Newsletter 2007 May – June

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

May/June 2007




Conservation Report

Book Review



May 3………………… Board Meeting May 5……………………. Garden Tour May 17……………. Chapter Meeting May 19…………… San Juan Trail FT Jun 2……….. Chapter Council, SLO Jun 7…… Special Chapter Meeting Jul 17 – 22….. Orange County Fair

Weed and Seed:

Thurs 10-1……………… UCI Arboretum

Any day, 8:30-noon……… Fullerton Arb

2nd Sat……………….. Irvine Open Space

3rd Sat………………………… Bolsa Chica

4th Sat……….. Upper Newport Backbay


Chapter meetings are held at The Duck Club, Riparian View, Irvine. Doors open at 7 PM and the meeting begins at 7:30. Wildflower posters and a wide variety of books are available at the meetings.

Directions to the Duck Club: Driving south on the 405, exit on Jamboree and turn right. Turn left on Michelson, the first signal. Stay on Michelson. At the 3rd signal turn right onto Riparian View. Pass the IRWD water treatment plant. After about 0.8 miles turn right down a short hill to the parking lot.

Driving north on the 405, exit on Culver and turn left. At the second signal, which is Michelson, turn right. Continue on Michelson to the third signal, Riparian View, turn left toward the IRWD treatment plant and follow signs to The Duck Club.

[Thomas Guide to Orange County, page 859 J-7
More opportunities…

“I live in [fill in the blank] and am interested in replacing my lawn with low water, native plants.” “We’ve torn out our front lawn and plan to put in low water native plants.” “Oh, we’re so glad you’re here. This is just what we need to know.” These statements, and others like them, were heard again and again at Green Scene and the South Coast Plaza Garden Show. Exciting? Yes, for this is a golden opportunity for CNPS to extend its reach. We hope that many people will have enjoyed and been inspired by the gardens in our garden tour this year, but those of us who garden should think of ourselves as year-round ambassadors for native plants.

Many thanks to the volunteers helped spread the word and the plants at our successful Spring Sale at Tree of Life Nursery: Brad & Justin Jenkins, Sarah Jayne, Joan Hampton, Christianne Shannon, Nancy Heuler, Thea Gavin, Greg Wall, Deanne Epley, Dan & Elizabeth Songster, and Floyd & Georgia Cone (from Vermont!)

From the nursery, helpers for the day were: Patty Roess, Ramiro Rodriguez, Jr., Ramiro Rodriguez, Suzanne Pusey, Monique Miller, Susan Trindle, German Guzman-Pena, Arcenio Olivera, Rodolfo Garcia, Debbie Evans, Mike Evans, Jeff Bohn, and board member Laura Camp, wearing both hats, but mostly her new green Tree of Life one!

—Sarah Jayne, President



Chapter Meetings

Thursday, May 17—Presentation and book signing: The Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs

Speakers: Co-authors Oscar F. Clarke and Greg Ballmer

Celebrate both the diverse flora found along the Santa Ana River and the writing and publication of a wonderful new book, The Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs: With References to World Botany. This is an epic work of nearly 500 pages with over 3,000 photographs, the result of more than sixty years of research, study, collection, and, most importantly, close observation coupled with deep thinking. The book also serves as an introduction to basic botanical concepts, historical and cultural uses, plant diseases, associations with insects, birds, and mammals, with both native and introduced species woven together with technical information to paint a rich picture of the flora of this region as well as to relate it to that of the rest of the world. [See the complete review on page .]

In describing the diversity of plants along the banks of one of California’s most endangered rivers, this book also celebrates the curiosity, research, and dedication of a remarkable man. Oscar has been working mightily for more than a year with co-authors Greg Ballmer, Danielle Svehla, and Arlee Montalvo to bring this lifetime of work to completion. The result is a seminal new guide that is a major contribution to the literature on southern California flora.

Come enjoy a presentation linking Oscar Clarke’s early interest in plants and youthful experiences with local flora to this recent publication, representing literally a lifetime of natural history study. The authors will present the history and images from some of the 3,200 beautiful scanned images from this extraordinary book and also answer questions and identify plants that the public are invited to bring.

Oscar F. Clarke was born in 1919 in Colton and is a self-taught walking encyclopedia of local natural history. An early interest in plants plus youthful experiences with local flora inspired this publication, representing literally a lifetime of natural history study. He founded the UC Riverside Herbarium in 1966 and served as its curator until his

retirement in 1979. Since then, he has continued to be active in educational and conservation-oriented community organizations such as the Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, Sierra Club, and the Tri-County Conservation League.

