Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mojave Excursion

Join us in the Mojave April 7-10. You can come for the full time or meet us in the field.
Here is a work in progress itinerary:

April 7th, Wed 8 am leave from Claremont and take I-15 to Victorville then the 247 to Lucerne Valley areas and look for Cymopterus deserticola, Canbya candida, cymopterus multinervatus. Camp.

April 8th Th-Fr 9th am head north on 247 to Stoddard area then Barstow and east to Daggett, the Newberry Mtns, Minneola and Yermo to look for Mentzelia tridentata, Castela emoryi, Mimulus mohavensis, Phacelia parishii, Eriophyllum mohavense. Camp

April 10th Sat am head west on Hwy 58 and up 395 to Kramer Hills and outside of Edwards Airforce Base. Look for Canbya candida, Eriophyllum mohavense and Cymopterus deserticola and possibly farther north for Phacelia nashiana.

These are the main plants I want to look for, but there will be other rare plants we can keep our eyes out for.

It should be a wonderful trip with experienced botanists who can teach you desert plants and the highlight will of course be finding several rare plants!

For more details and to join us contact Amber at

Monday, March 22, 2010


Coryphantha chlorantha (Desert Pincushion) on list 2.1

In California, CNPS has put all rare plants on one of 5 lists. Those on list 1 are the rarest. List 1A plants are presumed extinct. List 1B plants are rare, threatened or endangered in California and elsewhere. List 2 plants are rare in California, but are more common elsewhere. And those on lists 3 and 4 we either don't have enough information about to put on the other rare lists or are under watch because they may become rare.

Each plant also has a threat ranking.
0.1-Seriously threatened in California (high degree/immediacy of threat)
0.2-Fairly threatened in California (moderate degree/immediacy of threat)
0.3-Not very threatened in California (low degree/immediacy of threats or no current threats known)

The little cactus you see above is on list 2 with a .1 threat ranking and is a seriously threatened plant in California. So really anytime you discover such a rare plant it's like running into a celebrity and therefore deserves getting a picture with, which is precisely what I did below! As you can see from the size of this plant you could easily walk right past it if you weren't looking for it. So keep your eyes open treasure hunters-if you're lucky you'll have an encounter with a superstar.

Grusonia parishii with Primm, NV in the background

Here is another cactus you could walk right by. It looks dead, but it is actually alive and well and in the spring will produce beautiful yellow pink tipped flowers. It is listed and ranked at 2.2 by CNPS.

For more info on lists and rankings go to:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It Begins...

Muilla coronata-a rare desert plant

Welcome to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Blog. The Treasure Hunt has now begun. Things are starting to bloom and it's time to get out into the wild and search for California's rare treasures!

What is the Treasure Hunt?
The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is a new program started by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). Volunteers will look all over California searching for rare plants and documenting their locations. Individuals can go into the field with established groups, form their own teams or go out alone to search. Teams or individuals that have documented the most rare plants by the end of the season will also win prizes!

Why is it important?
This effort is largely to help us conserve California's native rare plants, but we can't conserve them if we don't know where they are. Today, over 2200 of California's plants (that's about 30% of the native flora) are considered rare by CNPS. Despite our best efforts, the current status of many of these plant populations isn't well known. Location information for thousands of rare plants hasn't been updated for decades. We need your help to find these plants!

Who can participate?
Anyone! You don't have to be a botanist or know anything about plants. Just have a willingness to learn and a desire to conserve rare plants.

How can I participate?
Contact me at and to receive all the materials you need to get started or to sign up for a field trip. For more information on the program, go to

Field Trips:
There will be many field trips throughout the season. Each field trip will be lead by experienced botanists.

Thursday-Friday, April 1-2 Carrizo Plain Treasure Hunt.
Join us for a search at the Carrizo Plain National Monument! Come for one day or all three days. Details to follow.

Wednesday-Saturday, April 7-11th Mojave Desert Excursion.
We will be searching all over the Mojave for rare plants. Join us for all or part of the trip. We will be camping, which is a great way to get the full Mojave experience. Meeting time and place details to follow.

Clark Mtns in the East Mojave Desert

Saturday, April 17th El Paso Wash, Indian Wells Valley Field Trip
We will explore the area southwest of Ridgecrest (north drainage of El Paso Mountains) that is the proposed site for the Solar Millennium Ridgecrest project. Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity biologist, has given us some guidelines. “Eschscholzia minutiflora ssp. twisselmanii (Red Rock poppy), Cymopterus deserticola (Desert cymopterus), Phacelia nashiana (Charlotte’s phacelia). We might also spot a Desert Tortoise munching on wildflowers!

Meet at 9:00 AM at the intersection of Brown Road & Powerline Road. That’s 7 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 178 and Brown Road in Inyokern or 2.9 miles west of the intersection of Hwy 395 and Brown Road (coming from Ridgecrest). Passenger cars OK to meeting site. Bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, Jepson Desert Manual, notebook and pencil, camera.