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Newsletter - Web Edition

Bristlecone Chapter

The California Native Plant Society

“Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora”

Volume 34, Number 4

July-August, 2013

View Print Edition (pdf)


Bristlecone Chapter Meetings

General Meeting: Wednesday, July 24, 7pm:
Traveling the 38th Parallel - a water line around the world
, with David and Janet Carle

Cover of Traveling the 38th Parallel

IMPORTANT: New venue! USFS/BLM Conference Room, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop - see you there!

For our July CNPS General Membership Meeting, David and Janet Carle will talk about their new book, Traveling the 38th Parallel, A Water Line Around the World, at 7pm on Wednesday July 24th at the USFS/BLM Conference Room, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop (note new venue). Come hear about their adventures and insights after traveling around the world along the 38th parallel, "largely outside of cities, away from well-beaten tourist tracks, crossing Japan, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, the Azores Islands, and the United States—from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay. The stories they gathered on their journey provide stark contrasts as well as reaffirming similarities across diverse cultures. While they documented devastating environmental losses, they also discovered inspiring gains made through the efforts of dedicated individuals working against the odds to protect these fragile places" (from the book's cover).

David and Janet Carle are well-known to residents of the Eastern Sierra as state park rangers at Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve for twenty years and they have also taught at Cerro Coso Community College in Mammoth Lakes. Janet is the editor of the California State Park Rangers Association journal, The Wave. David is the author of numerous books including Introduction to Earth, Soil and Land in California, Introduction to Water in California, Introduction to Fire in California, and Introduction to Air in California (all by UC Press).

Copies of their book will be available for purchase and signing after the program. Hope to see you there!

More from the cover of their book:

"Between extremes of climate farther north and south, the 38th North parallel line marks a temperate, middle latitude where human societies have thrived since the beginning of civilization. It divides North and South Korea, passes through Athens and San Francisco, and bisects Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada, where authors David and Janet Carle make their home. Former park rangers, the authors set out on an around-the-world journey in search of water-related environmental and cultural intersections along the 38th parallel. This book is a chronicle of their adventures as they meet people confronting challenges in water supply, pollution, wetlands loss, and habitat protection. At the heart of the narrative are the riveting stories of the passionate individuals—scientists, educators, and local activists—who are struggling to preserve some of the world's most amazing, yet threatened, landscapes."

Janet and David Carle, after kayaking across Drake's Bay

Janet and David Carle, after kayaking across Drake's Bay along their around the world journey

What others are saying:

“David and Janet Carle’s journey along the 38th parallel turned into something quite different- an exploration of diverse global environments, of exploitation and heroic efforts at renewal with long-term planning for recovery. This is a treasure of a book that provides both hope and food for thought. Everyone who cares about the future of our environment should read this remarkable volume.”
— Brian Fagan, author of Elixir: A History of Humans and Water and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Regardless of our differences, all humans share an utter dependency on water. We will run out of oil eventually, but if we allow reason to prevail, we need not run out of water. This beautiful book both reveals the threat to our water resources and gives us hope. Read it for your sake and your children’s sake.”
— James Lawrence Powell, author of Dead Pool

Learn more at their blog, Parallel Universe 38°N: A Water Line around the World, and of course, come join us for their talk on Wednesday, July 24 at 7 PM, at the USFS/BLM Conference Room, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop (note new venue). Come in the front door of the building and the conference room is up front on the left.

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Next Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Wednesday, July 17 Correction: September 18, 7pm, at the Friends of the Inyo office on 819 North Barlow Lane, Bishop. Members are welcome.

Note: Part of the agreement with FOI for use of their building is that the door must remain locked at all times. The conference room is toward the back of the building, and it is not easy to see or hear if someone is at the front door, so everyone should please arrive before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM.

For information on our southern sub-chapter meetings, see the Creosote Ring page.

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Notes from Spring Sierra Sojourn

Sojourn Success!

Botanists hard at work

Sojourners enjoying a meadow of Calochortus.
Photo by Kristen Luetkemeier

Our Bristlecone Chapter's 2013 Eastern Sierra Spring Sojourn, held May 31 through June 2, was a wonderful success due to efforts of chapter members. Many thanks to Edie Trimmer, Julie Anne Hopkins, Katie Quinlin, Sue Weis, Yvonne Wood and Kathy Duvall for hours of dedicated work beginning in January. Appreciation goes to previous coordinator Sherryl Taylor for her detailed notes and to Evelyn Mae Nicholas for her original and continued inspiration.

