Monday, November 29, 2010

Chapter Winner

Phacelia mohavensis, Mojave phacelia, CNPS list 4.3 (Photo by Jane Tirrell)

The San Gabriel Mountain CNPS Chapter in Southern California took our grand prize. Volunteers in this chapter contributed over 400 hours of their time and submitted 52 survey forms! This included 26 separate rare plant species. Wow! So we would like to take this moment and recognize their efforts and tell you about their project. Why don't you join them next year?

Carpet of Phacelia mohavensis. (Photo by Jane Tirrell)

Jane Strong, Field Trips Chair, writes:

This year, our chapter began a new project called the Lily Spring Area Survey. The purpose of the survey was to check on the phenology of about 100 plant species documented in Wayne Sawyer’s paper published in Crossosoma, February 1987 13(1):5-10, entitled “A List of High Elevation Angiosperms and Their Phenology in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, California”. This project dovetailed perfectly with the objectives of the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt.

The survey area is between 7,000 and 8,400 feet elevation, bordered on the south by the Pacific Crest Trail, and on the north by Highway 2, Angeles Crest Highway, and includes two moist areas, Little Jimmy and Lily Springs, a wind-swept, rocky ridge and many north-facing, forested slopes. The site was visited at least once a week by one or more of the team members from May when the road was still closed and icy continuing through November until the road is once again closed for winter conditions.

Lilium parryi, Lemon lily, list 1B.2 (Photo by Jane Tirrell)

The project manager is Graham Bothwell who also did the website at Jane Tirrell and Walter Fidler did over 95% of the field work and reporting; Shirley Imsand and Laura Scott Sellers participated one or two days. Tom Chester helped with identification. Jane Strong did a workshop, some field work, identification, and the paperwork necessary for the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt.

Highlights are the discovery of several populations of Viola pinetorum ssp. grisea, gray-leaved violet, CNPS list 1B, the first Los Angeles County collection, and a significant range extension for Mimulus breweri, Brewer's monkeyflower, not previously vouchered in Los Angeles County. There were vast carpets of Phacelia mohavensis, Mojave phacelia, CNPS list 4.3 and Acanthoscyphus (Oxytheca) parishii var. parishii, Parish's oxytheca, CNPS list 4.2.
Viola pinetorum ssp. grisea, gray-leaved violet, CNPS list 1B (Photos by Jane Tirrell)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prize Winners

Treasure Hunters at Chimineas Ranch, San Luis Obispo County
Here's the short list of the prize winners for the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt. These dedicated volunteers and partner organizations went out searching for rare plants and documented important information on survey forms about their populations. This data included namely location and habitat descriptions along with gps coordinates (usually), a site quality and viability assessment, blooming and fruiting information and population estimates. This isn't as difficult to gather as it sounds, keen observations skills and some good reference materials is all you really need.

Throughout the next few weeks I will be highlighting the project these groups and individuals have done. Stay tuned for that series. But now, without further ado, the winners are...
Individual Winners:
Grand Prize – Duncan Bell, Treasure Hunter Extraordinaire
Most occurrences updated by an individual!

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

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

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

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

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS with the most occurrences:

George Butterworth, Department of Fish and Game-most occurrences updated!

Karen Cotter and volunteers, Santa Clara County Parks-2nd most occurrences updated!

Tanya Chapple and interns from the Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Tarja Sagar and interns, Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area, National Park Service
Michael Chasse and volunteers at the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, National Park Service
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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Photo Contest Winners!

The decision has been made and the best photo submitted to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is....

this photo of the elegant White bear poppy, Arctomecon merriamii, list 2.2 by Lara Hartley, Kern County Chapter! This plant is found in the Eastern Mojave desert. Lara submitted a survey form for this and other rare plants in the desert. Thank you Lara!

Our 2nd place winner is Ben Smith who captured this beautiful rare Mariposa Lily, Calochortus weedii var. intermedius, list 1B.2, in Orange county. He submitted survey forms on not only this plant but on the rare Peninsular beargrass, Nolina cismontana, list 1B.2. Thank you Ben!
Our 3rd place winner is Don Davis, who took this photo of the striking Alkali Mariposa Lily, Calochortus striatus, list 1B.2 near Lancaster, CA. Don is getting us coordinates for this rare plant population as well. Thank you Don!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Photos

The Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County was remarkably beautiful this year and one of our volunteers spent a lot of time documenting rare plants in the region. Check out some of his photos.

