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Newsletter - Web Edition

Bristlecone Chapter

The California Native Plant Society

“Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora”

Volume 33 No. 5

September-October 2012

View Print Edition (pdf)


Bristlecone Chapter Meetings

I am the World's Oldest-Known Living Tree
CNPS Event September Program: Wednesday, September 26, 7pm: I am the World's Oldest-Known Living Tree with author Gil Thibault.

Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 pm at White Mountain Research Station, 3000 East Line St., Bishop. Dr. Gilbert G. Thibault will discuss his book I am the World's Oldest-Known Living Tree. The book is described as being for children of all ages. The narrator is Methuselah, the world’s oldest-known living tree. Readers will learn through stunning color photographs about the life lessons of Methuselah and the artistry of his friends.

Next Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 7:00 pm at the ESICE office, 512 N. 2nd St., Bishop. Members are welcome. No board meeting in July.

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From the Editor

Next Newsletter Deadline: October 25, 2012

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

Newsletter editor sought – if interested, please contact the email address above.

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Upcoming Events

2012 September-October Field Trips and Events

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

CNPS Event September 1, Saturday: Mammoth Lakes Native Plant Sale #3.

The final plant sale of the summer in Mammoth has been scheduled for Saturday, September 1st from 9-11 AM at 107 Sugar Pine Drive, Mammoth. Click here for a printable flyer. All of the plants have been grown from seed collected locally. If you have specific questions about growing conditions or care, it is best to email in advance because it is sometimes difficult to talk the day of the sale. Looking forward to seeing you! ~Sherry Taylor, Mammoth Plant Sale Coordinator

CNPS Event September 8, Saturday, 9-11:30am: Bishop Plant Sale.

Our plant sale coordinator, Katie Quinlan, already has a list of plants expected to be ready for our Fall 2012 plant sale. View or download the 2012 Plant List and start planning now! Contact Katie at if you have any questions.

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!! 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.

CNPS EventSeptember 15, Saturday: Plant-Animal Interactions at Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern, north of Bishop. Leader: Ceal Klingler.

In late August, September, and early October, as white-flowered rabbitbrush (Ericameria albida), Mojave rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa var. mohavensis), and Cleomella species bloom, squadrons of insects congregate on their favorite plants at Fish Slough to eat and mate, attracting other insects and spiders to join them for dinner. If the timing's right, we'll see jumping spiders (mostly Phidippus species) and crab spiders (Misumena species) lurking in the shade of Mojave rabbitbrush and greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) while desert blister beetles (Lytta vulnerata), Zonitis blister beetles, and long-horned flower beetles (Crossidius species) bury their faces in pollen. We probably will also see other beetles, several species of wasps, ants, bees, and bee- and wasp-imitating flies, an ant imitator or two, and, if we're lucky, late-season Monarchs and Lycaenid butterflies, all of whom have their own hunting and/or plant preferences. At least a few of the seven lizard species that roam Fish Slough in daylight will be watching us as well. Because insects keep sunny schedules, we'll start at 10 a.m. and finish by about 2 p.m. Walking distance will be three to five miles on easy terrain, but it will be hot. Bring water, food, hat, sunscreen, camera or binoculars, a hand lens, and field guide. We'll meet at the intersection of Five Bridges and Fish Slough roads (by the kiosk) at 10 a.m. and carpool from there. Contact Ceal Klingler at 760-872-3196 or for more information.

CNPS Event CNPS Program: September 26, Wednesday, 7pm: I am the World's Oldest-Known Living Tree with author Gil Thibault.

See description above

October 13-14, Saturday-Sunday: Arborglyphs & Aspen Natural History. Richard Potashin & Nancy Hadlock. Mono Lake Committee Field Seminar, $160 per person / $145 for members

A century of sheep grazing brought Basque sheepherders into the Mono Basin's aspen-bordered meadows, and they left numerous carvings—or arborglyphs—on the aspens. Join the instructors for an enchanting journey into the aspen groves to explore this historic art form and to learn about the numerous wildlife, insects, and birds that are drawn to the groves. During leisurely walks the instructors will discuss the history of sheep grazing in the Mono Basin, Basque culture, the cultural significance of the carvings, and efforts to document them.

