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Creosote Bush Flowers and Fruit

Creosote Bush in Bloom
Photo by Kathy LaShure

Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter

The Creosote Ring subchapter was formed in the Fall of 2005. Our members live in the Indian Wells Valley at the southern end of the Bristlecone Chapter’s geographically large territory.

Events

Meetings

NOTE: Since the previous Creosote Ring Leader (Kathy LaShure) moved from the area at the end of 2016, no one that we know of in the main Bristlecone Chapter has stepped in to organize the Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter in her absence. If anyone has updates, please contact the webmaster at webmaster@bristleconecnps.org and I will update this page.

When we have meetings, we usually meet on the first Wednesday at the Maturango Museum (100 E. Las Flores, Ridgecrest) at 7 pm. Sometimes we have a speaker/program; other times we work on projects and plans (including field trips in our area). Contact the museum to see if there is anything planned.


Field Trips and Events

Below are some of the Bristlecone Chapter and other field trips that are farther south - check the main events page to see more!

February 5, 2022, Saturday, 9am-3pm: Bodie Hills Winter Outing, Friends of the Inyo

Join Friends of the Inyo for a fun outing on skis or snowshoes to explore the Bodie Hills. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Meet at the Virginia Creek Settlement in Bridgeport at 9am. Bring water, lunch, snacks, camera, and skis or snowshoes. If you don’t have any, FOI will have snowshoes to borrow. Dress in warm clothing. Contact FOI if you need more information on the event, guidance on gear and/or what to bring. https://friendsoftheinyo.org/event/bodie-hillswinter- outing-2022/

CNPS Event February 15: March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter Deadline

Today is the deadline for submissions for the March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter to our Newsletter Editor, Elaine Chow, at newsletter@bristleconecnps.org. Contact Elaine with any questions.

February 26 2022, Saturday 9am-4pm: Changes in the Boraginaceae: New families, new genera, and new species, Michael G. SimpsonMatt GuilliamsKristen Hasenstab-Lehman, Jepson Herbarium Workshop (Virtual workshop hosted ONLINE)

This course will review changes in the plant family Boraginaceae, to be reflected in the December 2021 Jepson eFlora revisions. Based on molecular phylogenetic studies, the family as it was previously circumscribed, is now split into six: Boraginaceae, Ehretiaceae, Heliotropiaceae, Hydrophyllaceae, Lennoaceae, and Namaceae. We will briefly review the evidence that supports these new family circumscriptions.

The majority of the course will focus on a review of the California genera of the Boraginaceae s.s. (in the strict sense, as newly treated in the eFlora), focusing on subtribe Amsinckiinae, the “popcorn flowers.” Using updated taxonomic keys, we present the currently circumscribed genera of this complex, including four genera previously included within Cryptantha and three genera previously included within Plagiobothrys, and one genus previously included within Pectocarya. Diagnostic features of these genera will be reviewed and major species complexes within them illustrated primarily with nutlet images. We aim to present participants with an overview of identification of these plants, often considered difficult even by professional botanists. Course Fee: $125/$155

If you are interested in this workshop, please fill out this Google form and see more Jepson Herbarium Workshops here.

CNPS Event March 5, Saturday, 9 am: Field Trip at Baker Creek (above Big Pine), Bristlecone Chapter Event

Leader: Steve Matson Meet at the junction of Hwy 168 and 395 in Big Pine, at the Kiosk Parking area. We will head up into part of Inyo National Forest and find all that is blooming and much more. At the top of the list will be Muilla coronata. A lot of plants were germinating in that region in January. Contact: Steve ssmat@sbcglobal.net. CNPS requests that people who are unvaccinated or particularly vulnerable to COVID wear a mask and do not carpool.

CNPS Event March 16, Wednesday, 6 pm: Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Board Meeting via Zoom All members are welcome to join. Contact our Secretary, Kathleen Nelson, at secretary@bristleconecnps.org for the Zoom link.

March 18, 2022, 9-3 (virtual), and March 19 or March 20 (in-person): Fern evolution and identification, with an emphasis on California taxa, with Carl Rothfels, a Jepson Herbarium Workshop (Virtual workshop hosted ONLINE and in-person at UC Berkeley)

Become fern fluent! This course will be an introduction to the ferns of the world, with a focus on native species that occur in California. We will learn the basics of fern morphology (What is an indusium? Is a frond just a leaf by another name?), fern ecology (including the spectacular desert ferns of the southwest), fern evolution (Are ferns “ancient” plants? What are their closest living relatives?), and fern taxonomy (Why did all the Cheilanthes in California become Myriopteris?).

On Friday, the workshop will begin with a review of the morphology, evolution, and ecology of ferns and a description of the major groups of ferns (worldwide). In the afternoon, the workshop will focus on the classification of California ferns and the characters that define the major families and genera represented in California.

The in-person day (Saturday or Sunday) will begin with keying species that occur in the San Francisco Bay Area. This portion of the workshop will give participants hands-on experience using microscopes and identifying and understanding the characters needed to identify ferns. In the afternoon, participants will tour the UC Botanical Garden to see the impressive fern collection there and to practice their new-found skills.

Transportation not provided. Personal vehicle required for botanic garden field trip.
Start/End: Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. (virtual)
In-person session at UC Berkeley - either Saturday OR Sunday (9:00 am – 4:00 pm).

Course Fee: $275/$305

If you are interested in this workshop, please fill out this Google form.

CNPS Event March 23, 2022, Wednesday, 7pm: Plant diversity on a sky-island in the eastern Sierra Nevada: A flora of Coyote Ridge and Flat, Inyo County, CA with Martin Purdy, CNPS Bristlecone Chapter General Meeting and Program ONLINE

Martin Purdy is a MS student in Botany at California Botanic Garden / Claremont Graduate University. He has spent the last two and half years conducting a floristic inventory of the Coyote Ridge and Coyote Flat region of the Inyo National Forest, just southwest of Bishop, California. This talk will focus on interesting discoveries and results from the approximately 1,400 plant specimens collected for this project, which include new records for the Sierra Nevada range and one new record for the state of California.

Previous to graduate school, Martin worked as a field botanist/biologist on the Inyo National Forest, San Clemente Island, and Johnston Atoll and as an AmeriCorps member for the Bishop Paiute Tribe and Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Join Zoom Meeting on 3/23- click here.