Layia heterotricha, Pale Yellow Tidytips, list 1B.1

Hills covered with Madia radiata, Layia heterotricha and Monolopia lanceolata

A field of Madia radiata, Golden madia, list 1B.1 with Guillenia lemmonii, Lemmon's mustard

All photos by George Butterworth

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Photo Contributions

We had many people all over California finding rare plants this year. Over the next few weeks I'll share their photos. Enjoy!
Calochortus weedii var. intermedius, Weed's Mariposa Lily, List 1B.2

Nolina cismontana, Peninsular Bear Grass, list 1B.2

(Photos by Ben Smith)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Field Trip

For this field trip we surveyed for Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada, Shortjoint beavertail cactus, and we found it. The areas had suffered from a burn a couple of years before, but the cacti were making a comeback. We also had a lot of fun scrambling up formations at Mormon Rocks. I also headed up to Ridgecrest the next week to give a presentation to the local CNPS chapter. It's an interesting drive. The presidents of the chapter has a beautiful native plant/xeric garden near the foothills of the Sierras. Oh how I love the desert!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Desert in Fall

This was my first time to the Mojave desert in the fall and it was more beautiful than I even expected. There weren't many things blooming, but the mountains and the structure of the trees and shrubs and the silhouettes of the Joshua Trees were wonderful to behold. We had a field trip out to Joshua Tree National Park and found this rare little beauty-Coryphantha alversonii, Foxtail cactus.
Some things were blooming with a vengeance, see California fuschia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium below.
He's another one of our finds. This is the desert after all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rare Beauty

A couple of weeks ago I returned from a CNPS meeting held on the Northern California coast in Fort Bragg. While there we received a tour of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, This garden occupies woods and coastline in Fort Bragg and is such a beautiful place. Near the coastline they recently cleared an area of invasive non-natives (mostly Ice plant) and let native plants repopulate the area. One of these plants to recolonize was the beautiful and rare Castilleja mendocinensis, Mendocino Coast Indian Paintbrush (list 1B.2).Here is our tour guide and the garden's Natural Areas coordinator, Mario, telling us a little more about the area and what they did. Good conservation work, Mario!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A group of intrepid treasure hunters went out this month to the El Dorado National Forest and sent back pictures of their rare find. This is Viola tomentosa, the Woolly violet. Good job and thanks for sharing!
Photos by LS Couper - DVM

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Call for Photos

Eriogonum lobbii, Lobb's buckwheat

Hello Treasure Hunters- We want your photos!

If you've been on a Treasure Hunt and want to share your photos with us you could win a prize. We are offering a prize to the best photo from a Treasure Hunt. Photos will be featured on this blog and on our CNPS website to get people excited about the project.

Please email them to Amber at
Thank you and good luck!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's On

The fall Treasure Hunt location is now confirmed!
We will be going to Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday, October 9th, 2010 from 9:30 am – 5 pm. Meet at the Oasis Visitor’s Center Parking Lot, 74485 National Park Drive Twentynine Palms, CA. Please RSVP to
It should be a great trip and free camping may also be available in the park for interested volunteers! Please join us.

Make it Fun!

Not only is a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt a great way do some good, it's also fun! You can make any hike a treasure hunt and keep you're eyes out for rare plants. Just tell us where you'll be and we can get you set up to find them. One treasure hunter brought along her gnome to document his trip to see rare plants.

Traveling Gnome with Starved Daisy

Monday, August 23, 2010


In an effort to get all our data together in a timely manner we are putting a deadline on turning in survey forms. Please get all your forms into or by November 1st. Please email if you have any questions. Thanks!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Save the Date

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and Training

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

10 am – 5 pm in the Mojave, location to be disclosed

Come experience the desert in fall and

Learn how to do a Treasure Hunt!

For more information write

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Wonderful Trip

Finally I have something to post about! We just completed our first trip leader training and it went swimmingly. We had a great mix of people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone learned how fun and relatively easy looking for rare plants can be. Hopefully they will go on their own trips or lead trips in the future.

Here is one of our finds-Erigeron miser (Starved daisy), just a little thing.
In the sunflower family, but it has no ray petals.
And it's habitat-granite outcrops
Getting a dendrochronology lesson! (Tree ring dating that is.)
Another beautiful location, love those high Sierran Lakes.
The rare Ivesia sericoleuca, Plumas mousetail.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Trip Itinerary!

I haven't been out in the field in weeks and I miss it! Can't wait to get back out there looking for rare plants. I'm excited for this trip it should be lovely! Here's the preliminary itinerary.

