Newsletter 2001 March – April

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter Newsletter

March April, 2001


Chapter Meetings

March 15 (Thursday)—Landscaping for the Urban Environment

Bob Perry, speaker

The climate of southern California is highly specialized. As we all know, anything will grow here and that creates the temptation to do just that. Well—why not, you might ask. Water is the answer. Many exotic plants will thrive only when provided constant water, not an endless resource in southern California. Not all the exotics need be thrown out, however. Bob Perry, author of two well known, often consulted books on Western landscaping, will speak to us on the issues of the sustainable urban landscape. In his books, Trees and Shrubs of Dry California, 1981, and Landscape Plants for Western Regions, 1992, he promotes the use of natives and suitable exotics for a pleasing, low water landscape scheme.

Mr. Perry is a landscape architect in the Claremont area. In addition, he teaches in the Landscape Architecture program at Cal Poly Pomona and occasionally offers classes at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. His most recent book is out of print and will not be republished in the near future. Fortunately, he will have some copies for sale at our meeting. We are honored to have Bob Perry as our speaker and hope that you will not miss this opportunity to learn more about ecologically sound urban landscaping from a renowned and respected authority.

April 19 (Thursday)—To Be Announced

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, turn right on Waterworks and left into the parking lot. Enter the building from the rear.


The Native Plant Area at the U.C.I. Arboretum is Taking Shape…

Three workdays and 150 students later, decided progress has been made against alien invaders that would usurp the large native plant area at the arboretum. The students came from Dr. Peter Bowler’s Environmental Ethics class at UCI. As part of their class work, they were required to devote three precious Saturday hours to the arboretum project. Under the watchful eyes of Laura Lyons, arboretum director, and Mark Elvin, curator of the native plant section, and assisted by CNPS members Celia Kutcher, Dan Songster, Sarah Jayne, Wayne Johnson, Debra Aber, Todd Hiersma and others, acacias, stinging nettle, castor bean, and artichoke thistle vanished. One monumental and Herculean task was the removal of an enormous agave that bristled with vicious, stabbing points! Mark also supervised the planting of many plants he had grown from seed he had collected. Dr. Bowler was on hand as well to encourage his students, many of whom followed him in the afternoon to a revegetation site for more planting.

The Native Plant area at UCI Arboretum is a project that we have supported with both money grants and physical involvement for many years. It has gone through its ups and downs, but with this recent boost from the more than 400 hours of student effort, the natives are gaining on the aliens. Visit it on Wildflower Day on May 9.

“A flower falls even though we love it, and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.” —Dogen


Calendar of Events

For more information on any of these events or to make reservations, call or e-mail Sarah Jayne at (949) 552-0691 or Non-members are welcome to join any of these activities. Most activities are free of charge.

CNPS STATE BOARD MEETING at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden

Saturday, March 3, 2001

The CNPS State Board meets quarterly at various locations around the state. The spring meeting usually takes place at RSABG which gives those of us not on the State Board an opportunity to see how it operates. Our president, Dan Songster, is our board representative. If you’re interested in attended, give Dan a call for the details at (949) 768-0431.

MT. MUGU with David Magney

Saturday, March 10, 10 A.M.

Join the Channel Islands chapter on a hike to the peak of Mt. Mugu in southernmost Ventura County. The trail is steep for the first half-mile or so, then tapers off as it nears the top—a total distance of about 2 miles. Chocolate Lilies (Calochortus biflora) and Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon clevelandii) will be blooming as well as many others. Dave Magney, who spoke at our January meeting, is putting together a flora of Ventura County and will provide a species list for all attending.

The parking lot/trailhead is just north of Mugu Rock on Pacific Coast Highway, at the very west end of the Santa Monica Mountains. As you pass Mugu Rock, the Seabee firing range is dead ahead with parking on the coast side of the highway. Trailhead parking is directly opposite, on the mountain side of the highway. Meet at 10 A.M. with water, lunch, etc., in hand. Allow about 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive approximately 75 miles. Call ahead on this trip so that we can arrange carpooling, if desired.


