November 8, 2004

“Diversity of Plant Species in Serpentine Areas”
Illustrated presentation by Hugh Safford

Join us for an entertaining and informative presentation by a leading researcher in the field on one of the most important and distinctive plant habitats in California.  Dr. Hugh Safford, a geologist-ecologist, jointly Research Associate at UC Davis and Regional Ecologist for the US Forest Service, will present a program on plant species diversity in California serpentine-regional patterns and possible causative factors.  This will be a summary of the statewide and regional patterns of species diversity on serpentine, a look a the history of serpentine (geology, soils, vegetation), a discussion of disturbance effects (grazing, burning) on serpentine vegetation, how these differ from “normal” vegetation, and a more detailed look at the Sierra Nevada.

October 11, 2004

“Oaks of California, with a special emphasis on the oaks of the Bay Area”
presentation by Pamela C. Muick, Ph.D.

Pamela C. Muick is the Executive Director of California Native Plant Society.  The mission of California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats through education, science, advocacy, horticulture and land stewardship.

CNPS is a thirty-eight old, non-profit, science based conservation organization.  A 32 member Chapter Council guides policy direction and twelve-member board governs CNPS.  CNPS has approximately 10,000 members organized into 32 chapters located throughout California.  The annual budget is about $1,000,000 and a staff of eight handles day-to-day operations.

Prior to CNPS, Pam served as the Executive Director of Solano Land Trust for six years where she was responsible for raising more than $7 million dollars and protecting over 4,000 acres of farmland and 4,000 acres of open space, including King Ranch, Jepson Prairie and Lynch Canyon.  Pam developed the first comprehensive countywide plan for farmland protection in Solano County.  Also, she was part of a coalition that developed an open space vision for Solano County.

Prior to the land trust, Pam was actively engaged in land management, particularly of California’s oak habitats, for over twenty years.  She designed and implemented habitat restoration projects in San Joaquin, as well as in Sonoma and Monterey counties.  On these and other projects she has collaborated with a broad spectrum of public and private entities.
Based on her years of experience in oak habitats Pam originated the idea for the book “Oaks of California” which she co-authored.  She was an editor of “The Ecological City: preserving and restoring urban biodiversity”, and has written numerous articles.  Pam has taught at San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley and UC Extension.

From 1992 to 1994, Pam worked with the US Agency for International Development in Washington D.C on biodiversity issues in Asia as an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow.  This prestigious fellowship included travel assignments in Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand.
Pam received masters and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley, in Forestry and Wild land Resource Policy & Management, based on research on oak regeneration and restoration. She earned an undergraduate biology degree from Sonoma State and an associate degree from Santa Barbara City College.

June 14, 2004

“Wildflowers of the Mono Basin”
presentation by Ann Howald

Mono Basin is the watershed area for Mono Lake, an ancient salt lake best known for its tufa towers, brine shrimp and for the several million migratory birds that use it as a filling station as they travel along the Pacific Flyway.  The Mono Basin is also home to a dazzling array of wildflowers tiny pink mimulus that cover the pumice flats around Mono Lake; deep blue larkspurs, golden yellow buckwheats, and crinkly-petalled prickly poppy in the sagebrush; red columbine and purple monkshood along the streams; tiny white violets, rosy elephants heads and purple asters in the montane meadows near the summit of Tioga Pass.  Ann will describe the variety of wildflowers she has encountered in her many years of botanizing in the Mono Basin. 

Ann Howald is the Senior Botanist for Garcia and Associates in San Anselmo, and CNPS’s new Rare Plant Program Director.

May 10, 2004

“Invasion of the Habitat Snatchers, or Native, Non-Native, Who Cares?!?”
presentation by Jake Sigg

This slide-illustrated talk examines the nature of the problem of invasive plants and its dynamic, our personal relation to it, and why it is important to us.  The phrase “the threat to the world’s indigenous biological communities posed by invasive nonnative plants is exceeded only by the threat from development” is so frequently quoted that it has become gospel.  Jake is of the opinion that invasive weeds now destroy more habitat than does development.

Who needs another crisis to become exercised about?  While the subject is a serious one, Jake is in the battle for the long term and that requires taking a light-hearted approach.  These are exciting times; the problem, although frightening, is vulnerable to human ingenuity.  Jake hopes that heightened awareness will lead to addressing a problem that an increasingly urban world ignores, unaware of how it affects them.

