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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 March-April 2017 Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter is online - read online or download and print.

The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue is April 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.

March 18, Saturday: Centennial Flat Exploration, Friends of the Inyo

Explore the newest additions to the National Conservation Lands System! The centennial flat landscape comprises Joshua Tree and higher elevation pinion pine woodlands surrounded by the Malpais Mesa and Coso Range Wilderness Areas, Death Valley National Park and Owens Lake. These newly protected lands provide habitat linkages and climate refugia for numerous species of animals and plants as well as ample recreational opportunities. Wildflowers may be a particular highlight of this trip. We will spend the day touring and hiking these BLM lands off of Highway 136. This is a joint Desert Survivors trip. RSVP required. For more info, contact

March 20-23 and/or 27-30: Volunteers needed for rare plant surveys in Death Valley

Volunteers are needed to help in data collection about populations of Swallenia alexandrae and Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis in Eureka Valley this spring. The estimated dates volunteers will be needed are: March 20-23, March 27- 30, April 3-6, and April 10-13. Additional dates could be added if needed. Volunteers will be camping at Eureka Dunes Dry Camp in various, possibly inclement conditions, hiking 12 miles a day over sandy, rugged terrain, and assisting with data collection for the impending FWS decision to delist these two species. A commitment of at least 2 days is preferable, but any help is appreciated. Click here for a flier to share!

Contact: Lucy Ellis
Wildlife and Natural Resource Monitoring Specialist
The Great Basin Institute at Death Valley National Park - Resources Management

March 21-22, and March 23-24, 2017: Identification of Grasses, Herbarium, University of Nevada, Reno, with Instructor Arnold (Jerry) Tiehm, M.S., Great Basin Specialist and UNR Herbarium Curator

Always wanted to learn grasses? Here’s a great opportunity!

Dates: March 21-22, and March 23-24, 2017
Location: Rm 300G, Fleischman Agriculture, UNR
Cost: $150 non-student, $80 student

This course covers the unique taxonomy of grasses and some grass-like plants. Basic terminology, dissection skills, and use of keys are the focus of this class. You will learn to identify grasses, and also how to collect and press them. You can anticipate working with about 48 different grass genera, along with “grass-like” plants such as sedges, rushes and lilies. For more information contact Jerry Tiehm at

CNPS Event March 22, Wednesday, 6pm: CNPS Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Pizza Factory, 970 N. Main St., Bishop. Join us at 5:30 PM for dinner. All members are welcome.

CNPS Event March 25-26 Saturday-Sunday, CNPS Field Trip: Death Valley, with leader, Mark Bagley

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Panamint Springs on Highway 190 in Panamint Valley, about one hour east of Lone Pine. Camping Saturday night will probably be primitive (no water, no toilets, no tables). Trip locations will be scouted and determined just before the trip. We'll go to areas in either Panamint Valley and/or Death Valley depending on the bloom. Won't be able to tell you where that will be until we meet Saturday morning. With good rains this year it should be a good, perhaps very good, wildflower year. Easy to moderate walking. Trip will end on Sunday about 3 p.m. Standard car OK, but we will be on some dirt roads; don't forget to gas up ahead of time (there is very expensive gas at Panamint Springs and in Death Valley). Bring good walking shoes, plenty of water for the whole weekend and everything else you need for primitive camping. There's a $25 per vehicle park entrance fee, good for 7 days, if you don't have one of the Park passes. Mark is a consulting botanist with more than 30 years experience in the Mojave Desert and has led many wildflower trips to Death Valley. Questions/more information, contact: Mark Bagley, 760-920-2211.

CNPS Event March 29, 2017, Wednesday, 7pm: Julie Fontaine will present "The Wonder Down Under! Soil Ecology and its Influence on Plant Succession, Habitat Restoration, and Your Garden"
Location: White Mountain Research Center, Bishop.

Habitat restoration ecologist, Julie Fontaine, will explore the nuances of soil ecology and its influence on plant succession, and the restoration of native habitats. The right foundation improves the survival of new plantings, reduces invasive weeds, and enables plants to adapt to the environment faster, resulting in better habitat restoration success. Translating this information to a pollinator garden, or even edible plantings, Julie will provide soils-based applications and tips that will help any garden or native area flourish.