Saturday, March 17, 2001

This all day, multi-disciplinary driving field trip is a joint venture with the Orange County Natural History Museum. Specialists from the museum and CNPS will illuminate the rocks, fossils, bugs, birds, and flowers that abound in our local mountains. The trip does require high clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicles and will be limited to the first fifteen that sign up (vehicles, that is, and as many passengers as they hold!) If you don’t have that sort of vehicle, find a friend who does! This is a very special opportunity to get all sides of the natural history picture in our own back yard.

The cost is $10 for Orange County Natural History Association members, $15 for everyone else, which includes the National Forest Adventure Day Pass. This is a bit of a fund-raiser for the museum which is always struggling for support. A little gem of a collection of Orange County artifacts, it is located at the entrance to Aliso/Wood Canyons in Laguna Niguel.

Contact Lee Shoemaker, the trip coordinator, at for reservation information. Call (949) 831-3287 or Sarah Jayne for directions to the meeting place. Rain cancels.


Friday—Sunday, March 23-25, 2001

CNPS has sponsored a series of these trips to hunt for Robison’s monardella (Monardella robisonii), a rare mint in a rock-climbing mecca! This perennial, rock-outcrop loving species may not be in flower, but its characteristic smell will give it away! Hunting grounds will include a variety of situations, from strenuous hikes to casual strolls. Something for everyone!

Lost Horse campground has been reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. Activities begin at 8 A.M. Saturday at the entrance to Hidden Valley campground. (You could probably go just for the day if you want to get up really early…) For more information, you may contact Sarah Jayne (see above). To be counted in, please contact Ileene Anderson at or (323) 654-5943.

Saturday, March 24, 2001, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

The San Diego Chapter is offering this field trip to one of the richest and most diverse natural landscapes left in southern California. Rolling native grasslands studded with Engelmann oaks, vernal pools in the basalt-capped mesas, chocolate lilies, shooting stars, and much, much more are found in the Reserve’s 8,300 acres, an outstanding monument to preservation efforts.

Meet at the entrance to the Reserve at 9:00 A.M. Allow about one hour to get there. Go south on I-15 and exit at Clinton Keith Road at Murrietta. Drive west about 4 miles to the Reserve Visitors’ Center. The entrance fee is $2 for adults, $1 for children 2-12. Bring water, lunch, hat, sunscreen and sturdy hiking shoes.


Sunday, March 25, 2001, 10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

Last year’s tour was such a success that we decided on a repeat visit this year. Bart O’Brien, Director of Horticulture at the garden, will again lead a behind-the-scenes tour to some of the more remote corners of the garden. We will meet at 10 AM in the parking lot for about 2 hours of easy walking. You are welcome, of course, to linger longer in the beautiful gardens.

RSABG is located at 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA. To get there: pick up the 57 (Pomona) freeway wherever convenient. Stay on the 57 through its rather confusing intertwines with the 60 freeway until you reach the Interstate 10. Go east on I-10 to the Indian Hill Boulevard exit for Claremont. Go north for about 1.5 miles to Foothill Boulevard. Turn right on Foothill and go east 3 blocks to College Avenue. Turn left and proceed north to the RSABG parking lot.


Saturday, April 7, 11 A.M. to 3 P.M.

Experience the wonder and beauty of nature in your own back yard—at the Talbert Nature Preserve. Free fun, food, beverages, entertainment, tours, and crafts for all ages will be provided. You bring only the family and friends—and the picnic blanket. The Orange Coast River Park Committee of Friends of Harbors, Beaches & Parks, sponsors this event.

The Nature Preserve is on the Costa Mesa side of the Santa Ana River channel. There will be free parking for the picnic at many locations on both sides. Shuttle service will be available from the Waldorf School parking lot the entrance to which is on Canyon Drive off Victoria Street in Costa Mesa. The walk from Fairview Park is approximately ½ mile. Park also at Estancia High School, Costa Mesa, and Le Bard Park and Atlanta Avenue in Huntington Beach.

The proposed Orange Coast River Park, an area that stretches from the Santa Ana River mouth to Fairview Park, is still in the planning stages. You can help shape its direction. The planning committee usually meets the first Friday of the month from 8:30 to 11. Call Louise Greely at (949) 631-1475 if you can participate.