Richard Potashin is a longtime Eastern Sierra resident who has been discovering and documenting aspen carvings for many years. Nancy Hadlock has been a naturalist, interpreter and educator for the National Park Service and US Forest Service for over 30 years.

CNPS EventOctober 21, Sunday: Highway clean-up. Leader: Scott Hetzler.

Meet at the intersection of Highway 395 and Pine Creek Rd., west of 395, at 9.00 AM. We will try to be done by 1:00 PM. For more information contact Scott at 873-8392.

Check the Events page for more!

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Field Trip Report–Tioga Pass Lichens, July 14, 2012


Kerry Knudson sharing the joys of lichenology

Lichen Field Trip, photo by Sue Weiss

Sue Weis took advantage of a rare opportunity to bring in lichenologist Kerry Knudson to lead a field trip to Tioga Pass. Region 5 of the US Forest Service is working to build up its expertise on lichens and is training FS botanists. As an Inyo NF botanist and our field trip coordinator, she was in a unique position to arrange the July trip.

Kerry and his coleaders (Sue and San Bernardino NF botanist Kate Kramer) took a group of 12 participants to two locations near the summit on Tioga Pass to examine the subalpine lichen flora. Kerry didn’t just identify the common and rare lichens of this area, but expounded on lichen taxonomy, biology, ecology, and biogeography. Nearly all the lichens we saw were crustose lichens growing on rock outcrops and boulders; foliose and fruticose lichens, also known as “macrolichens,” require moister conditions of wet canyons and are not found in the drier subalpine and alpine habitats.

There are 1500 species of lichens known from California, and Kerry and his colleagues have been able to document the presence of 600 species from Yosemite National Park. Common species pointed out to the group include the a brown member of the Lecidea atroburnnea group (brown tile lichen), the greenish-yellow Rhizocarpon cf. geographicum (map lichen), the green Lecanora muralis (stonewall rim lichen), the orange Xanthoria elegans (elegant sunburst lichen), and the bright yellow Pleopsidium flavum (gold cobblestone lichen).

We all learned in school that lichens constitute a harmonious symbiosis between algae and fungi. Kerry provided the group a more accurate but more nuanced explanation of lichen ecology. It turns out that several lichens are in fact parasites of other lichens; Kerry showed us Pleopsidium flavum colonies on which parasitic species of Rhizocarpon were growing. And some fungi lose their algal symbionts, perhaps in response to drought, becoming “delichenized” saprophytes. Kerry showed us an example of small, dark colonies of Lichenothelia on a boulder below the canopy of a lodgepole pine and living on the decaying needles.

Lichens are very old organisms. The larger colonies we see on boulders are often composed of several individual colonies, each several hundred years old, that have coalesced. The crustose species we observed are susceptible to the direct and indirect effects of climate change, particularly increasing frequency and severity of fire. Climate-driven fires that recur more frequently than lichens can reestablish have the potential to greatly reduce our lichen flora.

Altogether an extremely informative and enjoyable field trip. Participants are unlikely to look at lichen-covered boulders without recalling what they learned on this outing.

— Steve McLaughlin and Sue Weis

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Schulman Grove Visitor Center Dedicated

On September 1, 2012, the new Schulman Grove Visitor Center in the Ancient Bristlecone Forest (in the White Mountains) was dedicated. The previous building had been destroyed by an arson fire four years before. Several members of the Bristlecone Chapter Board attended the festivities. Highlights of the dedication ceremony included an invocation in Paiute (with English translation) by two Owens Valley Paiutes, remarks by Connie Millar (of the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station) regarding threats to bristlecones as the climate warms, and remarks by Malcolm Hughes (University of Arizona Laboratory for Tree Ring Research) regarding the value of bristlecones for scientific research. It was a spectacular day for a celebration in a spectacular place.