Warm thank you's go to Steve McLaughlin who arrived on Friday with a cooler full of plants and to Steve Ingram for also bringing in many plants for the plant table. Jerry Zatorski, Paul Satterthwaite, Anne Howald, Michèle Slaton and Michael Honer assisted them in labeling. Steve Matson led an enchanting twilight hike Friday around the facility, provided flower slides on Friday and gave a fun, informative program on Saturday night. Much appreciation to Scott Hetzler for selling t-shirts and books, to Karin Coy for "happy hour," and to Laura Smith and family for catering the delicious meals. A huge thank you goes to the faithful clean-up crew: Julie Anne, Edie, Tom Brill, Paul, Michael and others, including Sojourn participants.

Field trip leaders went beyond all expectations and found numerous plants in a drought year at elevations from 4000 ft. on the Owens Valley floor up to 10,000 ft. at Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest . Thank you Mark Bagley, Scott Hetzler, Julie Anne Hopkins, Steve McLaughlin, Paul Satterthwaite, Michèle Slaton and Jerry Zatorski. Sue Weis also lead trips and organized the entire outing's events and plant lists. A final thanks to all who assisted but were not mentioned above.

Please check our calendar for upcoming Sojourns. There's always more to see, as Mary DeDecker would have said, "just around the corner."

— Kathy Duvall

More: Read three trip reports and see slide shows of three more trips from this wonderful event below.
Resources: Plant lists are available on our checklists page.

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Volunteer Opportunity

Joy England, recipient of a Mary DeDecker grant sponsored by the Bristlecone Chapter, is looking for volunteers in her field work this summer. On July 20, she will be in Rock Creek searching for Botrychium crenulatum (scalloped moonwort) and Calyptridium pygmaeum (pygmy pussypaws) as well as other interesting “cool plants.” For details on this project, see calendar section below.

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Upcoming CNPS Event Bristlecone Chapter and Community Events of Interest

Be sure to check our events page for the latest updates and more events.

CNPS Event June 29, Saturday, 9-11am: Bristlecone Chapter MAMMOTH REGION Native Plant Sale #1

Mammoth usually holds 2-3 smaller sales each summer. The first Mammoth Region plant sale of 2013 will be on Saturday, June 29, from 9-11am at 107 Sugar Pine Drive in Mammoth. Plants are suitable for high elevation gardens. Plants available at the first sale include: Bitterbrush, Sticky Cinquefoil, Great Basin Wildrye, Alumroot, Mountain Pride Penstemon, Western Wallflower, Alpine Columbine, Sulphur Buckwheat, Snowberry, Sierra Angelica, and Creek Dogwood. Bring a box to transport your new plants. All proceeds go to the Bristlecone Chapter. For more information call Sherry at 760-934-2338, or click here for a pdf with a plant list and more information. Check the events page or contact Sherry to be added to her mailing list for future plant sales.

CNPS Event July 6, 9am, CNPS Field Trip: South Fork Big Pine Creek, Leader: Steve Matson

Meet at 9am in Big Pine at the parking area next to campground at Junction of 395 and 168. We will drive 10 miles up Big Pine Canyon to the trailhead by Glacier Lodge. I propose to hike 6 to 7 miles round-trip. I hope to find Lupinus padre-crowleyi, Nama rothrockii, and Penstemon papillatus.

Contact: Steve Matson 760-938-2862 or

CNPS Event July 13, Saturday, CNPS Field Trip: Mammoth Lakes Basin, Heart Lake and Arrowhead Lake, Leader: Ann Howald

Meet at the far end of the parking lot that is beyond the Coldwater Campground, at 9:00 a.m. We will hike up the Heart Lake trail, through the montane form of sagebrush scrub that is “enriched” with many wildflowers, then cross a talus slope with an array of multi-colored hybrid columbines, then return from Arrowhead Lake through subalpine forest. This is a moderately strenuous, although short (approximately 2.5 mile) hike. We should return to the parking lot by mid-afternoon. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen and a hat; and hiking poles if steep downhill bothers your knees. For more information contact Ann at (707) 721-6120 or

CNPS Event Wednesday, July 17 Correction: September 18, 7pm, CNPS Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Our July board meeting will be held Wednesday, July 17 Correction: September 18, 7pm, at the Friends of the Inyo office on 819 North Barlow Lane, Bishop. Members are welcome.

