Volume 19 No. 3 May 1999

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora




The May regular meeting will be on Wednesday, May 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Methodist Church in Independence. The church is located on the corner of Washington and Center Streets, one block west of the courthouse. Our speaker will be Dr. Peter Bowler from the University of California, Irvine. His talk is entitled "Ecological Approaches and Products from Restoration of Coastal Sage Scrub."



Tuesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the White Mountain Research Station. All chapter members and other interested individuals are welcome and encouraged to attend. Members, please bring a goodie to share.


This past winter when the days were short and the nights were long I tried catching up on some reading. After answering the e-mail, making phone calls, and writing letters I try to spend at least a little time reading good books. Oh, I can think of lots of books I would recommend, but two books should really be of interest to all of us living here out "West".

The first one is "The Mojave" By David Darlington. For a long time many people thought of the desert as a waste land - a place to be avoided. Mr. Darlington gives us a good history of how the Mojave desert has been exploited by Americans and how we are still exploiting it and loving it to death at the same time. The book is both interesting and at the same time troubling. It will make you think.

Book number two is "Crossing the Next Meridian" by Charles F. Wilkinson. This book is about the settlement of the west and how the miners, farmers, ranchers, lumbermen, fishermen etc. have used the land for maximum profit. The author gives us a lot of history into the Federal Governments’ role in settling the west. What was really interesting to me and I hope to you, is

what I learned about the old laws we passed and still use today to divide up the pie that is getting smaller everyday. Mr. Wilkinson also tells us about what is going on today and what WE can do for a better tomorrow. Please add these two books to your "to read" list. If you are a little to busy now for reading then don't forget about reading them when the days are shorter and the nights are longer.

……..Scott Hetzler



Annual Sierra Spring Sojourn

This event will be held on May 14-16, Friday night through Sunday afternoon at the Bernasconi Education Center in Big Pine. This will be our fourth annual Sojourn and again we’ll offer a wonderful weekend of desert plant enjoyment. Several trips will be offered on Saturday and Sunday along with evening speakers. Although the registration deadline has passed, you may be able to help out with the activities. For more information contact Kathy Duvall at 760-387-2626.



The third annual native plant sale will be held on September 11. Preliminary plans are to have it in the morning at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop. Call Karen Ferrell-Ingram at 387-2913 for more information or to volunteer assistance.




CNPS Bristlecone Chapter 1999 Spring and Early Summer Field Trip Schedule

For all field trips, be sure to bring plenty of water, lunch, good walking shoes or boots, and appropriate clothing for hot sun or inclement weather. Also useful would be a hand lens, binoculars, camera, floras, and plant lists. Trips will leave at the time announced, so please arrive at the meeting sites a few minutes early. Unless indicated, the average car should do fine. Car pooling is encouraged. Everyone is welcome, but please no pets. If you need more information contact Field Trip Chairperson Mark Bagley at 760-873-5326 or e-mail: markbagley@qnet.com.

May 22, Saturday. Limestone Plants in the Last Chance Mountains. Leaders:

Steve Ingram, Karen Ferrell-Ingram, Derham Giuliani. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Glacier View (Triangle) Campground at the junction of Hwy. 395 and 168 in Big Pine. The focus of this trip will be to help entomologist Derham Giuliani identify limestone plants that are hosts to the insects he is studying. We will be monitoring a new population of Dedeckera eurekensis

that Derham recently found and looking at other beautiful and unusual plants on the limestone slopes. The hiking will be frequently cross-country and moderate to strenuous on steep rocky slopes. Optional primitive camping Saturday night. Bring your own water and necessary supplies. High clearance 4-WD vehicles necessary. For more information call Karen or Steve at 387-2913 or e-mail at ingram@telis.org.

May 30, Sunday. Work party for the Native Plant Sale. Organizer: Karen Ferrell-Ingram. Meet at the White Mountain Research Station from 1:00-3:00 p.m. to help pot up plants for the plant sale.

All supplies will be provided, bring gloves if desired.

Call Karen at 387-2913 for more information.