— Daniel Pritchett

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The Aqueduct centennial: colonial arrogance

Next year, 2013, will be the centennial of the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. A few weeks ago I learned of an “Aqueduct Centennial Project” which calls, among other things, for an “Aqueduct Futures Exhibition” to be constructed. The Exhibition will consist of:

  • “Information Panels with Drawings/Maps/Photographs
  • Kiosk w/ interactive graphics and real-time/historic data of flow through the Aqueduct
  • Model of aqueduct
  • Artifacts or full scale mock-up of Aqueduct – conduit, siphon, head-works
  • Brochure/gallery guide”

Glorification of the Aqueduct is to be expected from DWP. However, this proposal is not from DWP, but from an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and his colleagues. Even this isn’t really surprising – academics are skilled at sniffing out funding, and I’ll bet there’s a lot of funding available in LA for the Aqueduct centennial.

This is noteworthy because one of three potential sites for the “Aqueduct Futures Exhibition” is the Lone Pine Interagency Visitor Center. I understand commemorating and glorifying the Aqueduct in Los Angeles. However, proposing to commemorate and glorify the Aqueduct in Owens Valley (OV) displays a level of arrogance I had hitherto thought existed only in DWP. Whenever the wind blows OV residents already commemorate the aqueduct in the form of dust which lodges in our lungs – surely no further commemoration is needed here!

But don’t blame the professors -- they undoubtedly mean well. Teaching in greater Los Angeles, a colonial power, their attitudes reflect the colonial arrogance of the people around them regarding OV. This same arrogance has been responsible for so much environmental devastation in OV. The fact it is manifested in well-intentioned academics suggests the difficulty of avoiding it when living in the Los Angeles area.

Another component of the Aqueduct Centennial Project is,

“a public forum for the [Cal Poly] students and residents of Owens Valley. The planned agenda calls for a visioning exercise, breakout sessions on future scenarios of cultural, ecological, and economics issues and a resource fair.”

So, it didn’t occur to the professors to wonder whether OV residents wanted an Aqueduct commemoration in Lone Pine, but the professors do expect OV residents to participate in a public forum for and with their students. And the professors will be paid to conduct this forum, but nothing suggests OV residents will be paid to participate -- another wonderful expression of colonial arrogance! OV residents should be grateful for the opportunity to donate our free time for the edification of students from the colonial power – the next generation of our masters!

Most remarkable is that the commemoration calls for students to develop alternative visions for the future of the Aqueduct, yet the commemoration overview fails to mention DWP at all. If students are to make meaningful visualizations of the future it is critical they have an understanding of the enormous problems of the present: the magnitude of the dysfunction at DWP, and DWP’s repeated bad faith in relations with OV and its own governing body, to say the least. Without such an understanding, “alternative visions” may be indistinguishable from “pure fantasy.”

I don’t expect to participate in the public forum, so I here offer my alternative Aqueduct vision: a railroad corridor! More information is at

— Daniel Pritchett

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The Bristlecone Chapter heartily welcomes the following new member:

Regina Fink, Santa Monica, CA

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.

To JOIN or RENEW: please contact Sally Manning or JOIN or RENEW ONLINE

Membership Application

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Bristlecone Chapter Directory

President: Yvonne Wood
Past President / Partnerships: Steve McLaughlin (760) 938-3140
Vice President: Holly Alpert
Treasurer: Rosanne Higley (760) 387-2803
Secretary: Rosemary Jarret 760-387-2782
Membership: Sally Manning (760) 873-3790
Newsletter Editor: Daniel Pritchett (760) 873-8943 - Newsletter Editor sought - contact Daniel if interested
Conservation: Daniel Pritchett - (760) 873-8943
Adopt-A-Highway: Scott Hetzler (760) 873-8392
Plant Communities:
Sally Manning - (760) 873-3790
Education: OPEN - interested? Contact any board member!
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: Jan Bowers (760) 938-3140
Publicity: OPEN - interested? Contact any board member!
Historian: Ann Fulton (760) 873-9261
Librarian: EvelynMae Nikolaus - (760) 878-2149
Rare Plant Committee Chair: Kathleen Nelson (760) 873-2400
Plant Sale Coordinator: Katie Quinlan (760) 873-8023
Plant Sale Committee: Sherryl Taylor (924-8742), Denise Waterbury (873-4344)
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

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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