Anelsonia eurycarpa on Coyote Plateau
Lupine on Coyote Plateau
Martin Purdy

Anelsonia eurycarpa and Lupinus sp. on Coyote Plateau, and Martin Purdy at Baker Canyon

CNPS EventApril 1 through Sunday, April 3, 2022: Maturango Museum 2022 Wildflower Exhibit, Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores Ave , Ridgecrest, California

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID19 pandemic, the Maturango Museum is hosting the 2022 Wildflower Exhibit Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3, 2022. With wildflower collection permits in hand, local volunteers gather wildflowers from the Indian Wells Valley and adjoining watershed canyons. The wildflowers will be on display in the Coso Gallery at the Maturango Museum at 100 E. Las Flores Ave., Ridgecrest, California. In addition to the wildflower display, the Maturango Museum has scheduled two speakers to give presentations during the Wildflower Exhibit weekend.

On Friday, April 1, at 7 pm, Glenn Harris, a retired BLM Natural Resource Specialist will give a presentation on “Vegetation Changes since the Last Ice Age.” Glenn Harris is familiar with the desert area having worked in the region for over 45 years, 39 of them for BLM. He is a docent with the Maturango Museum educating children and public groups on topics such as geology, earthquakes, volcanoes and insects. He has collected wildflowers as well as identified specimens for the annual Wildflower Exhibit. This presentation will be offered via Zoom. The link will be posted on the museum’s website, maturango.org/.

Maria Jesus will give her presentation, “A Flora of the Southern Inyo Mountains: Field Guide Edition” on Saturday, April 2 at 3:00 p.m. Maria will share the results of her research documenting the flora of the southern Inyo Mountains in Inyo County, CA. Here, Joshua trees, emblematic of the Mojave Desert, give way to Pinyon and Juniper woodlands which are characteristic of the Great Basin Desert. This unique transition zone is home to many endemic and rare plants, including the Inyo rock daisy (Perityle inyoensis) and the Badger Flat threadplant (Nemacladus inyoensis). Maria will introduce you to these special Inyo Mountain plants, along with many widespread Mojave Desert plants, and provide field tips on how and when to find them. Maria Jesus is a conservation botanist at California Botanic Garden where she earned her master’s degree studying the flora of the southern Inyo Mountains. She is passionate about sharing botanical knowledge and conserving native plants and their habitats. This presentation will also be offered via Zoom. The link will be posted on the museum’s website, maturango.org/.

CNPS Event April 9, Saturday, 10 am-1 pm: Pollinator Garden Workshop, Eastern Sierra Land Trust Event

Bishop Community Demonstration Garden in Bishop City Park, 688 N. Main St. Learn how to design a garden using native plants at ESLT’s free Pollinator Garden Workshop from 10 am to 1 pm. Check out details of speakers focusing on topics, such as planting with natives, fire-safe landscaping, and canning 101 at eslt.org/event/eslt_deep_roots_pollinator_garden_workshop. Contact Claire at claire@eslt.org to RSVP.

CNPS Event April 15: May-June Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter Deadline

Today is the deadline for submissions for the May-June Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter to Newsletter Editor, Elaine Chow, at newsletter@bristleconecnps.org. Contact Elaine with any questions.

April 16, Saturday, 9:30am-2pm: Hines Springs/Calvert Slough Tour, Sierra Club Range of Light Group event

Come see and learn about the replacement mitigations for the loss of Hines Springs. We will walk around four mitigation sites at Hines Springs and discuss the history and water sources and we will see the site of the original spring. The walking terrain is irregular and rocky in places. Then we will drive on to Calvert Slough and walk partly around the slough. If you haven’t heard of Calvert Slough or Calvert Lake, it will be a surprise. We will also stop at the start of the LA Aqueduct where water is diverted from the Owens River. Here is a map of the projects. Just enter Hines and Calvert in the search key to pull up information about them.

Meet at 9:30 am on Goodale Rd. on the east side of Highway 395. Go through the gate and pull to the side where we will gather and sign the waiver form. Goodale Rd. is off of Highway 395 south of Big Pine and Tinemaha Reservoir. Bring lunch or snacks, water, hat, and wear shoes for walking. Bring binoculars for Calvert Slough. We should see and hear some birds there! No dogs, please. There might be stock horses in the area.

We will drive on dirt roads some that are well graded, some less so, except for a short stretch where we will drive over volcanic rocks - so no bald tires, please! It's just a bumpy section, but clearance isn't a problem. My Subaru and Tesla can make it.

April 28 – May 1, 2022: Flora of Northern Inyo County with  Steve Schoenig and Dana York. Based in Bishop with travel to local field sites , Jepson Herbarium WorkshopWorkshop is full! Waitlist only.

The first day of the workshop will be spent exploring the eastern Sierra near Bishop. We will climb into the Buttermilks, an area renowned for its bouldering (rock climbing) opportunities, and chase wildflowers between the glacial erratics (aka the large boulders that were carried by glaciers away from where they originated). We may also venture into Bishop Creek canyon or lower Coyote Ridge depending on where the flowers are showing off.

On the second day, it's an early start and road trip to Eureka Dunes. The Eureka Dunes, added to Death Valley National Park with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act in 1994, lie in the remote Eureka Valley. Eureka Valley is an enclosed basin at an elevation of 3,000 feet located in the northern portion of the park. The dunes cover an area only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, yet they are the tallest sand dunes in California and the second tallest in North America. They rise suddenly more than 680 feet above the dry lakebed at their western base. As tall as these dunes are, they are dwarfed by the impressive, striated limestone wall of the Last Chance Mountains which rises another 4,000 feet above the valley floor. This will be a long driving day (but worth it)!

At the top, the sweeping view seems reward enough for your efforts to achieve the summit, yet if the sand is completely dry you may experience one of the strangest phenomena to be found in the desert, singing sand. When the sand avalanches down the steepest face of the highest dune, a sound like a bass note of a pipe organ or the distant drone of an airplane can be heard emanating from the sand. If the dune is at all damp (even though it may not feel so to the touch) no sound will be made.

And did we mention the plants? Well the dunes are home to numerous wildflowers especially in a good year! Besides cool wildflowers, participants will encounter the three notable Eureka Dunes endemic (found nowhere else) plants. They are shining milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans) CA Rare Plant Ranked 1B.2, Eureka Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera californica subsp. eurekensis) CA Listed Rare, CA Rare Plant Ranked 1B.2, and Eureka dunegrass (Swallenia alexandrae) Federal Listed Threatened, CA Listed Rare, CA Rare Plant Ranked 1B.2.

