Volume 2, No. 3 June 1983
THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
There will be no meetings in July and August. In lieu of field trips during the summer, scouting trips to check on rare plant distribution will take place. Those who wish to become involved should contact Vince Yoder, 876-4275.
Although we appear to be a little less active during the summer, we should remember the need for our vigilance must continue unabated. And this can be expressed effectively in letter writing. The extent of the government's retreat from its duties to protect the lands from environmental destruction is appalling. The collective voice of CNPS members can be considerable when letters flood to legislators and officials at all levels of government. The voice of the people is still strong, but we must keep shouting to be heard. So take up pen and paper and keep the letters flowing, even in the summer.
FIELD TRIP REPORT
The field trip of May 28-30 was an enjoyable experience for those who showed up. It was like another world as we had the Eureka Dunes all to ourselves, and only a helicopter broke the silence in the Last Chance Mountains. The small number in the group allowed flexibility for visiting rare sites. Among the interesting plants observed were:
Astragalus lentiginosus var. micans (Eureka milk-vetch)
Enceliopsis nudicaulis (Nevada sunray)
NEW SITES REPORTED
Hulsea vestita ssp. inyoensis (Inyo hulsea) in the gorge of Rock Creek, southern Mono County, y Dean Wm. Taylor. This must be its most northerly known site.
Leucophysalis nana, formerly Chamaesaracha nana Green-spotted nightshade), roadside on the south fork of Bishop Creek below Andrew's Resert. This, apparently the first report from Inyo County, was discovered by a U.C. Riverside Extension Class being taught by Mary DeDecker.
Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides ssp. cheiranthoides (Dagger pod) is known from the Bishop Creek drainage. What aybe a new site was found on the south fork above Habegger's Resort by the same U.C. Riverside Extension Class. The first known siting in the Inyo Mountains was reported by Mary DeDecker from the Harkless Flat area.
Items of interest in the April issue of MADRON0, Vol. 30, No. 2, are:
VEGETATION OF THE ALABAMA HILLS REGION, INYO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, by Vincent Yoder, Michael G. Barbour, Robert S. Boyd, and Roy A. Woodward. A discussion of vegetation in the Alabama Hills, based on an on-going data gathering project by our president, Vince Yoder.
NOTEWORTHY COLLECTIONS includes two from the Kingston Range in the far southeast corner of Inyo County. One is Brickellia knappiana, currently under review for Federal listing as t reatened or endangered. A need for more study is suggested. The other is Selinocarpus nevadensis (Nyctaginaceae), a first report from California. These are from Steve Castagnoli, Greg De Nevers, and R. Doug Stone, Kingston Range Resource Survey, Environmental Field Program, U.C. Santa Cruz.
BRITTONIA 35 (1), 1983, has published NEW NOMENCLATURAL COMBINATIONS IN THE NORTH AMERICAN PERENNIAL TRITICEAE (GRAMINEAE) by Douglas R. Dewey
It changes the names of grasses in our region as follows:
Agropyron parishii Scribn. & Smith to Elyrtrigia parishii (Scribn. & Smith), D. . Dewey. "Parish wheatgrass".
WHERE TO WRITE
In line with our president's message, we list the names and addresses of our national and state legislators.
National: Senator Alan Cranston State: Senator H. L. Richardson
Do form the habit of writing. Commend them when they do well. Object when they do not. Be courteous and reasonable in stating your stand. Be brief and to the point. Proper timing is vital. Write before the action is taken. Mention a specific bill and its number when applicable.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
David Attenborough, British zoologist and former Director of Programmes for all BBC television, ends his book, "Life on Earth".with the following paragraphs:
"This last chapter has been devoted to only one species, ourselves. This may have given the impression that somehow man is the ultimate triumph of evolution, that all these millions of years of development have had no purpose other than to put him on earth. There is no scientific evidence whatever to support such a view and no reason to suppose that our stay here will be any more permanent than that of the dinosaur. The processes of evolution are still going on among plants
and birds, insects and mammals. So it is more likely that if men were to disappear from the face of the earth, for whatever reason, there is a modest, unobtrusive creature somewhere that would developinto a new form and take our place.
But although denying that we have a special position in the natural world might seem becomingly modest in the eye of eternity, it might also be used as an excuse for evading our responsibilities. The fact that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth."
We enter our second year with 12 new members, whom we heartily welcome. Please add them to the roster in the April issue.
Annable, Carol 4223 Chatham Circle #2 (702) 731-2553
We also appreciate the separate subscriptions to our newsletter which come from members of other CNPS chapters and from across the nation. The generous gifts have been duly noted and are most welcome.