Fellow author, Greg Ballmer is a research associate in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. His interest in plants grew largely out of a desire to learn more about the host plants of caterpillars and other insects. He has had an association with Oscar for over 40 years.

We will be selling Oscar Clarke’s new book, The Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs and the author will be graciously signing them. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Thursday, June 7—A Celebration at the Duck Club

This meeting will start earlier than usual. From 5:30 to 6:30, Audubon members will guide us around the wildlife preserve.

6:30 – 7:30: Social Hour–refreshments and a chance to bid on Silent Auction items.

7:30 – 8:15: Bob Allen presents “Favorite plants, people, and places.”

8:15 – 9:00: Raffle and wrap up of Silent Auction.


Come join us for an enjoyable evening!




OC HCP/NCCP/NATURE RESERVE: In 1996 the Federal government made a commitment to place 1033 acres of prime native habitat lands–the northeastern “panhandle” of the former MCAS El Toro–into the Orange County Central-Coastal NCCP Reserve System. Now, over a decade later, this commitment has not been officially implemented. As a result, this irreplaceable land is now threatened with fragmentation and siting of incompatible uses, including an FBI firing range. These 1033 acres comprise the only large area of still-native land connecting the Orange County Great Park (a large part of the MCAS lands’ new use) to Orange County’s large wilderness parks adjoining the Santa Ana Mountains.

Thus the area is a very necessary linkage, the key component in the wildlife corridor joining the Central and Coastal portions of the Nature Reserve (the coordinating agency for HCP/NCCP lands). It is an important source from which native plants and animals will disperse into the restoration areas of the Great Park and nearby Reserve lands, thus key to the Reserve’s biological success.

HCPs (federal) and NCCPs (state/county) were devised as a way to resolve conflicts between valid economic and environmental needs and to successfully implement the Endangered Species Act. But, when development continues and conservation doesn’t occur as promised, it makes a mockery of all the negotiations that went into the HCP/NCCP agreements. If the HCP/NCCP rules aren’t followed, public confidence in them, and in the agencies and the government, is destroyed. ACTION: Tell Steve Thompson of the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the Service must implement adopted HCPs and act immediately to keep its conservation promises. A sample letter and more background are available at

STATE PARKS: AB 1457 would prevent the state from funding or approving construction of a road through state park land, unless the director determines that specified conditions are met. This bill would protect parks around the state from damaging road projects. The bill does allow roads that are necessary for park operations, for fire prevention, and to construct and maintain utilities on park property.

OC interest: the bill could ban the Foothill-South Toll Road from being routed through San Onofre State Park, and also the proposed new access road through Chino Hills State Park to the Diemer Water Filtration Plant.

The bill was recently put on the two-year track by its author, Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), to gain time to build the support it needs to pass the Legislature.

ACTION: Tell your Assemblyman and State Senator that AB 1457 must be passed, that it is a large step toward protecting California’s state parks. Routing transportation corridors through state parks, which are set up to protect California’s greatest asset—its natural infrastructure—wastes the asset and wastes the investment that has been made to create and maintain the state parks.

See for updates on the fight against the toll road, and for updates on threats to the Chino-Puente Hills open space.

Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair



Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs: With References to World Botany

—Review by Joan R. Hampton


This book has one primary drawback: its title. Why spend money for a book that only covers the Santa Ana River? Oh, wait a minute; it is the “Santa Ana River and Environs.” Does that mean it also covers the picnic tables, restrooms, and hiking trails? Actually, those “environs” include the lion’s share of Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, contained within the Santa Ana River Watershed “in reasonable proximity to the river, its tributaries, and associated upland communities” below 3,000’ elevation. The region is depicted in a map, part of the extensive introduction. The region covered stretches from Big Bear Lake, southward to Lake Hemet, westward to Lake Elsinore, and on to Prado Dam, Santiago Creek, and Santa Ana River to the ocean outfall.

Nowadays, authors preparing a new flora face a dilemma: choosing a system of classification for the organization of plant species. The familiar but far outdated system of Arthur Cronquist (upon which the current edition of The Jepson Manual is based) classifies plants according to similarity among their flowers or other structures. While less accurate than newer systems, the Cronquist is easier to use out in the field, for hikers armed with only a hand lens.

Newer groupings, based upon variations of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group’s (APG) classification system, strive to accurately reflect evolutionary development. Research conducted by plant scientists utilizes fossil discoveries, embryo development, pollen and seed structure, and genetic

evidence. The authors of this book have chosen to use the “phylogenetic arrangement presented by Mabberley (1997), which in turn is based on the work of Cronquist (1981, with modification by Thorne (1992)” because it is “visually perceptive.”