The Last Chance Range is the northernmost mountain range in the Mojave Desert and comprise a blending of Mojave and Great Basin flora. The beautiful layer cake of continuous geological strata spanning 180 million years of ocean sediments from the Cambrian to mid Paleozoic periods. By driving up Hanging Rock Canyon, eastward from Eureka Valley, we climb through many different layers but quickly top out in the famous Bonanza King formation of limestones and dolomites. Many of the plants up here are endemic to these desert carbonate cliffs and some are local endemics, found only in this region. We will see dozens of plants mainly found in Mojave carbonate substrates. We will also see rare plants such as Death Valley monkeyflower (Diplacus rupicola), Gilman's desert parsley and buckwheat (Cymopterous gilmaniiEriogonum gilmannii), Nudestem sunray (Enceliopsis nudicaulis), Shockley's prickleleaf (Hecastocleis shockleyi), Panamint Phacelia (Phacelia perityloides) and many others. Of general interest (or abhorance) are artifacts of historic mining including the largest open-pit sulphur mine in North America.

The final half-day of the workshop will conclude with a short drive and hike to the Champion Spark Plug Mine (cool Jeffrey pine forest) in the White Mountains and/or a visit to Fish Slough to see the Fish Slough milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus var. piscinensis) and alkali mariposa lily (Calochortus striatus).

Transportation: Personal vehicle required for field trip. Vehicles must have good clearance and sturdy tires (including spare!). High clearance 4x4 with extra passenger space preferred. Carpooling is encouraged. On the second day of the workshop, we will have a long drive to and from the field site (2.5 hours one way).
Hiking: Moderate to difficult and in extreme desert conditions (e.g., sun, heat, wind).
Start/End: Thursday 6:00 pm – Sunday 12:00 pm.
– One week before there will be an introductory Zoom session.

Course Fee: $450/$480

If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please fill out this Google form.

CNPS Event April 30, Saturday, 6-8 pm: Botany Road Trip - California Deserts, Proceeds benefit Bristlecone Chapter

A 3-part Webinar Series with Matt Berger Saturdays, 6-8pm PT April 30, May 7, & May 16, 2022 All sessions recorded in case you can’t make the live broadcast or would like to watch again by August 16, 2022

During the depths of pandemic life in early 2021, Matt Berger (@sheriff_woody_pct) took us on a fabulous 5-part virtual field trip along the Pacific Crest Trail with his webinar series Botanical Tales of the PCT. It was fascinating, inspiring, wicked fun, and we all learned a bunch while along for the journey! In this year that has followed, Matt has put his Subaru and hiking boots to work exploring just about every state west of the Mississippi (sorry, Oklahoma!) and much of the Southeast in search of botanical treasures. He is sharing his finds and adventures with us in this 3-part series:

PART 1 – April 30th | California Deserts: We’ll visit all 3 of them: The Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran/Colorado Deserts, including botanical tours of Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.

PART 2 – May 7th | Intermountain West: You know all that wide open space between the Cascades/Sierras and the Rocky Mountains? Yep, Matt will share botanical finds from 8 states (NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, CO, & UT) — including those he found hiking 500 miles on Nevada’s Great Basin Trail!

PART 3 – May 14th | Southeast: If there’s an unusual habitat, you know Matt is making a beeline for it to see what’s growing. The southeast is full of these pockets and Matt will share all sorts of beauties and curiosities with us — including some gorgeous carnivorous plants from FL, GA, AL, and SC.

Matt spins a mean tale, and he’ll be tossing in some goodies from his travels: fossil hunting with Joey Santore (Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t) in Nevada, finding a psychoactive fungal cicada STD in Colorado, and a look at the drastic measures one may take to fill their water bottle when on a thru hike of the Great Basin Trail… among other curiosities and wonders of the natural world! PLANT LISTS will be sent to you before each live broadcast so you can follow along if you like.

CNPS Event May 7, Saturday, 11-12: Native Plant Sale at ESLT Gardenfest, Bristlecone Chapter and Eastern Sierra Land Trust Event

On May 7th from 11-2 the Bristlecone chapter will be having a native plant sale and the Eastern Sierra Land Trust's Gardenfest The event will beheld at the Land Trust's office, 250 N. Fowler in Bishop. This is an in-person sale so come early if you have certain plants you really want. In addition to the native plants, there will be vegetable starts, wood-fired pizza and games for the kids.

CNPS Event May 7, Saturday, 6-8 pm: Botany Road Trip - PART 2 – Intermountain West

A 3-part Webinar Series with Matt Berger Saturdays, 6-8pm PT April 30, May 7, & May 16, 2022 All sessions recorded in case you can’t make the live broadcast or would like to watch again by August 16, 2022

During the depths of pandemic life in early 2021, Matt Berger (@sheriff_woody_pct) took us on a fabulous 5-part virtual field trip along the Pacific Crest Trail with his webinar series Botanical Tales of the PCT. It was fascinating, inspiring, wicked fun, and we all learned a bunch while along for the journey! In this year that has followed, Matt has put his Subaru and hiking boots to work exploring just about every state west of the Mississippi (sorry, Oklahoma!) and much of the Southeast in search of botanical treasures. He is sharing his finds and adventures with us in this 3-part series:

PART 1 – April 30th | California Deserts: We’ll visit all 3 of them: The Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran/Colorado Deserts, including botanical tours of Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.

PART 2 – May 7th | Intermountain West: You know all that wide open space between the Cascades/Sierras and the Rocky Mountains? Yep, Matt will share botanical finds from 8 states (NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, CO, & UT) — including those he found hiking 500 miles on Nevada’s Great Basin Trail!

PART 3 – May 14th | Southeast: If there’s an unusual habitat, you know Matt is making a beeline for it to see what’s growing. The southeast is full of these pockets and Matt will share all sorts of beauties and curiosities with us — including some gorgeous carnivorous plants from FL, GA, AL, and SC.

Matt spins a mean tale, and he’ll be tossing in some goodies from his travels: fossil hunting with Joey Santore (Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t) in Nevada, finding a psychoactive fungal cicada STD in Colorado, and a look at the drastic measures one may take to fill their water bottle when on a thru hike of the Great Basin Trail… among other curiosities and wonders of the natural world! PLANT LISTS will be sent to you before each live broadcast so you can follow along if you like.