You can also help by becoming a member of Friends of Harbors, Beaches & Parks with an annual contribution of $50 sent to FHBP, P.O. Box 9256, Newport Beach CA 92658 or call them at (949) 399-3669.

Saturday, April 21, 9:45 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Details have not been finalized as to the exact destination, but it will either be Marron Valley or Mine Canyon, both of which are located very close to the Mexican border. Conditions to expect for the hike—moderate to fairly strenuous. There are no “trails”; it is mostly “bush whacking” though some sections have wildlife and immigrant trails and much of the area is fairly open scrub. Expect a five-hour hike. Bring at least 2 liters of water, a lunch, and snacks. We will be away from the cars the whole time and there are no facilities there. This area has not been botanized that well; we are likely to find a new record for San Diego County and possibly the U.S.! This area has a strong influence from the desert as well as the coast and also a strong influence from Baja California. It promises to be a very interesting hike.

Marron Valley: a one-way 2.5 to 3 mile hike with a descent of approximately 1500 feet. Most is easy with the exception of a steep half mile. High clearance vehicles will be needed to get to this area.

Mine Canyon: a down then back up trip with an elevation change of up to 700 feet, depending on how far we hike down the canyon.

We will meet at the intersection of Hwy 94 (the road to Tecate) and Otay Lakes Road south of Dulzura at 9:30 A.M. (allow about 2 1/2 hours from Orange County—I know, but Mark wanted to start at 8!) To get there: going south on I-5 in San Diego County, take the 805 south for about 10 miles. Take I-8 east about 8 miles; 125 south for about 2 miles; east on Hwy 94 east about 14 miles. The junction from 125 to 94 is tricky: exit the freeway (125), make a left and go under it, then make an immediate right onto 94 east. You will also make a right turn at a stoplight in Spring Valley to stay on 94.

Reservations are essential. We should be able to arrange some carpooling. Members of the San Diego Chapter will be joining us.

Sunday, April 22, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Our Chapter participates in honoring Earth Day along with most of the nature-oriented organizations of Orange County. This is a great opportunity to meet with other groups, see what they are doing, munch on some interesting food, and generally enjoy a day on the bayside. We always need PEOPLE to help out at our booth.

HILLS TO GILLS, II—Traverse from Laguna Coast Wilderness to Crystal Cove with Tony Bomkamp
Saturday, April 28, 8:30 A.M. to about 1 P.M.

Because of their orientation, Laurel Canyon and Moro Canyon each offer a slightly different range of vegetation. Almost immediately upon entering Laurel Canyon, we pass right by one of the few populations of the Orange County endemic, Dudleya stolonifera. Then we plunge into the shade of old oaks and sycamores, which provide shade for woodland-type plants. We head up the hill past thriving chaparral, along the ridge with ocean views for a while, then through the gates into Crystal Cove State Park to Moro Canyon which opens to the ocean breezes.

The whole trip is about six miles which we’ll do at a very moderate pace. A shuttle will get you back to your cars parked at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park ($2 parking fee).

Meet at 8:30 A.M. for a pre-hike snack. We will start of at 9 sharp. Since the group will be limited to 30, reservations are highly recommended.

Sunday, April 29, 10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

We’ve done this very interesting trip before—but not since 1993! Will we find all the treasures again that we found then? Join us to find out. There are many rare and unique plants on the windy ridges above South Laguna and the Headlands of Dana Point. Some are only found again on the Baja Peninsula. A great deal of effort has gone into preserving at least a portion of the Headlands from development and at this moment, it is still there. Hopefully, the plants are still there too.

Meet at 10 A.M. in the parking lot behind Ralph’s market located at Pacific Coast Highway and Golden Lantern in Dana Point. From the south, turn left onto Golden Lantern from PCH then left again on the southbound branch of PCH (Del Prado). From the north, pass Golden Lantern and turn left into the parking lot. Here we will consolidate vehicles and proceed to South Laguna. We will then head for the Dana Point Headlands and wind up at some undetermined hour. Bring water and a snack.

OUT OF THE WILD AND INTO THE GARDEN—The 5th Symposium on California’s Horticulturally Significant Plants

Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, 2001, at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Topics to be covered in this year’s symposium will include:

Native Salvias for Your Garden?