Julie has been living in Mammoth Lakes for over 10 years. She is a professional environmental consultant in the fields of soil science, habitat restoration and regulatory permitting. She holds a Master’s Degree in Soil Science with a focus on Habitat Restoration. Julie’s passions lie in helping people take care of their land, whether it is for improving plant productivity on a farm, or restoring habitat. Recently she has been retained to assist in providing cutting edge soils-based solutions to manage the devastating impacts of the Polyshothole Borer on riparian habitat in Southern California. In addition, she also runs Positively, a blog focusing on sustainable living.

CNPS Event April 1, DEADLINE: Bristlecone Chapter T-shirt Design Contest

The Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) needs a new t-shirt design! We are soliciting artwork that will be used on our new t-shirts. Deadline: April 1, 2017

Contest Guidelines

The original artwork should include a bristlecone pine and be approximately 8 x11”. The work may include other native plants and artistic features, but a bristlecone pine should be central to the work. The words "Bristlecone Chapter California Native Plant Society" should be incorporated. Artwork can be in any reproducible medium, and can be full color, but will ultimately be printed with 6 or fewer colors. The main work will be printed on the shirt-front, and a smaller tag image will be printed on the back below the neck. The tag image should be simpler. It could be derived from the larger piece, or it could be something different suitable for printing in one color. Click here for a printable flyer about the t-shirt design contest!

Contest entries should be emailed to by midnight on April 1, 2017. Please send artwork as PDFs or JPEGs and include your contact information. The winner will be selected by the Board of Directors of the Bristlecone Chapter. The winner will be awarded $200 and a new t-shirt.

For more information, contact Stephen at or (760) 937-9918.

April 1, Saturday: Chocolate Mountain Hike, Friends of the Inyo

Join us for a FOI tradition! Chocolate Mountain borders the Great Basin and the Piper Mountains Wilderness. A spring hike up Chocolate Mountains offers a reprieve from the snow in the Sierra.

Expect a strenuous walk with significant elevation gain and loss- a total of 1,500 feet of elevation over 7 miles round trip. Be prepared for all weather conditions, and bring food, water, and layers.

Space is limited so please RSVP. For more information and to RSVP contact Ben at or call 760-873-6500.

CNPS Event April 2, Sunday, 9:30 am - noon: Blooms and Bugs for Beginners, with Nancy Hadlock and Richard Potashin. Dedecker Garden, California Museum, Independence

This program will offer beginning botanists and bug enthusiasts a chance to find and identify the blooming wildflowers around the Eastern California Museum. Bring good walking shoes, water, a snack, and loads of questions, we will have lots of resources to refer to!

April 3-6 and/or April 10-13: Volunteers needed for rare plant surveys in Death Valley

Volunteers are needed to help in data collection about populations of Swallenia alexandrae and Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis in Eureka Valley this spring. The estimated dates volunteers will be needed are: March 20-23, March 27- 30, April 3-6, and April 10-13. Additional dates could be added if needed. Volunteers will be camping at Eureka Dunes Dry Camp in various, possibly inclement conditions, hiking 12 miles a day over sandy, rugged terrain, and assisting with data collection for the impending FWS decision to delist these two species. A commitment of at least 2 days is preferable, but any help is appreciated. Click here for a flier to share!

Contact: Lucy Ellis
Wildlife and Natural Resource Monitoring Specialist
The Great Basin Institute at Death Valley National Park - Resources Management

April 8, Saturday, 9:45am: Pollinator Garden Workshop, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, held at the Inyo Council for the Arts (137 S. Main St. in Bishop)

Want to create beautiful, productive landscaping in your yard or garden that will attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other important pollinators? Eastern Sierra Land Trust is here to help!

At our Pollinator Workshop on Saturday, April 8th, you'll learn how to get your pollinator-friendly garden growing this spring. Guest speakers will share insights on Eastern Sierra gardening topics ranging from drought-tolerant native plants, to composting, to watering systems, and more. The presentations will begin at 10am, so please join us by 9:45am for registration and refreshments.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Indigo Johnson, ESLT Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event April 8, Saturday, 9am: Division Creek and Sawmill Trailhead, with Steve Matson

Meet at 9:00 AM at the Kiosk and Redwood tree at the corner of 395 and 168 in Big Pine. If you are coming from the south you may meet us at 9:20 at the junction of Tinemaha Road and Division Creek Road, about 2 miles south of Aberdeen. We will drive west on decent dirt roads to the Sawmill Pass Trailhead. From there we will hike slowly south along the trail and feast upon one of the best Lupine displays in the Owens Valley. A rarer plant we will seek out, among many others, is Collinsia callosa, desert mountain blue-eyed Mary, and Tricardia watsonii, three hearts. Also present will be more Cryptanthas than you can shake a stick at! Contact Steve Matson at 775-843- 0389 or for more information.

