Newsletter 2001 November – December

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter Newsletter

November/December 2001


Chapter Meetings

Speaker: Joan Kitchens

The first Californians, especially those in coastal areas, made use of all the plants that were growing around them. Some they used for food, some for medicine. Some provided building material while others yielded fiber for basketry. The acorn, of course, played a significant role in the daily life of the early inhabitants of Southern California.

Joan Kitchens has long been a passionate interpreter of the first Californians’ use of native plants. The tales of her grandmother who taught Blackfoot Indians in Montana piqued her interest early in life. Joan teaches at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach and at Upper Newport Bay. Don’t miss what will surely be a lively and fascinating presentation. As a follow-up, Joan will lead us on walk on Saturday, December 1, to see many of the plants that she will discuss. See details in Field Trips.

Speaker: Wayne D. Johnson

“Wildflowers from Saddleback to the Sea” is a relaxed and informal slide show of the native flora of the coastal slope of the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California. It is designed for general audiences and will briefly introduce the major plant communities of Orange County. Close-up photos of native plants will be identified with random comments regarding their name, ecology, historical uses by early Spanish Californians and Native Americans, and perhaps some of the challenges of getting the photo!

Wayne Johnson is a southern California native now residing in Trabuco Canyon. He graduated from C. S. U. Long Beach with a M.A. in Biology and is currently a professor at Cerritos College where he teaches Zoology and Marine Biology. He has recently become interested in studying and photographing native flora in the field and just completed a sabbatical leave in which he created a database website of the flora of the Santa Ana Mountains. Professor Johnson is a member of the Orange County chapter of the CNPS and has contributed many photos of rare and endangered Orange County native plants to the U. C. Berkeley CalPhoto/CalFlora Project. You can visit his website at

Take a break from holiday season stress and join us for this special presentation. Refreshments for this last meeting of the year will be special too.

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.

Conservation Issues in Orange County

Conservation and Us

by Dan Songster, President, Orange County Chapter, CNPS

“Unless we take action now, it is possible that we will have destroyed 2/3 of the plant species we currently use and enjoy by the end of the 21st century.”

Peter Raven, Ph.D., Director, Missouri Botanical Garden

When Dr. Raven spoke of such losses of plant species, he was not speaking of just the Amazon rainforest and other noted global points of concern. He was also speaking of our backyard, Orange County. Much of his early research was done in California and he is intimately familiar with our Mediterranean climate and the highly diverse flora we possess. (Interface between Ecology and Land Development-Symposium Proceedings, Jon Keeley, Editor)

The danger that California plants and plant communities are in is clearly stated in the latest volume of the CNPS Rare Plant Inventory, “In addition to being unusually diverse, California’s flora is outstanding in that more than a third of its native species, subspecies, and varieties are endemics—restricted to a particular locality or habitat within the state. That high proportion of endemics in our flora…gives us a special responsibility—protecting a large number of species that occur nowhere else in the world.” (6th Edition-David Tibor, Editor)

Each year, we here in Southern California lose many acres of irreplaceable habitat to development, expanding agriculture, (yes it is still occurring to some extent), exotic plant invasions, overly successful fire suppression, and fragmentation of existing habitat. Each of these losses is important but it is development which takes the greatest amount of land. And often it is the lovely oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral communities that are in the way. They cover the terraced slopes and nearly level flood plains that are so economically feasible to build upon, grading being relatively easy and inexpensive in most cases. Rather than taking a long and balanced view of the land and its people, it seems many developers are most interested in immediate cash, leaving severely altered lands bearing little if any similarities to the once natural landscape, and faded recollections for the citizens left behind.

“Memories of Southern Coastal Sage may be all that’s left in a few decades. The gentle hills and terraces of this community are readily converted into housing and commercial developments. A major thrust of development is readily changing the beautiful landscapes…into monotonous seacoast suburbs.” (California’s Changing Landscapes-Michael Barbour, et al.)

So what do we do? Although a science based organization, CNPS is by no means a passive or merely academic voice in conservation issues. The California Native Plant Society is very much an active conservation organization. G. Ledyard Stebbins, an early president of the society, was a strong proponent of an active conservation position. During the first six years of CNPS, he and the society were involved in three major efforts involving the Monterey Peninsula, Pine Hill (east of Sacramento), and Ione (in the Sierra foothills). These early efforts gained an unexpected measure of success.