The Horticultural Contributions of Wayne Roderick

The Genus Eriogunum in S. California and Baja

The Genus Encelia and Related Plants

The Genus Penstemon in the Wild and in the Garden

The Agaves, Nolinas, and Yuccas of California

Birds in the Garden

The Horticultural Contributions of Theodore Payne

Other Californian Mints (not Sages) for the Garden

The conference fee of $245 ($295after March 15) includes symposium registration for two days, speakers’ slide lists, lunch both days, dinner Friday evening, and refreshments during breaks. Social activities will take place at RSABG; presentations will be held in the Seeley Mudd Theater, Claremont School of Theology.

For more information, call (909) 626-1917 or send your check made payable to RSABG to:

Education Department,
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden,
1500 North College Avenue,
Claremont, California 91711

Saturday, May 12, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M.

The Coal Canyon Ecological Reserve has been purchased by the State, which assures preservation of the northernmost stand of Tecate cypress as well as a vital link in the wildlife corridor. Entrance to the Reserve is still restricted, however. Connie Spenger, whose name is synonymous with Tecate cypress, will cut through the red tape for us.

The hike begins at 700 feet elevation and gains 1700 feet to reach Fremont Ridge, which provides beautiful views of Coal, Gypsum, Fremont, Weir, and Blind Canyons. That in addition to the Tecate cypress (Cupressus forbesii) and a grand variety of other possibilities makes this spectacularly worth the effort. The pace will be moderate with plenty of botany stops so plan on spending the best part of the day for the 8 mile round trip. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. Bring water, lunch, etc.

Meet at 9 A.M. at the gate at Coal Canyon (Coal Canyon exit from the 91 Riverside Freeway). There’s a limit to the number of vehicles that may be parked inside. If necessary, we can arrange to meet and carpool from the Santa Ana Canyon Park n’ Ride at Tustin and Lincoln Avenues off the 55 Freeway in Orange. Reservation required.


Sunday, May 13, 2001, 10 A.M. to 1 P.M.

We’ll approach Wood Canyon from the back to descend pretty quickly into the lovely oak-sycamore woodland and coastal sage scrub that is found in that end of the park. The variety of habitats will provide equally varied plant life. This is a joint trip with the Orange County Natural History Museum, which is located at the main entrance to the park.

Meet at 10 A.M. at the entrance to Canyon View Park. This is a community park that leads into the wilderness park. Coming from north Orange County, take Laguna Canyon Road to El Toro Road, left. Turn right onto Aliso Creek Road, and then turn right again on Glenwood Drive, which becomes Pacific Park Drive after it crosses under the toll road. Turn right again on Canyon Vistas. Park near the entrance to Canyon View Park. If you’re coming from the south, turn left off Pacific Park Drive. The path descends gently down to Wood Canyon. We will probably walk 3 to 4 miles in total, nothing strenuous.

Friday through Sunday, June 1-3, 2001
Camp Inyo (west of Big Pine, California)

The Bristlecone chapter is once again offering this biannual event, which features botanical trips throughout the eastern Sierra region. For more information and a registration packet, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Sherryl Taylor, P.O.Box 1638, Mammoth Lakes CA 93546. Requests must be received by May 1, 2001. Registration is limited.

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have not time to stand and stare.”
W. H. Davies

Local Plant Walks

Crystal Cove State Park:

Docent-led walks are available every weekend. Call (949) 497-7647 for more information.

Laguna Coast Wilderness, Irvine Company Open Space Reserve:

The James Dilley Preserve: 8 A.M. and 2 P.M., every Saturday.

Docent-led walks every weekend in Laguna Coast Wilderness.

Wilderness Access Days on the first and third Sundays each month. Call (949) 494-9352, for information or reservations.


For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at (949) 832-7478.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park:

The Orange County Natural History Museum is located at the entrance to the park. Call (949) 831-2790 for more information.

Thomas Riley Regional Park:

For more information call (949) 728-3420.

Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy:

Call Laura Cohen at (949) 489-9778 for information on scheduled activities


“Only after the last tree has been cut down,

Only after the last river has been poisoned,

Only after the last fish has been caught,

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

—Cree Prophecy