Newsletter 2007 January – February

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

January/February 2007





New Meeting Place

Garden Tour 2007

Local Parks


Jan 4………………….. Board Meeting Jan 18………….Chapter Meeting</a> Mar 31&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230; <a href="@springPlantSale07.htm">Plant Sale at TOL May 5……………………. Garden Tour

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.

The Irvine Ranch Water District neither supports nor endorses the cause nor activities of organizations that use the district’s meeting rooms that are made available as a public service.

Our Meeting Place is Moving…

Welcome to the Duck Club, our new meeting place. Located in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, this facility is surrounded by the trees, shrubs and flowering plants native to the area. Even though at first it will be dark when we meet there, the quietness and fragrant air will give the feeling of being miles away from civilization.

This change is necessary because the boardroom of the Irvine Ranch Water District headquarters, where our meetings were held, is no longer open to use by public groups. The other meeting room was already booked for 2007. Fortunately, the Duck Club, also managed by IRWD, was available for our meetings.

Next door to the Duck Club is Audubon House, headquarters for the Sea and Sage Audubon Chapter. The surrounding area was formerly an extensive marshland; ponds were constructed to attract ducks for hunters and a clubhouse was built. Now, these ponds provide important refuge for migrating birds. In order to attract the birds and create safe havens for them, the entire area has been restored with appropriate vegetation.

The original Duck Club had a maximum capacity of forty people, which restricted its use to small gatherings. Last year, it was substantially enlarged and improved. I look forward to greeting you all in our beautiful new meeting place.

—Sarah Jayne, President

Directions: Driving south on the 405, exit on Jamboree and turn right. Turn left on Michelson, the first signal. Continue on Michelson. At the third signal, turn right on Riparian View. Follow the main road and the signs directing you to Audubon, The Duck Club, and the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Pass the Irvine Ranch Water District water treatment plant. You will be on a paved two-way road for a 1/4-mile. Before you encounter a gate closing off the rest of the road, signs will direct you to turn right down a short hill and into the parking lot. The first building you see will be Audubon House. The Duck Club is the center building. There is a large restroom on the left.

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 Irvine Ranch Water District water treatment plant and follow signs to The Duck Club.

[Thomas Guide to Orange County, page 859 J-7]


Chapter Meetings

Thursday, January 18—Lilies and Their Relatives in Southern California

Speaker: Fred Roberts

Start the New Year off right by joining us as a long time Chapter member and Rare Plant Chair takes us along to visit the lilies and related plants of Southern California. This is one of our more interesting and showy groups of plants. Among them are the stunning mariposa lilies, mysterious chocolate lily, and true lilies like the Humboldt lily. We will also survey lily relatives such as yuccas, agaves, onions, brodiaeas, and soap plants. Southern California offers

a wonderful variety of lilies and their relatives in a broad array of habitats ranging from desert, grasslands, and stream banks to mountain meadows and conifer forests. Fred Roberts, has spent considerable effort during the last seven years tracking down many of these species for a book he and Mark Elvin are putting together: Lilies and their Relatives, the next book in the Illustrated Guides of the Southern Californian Floristic Province series.

Fred Roberts is an undisputed expert in native plants in our region. He developed an interest in our Orange County native flora at an early age and by high school was out in our local wildlands collecting, pressing and cataloging the local native plants. A long time CNPS member, Fred Roberts was here when our chapter started in the early 1980s and has shared Rare Plant duties with Dave Bramlet for many years. Fred was a botanist for the California Department of Fish and Game out of their Carlsbad office until 1999; he is currently a private botanical consultant, speaker, artist, and author.

Fred has published A Checklist of Vascular Plants of Orange County in 1989 followed by The Oaks of the Southern California Floristic Province in 1995 and the second edition of A Checklist of Vascular Plants of Orange County in 1998. He co-authored The Vascular Plants of Western Riverside County, California: An Annotated Checklist, published in 2004. He is currently working on The Flora of Orange County, and co-authoring Wildflowers of Orange County with Bob Allen and Chris Barnhill in addition to the long awaited, Lilies and Their Relatives.


Thursday, February 15—Lichens and Lichen Diversity in the Santa Ana Mountains

Speaker: Kerry Knudsen

Lichenologist Kerry Knudsen will take us on a fascinating tour of the important world of lichens. He will present his study of the lichens of Weir Canyon, the first intensive survey of local lichens in the history of Orange County.

Far more than a symbiotic organism composed of algae and fungi, lichens are important bio-indicators of air quality and environmental health in general. They have the ability to act as a tiny, sometimes widespread, pioneer species, helping to bind the soil to prevent erosion. In some cases, they convert nitrogen in the air to a form that can be used by plants, thereby making important contributions to building healthy soil. Different species can live in a variety of situations, thriving in seemingly hostile, stark situations on ridgeline rock or on arid soil, on trunks in the shade of old growth Chaparral or cooler Oak Woodlands, or on the branches of relatively young Coastal Sage plants.

Unfortunately, hikers often troop past these fascinating life forms without a second look, sometimes even Orange County CNPS members! Hopefully this talk will help us rein in our headlong rush towards our wonderful flowers and encourage us to pause and observe an intriguing phenomenon in our local habitats—the lichens.