The CNPS State Conservation Committee continues to involve itself in serious efforts to protect our state’s flora by promoting education, understanding, and appreciation of California’s rare plants as well as its unusual plant communities and the habitats they anchor. In CNPS, conservation is often accomplished at the local chapter level, appearing before planning commissions, boards of supervisors, city councils, coastal commissions, boards of forestry, and other local and state agencies. More extreme efforts such as lawsuits to promote or enforce the listing of rare, endangered, or threatened species, challenges made to inadequate Environmental Impact Reports, and responses to observed violations of the California Environmental Quality Act are also launched from the grassroots chapter level.

Legal action is usually a last resort. CNPS is known for bringing its science to the negotiating table and reasonably working with ranchers, farmers and other landowners, as well as state agencies, towards the protections of both rare plants and those important islands of habitat we have left. Today, with California’s increasing population it will continue to be important to take the steps needed to insure that Orange County’s flora is protected and key components set aside for future generations.

San Juan Capistrano Councilman, John Gelff, recently wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times-Orange County Edition (October 21, 2001). Entitled, “Lets Keep It This Way”, his article is a well-worded plea for Orange County to preserve much of the 25,000 acre original Spanish land grant called Rancho Mission Viejo. It is the beautiful and biologically diverse heart of Orange County. After spelling out the reasons why we need such an area left undeveloped, he concluded,

“At a time when everyone is concerned about clean air and water and our quality of life, I hope our regional leaders and our communities will work together. Nothing short of these actions will guarantee our own quality of life, our own heart and soul. Nothing short of this will pass on to our children what they deserve.”

Well spoken, Councilman.

Southern Orange County NCCP in Jeopardy

by Dan Silver, Endangered Habitat League

Enrollment agreements for the “Southern Subregion” Natural Community Conservation Plan were signed in 1993. This program, whose purpose is to protect natural resources and allow compatible economic activity, should have been completed long ago, but there is still no plan. While the County of Orange is ostensibly the lead agency, the process has actually been run by the major landowner, the Rancho Mission Viejo (RMV) Corp.

Considerable survey and reserve design work was put on hold for several years in order to synchronize the NCCP with wetlands regulation under the Army Corps of Engineers. However, the delays did not stop developers from taking advantage of the federal “4(d)” rule, which allows expedited take of threatened California gnatcatchers for NCCP participants. Dozens of gnatcatchers were lost and at least 15,000 units of housing development, including a massive RMV project, have gone forward in the NCCP planning area since 1993.

However, the heart of the subregion—the remaining 25,000 acres of the Rancho Mission Viejo—is intact. The rancho’s original Mexican land grant covered today’s Camp Pendleton, part of San Juan Capistrano, and the new cities of Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. What remains is simply the finest coastal sage scrub in existence—with the largest population of gnatcatchers—and a great wilderness of coastal river valleys, critical for endangered species like the arroyo toad, tidewater goby, and the southern steelhead trout. Without the RMV, mountain lions would vanish from the Santa Ana Mountains, as would the only golden eagle pair in southern Orange County. Indeed, this historic and pristine landscape is Orange County’s “heart and soul.”

Just when the NCCP finally appeared to be moving forward, it become clear that the RMV Corp. was not seriously looking at the NCCP as a path for stewardship of the land. Rather, accompanied by a heavy-handed public relations blitz, and without any community input, they “rolled out” a massive development plan which would eviscerate the landscape. Clearly intending to preempt the NCCP by gaining premature entitlements, this tactic took us away from a collaborative outcome—our preferred approach—toward one of protracted conflict

Currently, the entire property is zoned Open Space in the Orange County General Plan. No land use entitlements should alter that situation until a biologically sound NCCP is completed, consistent with the County’s long-standing commitment to the program. In response to this crisis, EHL has done the following:

·        Commissioned a scientific report on the resources of the region.

·        Commented on “Notices of Preparation” for NCCP documents.

·        Urged the County of Orange to establish a process for public participation in the NCCP.

·        Initiated a strategic public education campaign to inform elected officials and the public about the treasures in their own backyard and the importance of these lands to their quality of life.

·        Prepared legal and other strategies as contingencies, if the NCCP fails.

Dan Silver, Coordinator, Endangered Habitats League

8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592

Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267 TEL 323-654-1456, FAX 323-654-1931, CELL 213-804-2750

E-mail: Website:

The scientific report referred to above was released on Wednesday, October 24, 2001, to a mixed reception by the press. The document, Ecological Significance of Southern Orange County, is now available. Contact Dan Silver to find out how to get a copy. An excerpt follows:

Southern Orange County—The Heart of a Hotspot

This section describes those attributes of the Southern Orange County NCCP Subregion that make it the last best opportunity to conserve the unique coastal foothills ecosystem—the heart of a biodiversity hotspot.