Tahoe Training Trip Itinerary
Sat, Jul 31, 2010:
8am depart from California Native Plant Society Headquarters, carpool
10am meet at the Kingvale Shell Station, exit 171, Hwy I-80
10:30am depart for first location,
10:45 am arrive Cold Spring Campground to look for
Erigeron miser, Starved daisy occ #13. Go over survey form protocols.
11:45 am lunch at Campground
12:30 pm Depart for next location
1pm Arrive Donner Pass Rd from Ext 176 Boreal Mountain Resort
3 mi easy round trip hike to Flora Lake to look for occurrence of Erigeron miser.
4pm Depart for campground near Donner Lake -set up camp.
6pm Potluck, Mexican night
7pm Short presentation on the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
Sun, Aug 1, 2010:
8am Depart campground
8:45 Arrive Sage Hen Hills, look for Drosera anglica
11:45 Lunch
12:30 Depart
12:45 arrive Hobart Mills, Prosser Reservoir, look for Ivesia sericoleuca occ # 41, 10.
3pm Depart for Sacramento/ Home.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Treasure Hunt Training

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
Trip Leader Training and Treasure Hunt
Tahoe National Forest
Jul 31-Aug 1, 2010
Target Audience: The California Native Plant Society is putting together a special treasure hunt and training for anyone interested in becoming a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Trip Leader. If you have some botanical field experience (whether professional or not) and would like to lead a group of any size on a trip this year or next then please join us.

Location: Tahoe National Forest-Donner Pass to Sage Hen Hills. Meet at CNPS headquarters, 2707 K Street, Ste 1 Sacramento on Sat morning at 8 am to carpool or at the Kingvale Shell Station (South of exit 171 off Hwy I-80) at 10 am. Please bring all supplies you will need for camping and surveying. More camping site details to come.

This trip should be amazing and beautiful. We will be looking for Erigeron miser (starved daisy), Ivesia sericoleuca, Eriogonum umbellatum var. torreyanum and the carnivorous sundew-Drosera anglica.

Cost: Minimal, there may be a small charge for our campsite.

RSVP: Reply to Amber by Jul 27th at or at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Season Summary

The results are in. This spring season has been highly successful in the Mojave Desert!
Data has been gathered on the populations of over 180 new and historic rare plant occurences.
Over 30 separate rare plant species have been documented.
Over 395 volunteer hours have been logged.
All this information will go into the Department of Fish and Game's Database of Rare California Flora and Fauna (the California Natural Diversity Data Base) and be distributed to agencies that can hopefully conserve these populations and their habitats.
But don't worry if you haven't been involved yet, this project is ongoing into the fall and hopefully next year!
In the Western mojave-it may not look like this for long though,
this area is slated to be a wind farm

Monday, June 28, 2010

Read All About It...

We made it into the San Francisco Chronicle! Read about two journalists' take on the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and the trip that they made searching for rare plants on Mount Diablo.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In the Mountains

It's that time of year when botanists start to head up to the mountains to find things blooming. I just got back from a field trip in the southern Sierra Nevadas with Kern County CNPS Chapter members and look at what we found.

Phacelia exilis, list 4.2. The rare lavendar windows flower
Calochortus westonii, list 1B.2. A rare marioposa lily

Monday, June 14, 2010

Enlisting the Boy Scouts

When it comes to service the Boy Scouts are very giving. I enlisted their help on a treasure hunt to find this rare variety of cactus, Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada. They found several populations. Good job Scouts!
An exciting snakeskin find!

Monday, June 7, 2010


The great thing about the desert is it always suprises you. You never know what you will find or what will be in the next wash or on the next hill. Two weeks ago we were in the field and it started to hail! That's what is covering my hat below.Then we ran into a herd of wild burros, two of which are pictured below. Not exactly great for plant life, but a part of the desert nonetheless.
Here we found the largest indigo bush I've ever seen. Beautiful.

And our best suprise, the rare penstemon-Penstemon fruticiformis var. amargosae!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Even Kids Like It!

Sorry for my delinquent blogging hardcore fans, but I have been in the field a lot and finding all sorts of goodies. Here are some of the latest pictures. Look at my flickr page for more photos.
These kids were happy to join us on a field trip and were very adept at finding cacti and yucca. They loved being outside, seeing and learning about wildflowers and chasing after a lizard or two.
A rare desert mallow, Sphaeralcea rusbyi var. eremicola, with highly dissected leaves.
Below: Cymopterus gilmanii, a rare find from the carrot and parsely family, can you see the resemblance? (but p.s. don't eat it!)
And for the pièce de résistance I present the White Bear Poppy, Arctomecon merriamii, which has eluded me until now. When I finally saw it I shrieked for joy. Every part of it is lovely and delicate, even the very fuzzy leaves. You too can find such treasures although you may have to climb a little farther than you thought you would, it's so worth it!