Jake Sigg is chair of the CNPS Invasive Exotics Committee and conservation chair and past president of the CNPS Yerba Buena Chapter.  He is retired from 32 years with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department; as gardener in Golden Gate Park and as gardener supervisor in Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, where he was de facto curator of collections.  He now works six days a week trying to save our natural heritage from the threat of aggressive weeds.  That work includes writing; his latest includes an article in the April 2003 Fremontia titled “Consider the Weeds of the Field — My, How They Grow!”, and, in the October 2003 issue, “Triple Threat from South Africa, about Cape ivy, yellow oxalis, and the sneaky grass ehrharta”.

Monday, April 12, 2004

“Pollination Ecology at Abbotts Lagoon”
presentation by Dr. Paul da Silva, College of Marin

Spring has sprung, and now wildflowers all over Marin and the rest of California appear to be smiling at us or trying in some other way to attract our attention.  But are they really?  Of course, the answer is, ‘Not exactly’.  It has been known for some time that the attractive efforts of flowers are directed primarily at insects and other animals that pollinate them.
However, the exact details of these plant-animal relationships are still imperfectly known.  Which pollinators are most significant for which plants, how effective the pollination process is, and how it varies over time and space are all important questions whose answers could tell us much about the future viability of populations of plants and there pollinators.

Four years ago, a group of faculty and students from College of Marin began to investigate the pollination ecology of dune plants at Abbotts Lagoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  This months speaker is Paul da Silva, who will discuss past, present and future aspects of this work.  This will provide an opportunity for members to become reacquainted with some familiar local plants and to learn about some lesser-known aspects of their existence.

Paul da Silva is a professor at the College, where he teaches in the biology, natural history and environmental science programs.  He received his M.S. in resource management from U.C. Berkeley, where he studied interactions among grasses and shrubs in coastal ecosystems.  Later he earned his Ph.D. in entomology, also from U.C. Berkeley, for work involving interactions among plants their herbivores and their natural enemies.  Since then, he has continued to pursue interests in interactions among plant and insect members of ecological communities.

March 8, 2004

“Ecological Considerations in Growing Plants for Restoration”
presentation by Betty Young

Have you ever tried to propagate native plants yourself?  Seems like it should be easy, after all they grow here naturally.  Whats the big deal?
Well talk about the special world of wildland seed collection and growing for habitat restoration for the National Park in your backyard.  How we maintain genetic diversity, assure the survival and continued evolution of the native habitats of Marin; how we make those sometimes stubborn native seeds sprout and the precautions we take during the growing process will be discussed?  Bring your questions about plants you have tried to grow without success.  We make time for propagation and native plant growing questions.

Betty Young has been propagating and managing nurseries since graduating from UC Davis 20 years ago.  Fifteen of those years have been in nurseries growing native plants for habitat restoration.  Betty is now Director of the 5 Nurseries supported by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for the GGNRA.

Native Plant Journal and Native Plants Network website contains general and specific native plant propagation information, with some contributions from Betty Young.

Native Plant Nursery System
Contact Information; Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy website
  Betty Young, 415-331-6917
  Muir Woods Nursery 415-383-4390
  Tennessee Valley Nursery, 415-331-0732
  Marin Headlands Nursery, 415-332-5193
  Fort Funston Nursery, 415-239-4247
  Presidio Nursery, 415-561-4826

February 9, 2004

Current Projects of the Jepson Herbarium: A Second Edition of The Jepson Manual
presentation by Staci Markos

Although The Jepson Manual was published only 10 years ago, it is out-of-date as a result of the phenomenal progress in plant systematics.  Some significant taxonomic changes have already been made and others are on the horizon; it is estimated that 57% of the families in the 1993 edition of The Jepson Manual will require substantial revision.
The Jepson Herbarium has initiated a five-year project (2003-2008) to produce a scientifically revised Jepson Manual.  The Second Edition will provide revised treatments for all taxa in the 1993 edition of The Jepson Manual and include new treatments for taxa that have been added to the flora of the state since 1993 (either as new to science or as newly reported for California).
This month’s lecture will include a discussion of the effort to produce a Second Edition and a variety of companion materials including electronic keys and improved distribution maps with geo-referenced localities.  Additionally, some of the recent taxonomic changes in major California plants groups will be reviewed.

Staci Markos is Project Manager and Development Coordinator for the Jepson Herbarium.  She completed her undergraduate work at UC Davis and graduate work at San Francisco State (M.A., systematics of the Arctostaphylos hookeri complex) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D., evolutionary patterns in Lessingia).

January 12, 2004

California Conifers
presentation by Glenn Keator

California is among the world’s best and most diverse places for conifers.  Among the superlatives, we have the world’s bulkiest tree (giant sequoia), the world’s tallest tree (coast redwood), and the world’s oldest tree (bristlecone pine).  The talk will survey some of the most outstanding of our 50+ species, including areas rich in species, such as the Russian Peak Wilderness area in the Klamath Mountains, where 17 species occur within one square mile!

