Newsletter 2003 November – December

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

November/December 2003



2003 Fall Plant Sale a Success—because of You!

Once again the Fall Plant Sale (September 27th) at the UC Irvine Arboretum was a great success. Perhaps the best we have ever had! Thanks to all of you for coming and buying plants for your gardens. Without you there would be no sale and without this crucial fundraiser the chapter would run out of money. You can imagine: no more scholarships, Acorn Grants, plants for the native gardens we support, in fact little money to even print this newsletter and pay the postage that gets it to you. So our heartfelt thanks to all of you who bought that one or two extra plants knowing that it would support your local CNPS Chapter! Thanks!!

We also want to thank the University of California Irvine Arboretum for allowing us to basically take over for two days every fall. They are extremely flexible and generous in allowing us to set up any way we chose and use whatever materials they have on hand, tables, chairs, extension cords, registers, etc. Laura Lyons, Arboretum manager, is normally there to help with all the many little problems that arise during the day and we wish to thank her for her past efforts as well as her expert help this year.

Thanks also to Tree of Life Nursery, our principal plant source. They help us put together a list of plants that is exceptional in its quality and appropriate quantity, ship the plants to us, help unload them, and the shipment is on consignment. That’s a lot of work, but they do it for us every year and we really appreciate our partners in this endeavor. Thanks to the very special owners, Mike Evans and Jeff Bohn, and to the whole crew at Tree of Life. If you have not visited their retail area, they are open to the public on Fridays and selected Saturdays in spring and fall—give them a call.

And a really big Thank You to all the volunteers who gave of their time and energy to help make this sale work! With everyone pitching in it made the sale that much more enjoyable and less of a chore for all volunteers! All day Friday setting up tables, unloading plants, placing them on the tables, arranging them in a somewhat coherent manner, and sticking an ID and price label on each container! And all those who worked Saturday, helping people find their plants, carry them, write up the orders, answer questions, ringing up the sales, and at the finale, helping to clean the whole place up again. A special nod of thanks goes to Todd Heinsma who again took over the calling of volunteers for the sale.

Those who were able to help this year included: Mary Arámbula, Gary Beeler, Beverly Weber-Fow, Steve Hampson, Joan Hampton, Todd Heisma, Sandra Huwe, Sarah Jayne, Brad Jenkins, Dennis Keagy, Ed Kimball, Joan Kitchens, Celia Kutcher, Mary LeBoeuf, Laura Lyons, Carl & Lavon Mariz, Gene Ratcliffe, Dan and Elizabeth Songster, Ann Thiel, and Phil Weston. There were some who did not sign in on Saturday so we apologize if this list is incomplete.

Thanks again to everyone who helped to make this such a wonderful event! If you were unable to help with this sale, don’t worry, our Spring Sale is not that far away!

—Dan Songster

Calendar of Events

Nov 1…………………. RSABG Plant Sale

Nov 1………………. Shipley NC Workday

Nov 6………………………. Board Meeting

Nov 15…………. Crystal Cove plant walk

Nov 20…………………… Chapter Meeting

Dec 4………………………. Board Meeting

Dec 6…….. UCI Arboretum planting day

Dec 6……………….. Shipley NC workday

Dec 18…………………… Chapter Meeting

Dec 20…………. Crystal Cove plant walk

Thursdays, 10-1…………. UCI arboretum

Chapter meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at the Irvine Ranch Water District headquarters at 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:30. Wildflower posters and a wide variety of books are available at the meeting

Directions: From the Santa Ana Freeway (I 5) exit on Sand Canyon Road west. Pass Irvine Center Drive. Turn left at the next light onto Waterworks Road, then left into the IRWD parking lot. From the 405 exit east on Sand Canyon/Shady Canyon, turn right on Waterworks and left into the parking lot. Enter the building from the rear.

Chapter Meetings

Thursday, November 20— California’s Own Native Landscape Design

Speaker: Greg Rubin

With updated photos and a new presentation, Greg will discuss how to successfully plan, install, irrigate, and maintain a native landscape. He will explore the underlying ecology that supports native plant communities and describe how to translate it to your home garden. Greg will explain why these practices differ so substantially from the ornamental horticulture we’ve been taught. Different, but not more difficult; in fact, setting up a native garden should be easier. Greg will explore the benefits of “going native,” creating a beautiful landscape that also attracts birds and butterflies, while saving water and maintenance. All the misconceptions about being difficult, unstable, short-lived, and a novelty will fly out the window as Greg shows you just how mainstream a native landscape can be.

