Golden, Most prompt form submitter-Thank you for getting your forms in so quickly!

Millie Nielson, 4 years old, of Nevada - Youngest Treasure Hunter

Surveying for rare cactus in the Eastern Mojave Desert (Photo by Amber Swanson)



George Butterworth, Department of Fish and Game-most occurrences updated!
George surveyed extensively on the Chimineas Unit of Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve. Chimineas is 30,000 acres of Department of Fish and Game land in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. He found 16 separate rare species, including five populations of the very rare, Pale yellow tidytips, Layia heterotricha, list 1B.1. And for next year? George says, “there are still a hundred beautiful canyons and ridges out there, unexplored.”

L-R: Layia heterotricha with Madia radiata; Calochortus simulans, San Luis Obispo Mariposa Lily. (Photos by George Butterworth)

Karen Cotter and volunteers, Santa Clara County Parks-2nd most occurrences updated!
This spring, volunteers did a two day treasure hunt at Santa Teresa County Park, which has about 1,700 acres of open space area in the hills of western Santa Clara Valley. There serpentine is one of the dominant substrates supporting many rare and unusual wildflowers. Treasure hunters found 7 different species of rare plants, including the endangered Santa Clara Valley dudleya, Dudleya setchellii and Most beautiful jewelflower, Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus, list 1B.2 (from L-R below).

(Photos by Dennis H. Smith)

Michael Chasse and volunteers at the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, National Park Service hosted “Rare Plant Thursdays in Your Local National Park.” This year's locations included Mori Point, Sweeney Ridge, Land's End, the Presidio, Marin Headlands, Tennessee Valley, and Nicasio Ridge. Half day and full day hunts were held most Thursdays from March to August. One of their early finds was the Marin Checker lily pictured below.

Marin Checker Lily, Fritillaria lanceolata var. tristulis, list 1B.1 (Photo by Ben Stever)

Tanya Chapple and interns from the Mid Klamath Watershed Council worked this summer surveying for invasive weeds and rare plants within the Marble Mountains and Siskiyou Wildernesses. Among other things, they found the very beautiful and unique Gentiana plurisetosa, Klamath Gentian, list 1B.3, pictured below.

(Photo by Lucius Robbi)

Tarja Sagar and interns, Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area, National Park Service welcomed the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt as an avenue to train botany and natural resource interns in rare plant surveys. They targeted five species: Astragalus brauntonii, Calochortus plummerae, Deinandra minthornii, Eriogonum crocatum and Nolina cismontana. The interns conducted surveys of 21 populations, several of which had been noted during post-fire monitoring but had not been carefully assessed.

L-R: Nolina cismontana, list 1B.2, in its habitat, Calochortus plummerae, list 1B.2 (Photos © Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area


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