The Alpine Fescues of California and Western Nevada
By John Thomas Howell
To many it may be that a grass is a grass is a grass (to paraphrase a wellknown line from Gertrude Stein) but to Dr. Signe Frederiksen of the University of Copenhagen a grass is to be studied inside and out to learn all about it. She has recently published the results of several years' work on the group of North American grasses that includes the alpine fescues of the Sierra. Where Munz recognized only a single Sierran species (Festuca brachyphylla in Calif. Flora) and where I listed only a single Sierra variety (F. ovina var. brevifolia in Waucoba News vol. 3, supplement 2. 1979), Dr. Frederiksen recognizes three species (Nordic Journal of Botany 2:525-536. 1982). The following key to the Sierran plants is adapted from the one given by her for the ten North American taxa in the complex:
a. Leaf-blades terete or sulcate, stiff even when dry; spikelets mostly 5.5-6.5 mm. long; lemmas 4-5 mm. long; anthers 1-1.6 mm. long. Culms usually about twice length of basal leaves; caryopsis glabrous. . . 1. F. saximontana var. Purpusiana
b. Culms often shorter than the basal leaves; panicle-branches scabrous; spikelets
1. F. saximontana Rydberg var. Purpusiana (St.-Yves) Frederiksen & Pavlick. Open subalpine forests and alpine fell-fields, 9400 to 13200 ft., Washoe Co. (Mt. Rose area) to Tulare and Inyo cos. Records seen from Washoe, Alpine, Mono, Tuolumne, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Inyo cos. in the Sierra. Also in the Sweetwater Mts. and White Mts., Mono Co., and in the San Bernardino Mts., San Bernardino Co. Of the three species recognized by Dr. Frederiksen in California this is the most common, especially so yin Mono, Fresno, Tulare, and Inyo cos. The type collection was made by C.A. Purpus at Farewell Gap near Mineral King, Tulare Co. Festuca saximontana and its varieties range from California north to Alaska and east to the west coast of Greenland;:
2. F. brachyphylla Schultes & Schultes ssp. breviculmis Frederiksen. Not nearly as common as the preceding and almost restricted to areas above timberline. In the Sierra 11000 to 13400 ft. in Tuolumne Co. (Mt. Conness), Fresno Co. (8 stations), Tulare Co. (4 stations), and Inyo Co. (the type locality on Mono Mesa; al.to::on_Mano and Army passes between Inyo Co. and either Fresno or Tulare co-.); also in the Sweetwater Mts. and in the White Mts., 11200-14000 ft., in Mono Co. This subspecies is presently known only from California; other subspecies range from Arizona and Washington northward to Alaska and arctic Canada.
3. _F. minutiflora Rydberg. A rare grass in California; elswhere ranging widely from Arizona northward through the Rocky Mts. and Canada almost to Alaska. The following are the presently known collections from California:
Tuolumne Co. Mt. Conness, Mrs. Joseph Clemens in 1919; Mt. Dana, collections of Bolander and of Brewer cited by Hitchcock in Jepson F1. Calif.1:168.
Inyo Co. Mosquito Flat, Rock Creek Lake Basin, 10300 ft., Howell in 1946; Inconsolable Range above Thunder and Lightning Lake, 12000 ft., Howell in 1947; Old Army Pass at Tulare Co. line, 12000 ft., Howell in 1949.
Mono Co. Southeast shoulder of White Mt. Peak, 13300 ft., DeDecker in 1960.
ADDITIONS TO THE FLORA OF THE HALL NATURAL AREA
Dean Wm. Taylor,
Recent vegetation classification work in the Harvey Monroe Hall Natural Area, on the eastern slope of the Sierra near Tioga Pass in Mono County, California, has uncovered a number of vascular plants that were not included in the checklist for the area published by Jens Clausen (Clausen 1969). These are:
Arabis davidsonii Greene -- mesic gravelly sites in subalpine forest.
Clausen, J. 1969. The Harvey Monroe Hall Natural Area. Carnegie Inst. of Washington, Publ. No. 459. 48p.
A New Eurasian Weed for the Eastern Sierra
Be on the lookout for expanding populations of a small light green annual with a single inconspicuous flower which is becoming established in the Eastern Sierra. The plant, Ceratocephalus testiculatus (Krantz) Roth ( = Ranunculus) has been observed in Mono County along Highway 395 for the past three years. I discovered a small colony of this weed in a roadside campground, and the population has been increasing each year. At the site, which is along the Walker River 1.6 miles upstream from the town of Walker, it occurs in compacted soils, as it commonly does elsewhere. This 'Bur-buttercup' was probably introduced from Eurasia about 1910 (the first record is unknown to me, but it is not listed in early day floras of the Intermountain region). By 1930, it was fairly widespread, having been collected in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. Collections from Nevada are first recorded in the 1950's and 60's, and the plant is firmly established north of Reno. The Mono County population is, no doubt, of very recent origin, and most likely became established from a muddy-vehicle traveling south, perhaps stopping at this campsite. Ceratocephalus testiculatus is the only member of this small Eurasian genus that has made it to the New World -- reports of C. falcatus (L.) Moench are apparently based on misidentifications, as the specimens so named in herbaria are _C. testiculatus. The genus differs from Ranunculus in that the ripe achenes are stiffly beaked, and remain attached, forming small burs which could easily stick to passing hosts. The species should be watched for in areas of PinyonSagebrush vegetation, and is most likely to become increasingly common in the Eastern Sierra. For the most part, it is not an aggressive weed along the lines of Cheetgrass (Bromus tectorum L.).
The Bristlecone Chapter regrets that it must raise the subscription rate for non members to $5.00 per year beginning July 1, 1983. Extra individual copies are available at 75C each, plus postage.
Articles appropriate for publication in the Newsletter should be sent to Mary DeDecker, Editor, P. 0. Box 506, Independence, CA 93526. The deadline for each issue is the first of the month of publication, the next one being August 1.