April 9, Sunday: Alabama Hills Stewardship Event, Friends of the Inyo

Join Friends of the Inyo, Bishop BLM, and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group for a stewardship volunteer event in the Alabama Hills. Come help care for a beautiful places outside Lone Pine. Bring water and work appropriate clothing. Tools and gloves provided.

Exact time and meeting location TBD. Email with questions.

April 19, Wednesday, 7pm: Ripple Effects - using sound to study the effects of introduced trout on bird populations around alpine lakes, with Mary Clapp, at the U.S. Forest Service/BLM Building in Bishop; Eastern Sierra Audubon

The Eastern Sierra Audubon April program will be held at the U.S. Forest Service/BLM Building in Bishop on West Line Street, near the DMV. Doors open at 6:30, with the presentation starting at 7:00pm.

Guest speaker, Mary Clapp, will discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). Non-native trout prey heavily upon aquatic insects, potentially outcompeting native insectivores (including birds and bats) for an important food source and altering their foraging behavior, fitness, and reproductive success in unknown ways. Her work studies this connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats, and comparing this technology with traditional survey methods. In this talk, she will give a brief overview of the acoustic methods she has used to compare bird activity at fish-containing and fishless lakesides and review preliminary analyses. Her work is made possible by substantial collaboration with SEKI and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service.

Mary Clapp is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis. Though native to Maryland, she migrated to the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada in 2010, where her academic imagination took flight and where she has continued to naturalize. When she is not in the alpine zone eavesdropping on birds and bats, she can be found at lower elevations exploring riparian corridors, cliffsides, boulder fields, and hot springs (or at her computer in Davis).

May 6, Saturday, 11am-2pm: GardenFest, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler Street, Bishop

Join us for our annual GardenFest! Held at the ESLT Garden at 250 N. Fowler Street in Bishop. Learn from Master Gardeners, swap gardening tips and stories, share seeds, and purchase plants from local nurseries and organizations. Pizza and refreshments available. Save the date and celebrate the growing season with us! The Bristlecone Chapter will be at the GardenFest with some native plants available for purchase - get a head start on your garden!

CNPS Event May 20, Saturday, 8am Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Ainslee Spring and Round Fire Burn. Leader: Jerry Zatorski

At 5500' elevation, Ainslee Spring sits against the Wheeler Crest at the top of the alluvial fan. In the past the spring area was host to many Sierra plants, but in February 2015 all that changed as the Round Fire rapidly consumed everything in its path. Today the spring and associated wetland still shines bright green amid the devastated landscape around it. Due to the dense sagebrush that covered much of the landscape prior to the fire, this area has been spared much of the disturbances from ranching, suburbanization and heavy ORV use in past years, and as a result there are relatively few exotic weeds. Despite the meager rains in spring of 2015, the spring flowers were big and bold.

We will begin at the dirt loop road (Alison Ln. in Google maps) on the west side of Paradise and hike along the Ainslee Spring road making stops as the flora dictates. We will also visit a Bitterbrush planting implemented by BLM in October of 2016 and view the extent of the fire scar on the alluvial fan. There will be about 3-4 miles of moderate hiking at a botanist pace. Participants should bring lunch, snacks and plenty of fluids. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes...

We will meet at 8:00 AM at the dirt loop road which is 0.5 mile up Lower Rock Creek Rd/Old Sherwin Grade from where it crosses Rock Creek and the trail head (old Paradise Resort), or 0.3 mile down from the Paradise Fire House. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski,

CNPS Event May 24, Wednesday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Volcanic Tablelands. Leader: Ann Howald.

Meet at 9:30 am at the pullout near the intersection of Gorge Road and Old Sherwin Grade Road (west side of Hwy 395). We’ll make several stops along Gorge Road to see mainly spring annuals. There was a spectacular bloom here in 2016, and 2017 may be similar. One thing we’ll look for is colonies of Phacelia saxicola, which is known from only 7 collections in California. We’ll be walking over uneven ground 1-2 miles, and should wrap up by early afternoon. For more information: contact Ann (707) 721-6120 or

June 3, Saturday: Garden Tour, Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Save the Date! Details TBA.

