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Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society

Spring Flower - Mojave Woodyaster

Mojave Woodyaster, Black Canyon,
Photo by Larry Blakely

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a state-wide 501(c)3 non-profit organization of lay persons and professionals who share an interest in California’s native plants. The Society, working through its local chapters, seeks to increase the understanding of California’s native flora and to preserve this rich resource for future generations. Membership is open to all.

The Bristlecone Chapter covers all of Mono and Inyo Counties and northeastern Kern County, an area that includes the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, the Northern Mojave Desert, the Inyo and White Mountains, and the Owens Valley. The southern end of the Bristlecone Chapter’s geographically large territory, in and around the Indian Wells Valley, has its own sub-chapter, Creosote Ring.


The May-June 2016 Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter is online - read online or download and print.

The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue is June 15th.

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Upcoming CNPS Events

Field Trips, Meetings, and other events of interest scheduled for the next month or so – for more events, including non-CNPS events which may be of interest to our members, see our Events Page.

CNPS Event May 7, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Union Wash; Leader: Jerry Zatorski

This will be part driving tour and part hiking tour of this rarely botanized southern Owens Valley alluvial fan. The bottom of the fan is down in the Owens Valley’s Great Basin flora, and as we ascend up the alluvial fan, we will enter into Mojave flora. There are also a few spring ecosystems with perennial water. With the long awaited El Nino moisture finally here, we can expect annuals alongside the persistent drought adapted perennial shrub flora. This will be a full day of exploring, so you will need to bring lunch, snacks, fluids and dress to be outside all day. Also have hand lens, field guides, and binoculars. We will meet at Independence Park, on the south end of Independence, on US 395 (Edwards St) at 8:00 am, and we should be done by late afternoon. Contact info: Jerry Zatorski,

CNPS Event May 25, Wednesday, 7 pm, Bristlecone Chapter Program (General Meeting) at White Mountain Research Station, Bishop: Creating a Native Plant and Pollinator Garden in the Eastern Sierra, with Sara Kokkelenberg and Kay Ogden of Eastern Sierra Land Trust

In 2015, Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT) was awarded the Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant to create native plant and pollinator gardens that enhance biodiversity and increase understanding and appreciation of native plants in the Eastern Sierra region. With the help and support of the California Native Plant Society – Bristlecone Chapter and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, ESLT met their 2015 goals. Join Kay and Sara from ESLT on May 25th at 7pm at the White Mountain Research Center to learn more about their project and where it has taken them to today!

CNPS Event May 28, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Black and Marble Canyons, White Mountains. Leader: Steve Matson.

Right in the Bishop backyard, Marble Canyon has some rare finds like Glossopetalon spinescens and Philadelphus microphyllus. Meet at 9:00 AM at the White Mountain Research Station on East Line Street. We will car pool from there on both paved and not too rough dirt roads. Bring lunch and water. We will hike up Marble canyon on a use trail, somewhat rough, some slick rock. Contact info: Steve Matson,, 775-843-0389, or 760-938-2862.

June 16, Thursday, 1 to 5 PM, FREE: The High Country Responds to a Changing Climate, Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Lee Vining

Our climate action group in the Mono Basin (350 Mono) will present a day of education on high elevation climate issues in the Eastern Sierra on the Thursday June 16. The public is invited to attend a series of afternoon talks from experts in climate issues at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining. We hope attendees will be inspired to take action in their own lives and communities to encourage climate progress. Learn about climate issues from local experts: Connie Millar, Forest Service Scientist, will talk about "Climate Change and Sierra Nevada Ecosystems; Responses of subalpine forests and American pikas"; Greg Stock, Yosemite NP Geologist, will speak on "What Glaciers tell us about Climate Change"; Sarah Stock, Yosemite NP Wildlife Biologist, will discuss "Humans Take Action: Bighorn Sheep, Sierra Nevada Red Fox and Peregrine Falcon"; Geoff McQuilkin, Mono Lake Committee, will share "An update of how Mono Lake is responding to warmer, drier winters, and how the Mono Lake Committee is planning for the future"; and Caelen McQuilkin, Lee Vining High School student, will review his award-winning science project, observing how American pikas respond to temperature changes in their talus habitat.

Sponsored by 350 Mono as a prequel to the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua
Free and open to the public -- please attend!
Call 760 647-6461 or email with any questions.

June 17-19, 2016: Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua,

Get your binoculars ready for the 15th Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua coming June 17-19, 2016! We hope you’ll be here to celebrate and support the rich diversity of bird life, the legacy of avian research, and the ongoing conservation efforts in the Eastern Sierra—all while having a darn good time. Happy birding, botanizing, and naturalizing! We hope to see you at the Chautauqua!