Greg Rubin, owner of California’s Own Native Landscape Design, started working with native plants back in 1985, while renovating his parent’s home in Chatsworth, CA. Although educated and subsequently employed in a successful engineering career, Greg maintained a fascination with natives based on this early experience. Soon, he was landscaping for friends and family on weekends and holidays. Demand continued to rise, and by 1993, Greg was able to start his successful and unusual landscaping business. Since that time, his company has installed over 125 landscapes in San Diego County. He has been featured in a number of periodicals including the Fallbrook Enterprise, North County Times, Union Tribune, and magazines such as Sunset, Wild Garden, San Diego Home and Garden, San Diego Reader, California Gardener, and KUSI TV’s garden show. One of his gardens was featured on the Lake Hodges Native Plant Club’s spring garden tour. He regularly gives presentations on native plants to garden clubs throughout San Diego County.

Thursday, December 18— Are You Wild About Wildflowers?

Speaker: Bob Allen

At the December 18 meeting, Bob Allen will give a photographic presentation about local wildflowers and recent botanical discoveries in our area. Bob, with co-authors Chris Barnhill and Fred Roberts, is working on a book entitled, Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Orange County, including the Santa Ana Mountains & Chino Hills. Several discoveries have been made during preparation of the book: plants never before recorded from the area, others not seen in 50-80 years, and one completely new to science. Bob will enthrall us with superb photographs of lovely wildflowers, stories of their natural history, and previews of the book. Information about the book and several of its photographs are posted at the book’s website:

Opportunities exist for our members to assist with relocating “lost” plants. During research for the book, it was learned that in 1948 a species of orchid, Piperia leptopetala, was collected in Holy Jim Canyon and never seen again. The only recorded Santa Ana Mountain population of Martin’s Paintbrush, Castilleja martini, is in the same area. In spring of 2004, Bob and Chris will host a hike to the area and invite members to accompany them in the search for these elusive plants.

While first and foremost an entomologist, Bob was inspired by a high school teacher to learn more about the plants that make the habitat for insects. At present, he is a computer technician for the Biological Sciences Department at Cal State Fullerton where he also teaches courses in Entomology and Biological Illustration.

Bob puts a lot of work into his presentations and it shows, so you’re guaranteed to experience a great time. Bring a friend (a potential member?) and introduce them to the society. Take a break from the hectic holiday season and join us for a relaxing evening of wildflower watching and camaraderie, all from the vantage point of soft, comfy chairs.

January meeting…

Look forward to meeting CNPS Executive Director Pam Muick, who will speak on Oaks and Issues.

Books for Gifts! Think about books and posters for holiday gift giving. Arrive early at monthly meetings to peruse nearly thirty feet of available items on display. Tell Mary Aràmbula (behind the counter) what you are looking for, and she will help you find the best selections. Each purchase benefits you, your recipient, and our chapter.



Do You Know What They Did Last Month?

Our Orange County Chapter has over three hundred members with potentially just as many reasons for being members. With so many people involved in so many different ways, you may not be aware of recent accomplishments such as…

  • The Fall Plant Sale was a success with most plant types completely selling out. Afternoon visitors had to choose between what was left on a few tables. Next year we will order even more plants! ‘Good Work’ to everyone who attended, assisted, and spread the word about the sale.
  • At the sale, did you notice our chapter’s new “Why Use Native Plants” brochure? [Prepared by Brad Jenkins] It provides 7 reasons for planting natives, general guidelines for growing them, and selections for getting started. The brochure was immediately picked up for distribution at the Shipley Nature Center plant sale, the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden plant sale, a Theodore Payne Day lecture that was given by our own Dan Songster, and was requested by the San Diego Chapter for review.
  • Speakers obtained for the September and October meetings are prominent in their fields. Charis Bratt of the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is a leading California lichenologist who has identified new species and has had new species named after her. Mike Evans is a founder of Tree of Life Nursery, one of the primary sources of native plants in Orange County. Our monthly member meetings provide direct access to capable, high impact people.
  • The tenacious conservation team has been joining forces with other conservation groups to save the Dana Point Headlands. They repeatedly present data showing that the site is home to 14 rare plant species, and that is just our view; geologic, animal and Coast Act issues exist as well. Appreciation goes to all who work on this task.
  • We provided an education Acorn Grant to the Community Day Middle School in Santa Ana. Members of the Sierra Club’s Inner-City-Outings Orange County group are assisting the school to develop a garden with associated learning opportunities. Our grant will help them purchase native plants. Plant selection and growing tips from a CNPS expert are included in the donation. Acorn Grants primarily target 4th to 6th grade native plant education programs. Talk to an education committee member if you want to help a school apply for these funds.
  • More on education, Sarah Jayne taught native plants to three classes at Tustin High in one morning. Two classes were advanced placement (potential college credit!) environmental science, and one class was freshman earth science.