May 13 – 15, 2020: Flora of the Northern Mendocino Coast with Teresa Sholars In-person at Mendocino Community College and in the field at local sites, organization, Jepson Herbarium Workshop

The Mendocino Coast has a diverse flora rich in rare species and rare vegetation that is largely undocumented; many of the species have not yet been recorded for this area and none of the coastal terrace vegetation has been mapped. In this workshop we will spend most of the time in the field, checklist in hand, looking at the incredible floral displays and rare forest types that occur along the north coast of Mendocino County. Part of the itinerary will depend on the winter rains but on Saturday, an all-day hike is possible.

Accommodation/meals: Not provided. (for those that wish to join, we will have a potluck dinner on Friday night).
Transportation: Personal vehicle required for field trips (carpooling possible).
Hiking: Easy, but up to 5 miles.
Start/End: Friday 9:00 am – Sunday 12:00 pm.

Course Fee: $350/$380

If you are interested in this workshop, please fill out this Google form.

CNPS Event May 14, Saturday, 9 am: Tiny Plants of the Owens Valley Field Trip, Bristlecone Chapter Event

Meet at 9AM at the kiosk at the junction of 395 and 168 in Big Pine. We will proceed to visit three sites for three or four species of Nemacladus as well as many other flowers such as Linanthus inyoensis. Trip should last 3 to 5 hours.

Field trip leader is Steve Matson.

CNPS Event May 14, Saturday, 6-8 pm: Botany Road Trip - PART 3 – Southeast US

A 3-part Webinar Series with Matt Berger Saturdays, 6-8pm PT April 30, May 7, & May 16, 2022 All sessions recorded in case you can’t make the live broadcast or would like to watch again by August 16, 2022

During the depths of pandemic life in early 2021, Matt Berger (@sheriff_woody_pct) took us on a fabulous 5-part virtual field trip along the Pacific Crest Trail with his webinar series Botanical Tales of the PCT. It was fascinating, inspiring, wicked fun, and we all learned a bunch while along for the journey! In this year that has followed, Matt has put his Subaru and hiking boots to work exploring just about every state west of the Mississippi (sorry, Oklahoma!) and much of the Southeast in search of botanical treasures. He is sharing his finds and adventures with us in this 3-part series:

PART 1 – April 30th | California Deserts: We’ll visit all 3 of them: The Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran/Colorado Deserts, including botanical tours of Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.

PART 2 – May 7th | Intermountain West: You know all that wide open space between the Cascades/Sierras and the Rocky Mountains? Yep, Matt will share botanical finds from 8 states (NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, CO, & UT) — including those he found hiking 500 miles on Nevada’s Great Basin Trail!

PART 3 – May 14th | Southeast: If there’s an unusual habitat, you know Matt is making a beeline for it to see what’s growing. The southeast is full of these pockets and Matt will share all sorts of beauties and curiosities with us — including some gorgeous carnivorous plants from FL, GA, AL, and SC.

Matt spins a mean tale, and he’ll be tossing in some goodies from his travels: fossil hunting with Joey Santore (Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t) in Nevada, finding a psychoactive fungal cicada STD in Colorado, and a look at the drastic measures one may take to fill their water bottle when on a thru hike of the Great Basin Trail… among other curiosities and wonders of the natural world! PLANT LISTS will be sent to you before each live broadcast so you can follow along if you like.

CNPS Event May 21, Saturday, 4 pm: Arborglyphs: The Art of Heritage - Eastern California Museum, with Nancy Hadlock and Richard Potashin

Please join us for the unveiling of a new exhibit at the Eastern California Museum! Arborglyphs: The Art of Heritage May 21, 2022 through September 26, 2022 Exhibit Opening and Reception on Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 4:00-6:00. Basque refreshments will be served at 4:00, and a lecture by Guest Curators Nancy Hadlock and Richard Potashin will begin at 5:00.

CNPS Event May 25, Wednesday, 7 pm - Zoom presentation: New Calflora Tools for Your Native Plant Ventures and Adventures, with CalFlora Executive Director, Cynthia Powell. Bristlecone Chapter Event

Please join us to learn from Calflora’s Executive Director Cynthia Powell about new Calflora tools for CNPS native plant professionals, gardeners, and enthusiasts! Calflora aggregates millions of plant observations across the state from dozens of sources and serves them to the public free of charge. These data sources include CCH2 (a worldwide plant information portal from the California Consortium of Herbaria), iNaturalist, and CNPS plant checklists from around the state. How can you better use this incredible resource to learn more about regional plants?

At this presentation, Cynthia will cover Calflora’s planning your garden tool, specimen and other plant observations used in this tool, detailed plant ranges now available on Calflora’s species pages (for example, Grindelia stricta), population monitoring tools, and email alerts. She will also go over the important role CNPS members play in submitting and commenting on Calflora observations and checklists.

Also, Bryophytes are now in Calflora, and Calflora needs help from CNPS Bryophyte lovers to improve distribution information.

Cynthia Powell’s bio: After 3 years as Calflora’s GIS Project Manager, in 2016 Cynthia became Calflora’s Executive Director. She graduated with her MS in GIS (Geographic Information Science) in 2010 forecasting Mokelumne River water supply based on MODIS remote sensing snow pack images. She’s been examining what was under that snow — plants — ever since. She coordinates all Calflora programs, research, outreach, and advocacy, as well as fundraising and project management. Cynthia wears many hats.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://cnps-org.zoom.us/j/82851281696?pwd=b2orYWlacWk1eG8wSGlYWW83NEd6UT09
If needed: Meeting ID: 828 5128 1696; Passcode: 760533

CNPS Event May 21, Saturday, 8 am: Sherwin Hill, Leader: Jerry Zatorski. Bristlecone Chapter Event

Along Lower Rock Creek Rd or Old Sherwin Grade just south of the Swall Meadows turn off is Sherwin Hill. This is actually a series of 6 or so hills between the road and Rock Creek Canyon. Situated within the Great Basin flora, this hilly ridge has a surprising high diversity. The habitats range from open flats to typical Great Basin shrubs, and especially rich are the Wild Buckwheats (Eriogonum species) both shrubs and forbs. If the late winter or early spring rains come we should also see an assortment of geophytes and other herbaceous forbs. There will be up to a few miles of cross country hiking and scrambling at a botanist pace which should take us a half day or so. As this is a dry hike, participants should bring a day pack capable of holding water or other drinks, lunch and snacks. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes, appropriate clothes. Bring field guides, hand lens, binoculars, topo maps, and a willingness to explore. We will meet at 8:00 AM at the large pullout about a mile downhill from Swall Meadows Rd or 1.9 miles uphill From the Paradise Fire House, and if need be there are additional pullouts toward Swall Meadows Rd. For more information contact Jerry at jerryzat@gmail.com.