Registration opens April 15th at 6:30am. We encourage you to register online at that time as some classes do fill quickly. The complete Chautauqua program is available online. If you didn't register early, there are often last minute openings available on trips, so don't let that stop you from enjoying this fantastic event.

CNPS Event July 16, Saturday, 9:45- around 2:30, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Valentine Reserve, Old Mammoth, Mono County, Leader: Ann Howald,

Valentine Camp, a University of California Natural Reserve, covers about 150 acres, is amazingly rich in habitats, and supports over 250 plant species. On this leisurely hike we’ll see montane forest, wet meadows, seeps and springs, montane riparian woodland along Mammoth Creek, sagebrush scrub on a small moraine, and a slope of montane chaparral with red firs attempting to reclaim it. Wildflowers will be abundant, especially in the sagebrush-meadow transition zone. Historically, the legendary skier Hans George operated his ropetow on the slopes above Valentine Camp, and the property was a summer fishing camp for the original owners. The Valentine family donated this property to the University of California. Since 1972 it has been included in U.C.’s Natural Reserve System, dedicated to research and public education. Easy hike. Bring water, lunch, sun protection. All attendees will need to sign a waiver before entering the reserve. Space is limited, so please contact Sue Weis ( or 760-873-3485) to sign up. Sorry, but no dogs or folks under 18.

July 21-24, Thursday-Sunday, Jepson Herbarium Workshop: Flora of Rock Creek with Joy England (recipient of one of our 2012 DeDecker Botanical Grants), at Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Station (SNARL)

Workshop is full! Wait list only.

The upper Rock Creek watershed in the eastern Sierra Nevada is a 13-mile canyon filled with lakes, streams, meadows, and granite fell fields surrounded by jagged peaks where >600 plant taxa thrive during a short growing season. Dominant trees such as whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Sierra juniper (Juniperus grandis) are adapted to relatively low seasonal moisture in the rain shadow of the Sierra crest; shallow pockets of soil fed by melting snow sustain smaller, thirstier genera such as heather (Kalmia; Phyllodoce), bog orchid (Platanthera), paintbrush (Castilleja), elephant’s head (Pedicularis), moonwort (Botrychium), and shooting star (Primula).

One of the main attractions of the watershed, the 10,000’ high basin named Little Lakes Valley, is part of the vast John Muir Wilderness. Arguably nowhere else in the state can the alpine plant community be explored so conveniently, as the highest paved road in California offers easy entry to the canyon’s hiking trails. Twenty eight CNPS-listed taxa have been recorded from the watershed, including pygmy pussypaws (Calyptridium pygmaeum), Inyo Tonestus (Tonestus peirsonii) and beautiful pussy-toes (Antennaria pulchella).

On Thursday evening, we will have an introductory slide presentation at SNARL and review workshop logistics. All day Friday and Saturday will be spent in the field, with evenings left open for relaxation or self-directed study. Field lectures will familiarize participants with common and uncommon species in the area, history of botanical exploration in the canyon, and special adaptations of alpine plants. Hiking will be moderately strenuous, up to four miles a day at high elevation with low to moderate elevation gain, both on and off trail over varied terrain including uneven surfaces, loose rock, and water crossings. The workshop will end at noon on Sunday, in the field.

Lodging: Workshop fee includes lodging at SNARL in dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds. Space outside the bunkhouse is also available for camping. Showers and flush toilets are available.
Meals: Do it yourself. The bunkhouse has a full kitchen, and participants who do not want to cook (or wait for a turn at the stove) can drive 15 minutes into Mammoth Lakes for breakfast and dinner. Each participant will need to bring their own lunch on Friday and Saturday (we will be in the field all day and will not be close to restaurants until the evening).
Workshop fee: $350/$375
Registration Information Workshop is full! Wait list only

July 28-31, Thursday-Sunday, Jepson Herbarium Workshop: The Remote Flora of the White Mountains: Cottonwood Basin or Other Ambitions with Jim Morefield and Dylan Neubauer at White Mountain Research Center, Crooked Creek Station

The White Mountains are located at the southwest corner of the Great Basin floristic region, and their geologic and habitat diversity, high relief (4,000 to 14,000+ feet elevation), and proximity to the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert all contribute to an unusually rich and well-documented flora, including over one seventh of the total California flora. This ambitious workshop will attempt to visit more remote locations harboring species otherwise rarely seen in the White Mountains and/or in California (along with hundreds of more common taxa). It is designed for participants who are comfortable with strenuous day-long hiking at high elevations while carrying all of their needs (including one gallon of water) with them.