Note: Part of the agreement with FOI for use of their building is that the door must remain locked at all times. The conference room is toward the back of the building, and it is not easy to see or hear if someone is at the front door, so everyone should please arrive before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM.

CNPS Event July 20, Saturday, 9am: Little Lakes Valley (Upper Rock Creek) thesis field work with Joy England

Assist Joy with her fieldwork for her thesis research. Translation: look for cool plants. Two rare species she did not encounter, but which were known previously from the study area, are Botrychium crenulatum (scalloped moonwort) and Calyptridium pygmaeum (pygmy pussypaws). She will be searching for these and other species she has not yet encountered. Meet at Mosquito Flat trailhead at 9:00 AM. See a summary of Joy's work from last summer in our January-February 2013 Newsletter. Contact Joy for more information: or 626-208-7904.

July 20-28: GLORIA week in the White Mountains (Attend Session 1: July 20-24; Sesson 2: July 24-28; or both!)

JOIN US for a fun and educational stay at Crooked Creek Research Station (University of California, White Mountain Research Center) at 10,200 ft in the White Mountains!

The international GLORIA project (Global Observation & Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) monitors alpine plants at risk from climate change at the tops of the world’s highest mountains.

This year, the California GLORIA field crew is holding an open-invitation field trip. Interested parties are encouraged to come join us and learn about the alpine environment. Educational walks, hiking tours, and lectures will be led by some of the scientists who know the White Mountains best.

Lodging: Accommodations are at the UC White Mountain Research Center’s Crooked Creek Research Station, a lovely high elevation mountain lodge surrounded by ancient bristlecone & limber pines. Three delicious meals a day are included.

Cost: Prices range from $60-$85/night per person depending on room type (shared room, private room with shared bath, or private room with private bath). Please see the GLORIA California website or download/view the GLORIA week flyer (pdf) for details!

Full Details:

Additional questions or to register contact: Adelia Barber

CNPS Event July 24, Wednesday, 7pm, CNPS Program: Traveling the 38th Parallel, A Water Line Around the World, with Dave and Janet Carle

For our July CNPS General Membership Meeting, Dave and Janet Carle will talk about their new book, Traveling the 38th Parallel, A Water Line Around the World, at 7pm on Wednesday July 24th at the White Mountain Research Center - check back, venue TBA. Copies of their book will be available for purchase and signing after the program. More details above!

CNPS Event July 27, Saturday, CNPS Field Trip: White Mountains, Leader: Jerry Zatorski

It always a treat to see what can be found in this high desert mountain range in mid-summer. This trip will focus on the sub-alpine and alpine habitats in the White Mountains. Although if the Monsoon Gods are good to us, there could also be some nice blooms lower down as well. Expect to see many herbaceous and shruby alpine species along with the famous Bristlecone Pines. All areas are accessible by car although the dirt road portions can be dusty.

We will meet at the Triangle campground entrance just north of Big Pine, at the intersection of US 395 and SR 168 at 8:00 AM and go from there. This will be an all day trip, so have plenty of food, fluids, along with field guides hand lens, sun protection, dress for weather (temps at high elevations are much cooler than on the valley) and so forth, plant to return to Big Pine by ~ 5:00 PM. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski at (760) 387-2920 or

CNPS Event September 14, Saturday, 9-11:30am: Bristlecone Chapter Native Plant Sale

A wonderful array of native plants are offered every year.  We’ve been busy coaxing from seed dozens of  brittlebush, various buckwheats, penstemons, Mojave aster, lupine and many more favorites!! An updated inventory of plants we have growing for the sale is available for download here (pdf). Also see our sortable database of species that have been available at our plant sales for ideas of what to expect. Plant prices are currently $5.00 for a small tree pot and $8.00 for gallon pots. Contact Katie at if you have any questions.