CNPS Event June 15: July-August Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter Deadline

Today is the deadline for submissions for the March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter to our Newsletter Editor, Elaine Chow, at newsletter@bristleconecnps.org. Contact Elaine with any questions.

CNPS Event June 25, Saturday, 9 am: Field trip to the Masonic Mountain area, northern Bodie Hills

Logistics: Meet by 9:00 am at Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Ranger Station (in Bridgeport, a half-mile south of the intersection of US 395 and SR 182). We'll do a brief orientation and carpool from there. Assume the Ranger Station will be closed, with restrooms not available there. Bring water, lunch, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellant, camera, binoculars, etc. We'll probably return to the Ranger Station around 3 pm.

Route: We'll drive north along US 395 and SR 182 to Masonic Road, at which point the route becomes unpaved. High clearance vehicles with good suspension are recommended. 4WD is rarely necessary on this route, though it is sometimes helpful going up the steep grade east of Lakeview Spring. We'll stop in the Chemung Mine/Lakeview Spring area, then head over the ridge to Masonic Gulch and Masonic Lower Town. We may also botanize the ridge just north of Masonic. Lunch will be at or near Masonic. We'll return to Bridgeport by way of Masonic Road (to avoid interfering with sage grouse activity on BLM lands).

Along the way we'll look at the first population of Northwestern paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia var. flavescens) to be recognized in California, just north of Chemung Mine. We will see the approximate type locations for Bodie Hills rockcress (Boechera bodiensis) and Masonic Mountain jewelflower (Streptanthus oliganthus). We should see Bodie Hills draba (Cusickiella quadricostata), maybe Mono County phacelia (Phacelia monoensis), and with luck, also Masonic Mountain jewelflower. Many other plants of pinyon-juniper, sagebrush, and aspen grove communities should be in bloom.

Tim Messick is a retired botanist/cartographer/photographer who started compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills more than 40 years ago. The current version of his "Plants of the Bodie Hills" can be downloaded from BodieHillsPlants.com.

July 14-17, 2022: Sky Island Flora of the White Mountains, Jepson Herbarium Workshop, Jim Morefield and Marty Purdy, White Mountain Research Center, Bishop and Crooked Creek. Workshop is full! Waitlist only.

The White Mountains are located at the southwest corner of the Great Basin floristic region, and their geologic and habitat diversity, high relief (spanning 4,000-14,246 feet elevation), and proximity to the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert all contribute to an unusually rich and well-documented flora of over 1,100 taxa. They are also known for the oldest living trees, the highest point in Nevada, and the third highest peak in California. By mid-July, the subalpine and alpine floras are coming into their peak blooming periods.

Through driving tours (up to 50 miles each day) and easy to moderate hikes (up to 4 miles), participants will have the opportunity to explore the southern half of the White Mountains, observing and identifying diverse plants and learning to recognize various geologic and ecologic settings that influence species distributions and adaptations. Thursday morning, we will start from Bishop and stop at several points up the elevation gradient to our weekend base station at Crooked Creek (10,000 feet). Friday and Saturday will be spent visiting wetland and upland sites in various geologic settings at elevations up to 13,000 feet, depending on seasonal conditions. Sunday morning will include additional field time before our final lunch stop as we leave the mountains.

Accommodations: Shared dormitories with bathrooms.
Meals: Provided by field station.
Transportation: Vehicles must have good clearance and sturdy tires (including spare!). Carpooling possible. High clearance 4x4 with extra passenger space preferred.
Hiking: Easy to difficult: If we go up any steep and/or rocky hillsides, it will be very slowly while we look at plants, and the distances will be pretty short. Participants should use their discretion if they will be able to adjust quickly to hiking at elevations above 10,000 feet.
Start/End: Thursday morning - Sunday afternoon.
Course Fee: $550/$580.

If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please fill out this Google form.

CNPS Event August 15: September-October Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter Deadline

Today is the deadline for submissions for the March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter to our Newsletter Editor, Elaine Chow, at newsletter@bristleconecnps.org. Contact Elaine with any questions.

CNPS Event August 16-19: Native Plant Sale - Bristlecone Chapter Event

Participate in the Bristlecone Chapter’s Plant Sale to purchase your garden’s native plants for the fall season. Invite passing pollinators to your outdoor space and celebrate the new gardening season! Our online store for the plant sale will be live from Tuesday, August 16th through Friday, August 19th to place orders. Once orders are submitted, buyers will receive instructions to schedule pick up for their orders at White Mountain Research Center (3000 E. Line St., Bishop) on Saturday, August 20th. Current members will be able to access the online sale a day earlier after receiving the link to the site by email. So, members, make sure your membership is not expired in August to ensure you’ll get that email in time! (Go to CNPS.org, log in or set up your profile to confirm your membership status and opt in to receive emails from CNPS.)

Leftover plants from the online sale will be available to buy on the 20th. Click here for a list of plants that have been available at past sales. Proceeds from the annual native plant sales provide funding for our Mary DeDecker Botanical Grants. The grant program is a fitting way to remember Mary DeDecker’s many contributions to the people and plants of the Eastern Sierra.

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Wildflower photos!

Mojave Aster and Prince's Plume, El Paso Mountains

Mojave Aster and Prince's Plume, El Paso Mountains
Photo by Kathy LaShure

A few more wildflower photos to whet your appetite: California Poppy, Coreopsis, Desert Chicory, Grape Soda Lupine, Mojave Bush Penstemon, post-fire wildflowers in Indian Wells Canyon.

Desert Candle, El Paso Mountains

Desert Candle, El Paso Mountains
Photo by Kathy LaShure


News

First Place for Number of Rare Plant Occurrences in 2013 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt!

First Place!

Our own Kathy LaShure, leader of the Creosote Ring Chapter and hunter of rare plants, was completely surprised with an award from the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt committee for documenting the most species of rare plants in the California Rare Plant Treasure Hunt. She and her team documented 15 occurrences of rare plants in their area winning her first place among botanists participating throughout the state. Her 3-year total is an impressive 72 populations recorded.

The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is fun if sometimes arduous, but also very important to conservation of rare plant species. Among partners and supporters of the effort are US Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks and National Park Service. The program also receives support from Whale Tail grants, funded by proceeds from special license plates with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. More information is available at Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Project Background and Results.