June 7-10th, Monday -Thursday. Brawley Peaks Rare Plant Survey. Leaders: Anne Halford and Sherryl Taylor. Join us for one or more days of rare plant surveying in the Brawley Peaks area of the Bodie Hills. Brawley Peaks is a small range at the north eastern edge of the Bodie Hills that contains remnant stands of limber pine and aspen groves and spring complexes tucked away throughout the drainages. Partners for Plants leader and CNPS member, Sherryl Taylor and friends will be helping to locate and map new populations of Arabis bodienis (Bodie Hills Arabis), Phacelia monoensis (Mono Phacelia), Streptanthus oliganthus (Masonic Mountain jewelflower) and any other unusual species we may encounter. We will be car camping throughout the week. If you want to join us for one or more days please contact Anne Halford at 873-6714 one week prior to the trip so I can give you directions and trip details.

June 19, Saturday. Upper Harkless Flat. Leaders: Steve Ingram and Daniel Pritchett. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Glacier View (Triangle) Campground at the junction of Hwy. 395 and 168 in Big Pine. Upper Harkless Flat is a lovely basin at about 8500' in the Inyo Mountains just north of Papoose Flat. It is surrounded by low limestone ridges with beautiful views of the Owens Valley and Sierra Nevada. The basin is noteworthy for the numerous CNPS-listed plant species which grow there, as well as for the undisturbed quality of its vegetation.

Unfortunately, the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) at Big Pine has proposed to construct a radio observatory in this basin. Field trip participants will be able to judge for themselves the wisdom of OVRO's proposal. The route goes from the Waucoba Road south on the Harkless Flat Road, then up a steep slope (high clearance 4-WD vehicle required) to reach Upper Harkless Flat. There will be easy to moderately-strenuous hiking.

June 23, Wednesday. Silver Peak Range, Nevada. Leader: Scott Hetzler. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the White Mountain Research Station, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop. Car pool from there, high clearance vehicles needed. It's about an hour and a half drive over to the Silver Peak Range, just east of the White Mountains, where we'll visit the sagebrush scrub and pinyon-juniper woodland communities. Hopefully we'll catch many penstemons and buckwheats in bloom, but the volcanic rock formations are always colorful. Be prepared for a possible hot springs stop and bring the Intermountain Flora if you've got it. Call Scott at 873-8392 for additional information.

July 17, Saturday. Native Plant Gardening at the Mono Lake Visitors Center, Lee Vining. Leader: Karen Ferrell-Ingram. Meet at Tom's Place at 9:00 am to carpool up to Lee Vining. We will spend the morning working in the new native plant garden at the Forest Service Visitor's Center. After lunch, we'll look for seed collecting opportunities in the area. Please bring gardening tools, gloves, hat, repellent, lunch, and water. Call Karen at 387-2913 for more information.


BLM Grazing Allotment Field Trips - Assessments of Ecological Function

The BLM Bishop Field Office is in the process of conducting assessments of all grazing allotments that are pending permit renewal based on whether they meet specific ecological criteria as stated in the new Rangeland Health EIS (1998). The Bishop Field Office has scheduled assessments for all 60 allotments in the next five years at approximately 12 allotments per year. Field trips for this year are on every Wednesday through June. The BLM encourages Bristlecone Chapter participation in these assessments. For information on this schedule please contact BLM or Anne Halford at 872-4881 or email at ahalford@ca.blm.gov


Jepson Herbarium 1999 Weekend Workshops on Botanical Subjects

Space Still Available!


Sierra Nevada Field Campus

June 23 - 25, 1999


Sierra Nevada Field Campus

July 30 - August 1, 1999

For more information call (510) 643-7008 or read below.

Class XXI - Boraginaceae

June 23 - 25, 1999 (Mid-week)

Ron Kelley

Location: Sierra Nevada Field Campus,

Yuba Pass

Do you just bypass borages thinking they are all the same? This class is here to show you that there are more to borages than just spiny hairs. The Boraginaceae is a cosmopolitan family composed of about 100 genera and 2000 species. In California, there are 18 genera and 158 species listed in The Jepson Manual. Western North America is the biogeographical center and origin of two of the tribes within the family.

The family is characterized by considerable diversity in life form, floral and fruit morphology, and habitat. The systematics and evolution of the family will be discussed as it relates to California and the world.

This weekend workshop will focus on montane and Great Basin members of the family. Speciation is actively occurring in a number of borage genera within the state, and we will personally investigate one such case in the genus Hackelia in one of our field trips. Fresh plants, preserved plants, and pictures will be used to illustrate examples of some of the characters.