·        It supports viable populations of at least seven federally listed threatened or endangered species and contains critical habitat (areas officially designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as essential to the survival and recovery of the species) for at least three species: the California gnatcatcher, Riverside fairy shrimp, and arroyo toad.

·        It supports approximately 50 to 56 percent of the total remaining population of coastal cactus wrens, representing the largest remaining core area for this endemic form and its rare cactus-dominated sage scrub habitat (Harper and Salata 1991, Ogden 1992, Garrett 1992, Rea and Weaver 1990, Dudek & Associates 1998a).

·        It supports approximately 15 to 25 percent of the remaining U.S. population of the endemic California gnatcatcher, representing the largest contiguous population of this threatened songbird in the country (Dudek & Associates 1998a, Atwood 1990, 1992; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993).

·        It supports a great diversity of nesting raptors (hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons)—with 15 nesting species and over 330 recorded nest sites for 11 of these (Dudek & Associates 1998a, P. Bloom unpublished data).

·        It is a critical foraging area for one of the few remaining golden eagle pairs in Orange County and has potential to support other nesting pairs of eagles as well as peregrine falcons (Bittner 2001, P. Bloom personal communication).

·        It supports a significant (though yet unquantified) acreage of native grasslands, which have been extirpated from the vast majority of Southern California. These occur in a natural mosaic with coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and oak woodlands, a semblance of how most of the south coastal foothills and terraces once appeared (P. Behrends, P. Bloom, and F. Roberts personal communication).

·        It supports portions of relatively intact and high quality watersheds for two major drainages: San Juan Creek and San Mateo Creek, the last remaining undammed and undiverted major drainages in coastal Southern California south of Ventura. San Mateo Creek is “…probably the most pristine coastal stream south of the Santa Monica Mountains” (Stephenson and Calcarone 1999).

·        San Mateo Creek supports the southernmost population of the endangered southern steelhead, the only population recorded south of Malibu Creek. Protecting this watershed is therefore essential to recovering this species with the fullest range of genetic diversity (National Marine Fisheries Service 2000, Hunter unpublished 2000).

·        Both San Mateo Creek and San Juan Creek support a variety of sensitive aquatic and amphibian species (including substantial populations of the arroyo chub, threespine stickleback, and endangered arroyo toad), which depend on the clean waters and natural flood?scour?deposition cycles that are possible only in such natural watersheds (Swift et al. 1993, Griffin et al. 1999, Stephenson and Calcarone 1999).

·        In combination with adjacent Cleveland National Forest and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, it supports populations of mountain lions and mule deer. This reflects the ecological integrity of the area, because these species require large and intact wildlands to survive (Beier 1993, 1995). Habitat fragmentation has all but extirpated them from coastal California south of Camp Pendleton.

·        It supports one of the largest known complexes of several rare or endangered plant species, including southern tarplant, many?stemmed dudleya, and intermediate mariposa lily (F. Roberts personal communication).

·        It supports some the largest concentrations of alkali grassland and alkali wetlands in southern California, which are of considerable importance because they support rare plants that are in serious decline in Southern California (F. Roberts personal communication).

Other areas of concern are: Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Mesa, Santa Ana River Estuary and Bluffs, Barham Ranch, Saddleback Meadows, South County Toll Road, Los Coyotes Hills, Wildlife Corridors, Cleveland National Forest, and Urban Runoff.


by Celia Kutcher

Contemplate for a moment your copy of the Jepson Manual. At 1400 pages and 5 pounds, it surely qualifies as a massive tome. Its immediate predecessors, Munz’ Flora (both the all-California and Southern California volumes) are almost as weighty. In addition to these three basic references, my bookshelves—as do yours, I’ll warrant—hold a few dozen smaller books on various aspects of the California flora. All are mostly about plant names: the usually polysyllabic Latin binomials that are the currently accepted names that place our plants in the fabric of evolution.

Why have so much paper and ink—and the time and scholarship they represent—been devoted to knowing the names of California’s plants? Because they’re there. Because we want to know about the natural world around us. Because we think plants are neat, especially California’s plants.

These may be reasons enough (for us plant lovers) for studying plants and the natural world they help form, for knowing the names of the plants.