Thanks to all who contribute to our accomplishments, including those missed in this list. If you want to become more involved, direct your eyes to the newsletter and your words to officers, committee chairpersons, and other CNPS members.

Keep Growing!

—Brad Jenkins



Our Grant Program

The Orange County Chapter CNPS funds four grant programs:

  • The Acorn Grant is awarded to programs designed to acquaint young people with California native plants. This might be a school garden project, a field trip to a natural area, an outstanding native plant garden, or—any creative idea that reaches the goal. This grant targets students in grades 4 through 6 with an award of $150 to $300.
  • The Horticultural Grant is awarded to a high school, community college or university student or class involved in using native plants in ornamental horticulture, landscape design or other related fields. It may be used to complete a project assigned and overseen by a faculty member. Up to $500 will be provided to offset costs of the project.
  • The Travelers Grant covers the costs of attending a native plant-oriented symposium to someone with genuine interest in native plants who might otherwise not be able to attend. This is awarded as needed; the funding amount varies.
  • And finally, the Charlie O’Neill Grant is awarded to a student involved in research in field botany, ecology, floristics, taxonomy, ethnobotany, and other related topics. A limited number of proposals are funded each year ranging from $500 to $1000 to cover the cost of expendable items that might otherwise not be available to the researcher.

If you want more information about any of the grants or know of a potential recipient, please contact Sarah Jayne, or 949-552-0691.



A new Weed Management Area (WMA), covering the Santa Ana River watershed and southern Orange County, is being formed by the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCD). OC CNPS has been asked to be a signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will help govern the WMA. Orange County is one of the few counties statewide that is not part of an RCD or WMA. In general, an RCD’s purpose is to coordinate the natural resource conservation efforts of the cities, counties and other governmental entities within its boundaries. More info at and ACTION: contact Invasive Exotics Chair Bill Neill,, to be an active part of OC CNPS’ involvement.

OC CNPS signed-on to a California Oak Foundation letter to the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, in support of proposed Hardwood Retention-2003 rules. Loopholes in the Hardwood 2002 rules package didn’t allow achievement of its conservation goals. The loopholes did not require the timber industry to map deciduous oaks and therefore does not protect or mitigate for their loss, either as a mixed component or as pure stands. See the California Oak Foundation, 1212 Broadway, Suite 810, Oakland, CA 94612; 510-763-0282; oakstaff@californiaoaks;

President Bush is promoting an Outsourcing Initiative, which would ultimately reduce the National Park service, the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal resource protection agencies to small administrative staffs. All field work, research, resource maintenance, etc. now done by career staff would be outsourced to private contractors. The potential for resource loss, not to mention political and economic abuse, is huge and obvious. ACTION: Tell your congressperson that you think the Outsourcing Initiative is a bad idea! Find your congressperson at

DANA POINT HEADLANDS: The Headlands Development & Conservation Plan (HDCP) was withdrawn from Coastal Commission consideration at a hearing on Oct. 9, after 5 hours of testimony. The Commissioners “suggested” the withdrawal, after strong presentations by Commission staff, Surfrider, Sierra Club, & many individuals emphasized that the plan is inconsistent with the Coastal Act in several important ways. Fred Roberts, Conservation Co-Chair, wrote several letters regarding the site’s 14 rare plant species that helped form Commission staff’s strong recommendation for denial of the HDCP. Some of their report’s wording was lifted straight out of “our” letters! Commission staff will work with the applicant to revise the HDCP into conformance with the Act, and present formal recommendations to that end at the Commission meeting in January, in Laguna Beach. In the meantime, the Dana Point Headlands Action Group’s lobbying campaign continues. Contact