Additionally, a discussion of germinating and growing borages for the garden will be featured. To further aid your identification of borages found in the major California mountain ranges, a 20+ page location based compilation of the Boraginaceae from published and unpublished floristic sources will also be handed out.

Class XXV - Liliaceae

July 30 - Aug. 1, 1999

Peggy Fiedler and Dale McNeal

Location: San Francisco State Field Station,

Yuba Pass

The Liliaceae is a highly diverse, worldwide family of almost 8000 species. Its taxonomy is in a state of flux with several suggestions for breaking it into segregate families currently being debated. According to the Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California the family contains 248 taxa in 34 native and 6 introduced genera in California.

Two of these, Allium and Calochortus are among our largest and most prominent flowering plant genera. Others including Fritillaria, Brodiaea, Hesperocallis, Lilium are spectacular additions to the flora. Members of the family are found in all parts of California, including the deserts. One hundred and one of our Lily taxa are listed as rare in the Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California. Why are so many Liliaceae rare? Where are our lilies found; how do you identify them and how might the Liliaceae be broken into separate families in the future? These are questions that will be considered and discussed in this workshop. For more information contact:

Staci Markos

Coordinator, Public Programs & Development Jepson Herbarium

University of California, Berkeley

(510) 643-7008 WEB site: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/Memberbenefits.html



Red Rock Canyon State Park - March 27th

Few annual wildflowers were found since little rain has fallen in the Mojave desert this year. However, the ten or so who met at the park with Mark Bagley and Ranger Mark Faull spent a very pleasant and intellectually challenging day identifying the shrubs, as well as, the remains of the growth from last years heavy rainfall. We partook in what many term "stick" or forensic botany.

Park Ranger Mark Faull showed a video of the deluge that hit Red Rock on September 3, 1997. Possibly 15 inches of rain fell in about an hour! The video can be seen at the visitor’s center and I urge all to see it. The amount of flooding and runoff is hard to imagine. Throughout the day we visited different park locations with Mark Faull who talked about the flora and provided a great deal of interesting information that reinforced how much can be learned despite a lack of showy annual flowers. Although this is a dry year, the desert is still a fascinating place to visit! Much thanks to Mark Bagley for leading this trip and especially to Mark Faull for sharing his considerable knowledge of the park.

……..Harry Spilman

Western Coso Mountains and Cactus Flat - April 10th

Coinciding with a temperate break between two cold April storms, a group of 7 plant lovers led by Mark Bagley visited several plant communities on a day long field trip around the Western Coso Mountains.

We had good success at differentiating the diverse inhabitants of the low "Alkali Sink Scrub" usually seen as a grey-brown monoculture at 65 mph along Hwy. 395. Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), is the dominant from the Alkali Sinks up into the Coso Dunes, sharing the perennial landscape with shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides), and bush seepweed (Suaeda moquinii). The only conspicuous flowering annual seen was the early-blooming peppergrass (Lepidium flavam), scattered in low yellow clusters throughout the area.

One objective of this trip was to check for the tiny Cymopterus ripleyi, a CNPS List 2 plant known from less than 10 localities in the state. On a stabilized dune area just above a denuded ranch, we spotted a good population of the small 3-lobed leaves poking up through the soft sandy soil from a perennial taproot. It’s unlikely that they’ll bloom this year but the population looked (relatively) intact here.

Lunching in the sun just below the North Haiwee Dam, we discussed the relative virtues of Vegetation Classification, as well as some of the finer cuisine offered at the Still Life Café in Olancha - an authentic French restaurant near the windswept base of Owens Lake. We then proceeded uphill toward Cactus Flat, stopping to ponder a spectacular stand of dense, uniform-sized Joshua trees, all only 6 to 8 feet high - quite a curiosity without apparent explanation.

"Cactus Flat", distinguished by the near-lack of any cactus at all, exists today as a broad plane badly overgrazed by cattle. Whatever perennials survive there are overgrown by the shiny-silver heads of fiddleneck (Amsinkia sp.), glistening in the sun. Parking at the mouth of Thorndyke Canyon, we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling up the wash observing a pretty good diversity of leafing-out perennials including two boxthorns (Lycium spp.), paperbag bush (Salazaria mexicana), roundleaf rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus teretifolius), naked buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum), three different Breckelia spp., and the oxymoronic desert snowberry (Symphoricarpos longiflorus).