But another reason, which may be the most important one in Southern California and especially Orange County right now, is that knowing the names of all the plants in an area may be one of the most important keys to preserving that area from development. A case in point: the Conservation Biology Institute’s recent report that much of the undeveloped area in southern Orange County is an ecological “hot spot”, one of 25 globally significant centers of biodiversity. This land, mostly owned by Rancho Mission Viejo, is the last remaining stronghold for a number of endangered plants, animals, and the habitats that they interactively form. The report was compiled by Institute biologists from work done over the years by many field researchers, people who wanted to know the names of the plants (and animals).

So, what’s in a plant name? A lot: history, evolution, ethnology, and now, hope for preservation of natural lands into the future.

“To be able to call the plant by name makes them a hundredfold more sweet and intimate. Naming things is one of the oldest and simplest of human pastimes.” Henry Van Dyke, Little Rivers

Plant Sale a Rousing Success!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this year’s CNPS Plant Sale one of the most profitable ones yet. And a big thanks also to those many folks who came and purchased plants and helped the Orange County Chapter of CNPS at the same time. (Couldn’t do it without them!)

This year was the first time we tried a members-only Preview Sale. The first hour of the Sale was set aside as a thank you of sorts to our membership for their annual support. We feel it served an excellent purpose and plan to have the same schedule next year.

Also, we had a small temporary habitat garden created to show some of the plants that bring birds, butterflies, and other critters to the garden. It was rather striking and certainly a restful spot thanks to the shady umbrella and the soothing sound of water. Armstrong Nursery generously loaned us a lovely demonstration fountain for use as our water feature. We hope you enjoyed it while visiting. Thanks to Todd Heinsma for arranging for the fountain, as well as helping to set up—and remove—the habitat garden.

Thanks also to Tree of Life Nursery for providing our plants for the sale again this year. We had an excellent variety of healthy plants to sell and they were principally grown for us by Tree of Life. If you have never visited (or if it has been a while), it is certainly worth the enjoyable and rewarding trip up Ortega Highway! Tree of life Nursery is open to the public on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the year around and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in October, November, February, March, and April. Call them at. (949)728.0685.

Back to the volunteers! Once again we had many people helping out on Friday, our set-up day, as well as on Saturday.

These included: Mary Aramula, Gary Beeler, Helen Camp, Steve Hampson, Todd Heinsma, Sandra Huwe, Sarah Jayne, Susan and Dennis Keagey, Celia Kutcher, Laura Lyons, Helen de la Maza, Nina Reich, Yumi Shieh, Dan and Elizabeth Songster, Ann Thiel, Julie Jones-Ufkes, and the unstoppable Beverly Weber-Fow.

Thanks again to all!


These classes, supported by The Friends of the Jepson Herbarium, are designed to accommodate botanical enthusiasts from beginners to specialists. Basic Botany is geared to participants with little or no botanical background. Weekend Workshops assume a general understanding of the subject matter. Botanical Illustration accommodates a wide variety of skills and interests. While most of the programs take place in the Bay Area, some do occur within closer range of Southern California.

Plant Morphology for Beginners
March 16-17, UC Berkeley
Fifty Plant Families in the Field
April 6-7 and April 13-14, Bay Area
January 25-27, Carmel Valley
Bryophytes and Lichens of Southwestern California
February 22-24, Santa Barbara area
Molecular Systematics of Plants
March 2-3, UC Berkeley
Vernal Pool Ecosystems
April 5-7, Eastern Merced County
Flora of the Anza-Borrego Desert
April 11-14, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Spring Flora of the White Mountains
April 25-28, White Mountain Research Station, Bishop
May 4-5, UC Berkeley
Fire Ecology of California Ecosystems
May 4-5, UC Berkeley & area
Spring Flora and Ecology of the Sedgwick Reserve
May 9-12, Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Barbara County
California Coastal Dune Ecology, Restoration & Flora
May 17-19, Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes, San Luis Obispo County
Pollination Ecology of Spring Wildflowers
May 31-June 2, UC Hastings Reserve, Carmel Valley
Thistles: the Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful
June 15-16, Bay Area
Flora of the Sweetwater Mountains
June 20-23, Northern Mono County
July 11-14, White Mountain Research Station, Crooked Creek
July 19-21, Sierra Nevada Field Campus, Yuba Pass
Exploring Steens Mountain
July 25-28, Harney County, Southeastern Oregon
Basics of Botanical Illustration
March 9-10, UC Berkeley
Desert Wildflowers: Sketching with Watercolors
April 18-21, Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center

If any of these workshops intrigue you, all the details and registration information can be found on their web site at The classes have limited enrollment so it would be wise to act quickly. For more information contact Staci Markos or Anneke Swinehart at (510) 643-7008, e-mail at or Mail address: Jepson Herbarium, University of California, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building #2465, Berkeley, CA 94720-2465


Preregistration is required for all events. Prices shown are member/non-member.