This workshop will target the Cottonwood Basin in the east-central White Mountains between 9,000 and 11,000 feet elevation, although this could change based on local conditions. After meeting in Owens Valley Thursday morning, we will drive immediately to high elevations, stopping along the way for some acclimation walks and general botanical and geologic orientation, before arriving at Crooked Creek Station mid-afternoon. Friday and Saturday, we will access Cottonwood Basin via two different steep, rocky 4-WD roads, followed by further hiking and botanizing into even more remote locations. With luck and fortitude, this will include some rarely seen members of the White Mountains and California floras such as Carex idahoa, Carex scirpoidea, Dryopteris filix-mas, Jamesia americana, Oxytropis sericea, and Potentilla concinna. In order to access this amazing botanical area, we will need at least three workshop participants who have high-clearance (at least 9"; no Subarus or small SUVs) 4-WD vehicles and are willing and able to drive them over dirt roads that are filled with rocks and next to steep drop-offs. If you are an experienced, confident driver in these conditions, please let us know in the "notes" section of your registration form. We may be able to discount workshop fees for drivers.

Sunday will include additional stops at lower elevation sites as we leave the mountains. The workshop will conclude at lunchtime on Sunday, in the field.

Lodging: Included. Participants will be accommodated in dormitory rooms with twin or bunk-style beds at White Mountain Research Center, Crooked Creek Station. Camping is available for those who prefer it. Showers and flush toilets are available.
Meals: Meals are provided from dinner on Thursday through lunch on Sunday. Each participant will need to bring a lunch to eat in the field on Thursday.
Workshop fee: $695/$720
Registration Information:

CNPS Event July 30, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Shepherd Pass trail, Symmes Creek. Leader: Sue Weis.

We will hike up the Shepherd Pass trail at least as far as the population of DeDecker clover on the ridge between Symmes and Shepherd Creek. We’ll try to clarify the subspecies of Petrophytum caespitosum present on the walls of Symmes Creek so bring hand lenses to look at small petals. Mary DeDecker reported an Erigeron from a rocky south facing slope on Symmes Creek and we will try to re-locate it. Meet at 8:00 am at Dehy Park at the north end of Independence for carpooling. The road to the trailhead is a rough dirt road, so 4WD and high clearance will be needed. We will walk 3-4 miles mostly on an easy trail, with several stream crossings, but there are steep switchbacks going to the clover population. Bring lunch, sun protection, and lots of water since it will most likely be hot, as well as normal hiking gear. For questions, contact Sue Weis,, or 760-873-3485.

CNPS Event August 13, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: East of Mono Lake, Anchorite Hills. Leader: Sue Weis

Last year we re-located populations of several CNPS listed species in the Anchorite Hills area, including Astragalus kentrophyta var. ungulatus, Mentzelia torreyi, and Eriogonum alexandrae, and also found that the area had an infestation of halogeton, which we pulled. We will be again pulling any halogeton we find while visiting this diverse corner of Mono County. Meet at the intersection of Highway 395 and Highway 167 at 9:00 am. Part of the trip is a few miles on a sandy bumpy road that needs 4WD and some clearance, with a short hike on sandy soil. Bring lunch, water, gloves, and sun protection. For questions, contact Sue Weis,, or 760-873-3485.

CNPS Event September 10, Saturday, CNPS Native Plant Sale - Bishop, White Mountain Research Station

A wonderful array of native plants is offered every year.  We’ve been busy coaxing from seed dozens of  brittlebush, various buckwheats, penstemons, Mojave aster, lupine and many more favorites!! See our database of species that have been available at our plant sales for ideas of what to expect.

Prices: Plant prices are $2.00 or 3 for $5.00 for Super Cells, $5.00 for small tree pots, $8.00 for gallon pots, and $10 for tall tree pots.

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.

See our Plant Sale Page for more details!

For more events, including some from other organizations, see the Bristlecone Chapter Events Page

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Conservation Updates

See our Conservation pages for updates on current issues relating to native plants and their habitats, such as Inyo National Forest Plan Revisions and Invasive Species. We will start up the Conservation Alerts emails again soon, if you signed up previously or wish to sign up - check back to the Conservation page!

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Facebook Page

The Bristlecone Chapter now has a Facebook Page! If you are on Facebook, head on over and "like" us (or click "like" in the box at left) to get updates in your Facebook newsfeed. While you are there, post a message on our wall, share photos or links of interest, let us know what you think!

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