Kathy is setting her eyes on some very enigmatic and elusive species for 2014 – Phacelia novenmillensi or 9-Mile Phacelia. She will have help from Erika Gardener, a Claremont College graduate student. Their field date is sometime between May 7 and 9 along the Pacific Crest Trail south of Walker Pass. Volunteers are welcome. Contact Kathy LaShure for more information at 760-377-4541.

Creosote Ring and the Red Jeepsters Win Again in 2012!

In last year's Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, The Red Jeepsters won 2nd place for their team, and also for Rich LaShure's great photo (see below).This time, the "intrepid" team came in 1st Place for both overall rare plants found and documented and for most trips led!

"The Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter submitted the most rare plant occurrences this year. Trip leader Kathy LaShure organized and led nine trips, documenting many rare plant occurrences from the southern Sierra Nevada. Although it’s a small subchapter, the Creosote Ring members filed in force this summer, and they had great success in finding and documenting their local rare plants. Thank you for your inspiring efforts!"

(from the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Awards page)

Erigeron multiceps - photo by Kathy LaShure

Erigeron multiceps
A rare plant documented by the Creosote Ring subchapter
Photo by Kathy LaShure.

Kathy Says: "Yippee! The Creosote Ring won First Place honors this year! Our subchapter now has its own copy of Jepson II for field work & IDing."

The CNPS e-Newsletter has a different write-up about the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt & the 2012 awards. Here are some excerpts:

“Volunteers from the Creosote Ring subchapter and the Sierra Club visited Horseshoe Meadows, a high-elevation, easily accessible, subalpine meadow, as well as some of the surrounding passes and trails. We were fortunate to be joined by Tim Thomas, who has been studying the region's flora for 30 years. Despite the area's accessibility (a paved road makes the steep climb up the eastern slope of the Sierra to the trailhead), many exciting botanical finds awaited us. We found new and historical locations of Tulare rockcress (Boechera tularensis), field ivesia (Ivesia campetris), and Tulare campion (Silene aperta). Jean Dillingham, a new volunteer, was excited to find a very old occurrence of Sharmith's stickseed (Hackelia sharsmithii), a plant named after her friend Carl Sharsmith.”

And this:

“Individuals from many CNPS Chapters participated in the RPTH this year, but a few chapters led the way in organizing treasure hunts. This year's top chapter was the Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter. Kathy LaShure of Creosote Ring led many trips this year, some with other chapter members, and some with her two-person team, "The Red Jeepsters". They were able to find many new and historical occurrences of southern Sierra endemics this year, and their work will help with the proposed downranking of field ivesia (Ivesia campestris) from rank 1B to Rank 4.”

Thank you to everyone who participated in a Treasure Hunt this year.

Please come to our evening meeting on Wednesday, December 5th to hear more about the 2012 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt & see pictures of the plants we documented this past summer.

Rare plant treasure hunters at Osa Meadows

You Won't Find Plants by Looking Up!
Award-winning photo by Rich LaShure

The Red Jeepsters Score Rare Plants and Awards in the 2011 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

The results are in for the 2011 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, a state-wide collaboration between CNPS & the Department of Fish and Game to update data on rare plants and their associated habitats. The Red Jeepsters team (Kathy & Rich LaShure of Inyokern & the Creosote Ring subchapter) were declared Intrepid Treasure Hunters, the Second Place designation for team awards. Rich also received a Third Place for his photograph of the subchapter field trip to Osa Meadows in late August.

The LaShures began their adventures in the spring, exploring desert locations, with their first rare plant sighting on April 3, the Glamour Girl of local flora, Phacelia nashiana, Charlotte’s Phacelia. When the weather warmed, they moved to higher terrain, making a dozen trips to the Kern Plateau between June and the end of October. In all, documentation (both the required CNDDB form and supporting photographs) was submitted for 35 occurrences of 16 rare species. Of these 24 were new occurrences, 5 were updated recent occurrences, and 7 updated historic (older than 20 years) occurrences.

Rare plant treasure hunters at Osa Meadows

Fritillaria pinetorum, photo by Kathy LaShure

Kathy’s favorite was the dainty Phacelia orogenes, Mountain Phacelia, which occurred in carpets in several locations. Rich was fascinated by the bold stems of weirdly-marked Fritillaria pinetorum, Pine Fritillary, also found in more than one meadow. The most unusual find had to be Cordylanthus eremicus ssp. kernensis, Kern Plateau Bird's-beak, found almost as an after-thought on a late season expedition to see aspens in their golden fall garb along Jackass Creek. Another Bird’s-beak, Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. brevibracteatus, was the last find of the season on Oct. 28.

Plans are already being made for more expeditions next year. Kathy is now authorized to use the DFG’s RareFind database, making research easier. The Red Jeepsters hope to find additional populations of some of this year’s species, as well as targeting several new species and also looking in some locations near the Chimney Peak By-way at the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada range.

More Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Photos: Sidalcea multifida, Viola pinetorum ssp grisea and PDF of Kern Plateau Rare Plants of 2011.

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News Archives

Ridgecrest Solar Power Project:

Cause for Celebration
An update on the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant project

Can I have a round of applause please? Or three “Hip, Hip Hoorays”? Or just a loud “Yippee!”? Yes, it’s true the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant project is officially history. In a letter dated Jan. 21, 2011 Solar Millennium withdrew its application for this project. In their own words “A review of the process and staff position on the project strongly suggests success is unlikely.” In other words the continuing CEC biological staff assertion that the site should not be disturbed was not going to change, even with a Mojave Ground Squirrel genetic connectivity study (which Solar Millennium proposed).

While those of us who opposed this ill-conceived project from a local and personal perspective can give ourselves some credit for standing up to Big Industry, we really owe the CEC staff a huge “Thank You.” Not only did the biological staff perform professionally, but the other CEC staff, those in charge of this project’s approval process, also carried out the proceedings in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Thanks should also go to the official Intervors: the Center for Biological Diversity (Ileene Anderson and Lisa Belenky); Desert Tortoise Council (Sid Silliman); Basin And Range Watch (Laura Cunningham and Kevin Emmerick); Western Watersheds Project (Michael J. Connor); Kerncrest Audubon (Brenda and Dan Burnett and Terri Middlemiss); California Unions for Reliable Energy (Elizabeth Klebaner). These groups and their representatives brought a wide array of expertise to the table, making sure that Solar Millennium did not slip anything over on us.