Sat., Nov. 10, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Natural colors: Seasonal Centerpieces and Swags for Thanksgiving and Autumn

Taylor Ingebretsen, Proprietor of Glendora Florist

Native plant materials can provide floral arrangements and decorations with a stunning and unique flare that cannot be obtained using standard floral materials. These arrangements also provide a southern California twist to seasonal decorations. Taylor Ingebretson will share with you his extensive experience using native plant materials, and will help you create your own seasonal centerpieces and doorway swags that you can display all though out autumn, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season. All materials provided and included in class fee. $20/$24

Thurs., Nov. 15, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

California’s Flora Since the Last Glacial Maximum

Richard Minnich, Ph.D., Professor of Geography, University of California, Riverside

California’s current flora is just a snapshot in time of a constantly evolving and geographically shifting assemblage of very diverse species. Dr. Minnich has studied Southern California’s flora at a larger time scale than most of us are used to thinking about, and has drawn on his expertise in meteorology, geology, plant population biology, and landscape ecology to develop a rich and fascinating understanding of how climate changes and geological processes have influenced the botanical landscape since the last major glaciation. Come join us as we explore our truly dynamic and unique flora with Dr. Minnich. $5/$7

Sat., Nov. 17, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Gourd Basketry

Alice Kotzen, Artist

Gourds and pine needles are such easily obtained materials that can be transformed into stunning and rustic-looking containers and baskets. In this class, you will learn both gourd crafting and basketry skills. You will prepare and shape a gourd to make the base of a basket to which you will attach coiled bundles of pine needles to construct the top. You can then color and design your creation as you please, to create a beautiful unique vessel for display and use in your own home, or to use as the perfect gift. All materials are provided and included in class fee. $35/$41

Sat., Nov. 17, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Native Plant Home Landscaping Workshop

Geoff Smith, Landscape Specialist

Learn how to design a resource-conserving landscape and be ecologically wise by using California native plants. Landscape specialist Geoff Smith will help you evaluate your existing home landscape, discuss ways to handle specific site problems, and assist in developing a new landscape plan. The workshop will focus on basic design concepts, selecting plants for your area’s climate, and the integration of drought-tolerant plants into preexisting landscapes with more traditional, heavier water-use. $62/$68

Three Sundays: Nov. 18, Dec. 2 & 9, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Informal Botany Review

RSABG Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students

Join us for a few Sunday afternoons for a series of short and informal botany classes. Each week, RSABG faculty, staff, and graduate students will choose one or two plant groups for study close-up in the classroom with scopes and hand lenses. Discussion topics will cover identification, pollination and general ecology, life histories, and potential for horticultural use of the selected plants. $105/$115

Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Plants on Serpentine Soils: Old and New Challenges

Arthur Kruckeberg, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Botany, University of Washington.

California abounds with outcrops of serpentine soils, where growing conditions are highly inhospitable. Because of this, the plant communities on these soils are rich in endemic species that have evolved to tolerate the poor soils. Dr. Kruckeberg will draw on a lifetime of research on the plants of serpentine soils to present to us a fascinating picture of this harsh and beautiful environment. The presentation will also encompass the challenges faced by the serpentine plant communities with the recent addition of pollution-generated nutrients and non-native plants to these habitats. $5/$7

Thurs., Dec. 6, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Happy Holidays! Christmas Trees and Menorahs

Taylor Ingebretsen, Proprietor of Glendora Florist

Come find out how to put a fresh and bright native plant twist on holiday decorations. Taylor Ingebretsen, a regional florist with much experience in using native plant materials in floral arrangements and decorations, will give a presentation on constructing Holiday Season decorations with readily-available natural materials. In particular, Taylor will emphasize Yucca stalks and Manzanita branches as base material for making decorative Christmas tree and Menorah displays. $5/$7

Sat., Dec. 8, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Family Nature CraftsfFor the Holidays

Corlan and Robb Harrison, RSABG staff

What a great way to get ready for the holidays! A morning of new crafts and creative fun for the whole family, ages 2 to 92. You and your family will learn about using easily collected natural materials to decorate and make attractive crafts and decorations for keeps or for giving as gifts. Bring a satchel to help carry the decorated birdhouse ornaments, pressed flower and leaf cards, ornaments made with seashells, pinecones, and other botanicals, unique garden flags, wrapping paper printed with natural patterns, and assorted stocking stuffers—all of which you will make! $12 /$15 (family discount: $50 per family)

Please note: minimum one adult required for every two children that attend.