Kerry Knudsen is the Curator of Lichens for the UC Riverside Herbarium. The Herbarium currently contains over 6,000 lichen collections, 4,900 from California. Fifty to 150 collections are added weekly, with Southern California collections currently being strongly emphasized. Kerry, a recognized expert in the study of Lichen in California, not only oversees and adds to the lichen collection at UCR Herbarium, but is also a principal contributor of lichen data to the Plant Atlas Project based at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Kerry is currently working on the Lichen Flora of Southern California as well as the genus Acarospora for the Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region. Kerry Knudsen continues to discover new species and has had a new species of lichen from Southern California named in his honor by James Lendemer, Placynthiella knudsenii.



Garden Tour May 5, 2007


After a three-year hiatus, OCCNPS is once again offering a spring tour of gardens that showcase California native plants. This year, we will be coordinating with Sea & Sage Audubon’s Audubon at Home program, which offers workshops in landscaping with native plants. Because of many other Spring events, the date, May 5, is a little late for some of the early bloomers, but there will still be many plants at their peak. Gardens are being selected from all over the county so there will be at least a garden or two within easy reach of any area. [The committee is still open to suggestions. Call or email (see back page) Sarah Jayne.]

There are many good reasons to consider landscaping with California native plants. The goal of the Audubon at Home program is to promote the creation of habitat for birds and other animals. Native plants attract native critters. Our local native plants are also water thrifty and blend well with plants from the other four regions with a Mediterranean climate. Finally, using California native plants in the landscape helps to preserve the historic identity of our unique corner of the world. On May 5, visit some true California Gardens.



WEED WAR FUNDED! OCCNPS Invasives Chair Bill Neill has won a grant for a project to remove castor bean and milk thistle along San Juan Creek in Caspers Wilderness Park and contain the spread of eucalyptus at San Juan Hot Springs! The 1:1 matching grant is from the Santa Ana River and Orange County Weed Management Area (of which OCCNPS is a member) and runs through 2008. OCCNPS and the Caspers Park Preservation Foundation pledged funds for the match last fall. Bill has battled weeds in various regional parks for several years, working with parks personnel. Congratulations, Bill!

BOLSA CHICA: A Conference on Bolsa Chica will be held March 24-25 in Huntington Beach. Tickets are $150, include three meals, reception and entertainment, and all lectures and panels. Several guided bird tours are scheduled for the 25th, for an additional $25. Best to register early! Info:

OC PARKS: Harbors, Beaches and Parks’ new Strategic Plan was presented to the Board of Supervisors on November 21st. The Supervisors were surprised and impressed that the results of public opinion polls showed that most people like OC county parks just as they are, want the parks’ natural habitats to be preserved and enhanced, want more hiking, nature trails and such, DON’T want county parks to have soccer fields and other developed recreation. The Supervisors were so impressed that:

  • Superintendent Campbell proposed finding money to increase county park holdings in park-poor northern OC.
  • Superintendent Correa (now State Senator) reiterated his long-standing interest in making the Santa Ana River into an amalgam of county and other parks instead of a storm drain, and in increasing use of school grounds as community parks, and said he’ll continue to work on these as a Senator.
  • All were interested in increasing trail connections between county and other parks throughout OC.
  • “Enviros” left the hearing with a pleasant feeling of general hopefulness for OC parks’ future.

On the heels of that hope came two heavy blows:

  • Kevin Thomas, Director of Harbors, Beaches and Parks and organizer of the Strategic Plan process, was fired. See OC Register Archives for Dec. 9.
  • New 2nd Dist. County Supervisor John Moorlach was quoted in OCMetro (Dec. 7): “Why is the county in the business of running regional parks? … Why are Back Bay and Mile Square county regional parks? Why doesn’t Fountain Valley have Mile Square? … I’d like to move a lot of that stuff out of that stewardship role of the counties and into the cities.” See for the full article.

ACTION NOW: Contact Sup. Moorlach at to tell him that it is very short-sighted to sacrifice OC’s now-irreplaceable natural lands, preserved as county regional parks, and the very-long-term benefits they provide, in the name of financial stability that is always short-term. The parks’ natural resources, which now belong to the all the county’s residents, will definitely NOT be better off if they belong only to the adjacent cities. CC your Supervisor (see district map at and Bryan Speegle, Director of RDMD (of which HBP is a division) at


Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair




Crystal Cove State Park

Guided Backcountry Walks most Saturdays and Sundays. Meet at 9 AM at the El Moro Visitor Center. Parking is $10. 949.494.3539

The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy

For information about events, reservations, and directions, contact Laura Cohen or Michelle Thames at 949.489.9778 or visit

Laguna Coast Wilderness

Open to the public every day from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Maps provided for self-guided tours. Docent-led tours Saturdays.

Parking $3. Call 949.494.9352 or visit

Irvine Ranch Land Reserve

For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 714.832.7478. Visit for a complete list.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

The Orange County Natural History Museum is located at the entrance to the park, 949.831.2790.

Thomas Riley Regional Park For more information call 949.728.3420




Join us as we continue planting in the California Garden and the new Oak Woodland, Thursdays 10-1, through January & into February. Canceled if rain within 24 hours beforehand. Contact Celia or the Arboretum office, 949.824.5833, if in doubt. Sturdy work shoes, gloves, water, and hat are advised; bring your favorite shovel if you like.



Our Spring Plant Sale at Tree of Life Nursery will take place on Saturday, March 31. Details in the next newsletter.