CNPS Event June 10, Saturday: Whippoorwill Flat Field Trip, Inyo Mountains, with Michèle Slaton

We will visit the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Whippoorwill Flat area in the Inyo Mountains. After driving up the Death Valley Road out of Big Pine, and out on the Saline Valley Road about 12 miles, we will hike in the vicinity of 7500 ft., exploring the Whippoorwill Flat Research Natural Area. We should see a variety of annual and perennial wildflowers, including phlox (Phlox stansburyi), blazing-star (Mentzelia sp.), bitter- root (Lewisia rediviva), buckwheats (Eriogonum sp.), and rockcress (Boechera sp.). Our prize will be rediscovery of the juniper and dense mistletoe hybrid, Phoradendron juniperinum x bolleanum ssp. densum, which was visited by Mary DeDecker about every five years 1968-1995, and so will be our opportunity to carry on the trend of long-term monitoring (see Wiens, D. & M. DeDecker. 1972. Rare natural hybridization in Phoradendron (Viscaceae). Madrono 21:395-402). Delbert Wiens (expert of mistletoes; author of Viscaceae treatments, and Mary's son-in- law) is planning to join us! We will meet at 9am at the parking lot at the junction of Hwy 395 and Hwy 168 in Big Pine, and carpool to the extent possible to the field trip area. Bring everything you need for a full day in the field. Please contact Michèle Slaton (760-920- 8693 or with questions.

June 16-18: Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua,

Get your binoculars ready for the 16th Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua coming June 16-18, 2017! 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 June 17, Saturday: Conglomerate Mesa, with Jerry Zatorski

Nestled in the southern Inyo Mountains, Conglomerate Mesa is the second most southern peak in the Inyo Mountains, and the has the most southern pinyon/juniper woodlands in the range. Unlike the basalt covered Malpais Mesa to the south or the granitic pluton of Cerro Gordo to the north, Conglomerate Mesa is composed of older Permian sedimentary rock. This part of the Inyo Mountains has great potential to hold numerous botanical treasures as much of the Inyo Mountains have not been explored botanically especially away from established roads.

We will begin at the northeast side of the mesa and hike and botanize our way up to the summit and mesa flat above 7000'. There will be about 7-10 miles of moderate to challenging hiking at a botanist pace which should take us a full day, 8 hours or so. Participants should bring lunch, ample snacks and plenty of fluids as this is a dry hike. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes, appropriate clothes. Bring field guides, hand lens, binoculars, topo maps, and a willingness to hike and explore.

We will meet at 7:00 AM at the intersection of SR 190 and Saline Valley Rd. Alt. Route (34.5 mi E of US 395 near Lone Pine or 17mi E of SR 190 x SR 136), we then have a 1 hr. drive to the beginning of the hike. 4WD vehicles with clearance are required because the dirt roads can always be unpredictable. For more information, contact Jerry at

CNPS Event July 8, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Bodie Hills. Leader: Ann Howald.

This will be a driving loop trip going in on the Masonic Road and returning on the Aurora Canyon Road. Meet at 9 am at the Bridgeport Forest Service Office on Highway 395, a few miles south of Bridgeport. On the Masonic Road we’ll be stopping to look at pinyon-juniper woodland, seasonal wetlands, aspen groves, and montane sagebrush scrub. Easy walking. An all-day trip. High clearance vehicles needed. Road conditions after a snowy winter could cause rescheduling of this trip so check with Ann the week before: (707) 721-6120 or

CNPS Event July 15, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Glass Mountain Peak and Sawmill Meadow. Leader: Julie Anne Hopkins.

We will explore the eastern flank and summit plateau of this obscure volcanic peak, following a vague hiking trail near Sawmill Meadow. Starting in lodgepole and Jeffrey pine woodland, we’ll quickly ascend a deep pumice valley passing things like Penstemon newberryiMonardella odoratissima, and Eriogonum lobbii. We’ll lunch on the wide summit plateau accompanied by dwarfed Pinus albicaulisPenstemon speciosusAstragalus monoensis, and Raillardella argentea. Stupendous 360-degree views of the Mono Basin, Adobe Valley, Long Valley, Sierra and White Mountain crests will be unavoidable. We should return to the cars around 3:00. Check back closer to the date for more logistical details and a map. Contact Julie Anne Hopkins for more information.

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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