Sat., Dec. 8, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Succulent Wreath Workshop

Ramona Ferriera, Gardener, RSABG

Learn how to make and care for a living wreath made of succulent plants. Living wreaths can be enjoyed year-round, and are attractive and personal additions to holiday decorations and gift giving. In particular, succulents are hardy plants that are easy to grow and maintain and vary in color, texture, and form, making them ideal plants for use in this popular craft. Ramona Ferriera will demonstrate how to assemble the wreaths and discuss their long-term care, then assist you in making your own wreath to take home. All materials provided and included in class fee. $45/$52

Thurs., Dec. 13, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

In Search of New Plant-derived Medicines: The Life of a Globe-Trotting Bioprospector

James Miller, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Missouri Botanical Garden.

One of the most successful arguments for the conservation of biodiversity is the yet untapped medicinal potential of plant life throughout the world. Dr. Miller and his colleagues at the Missouri Botanical Garden have conducted world-wide collecting expeditions for plant materials that are then tested by institutions searching for new cures for diseases that continue to decimate human populations. Surprisingly, California’s flora remains virtually unexplored in this regard, although its potential has been recognized at least since the 1930s, when Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s founder Susanna Bixby Bryant wrote about the importance of searching for new plant-derived medicines. Dr. Miller’s perspective promises to be very enlightening for future bioprospecting efforts in California. $5/$7

Sat., Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The Medieval Art of Making Ledgers

Alice Kotzen, Artist

A ledger can be a very personal item and by making one yourself, it becomes even more personal. The decorative as well as practical ledgers that you will be making in this class will follow the same formats used for centuries to make these utilitarian books. You will make a medieval ledger book and embellish it with exposed embroidery sewing across the spine. All materials are provided and included in class fee. $35/$41

For any and all information contact
Cathy Koehler, Education Assistant—Community Education Programs
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 North College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 625 8767 x250


It’s not that our natural areas aren’t beautiful at this time of year. Large, damp sycamore leaves carpet the trails in gold. Berries on the toyons are beginning to color. Long cool nights have begun to revive dusty dry foliage. Autumn seems to be a busy time, however, and busy schedules tend to crowd out walks in the wild. What we are offering is an experience “in the field” to complement Joan Kitchen’s talk on the first Californians’ use of native plants.

December 1 (Saturday)—Environmental Nature Center and North Star Beach, Newport Beach

With 14 of the approximately 30 plant communities in the California Floristic Province available at one site, the Environmental Nature Center offers a singular opportunity close to home to see a wide variety of plants used by the first Californians. Established in 1972 as an outdoor classroom for environmental education, the plantings at the ENC are now well established. Joan Kitchens, who has taught there for many years, will guide us through the communities to make the connection between plant and product. She will be joined by Paul Campbell who last year published a book entitled Survival Skills of Native Californians. He is adept at making many of the tools of survival and will demonstrate for us.

From the ENC, we will travel a short distance to North Star Beach on Newport Back Bay. An interesting range of habitats from suburban runoff riparian to lower tidal form a sort of “ecological staircase” which offers a variety of plants that were used by the Native Californians.

Meet at 10 A.M. at the Environmental Nature Center, 1601 16th Street, Newport Beach

Directions: From Pacific Coast Highway just to the north of Newport Bay, turn inland on Dover Drive to 16th Street. Turn left, and we are located on the left side of the road. From Newport Fwy (55), continue south past the freeway’s end and turn left onto 17th. Turn right on Irvine Avenue, left on 16th Street, and we’re located on the right side of the road. Visit the ENC web site for the whole story:

For more information call or e-mail Sarah Jayne at (949) 552-0691 or Non-members are welcome.


Crystal Cove State Park:

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

Laguna Coast Wilderness:

The James Dilley Preserve: 8 AM and 2 PM, 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:

Occasional guided walks and other events are sponsored by the Orange County Natural History Museum, which 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. E-mail at