Deciding how to illustrate a flora is a challenge for an author. What options does he or she have? Line drawings? One or two photos? A combination of these? A flora based on photos of flowers is not going to be useful out of season when nothing is blooming, yet flower depictions are essential for identification of species.

Clarke circumvents the problem by depicting multiple structures for each species, choosing those which best illustrate the particular plant. He makes consistent use of two devices: one is a penny, scaled up or down to indicate the relative size of the structure being illustrated. The other is a “virtual loupe,” used to magnify minute structures. As an example, the illustrations for bush mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) include two branches, plus enlargements (from those branches) of a leaf, a flower, and a cluster of flowers. The quality and clarity of these illustrations is uniformly excellent. The abundance of plant parts illustrated means that this book will be useful year-round, not just during the spring blooming season.

And there’s more: embedded in a 1” by ¾” box is an amazing amount of data normally found only in botany or taxonomy texts. Each contains the stick figure of an adult standing next to a miniscule sketch of the plant to show its relative height. The plant sketch illustrates the growth form of the plant, i.e. whether it is a tree, vine, an annual, etc. Furthermore, icons in the box indicate each plant’s longevity (e.g. annual, perennial), numbers of flower parts, flower symmetry, leaf type, leaf arrangement, root structure, whether monocot or dicot and ovary position. An explanation of the icons is included in the introduction. A conventional description is also provided for each species, genus and family. Numerous comparison charts are used throughout.

Additional resources are provided in the eight appendices. These include plant keys, a table containing characteristics for each family, a list of genera, an illustrated family tree, a “world phylogeny” listing that relates families to their orders and classes, illustrations of leaf and flower shapes, a glossary, a list of references, an index and—inside the back cover—a family index. The chapters are arranged by order, family, and then species. The inside front cover contains a very pretty visual inflorescence key to families, organized by petal arrangement. I hope that in a future edition they add appendices with an APG listing and a cross-reference between Cronquist and APG.

We Orange County botanizers tend to think in terms of county borders. There is a feeling of “if only…” over the fact that this book does not cover the entire county. But the tri-county coverage more than makes up for this shortcoming, since its borders represent physical boundaries as opposed to political ones. That said, I promise you that if you leaf through a few pages of this book, you won’t be able to go home without it.

Authors: Oscar F. Clarke, Danielle Svehla, Greg Ballmer and Arlee Montalvo

Title: Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs with References to World Botany

Publisher: Heyday Books

ISBN-13: 978-1-59714-050-8. Published in 2007. $29.95





Field Trip, Saturday, May 19—San Juan Trail

The goal is to find and photograph Pickeringia montana, which is located halfway down or halfway up this eleven mile trail. We will shuttle from the bottom to the upper trailhead at Blue Jay Campground, despite possible construction delays on the Ortega Highway. Plan on being out the whole day and bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and what ever else keeps you happy.

Call or email for the 8:30 AM meeting place. A National Forest Adventure Pass may be required. [Darn—mine has just expired! The Ed.] Please RSVP to Sarah Jayne, or 949.552.069.

“California Friendly”® Garden Contest

Orange County homeowners with colorful and water efficient front yard gardens are invited to enter the first annual California Friendly® Garden Contest from now until June 1, to help raise public awareness about smart and sustainable landscaping. For more information on eligibility, criteria and how to enter, please visit

Laura Cohen at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Laura Cohen, long-time Director at the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy, has left to become the Staff Interpretive Specialist for Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, working at Nix Nature Center. DONLC is searching for a new Director. Boardmember Mike Evans of Tree-of-Life Nursery, 949-728-0685, is the contact for information on the position.

Tree Hugger’s Ball

The 3rd Annual Tree Hugger’s Ball will rock Silverado Canyon on May 19, 4-11, with catered outdoor dinner, live bluegrass and rock n’ blues, and guest speakers. Added this year: “Go Green” Environmental Expo. The festivities, with fun for all ages, will be held under the oaks at Baker Ranch, 27912 Baker Canyon Road, Silverado. Proceeds will help support the goals of the Canyon Land Conservation Fund, a local non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the remaining wild lands of the Santa Ana Mountains. Tickets are on sale via Paypal at or, or call (714) 649-2820; $35 general admission, $60 per couple, kids 6-12 yrs $15, 5 & under free.

UCI Arboretum: The sparse rains this year have had one good effect—there are many fewer weeds. That means that our Thursday Crew has time to do other, m ore fun, tasks as part of our support of the Arboretum. Upcoming: potting-up plants and light-duty clearing, all in preparation for new phases of Arboretum development that will be done this year.