ORANGE HILLS: The public scoping process on the Irvine Company’s Santiago Hills II/East Orange Planned Communities Project ended on Oct. 22, after 3 poorly publicized public meetings. The plan proposes a 3950-unit development on about 6800 acres adjacent to the Santa Ana Mountains. The development would essentially cut off the Irvine Company dedicated open space at Limestone Canyon from the open space adjacent to the Trabuco District boundary (Baker, Santiago, and Fremont Canyons). Several listed or list-candidate species of plants and animals are known from Areas 1 and 2 of the proposed plan. Information on the project is available at as a 19-page pdf document. ACTION: Read the document. Look for the plan’s “holes,” especially re wildlife corridors and rare species. Get on the City of Orange’s list to be notified when the EIR comes out. Botanical expertise is not necessary to understand these documents. Usually, plain common sense and a familiarity with the area are sufficient to see where the problems are. Contact to join others who are working on this issue.

PUENTE-CHINO HILLS: Hills for Everyone will be a beneficiary of the Private Shopping At Brea Mall fundraiser, Sunday, November 23rd from 6:30 – 10:00 PM. The event is specifically for supporters of local charities and non-profit organizations. Admission is a $10 donation; $8 will go to Hills For Everyone and $2 will benefit the Simon Youth Foundation. There will be door prizes and entertainment and all stores will be open. ACTION: Tickets are now available, contact Hills for Everyone, Contact to join this long and ongoing effort.

RANCHO MISSION VIEJO: The Draft Environmental Report/Statement on the Ranch’s proposed development is expected to be out in November, and hearings on it will start after the first of the year. ACTION: OC CNPS really needs members in south OC to become active in this, the decision process on the last large piece of open land in OC. Contact,, or

SADDLEBACK CANYONS: The OC Board of Supervisors will hear the appeal of the recent approval of the tract maps for SaddleCreek and SaddleCrest tracts on November 18. These subdivisions were approved in the face of the pending lawsuit, filed by a coalition of: Sierra Club, Rural Canyons Conservation Fund, Endangered Habitats League, Sea & Sage Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, California Oak Foundation, and Raymond Chandos. The County Subdivision Committee and developer, Rutter Development Co., have also completely ignored the criticisms of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish & Game, both of whom have urged redesign or removal of residential lots to avoid sensitive species, habitat, and wildlife corridors. The County staff report urges the Board to deny the appeal, stating, “…all of the issues raised in the appeal letter…are without merit.” This despite the fact that the developments call for bulldozing 500 oak and sycamore trees and destroying more than 75 acres of critical habitat to build 162 suburban tract style houses. ACTION: Tell your Supervisor that you want him/her to uphold the existing, County-approved Foothill Specific Plan, which these developments baldly violate. Attend the hearing. Contact for time and location.

SANTA ANA RIVER: A dredging project is planned for Reach 2 of the Santa Ana River, which extends about 2000 feet above and 2000 below Adams Ave, comprising some 31 acres. Because of the soft bottom, a substantial amount of vegetation has developed within the river channel, which in turn has become habitat for the Least Bell’s Vireo, an endangered bird. Because of this habitat, further environmental assessment has had to be conducted prior to dredging of the river bottom. A hearing was held on Oct. 30 on the dredging plan, which would completely remove this entire habitat and dredge the river bottom to “design standards.” This would convert these beginnings of a restored natural river back into a sterile raceway to the sea for floodwaters. ACTION: To join with others who want more sensitive consideration of the Santa Ana River, contact

TRABUCO DISTRICT, CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST: OC CNPS really needs members who are familiar with our backyard mountains to comment on the Forest Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of the Southern California Forest Plan Revision, expected in February 2004. There will be a 90-day comment period. Botanical expertise is not necessary. Contact

Celia Kutcher, Chapter representative, Dana Headlands and SCORE

ÆÆÆIf one of these issues is in your back yard, consider getting involved. Contact Celia for more information.



Opportunities To Help…

UCI Arboretum Weed War: Fall Planting Prep Is Well Underway!

October 30, 2002, saw the long-planned first step in development of new aspects of the UCI Arboretum California Collection! New paths were graded and boulders and special soil were placed for a collection of plants native to southern San Diego County and northern Baja, grown at the Arboretum from seed field-collected by Mark Elvin, Arboretum Curator. Our Chapter’s Weed Crew gave invaluable assistance to this project by working patiently for the past year to greatly reduce the weed population, as well as by helping in many ways to prepare during the preceding weeks.