In celebration of this outcome my husband and I have spent three mornings in the past two weeks exploring the northern edge of the El Paso Mountains that overlook the site. Last Saturday we climbed the large volcanic hill just to the west of the site. While it was tempting to gaze downward at all the little green wildflower sprouts, the larger picture was more important. From the top we looked out over the El Paso Wash alluvial plain. My heart was full of gratitude that the fully functioning ecosystem below would remain a home for Desert Tortoises, Mojave Ground Squirrels, Desert Kit Foxes, LeConte’s Thrashers, Western Burrowing Owls and all the native plants that support them. It was a wonderful sight!

Kathy LaShure
Creosote Ring Leader

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Hurray for the Little Guys!
Update on the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant Project

I could also have titled this report “Creeping but Not Yet Dead” as the approval process for this ill-conceived project has slowed considerably since last spring. At that time, we thought recommendations would be made by both the BLM and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in time for final rulings by the end of this calendar year with construction to begin in 2011, if the project was approved.

However, once the CEC Staff Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report (SA/DEIR) was released in late March it became apparent that the CEC approval schedule would likely change (the BLM timetable was & remains different). This was due to the CEC staff’s findings that the biological resources of the proposed site could not be mitigated, nor could the visual impacts. This is the first time that CEC staff has made such an unequivocal finding for preserving a site and its intact, fully functioning ecosystem.

Their decision was based on the high number of Desert Tortoises of all ages and the functioning genetic corridor for Mojave Ground Squirrels. Of course neither of these species would thrive without high quality habitat. The Creosote Ring’s plant survey on April 17 showed just that. 23 participants helped to document the annual and perennial plant species found on the proposed RSPP site. 72 species from 25 plant families were observed, indicating a complex well-functioning ecosystem. Especially note-worthy were the existence of Winter Fat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) and Spiny Hop-Sage (Grayia spinosa), indicators of Mojave Ground Squirrel habitat and, perhaps more importantly, the occurrence of many preferred food plants for both juvenile and adult Desert Tortoises.

At the opening of the May 3-4 public workshops we were most pleased to hear Dick Anderson, CEC biologist, reference our plant list. Jane McEwen's terrific research documenting the preferred Desert Tortoise food plant observed bolstered CEC's position that this is a unique site. During the workshops Dave Hacker (CA Dept. Fish and Game) very strongly supported the need to preserve biological connectivity for the Mojave Ground Squirrel and Desert Tortoise as well. It was clear that the mitigation measures proposed by Solar Millennium do not meet the requirements of DFG & USFWS.

There are some other major issues with RSPP besides the biological and visual ones. The plan is to use trucked-in propane to keep the transfer fluid thin enough to work. We think that they have greatly underestimated how much propane they will need, as our fall-winter-spring air temps are lower than they have allowed for. This will increase the cost of generation, the carbon foot-print and traffic. Ridgecrest sits downwind of the site giving concerns about Valley Fever with the grading of such a large area (over 2000 acres). They claim mitigation will control 75% of the dust but that leaves 25% than can infect people. Valley Fever is not a fun disease.

Over the next weeks and months many excellent comment letters from both environmental organizations and private citizens were submitted to both the CEC & BLM (http://tinyurl.com/2dmkv2c). Most have supported the position that this project would irreparably alter a biological treasure and should not be built. I wrote a detailed letter for CNPS. The Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake also wrote two letters expressing their considerable concerns.

Then on June 30, Solar Millennium requested a suspension of their application. They proposed conducting a 2-year survey to study connectivity issues for local populations of Mojave Ground Squirrels. This was approved by the CEC but the BLM approval process continues to move forward on its own timetable. After the July 8 mandatory status conference Solar Millennium realized that this request needed to be modified as it was perceived as “a complete halt to all activities.” Therefore on Aug. 8 Solar Millennium asked for the suspension to be changed to “a modification of … milestones.” We will have to wait to see what this really means.

However, since Solar Millennium has two other California sites (Blythe and Palen) moving through the approval process, they may be hoping that approval of one or both of them will give them additional monetary resources to put into Ridgecrest down the road. In the meantime, we should not be complacent, thinking that the little guys (Mojave Ground Squirrels) will do the heavy lifting for us. We must continue to monitor the CEC website for developments and maintain contacts with the excellent interveners. I am particularly grateful to two of them: Dan Burnett (Creosote Ring member and Kerncrest Audubon intervener) and Ileene Anderson (personal friend, Center for Biological Diversity biologist/intervener, and desert expert extraordinaire). My personal crash course in conservation work would have been far less successful without their generosity and dedication.

— Kathy LaShure

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Thank you to everyone who submitted comments to the California Energy Commission (CEC) and BLM about the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project (RSPP).

Click here for a PDF file of the letter I sent, as Creosote Ring Coordinator, to both the CEC & BLM. The plant list generated by the Creosote Ring April field trip to the RSPP site is available here. If you have not been reading the comment letters as they are posted on the CEC website here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/26nhrwp. The latest posting was from the Naval Air Warfare Center, towards the bottom of the list, with points that no one else could make.

As for where we are in the permitting process, this site was taken off fast-track schedule in May, which means that the original timetable was scrapped. A new schedule will not be set until late September, after the publication of the Revised Staff Assessment. However, two additional biological workshops are to be scheduled, one still in June & another in July. There are no precise dates for these yet. As I will be out of the loop for the next several weeks due to family concerns, please check here http://tinyurl.com/23zo4tk for schedule postings.

Again, if you are not on Don & Judy Decker's email list for updates on Ridgecrest Solar Power Project, you may wish to contact Don ddecker@ridgenet.net. The Deckers have been providing excellent summaries of all the action.

click for photo album of proposed solar power project site

Click for Album
(opens in new window)

To the left is an online photo album showing the area of 2002 acres that will be bulldozed and scraped bare if the proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Project is approved. The photos were taken between February and April, 2010, just a brief sample of the scenery and flora that will be competely and irreplaceably destroyed. Many of these spring flowers are food plants for the desert tortoise which still live here, as well kit fox, burrowing owl, lizards, and snakes, signs of which are evident is one takes the time to look.

Below is a field trip report for the area for more information.