CNPS Event Wednesday, September 18, 7pm, CNPS Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Our July board meeting will be held Wednesday, September 18, 7pm, at the Friends of the Inyo office on 819 North Barlow Lane, Bishop. Members are welcome.

Note: Part of the agreement with FOI for use of their building is that the door must remain locked at all times. The conference room is toward the back of the building, and it is not easy to see or hear if someone is at the front door, so everyone should please arrive before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM.

Check the Events page for more to come.

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Garden Report
Or, "How to Plant Natives from a Community Garden Guru"

Native Plants at the Bishop Community Garden

Native Plants at the Bishop Community Garden
Photo by Katie Quinlan

I sometimes think that successful gardening with natives is a combination of a little neglect and a bit of patience. In December of 2011, a few volunteers from CNPS and the Master Gardeners put in a demonstration garden at the Bishop Community Garden. We had solarized the site all summer under plastic to kill the weeds. After we pulled up the plastic we put down a load of decomposed granite and a few large rocks for interest. We then dug holes and planted plants that were left over from the September native plant sale, watered them in, and pretty much ignored it for the next few months.

In March, when the water was turned on, we put in a drip system (the garden is watered for 6 minutes every 3 days), pulled the few weeds that were coming up, and ignored it again. In the fall, we weeded again and turned off the water. The garden was hand watered a few times over the winter. In the spring the garden looked great! It was unbelievable how much the plants had grown from those tiny plants that we had put in from the plant sale.

We all want big plants that fill in our garden spaces right from the beginning. With natives, starting with smaller plants and having a little patience is better. Because natives have such deep roots, if you buy a large plant, it is most likely pot-bound or its roots have rotted in the bottom of the pot. With the smaller plants, once they are in the ground they send their roots down deep and think it was their idea to grow where you put them, and if it is a location they like, they just take off.

After a dormant winter the gardening urge hits. After the muted colors of winter we want color and green plants again. However, for natives fall is the best time to plant. The days are cooler so their roots can get established without having to deal with the high temperatures.

So during these dog days of summer it is the time to plan that native garden. Where are you going to put it? How much of the lawn will you take out? Go and do that now so the grass will be really dead by the time you put your natives in. Get your drip system set up so the new plants can get watered. Then when you buy your plants in September, you can just drop them into the ground and treat them with benign neglect.

There are about 1500 plants growing of 44 species for the fall Bishop plant sale. An updated inventory list is available for download on the plant sale page, and it will be updated regularly as the Bishop Plant Sale date (September 14th, 2013) approaches.

The first Mammoth plant sale of the summer has been scheduled for Saturday, June 29 from 9-11am. The Bishop plant sale will be on Saturday, September 14th from 9 to 11am at the White Mountain Research Center, Owens Valley Station, 3000 E. Line Street. See you there!

— Katie Quinlan, Bishop Plant Sale Coordinator

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Eastern Sierra Spring Sojourn Field Trip Reports

The Sojourn offered 11 field trips beginning May 31 through June 2. Below are field trip reports from three of those trips, and slide shows from three more. Future issues of the Bristlecone newsletter will add other Sojourn field trip reports.

Oak and Division Creeks – Saturday Sojourn Field Trip Report

The Sojourn field trip to Oak and Division Creeks started with a stop near the South Fork of Oak Creek where the debris flow of 2008 had moved large boulders through the black oak stand, which is re-sprouting well after the fire and flood. We also found canyon live oak, probably the northernmost population on the east side. Lots of weed species came in after the disturbance, but there were still some natives blooming. There were a few Lupinus excubitus, lots of Calystegia longipes, and a few Mimulus guttatus providing color.

Botanists at work

Sojourners finding botanical treasures in a sandy road-cut on the Oak Creek/Division Creek Field Trip. Photo by Sue Weis

The second stop was along the mud flow of the North Fork of Oak Creek, where we had a view of the new channel of the South Fork caused by the flood. We saw two species of Ambrosia, and one cheesebush with a new genus name. We stopped a couple more times on our way to lunch at the Baxter Pass trailhead, where Lupinus excubitus and Malacothamnus fremontii were blooming vigorously and the resprouting oaks provided a bit of shade. Phacelia, chia, a bright pink Gilia, and Camissonia were blooming on a sandy road-cut near the trailhead, and everyone was eager to get a look and maybe a photo (see photo at left).