Join us on Saturday, December 6, to install the plants in the new site! Please RSVP to for time and directions.

Please join us on Thursday mornings, 9:30-1:30! Hat, gloves, water, sturdy work shoes, sunscreen are advised; bring your favorite weeding implement if possible

Directions: from 405, go south on Jamboree to Campus Dr. Turn left on Campus, then immediately right on an unnamed campus service road. Turn left into the Arboretum gate, park on the gravel behind the greenhouse.

Shipley Nature Center Events in Huntington Beach

The first Saturday of each month is public restoration work and tour day. Arrive with gloves to help weed and plant. 9 – Noon with tour at 11, November 1 and December 6.

The third Sunday of each month is Nature Center enjoyment day. Gates are open from 10 AM to 3 PM for strolling and talking with docents. November 16 and December 21. For more information visit

Directions: The Shipley Nature Center is located in Huntington Central Park. There’s no easy way to get there. From PCH, go north on Goldenwest, west on Garfield, and north on Edwards. From the 405, take Beach Boulevard or Brookhurst south to Garfield. Head west on Garfield, etc.

From Edwards, turn into Central Park Drive (which is located between Ellis and Slater off Edwards) and park towards the end of the street in the parking lot. Follow the painted line to Shipley Nature Center.

Local Walks

Laguna Coast Wilderness: 949-494-9352.

For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 714-832-7478.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park:

Thomas Riley Regional Park: 949-728-3420

Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy: 949-489-9778

Crystal Cove State Park: 949-497-7647
Docent-led hikes in the backcountry every Saturday and Sunday. Plant walk with Sarah Jayne on Saturdays November 15 and December 20. Meet at 9 AM at the Ranger Station inland of PCH at El Moro School, between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. Parking is $5.

New Membership Manager

Joan Hampton has taken over membership database responsibilities. She has found some discrepancies between local and statewide data and is asking for your help: If you have had a change in your address, zip, telephone, email or other data over the last couple of years, please provide her with the correct information. Check your mailing label and notify her if you find any errors.

If you have email, please send messages to her with a copy to Marin Lemieux, her counterpart at the CNPS state office. Joan R. Hampton (hndrbean@adelphia.nets) Cc: Marin Lemieux ( If you don’t have email, please phone Joan afternoons or evenings at (714) 283-9146. As always, renewals and new memberships are handled by the CNPS state office.

back | home | top


Where are you at?

Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer that you know without looking it up. Don’t cheat!

  1. What plant community was dominant in your neighborhood before your home was built?
  2. What compass direction does your front door face?
  3. What was the approximate total rainfall in your area last year? (1 July to 30 June; Orange County average is Ok)
  4. On what date did you take your most recent hike in a natural area or tour someone else’s native plant garden? Award yourself a 0 if it’s been over one year.
  5. Name 3 native plants that bloom only in the Spring.
  6. Name 3 native plants that bloom only in the Fall.
  7. Name 3 native plants that come up primarily after fire.
  8. Name 3 edible plants in your area, list the edible part(s), and when they are available.
  9. Name 3 poisonous plants in your area, list the poisonous part(s), and why they are poisonous (toxin and/or effect).
  10. On what date was the last rainfall (not fogdrip) in your neighborhood?
  11. Name 3 native grasses in your area.
  12. Name 3 native plants that are in flower this week in your area.
  13. Name 3 native plants that were removed from your property when your home was built.
  14. Name 3 rare plants that currently live in Orange County.
  15. What is the elevation of your home (above or below sea level, in feet or meters)?
  16. Name the dominant species of oak tree in your neighborhood.
  17. What is the name of the wild area nearest to your home & how far away is it? Kudos if you can also point toward it from inside your home.
  18. When you need to identify an unknown plant, what book do you first consult? (other people and websites don’t count)
  19. To the nearest 100, how many species of plants are recorded from Orange County?
  20. In what year did CNPS form?


0-3 You’re completely lost. Seek help immediately.

4-7 You don’t really know where you are and should not be allowed to drive or take long walks alone.

8-11 You have a decent grasp of your locale.

12-14 You’re paying attention.

15-17 You know where you’re at.

18-20 You not only know where you’re at, you know how you got there!

Click here for the answer key

Inspired by the article, “Where are you at?” CoEvolution Quarterly (now known as Whole Earth Review), Winter 1981. Totally rewritten by Bob Allen, OC-CNPS. Answers? Go to