If you want to read up on the permitting process, here is the link to the CEC site for RSPP:
http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_ridgecrest/index.html

Kathy LaShure,
Creosote Ring Leader

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Field Trip Report: El Paso Wash, April 17, 2010

It’s been a late and balky spring in the Indian Wells Valley. But 23 individuals showed up on a glorious (i.e. calm wind/warm temperature) morning to explore the El Paso Wash drainage southwest of Ridgecrest. Solar Millennium, LLC has proposed to use nearly 4000 acres of BLM land there for a 250-megawatt solar thermal electric power plant. The project site lies just northeast of the El Paso Mountains and is bisected by Brown Road (old Highway 395) forming a north field and a south field. The first iteration of the plan had the facility partially sited in the El Paso Wash proper. That was changed after the first public meetings in Dec. 2009. Now it is sited on both sides of the Wash. But the entire site is in an historic drainage, as evidenced by the tumbled appearance of the rocks there.

The original purpose of the field trip, as planned in January, was to informally survey the flora of this area. No rare plants were known to occur there, but that may be because no one had looked in the right place or at the right time. However, fauna there has been well-documented. The most significant species are Desert Tortoise, Mojave Ground Squirrel, Desert Kit Fox, Burrowing Owl, LeConte’s Thrasher, and Loggerhead Shrike. Of course theses animals would not be present without the specific plant resources needed for food and shelter.

Once CNPS hired Amber Swanson as Rare Plant Treasure Hunt coordinator for the Mojave Desert, she agreed to trek north from her Claremont home-base and help us survey the flora. She provided a list of specific rare plants that have been known to occur not far away in other El Paso Mountains locations. So we kept an eye out for them as well. We also had other participants from Southern California.

The trip’s participants amiably split into two survey groups. Jane McEwen and Judy Breitenstein led the exploration of the north field which lies to the east of the broad, braided El Paso Wash. The second group tackled the south field on the west side of the drainage and was led by Amber Swanson and Kathy LaShure. We did not hope to cover the entire large footprint of the proposed solar site, but did the best we could in a single morning.

No rare plants were found by either group. But the combined plant list has 70 species in 25 families, indicating a diverse flora. Many known Desert Tortoise preferred food plants were documented. If you would like a copy of the plant list please contact Kathy LaShure, desert_encelia@verizon.net.

The Draft EIR/Staff Assessment was released on April 9 and the BLM comment period extends for 90 days from that date. Information about the DEIR can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/2cugk79. The Creosote Ring subchapter is working with Greg Suba, CNPS State Conservation Director, to be sure that our response to this poorly sited facility is as effective as possible.

— Kathy LaShure

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Wildflower Alert!

4/16/2010: A sub-chapter member reports there are amazing blooms in Kelso Valley: take Hwy 178 to Kelso Creek Rd and keep going south til you see the orange and purple on the slopes to the west. There is also a slope full of Baby Blue eyes.

Click on the images below for larger pictures.

Kelso Valley Wildflowers
Kelso Valley Wildflowers
Kelso Valley Wildflowers

Meeting Report

Our February evening program was on Wednesday, February 3 at 7 PM at the Maturango Museum. First we talked briefly about our participation the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt being organized by the State CNPS office and chose some dates & locations for 2010 field trips. Then CR member Jane McEwen presented Desert Microbial Life Matters:

Jane shared preliminary results of her investigation of microbial mats growing in the wash in Poison Canyon illustrated with her photographs as well as with photomicrographs taken by Wayne Lanier, PhD. These microbial mats are highly photosynthetic, as evidenced from the prolific production oxygen bubbles. The small spring-fed stream in Poison Canyon was covered with colorful masses of microbes up until the recent rainstorms. Now that the flood has washed away almost all signs of the microbial mats, Jane plans to study the recovery of the microbial community over the next year.

She also presented photographs, photomicrographs and samples of soil crust collected northeast of Searles Lake. Cyanobacterial filaments bind soil particles into a crust, referred to as cryptobiotic or microbiotic soil crusts. These soil crusts reduce soil loss from wind and water erosion and also provide a living mulch that retains soil moisture. The cyanobacteria in the soil crust are photosynthetically active when enough moisture is present. They also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere making it available for plant growth in the desert soils, which other wise are low in nitrogen.

For those of you interested in more information on microbial life such as those found in salt marshes and soil crusts see Wayne Lanier's archived website http://www.hikingwithafieldmicroscope.com/ and Wayne Lanier's and his colleague Cris Benton's website: http://ostro.ced.berkeley.edu/~crisr/he/.

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Field Trip Suggestions

For current information about our activities, please contact Kathy LaShure, subchapter coordinator: (desert_encelia@verizon.net or 760-377-4541). We have an email notification list for current activities. Also, be sure and check the main Bristlecone Chapter Events page for events a little farther north!

Calochortus Venustus

Butterfly Mariposa Lily, photo by Kathy LaShure

Here are some more suggestions for native plant activities now and over the summer months:

Last Friday (May 27), Rich & I hiked the Flynn Creek trail that starts at McNally's above Kernville. You cross the roaring Kern River on the bridge & turn south. Above the split with the Tobias Creek Trail (about 1-1.25 miles in) there are thousands of Calochortus venustus (Butterfly Mariposa Lily), more than I've seen anywhere else. The bloom should still be good this weekend as there were lots of buds.

On the drive west on Hwy 178 just past the Canebrake Reserve (large new sign), on the south side of the road there is a magnificent population of Mojave Bush Penstemon (Penstemon incertus) just coming into full bloom (& there is room on that side of the road to safely pull off & park for photos).

If you don't want to drive that far, Paul Decker shared the location of a huge colony of Sand Plant (Desert Christmas Tree) Pholisma arenaria here in Inyokern. Here are some of his photos of those strange plants:

[Click on the images for larger pictures]

Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria

Finally, if you aren't up to getting out, here are 3 websites with lots of interesting information & wonderful pictures:

As always, I hope each of you has a terrific summer with close encounters of the native plant kind!

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Wildflower Guides and Creosote Information

Clone Ring of Creosote bushes, estimated to be 11,700 years old, quite possibly the oldest living thing.

Quite possibly the oldest living things (even older than the ancient Bristlecone Pines), Creosote rings are formed by cloning as new growth sprouts up around the perimeter of the original shrub. This is the oldest known Creosote ring, "King Clone," which is located south of us in the Mojave Chapter's territory.

Guides to local wildflower hotspots and Mojave shrubs:

Each brochure also includes when to go, how to get there & a short description of the most noteworthy wildflowers to be seen. Please click on any link for a printable PDF of these guides.

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Information about our sub-chapter namesake, the Creosote Bush:

Creosote Ring and Owens Peak

Creosote Ring with Owens Peak in the background
Photo by Kathy LaShure