We hiked about a mile up the Baxter Pass trail among the boulders where rose penstemon, Keckiella, and apricot mallow were blooming. The two stream crossings provided some welcome shade and interesting plants like chocolate drops, Tauschia, and Lomatium rigidum. These last two have similar leaves, so it was nice to have them close together for comparison.

After a short stop at the casino for some cool drinks, we drove up to the stand of narrow-leaved cottonwoods at Division Creek. This is believed to be the only verified stand in California, although the species is common in the Rocky Mountains. The twelve participants were also interested in a Ribes growing along the creek, later identified (tentatively) as R. nevadense, which is not listed in the Jepson Manual for SNE. A collection to the herbarium is in order to record a range extension.

Editor's Note: The Oak and Division Creeks Plant List is available for download on our Checklists page.

— Sue Weis, trip leader

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Owens Valley Habitats - Saturday Sojourn Trip Report

We began our Saturday field trip of Owens Valley habitats with a brief description of our route. The group wanted to stop by the Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden. There we saw a number of the well-tended native species in bloom including Hecastocleis shockleyi, Dedeckera eurekensis, and Pensetmon floridus var. austinii.

At the Owens River on a Sojourn Field Trip

At the Owens River - Photo by Edie Trimmer

After Independence we went south to Lone Pine. On Lone Pine Narrow Gage Road, we stopped along the Owens River where I covered some details of the Lower Owens River Project and the group explored some of the river flood plain. In the floodplain, we had Heliotropium curassavicum and Anemopsis californica in bloom and Ericameria nauseosa var. oreophila, Atriplex torreyi, and willow species—Salix gooddingii, S. laevigata and S. exigua—in the salt grass Distichlis spicata meadow.

The group continued up the east side of the valley to look at Shadscale Scrub and Greasewood Scrub. Along this route, we found an area that got some of the rare and spotty rain we had in early May. Lepidium fremontii, Stanleya pinnata var. pinnata, Psorothamnus polydenius responded with some nice floral displays along with numerous insects buzzing the flowers for pollen or other insects as prey.

By lunch, the group found some rare valley floor shade under some non-native Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia, at the Manzanar Airport. At the air strip we discussed some history of the Manzanar area and vegetation conditions there today. A few lucky folks had excellent looks at LeConte’s Thrasher and Sage Sparrow, two bird species that specialize in the Chenopod scrub which surrounds the airstrip.

At a quick stop just east of Independence, the group saw more open alkali meadow with Screwbean Mesquite, Prosopsis pubescens (rare in the Owens Valley), growing there. A last stop in the southern portion of the valley was at the Blackrock Waterfowl Management Area, where we discussed the marsh systems maintained at this location. Numerous species of birds present gave this stop only more magic and demonstrated the benefits of mitigation efforts.

The last stop was in an alkali meadow system south of Bishop, full of many sought-after valley species in full bloom such as Crepis runcinata ssp. hallii, Sidalcea covillei, Potentilla gracilis var. elmeri, and Sisyrinchium halophilum.

The weather treated us well with a high of only 90 degrees and a nice southerly breeze by afternoon. Many thanks to the group of nine people who carpooled together which helped to keep some of the dust down.

— Jerry Zatorski, trip leader

Editor's Note: a huge (30 page - 15 if printed double-sided) plant list for Owens Valley species is available for download on our checklists page. About this list, Jerry Zatorski said it is, "worth every peice of paper. This is the most complete species list for the Owens Valley that I have seen."

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McGee Creek

McGee Creek Sojourn Field Trip. Photo by Michael Uhler

McGee Creek Sunday Sojourn Field Trip Report

McGee Creek was the place for floral displays this Sojourn. There was a full trip on Sunday and we began to see the wildflowers as we approached the trailhead in our caravan. The Astragalus whitneyi was putting on an amazing display of big clusters of beautiful pink/purple flowers, some big enough to poke out the tops of the sagebrush plants. The Astragalus purshii was blooming at the higher elevations, but already had produced its fuzzy pods near the trailhead.