Although Mark’s headcold proved more florid than the landscape, he was nevertheless able to identify over 64 species of plants throughout the trip’s range - not bad for a "dry year". Driving back down towards 395 we observed the lead edge of the next Alaskan storm break over the Sierra crest. Compared to deserts south, it’s been relatively wet here in the Cosos and Owens Valley, and although this may yield only modest annual flowering, expect to see a reasonably good year for perennials.

……..Michael Honer




Workshop for CNPS Members

The opportunity to participate in an educational Kids in Gardens workshop is available to interested CNPS members. The workshop will provide participants with techniques for conducting gardening activities with kindergarten through twelfth grade students. Learn how to implement hands-on activities appropriate for the garden or classroom, such as vermicomposting, linking literacy and art with gardening, and propagating native plants. The workshop will be held Saturday July 31 and Sunday August 1, 1999 at the University of California's Richmond Field Station in Richmond, CA, from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. each day.

The cost is $20 and includes a curriculum guide and resource materials. For more information contact Sally Manning, Bristlecone Education Chair (873-3790) in Bishop or Patrice Spencer (510) 231-5783 in the Bay Area.



Inyo Mountains Alert!

Update on proposed observatory at Upper Harkless Flat

The astronomers at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory apparently haven’t abandoned their designs on Upper Harkless Flat as a site for a radio observatory (see previous two issues of this newsletter). While they still haven’t applied (as of 4/28/99) for the required Special Use Permit from the Inyo National Forest, they have hired a public relations specialist who interviewed two members of the Audubon Society regarding their perceptions of OVRO. The public relations specialist has yet to contact any Bristlecone Chapter members. Expect to see a steady stream of "news" items in the local media in an attempt to raise public awareness of and support for OVRO.

OVRO has also hired Dr. John Wehausen to study deer utilization of the area. The fact that OVRO is continuing to spend money on biological surveys indicates that it still has not given up. Those who wish to visit the proposed site and see for themselves what an outrageous proposal this is are encouraged to go on the field trip of June 19 to Upper Harkless Flat described elsewhere in this newsletter. I would appreciate any readers who would consider writing a letter on this issue (should OVRO apply for its Special Use Permit and initiate the NEPA process) to please contact me so I can add your names to my list. Daniel Pritchett: Skypilots@telis.org, 760-873-8943.


Bristlecone Chapter Helps Anza Borrego Foundation

The Anza Borrego Foundation approached several California Native Plant Society Chapters to obtain funding to purchase a 153 acre wildflower property on Henderson Canyon Road. The site has spectacular wildflower displays in some years and is readily accessible by car to the general public. The site also supports Cryptantha ganderi, a CNPS List 1B species.

As of March, the foundation was able to obtain the property with over $1,200 donated from four chapters of the California Native Plant Society.


At the Federal Level, two bills have recently been introduced. The Lands Legacy Initiative by President Clinton proposes purchases of land adjacent to 17 national parks and monuments. Priority areas will be 500,000 acres around the Mojave and Joshua Tree National Parks in California, wildlife refuges and forest protection in New England and the Everglades. This proposal also includes increased spending for endangered species.


Resources 2000 by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Barbara Boer (D-CA) would provide $2.3 billion to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other conservation efforts. This initiative is supported by CNPS.

Rep. George Miller is expected to reintroduce his Endangered Species Recovery Act (FESA). It is identical to last year’s FESA reauthorization bill which was supported by the majority of the environmental community including CNPS. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) may introduce a companion bill in the Senate. We still need to tell the Clinton Administration not to further weaken the ESA through policy or legislation. Please contact your local Representatives.

For further information on Clinton’s Executive Order 13112 which addresses environmental and economic treats by invasive plants and animals, look up www.pub.whitehouse.gov Use the key word: invasive species.

……..Kathy Duvall



The Bristlecone Chapter warmly welcomes the following new members.

Jean Dillingham, June Lake

Manzanar National Historic Site

Peter Neitlich and Linda Hasselbach, Bishop

Alma Valenzuela, Big Pine

Next Newsletter Deadline: June 24th.