The mule ears and arrow-leaf balsamroot filled the canyon bottom in some places, and the salmon-colored scarlet gilia, phlox, phacelia and linanthus were there with them, adding color variety. Stick-seed, false Solomon’s seal, meadow rue, and a few iris were blooming in the riparian zone under willows, aspen, and water birch. We found four species of Castilleja on the trip, as well as an Orobanche (opinions differ on the species).

The going was slow because there were so many things to find and photograph, so after lunch under a big juniper, we headed back down the trail. A great early summer trip to McGee!

—Sue Weis, trip leader

Editor's Note: The McGee Creek Plant List is available for download on our Checklists page.

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More Sojourn "Reports"- Slideshows of three more trips. What a great weekend!

Friday evening trip with Steve Matson. Photos by Kristen Luetkemeier.

Saturday trip to Mazourka Canyon led by Steve McLaughlin. Photos by Kristen Luetkemeier

Editor's Note: The Mazourka Canyon Plant List is available for download on our Checklists page.

Sunday trip to McMurry Meadows led by Paul Satterthwaite. Photos by Kristen Luetkemeier.

Editor's Note: The McMurry Meadows Plant List is available for download on our Checklists page.

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Birch Creek Journal

Water Birch, photo by Jo Ann Ordano, CalAcademy

Photo by Jo-Ann Ordano
© California Academy of Sciences

June 12, 2013 — Here along Birch Creek it’s hot and windy, but the western tiger swallowtails are unfazed. They cruise downstream beside the water birches (Betula occidentalis) and arroyo willows (Salix lasiolepis), stopping occasionally to nectar at the flowers of wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota). Carpenter bees seem to revel in the heat, too. At almost any time of day I can see them scrambling across the stamens of prickly poppy (Argemone munita) or stealing nectar from the flowers of Bridges penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus). The seed capsules of coyote willow (Salix exigua) have split open, and the masses of seeds entangled in dense white hairs look like little white powder puffs. From a distance they are much more showy than the inconspicuous flowers of early spring.

Unfortunately, I’m much too busy eradicating weeds to pay adequate attention to nature this month. A year ago at this time Steve told me I would be sorry, and you know what? He was right. I am sorry, sorry that last summer I let the common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in the vegetable garden go to seed. I let it fill all the paths between the raised beds until the plants made a solid ground cover. It was edible, that was one of my excuses – I thought I might pick it for a salad once in a while. I told myself that it couldn’t spread upward to the raised beds because the seed capsules are teeny, lidded cups, and when the lid falls off, the seeds spill out of the cup onto the ground. Besides, even though purslane isn’t native to California, it was a cheery weed, and I liked its sprawling stems, fleshy leaves, and yellow flowers. Might as well just let it be.

Oh, I was prolific with excuses while the purslane was being prolific with seeds, and this summer it is everywhere–in the paths and in the beds and in places where we’ve never seen it before. Whenever we walked through the garden, we apparently picked up purslane seeds on the bottoms of our shoes, and now, like garlic and onions springing up in the footsteps of the Islamic Satan, a trail of purslane leads from the porch to the garden and from the garden to the well house. Worse than that, when I dug the beds this spring, I imported a shoe-sole’s worth of seeds every time I stepped into a bed from the path. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! You’d think a botanist would know better.

Hula Hoe

Hula Hoe to the Rescue!

Belatedly, I took action. I weeded the beds by hand, a slow and tedious task. Steve then introduced me to the Hula-Hoe, soon to become my new best friend, and I scraped out every purslane in the paths. Satisfied, I returned the Hula-Hoe to the garage and continued to harvest beets, broccoli, and peas. And then it rained. Our neighborhood got about an inch and a tenth, quite a deluge after two dry winters in a row. Seeds of native wildflowers hardly responded at all – a few whispering bells (Emmenanthe peduliflora) emerged and bloomed, as did Eriogonum brachyanthum, an annual buckwheat – but for most natives the soil was too warm for germination despite the soaking rain. Purslane, on the other hand, loved the warmth as well as the moisture, and in a matter of days all my work with the Hula-Hoe was for naught.

So, back to work I went and scraped out the second cohort. But it turns out that no matter how much you scrape you never really get rid of purslane–perhaps that’s why it’s considered number nine in a list of the world’s worst weeds. Every time the irrigation system runs in the garden, more purslane germinates. Every time I let the hose spray across bare ground, more purslane germinates. It’s the sorcerer’s apprentice of weeds, and no wonder. Under ideal circumstances, a vigorous individual can produce as many as 35,000 seeds. If you sampled the soil under a mat of purslane plants, you could find up to 78,600 seeds per square meter. Worse yet–there’s always a worse yet when it comes to weeds–purslane seeds can persist in the soil for forty years. And I let them go for an entire summer, blooming and fruiting and dispersing seeds at will. I’ll be an old woman and still battling purslane along Birch Creek.

Well, you live and you learn, and usually in that order, as burglar-detective Bernie Rhodenbarr says in one of my favorite murder mysteries. I’m not happy about the prospect of dealing with purslane in perpetuity but I’m not all that disgruntled, either. Soon there will be tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant, and it’s hard to maintain a bad attitude in the midst of summer’s abundance.

— Jan Bowers

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We Come Elemental

Calochortus excavatus - Inyo County Star Tulip

Inyo County Star Tulip (Calochortus excavatus), photographed on Paul Satterthwaite's Sojourn Field Trip by Kristen Luetkemeier.

We step into humid light.
It sticks to our skin
and microbes gorge
in greywater runoff pools.

The chlorophyll chorus sings
our collected chemical stew—
nitrogen! nitrogen! nitrogen!

Each molecule polished
each o each pair of h a banquet of lust—

wet sludge::
stream suds::
oil slick rain::

::eat the bread of our body's slough
::eat our bread the crumbed down drain
::eat of our bread our rainbowed fuel

until clear pools
flow back to the rivers
—those quick veins of industry—

wash over ancient mollusk shells

and we learn again
green's good
was light veined
through leaves.

— Tamiko Beyer (Alice James Books)

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From the Editors

Next Newsletter Deadline: August 15, 2013

Send articles to:

If you still receive this newsletter via US Mail, please send your email address to the editor (email address above) so you can receive the electronic version. Please help the Bristlecone chapter save money, energy, and trees

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The California Native Plant Society is an organization of lay persons and professionals united by an interest in the plants of California. It is open to all. 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. Varied interests are represented.


Membership Application

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Bristlecone Chapter Directory

President: Yvonne Wood (760) 258-7949
Vice President: Holly Alpert (760) 709-2212
Secretary: Rosemary Jarret 760-387-2782
Treasurer: Paul Satterthwaite (773) 208-7858
Past President / Partnerships: Steve McLaughlin (760) 938-3140
Membership: Edie Trimmer/Thomas Brill 760-920-3702
Newsletter Editors: Edie Trimmer/Thomas Brill 760-920-3702
Conservation: Julie Anne Hopkins (831) 566-6012
Adopt-A-Highway: Scott Hetzler (760) 873-8392
Programs: Holly Alpert (760) 709-2212
Field Trips: Sue Weis (760) 873-3485
DeDecker Native Plant Garden: OPEN - interested? Contact any board member!
DeDecker Grant Program: Kathleen Nelson (760) 873-1095
Publicity: Kristen Luetkemeier (703) 862-4395
Historian: Ann Fulton (760) 873-9261
Librarian: EvelynMae Nikolaus - (760) 878-2149
Rare Plant Committee Chair: Kathleen Nelson (760) 873-2400
Bishop Plant Sales: Katie Quinlan (760) 873-8023
Mammoth Plant Sales: Sherry Taylor (760) 934-2338
Book Sales: Sue Weis (760) 873-3485
Posters: Stephen Ingram (760) 387-2913
Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter Coordinator: Kathy LaShure (760) 377-4541
Webmaster: Maggie Wolfe Riley

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Steve McLaughlin on the McGee Creek trail in the glory of spring

Board Member Steve McLaughlin, hiking up McGee Canyon, end of June. Botanist's Heaven. (Photo by Maggie Riley)

THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY ( Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter comes out bimonthly. It is free to chapter members. To subscribe to this newsletter without joining CNPS, please send $5.00 per year to CNPS, P.O. Box 364, Bishop, CA 93515-0364. ATTN: subscriptions. Send newsletter articles (not memberships) to newsletter editor Daniel Pritchett at

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