Glenn Keator is a free lance botanist, writer, and teacher in the Bay Area.  He teaches at Merritt College, Regional Parks Botanic Garden, California Academy of Sciences, and Strybing Arboretum.  His specialty is growing California native plants. His two latest books are Life of an Oak with Heyday Books and Introduction to Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region with UC Press.


Monday, November 10, 2003

Create Some Magic:
Build a Pond for Birds, Dragonflies and other Wildlife

Kathy & Dave Biggs

Kathy and Dave Biggs planted their pond with mostly native plants instead of tropicals, and it has attracted 24 species of dragonflies, 54 species of birds, 2 dozen species of butterflies and several species of mammals. A visual slide tour of the pond and its plantings, and also slides of many of the critters who have visited will be given. They will discuss the pond’s layout and native plant life.

Interview with Kathy Biggs

Monday, October 13, 2003

Treasure Hunt for Salvias
New Species of Salvias for the Garden
Betsy Clebsch

“Betsy Clebsch is a noted amateur botanist and horticulturist La Honda, Northern California, having made and tended gardens in Virginia, Texas, and California. She became intrigued with salvias when she began her second California garden, a country retreat left unattended for several weeks between visits. That required sturdy, drought tolerant plants like many of the salvias. “Writing about the culture of salvias would not have been possible has I not has a large garden in which to grow, observe, and enjoy the plants…and nursery people and botanists who visited the garden gave invaluable information as to a plants source and who has grown it.” Clebsch has participated in many plant explorations and exchanges seed and rare plants, particularly salvias, with many botanical gardens.”
– taken from “A Book of Salvias” by Betsy Clebsch, which has been revised and republished this year by Timber press as a new book of slavias-sages for every garden.

Photo from the Greg Gaar Collection
probably taken by William Worden in 1910 in the Sunset District

Monday, September 8, 2003

The Great Sand Waste: History and Conservation of San Francisco’s Dunes
Pete Holloran

Ever wish to travel back in time to witness a favorite landscape before it suffered the ravages of industrialization? In the absence of time travel, historic photographs provide a window on the past that helps us understand the dips and swells of the contemporary city. The advent of photography coincided with the rise of San Francisco as a wealthy urban center, so it’s no surprise that its photogenic environs were well-documented by dozens of excellent photographers during the second half of the 19th century. Thanks to gracious support from local archives and collectors, Pete Holloran will use dozens of photographs of old San Francisco to illustrate his slide show on the evolution of its dune landscapes. Nearly a third of San Francisco–including most of the Richmond and Sunset Districts as well as Golden Gate Park, Hayes Valley, and downtown–were covered by extensive sand dunes. It wasn’t all just open sand either. A rich mosaic of oak woodlands, tightly woven dune scrub, and interdune slacks and ponds were scattered across the landscape. Now mostly gone, the dunes of San Francisco persist in remnant oak woodlands in neighborhood parks, patches of dune scrub at the Presidio and Fort Funston, and sandy backyards throughout the city. And at Crissy Field, of course, one of several dune restoration projects that Pete has been involved with over the last eight years. In addition to his work with the National Park Service and other land managers, he served for four years as president of the Yerba Buena chapter of the California Native Plant Society. His articles on the history of dune landscapes have appeared in Bay Nature and Reclaiming San Francisco (1998, City Lights Books). He is now working toward his Ph.D. in environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz.
-Photo from the Greg Gaar Collection; probably taken by William Worden in 1910 in the Sunset District.


Monday, June 9, 2003
Weed Eradication Efforts at Pt. Reyes National Seashore
presentation and slide show
Jane Rodgers

Presenting “Cliffhangers at Point Reyes National Seashore,” the story of dune restoration and iceplant removal to protect threatened and endangered species at the seashore.

Bigraphical Data: Jane Rodgers
Vegetation Program Manager at Point Reyes NS since March 2003.
Vegetation Manager at Joshua Tree National Park Jan. 1994- Feb. 2003.
Environmental Volunteer US Peace Corps Republic of Niger Nov 1990-Feb 1993.
Graduated with BS Forestry UC Berkeley 1990.


Monday, May 12, 2003
The New Kingdoms of Life: Now We Are Six (or Eight, or More!)
presentation and slide show
Alan Kaplan

Recent advances in molecular biology have produced a deeper understanding of the relationships among living organisms. What once was considered to be a simple division between animals and plants (a two kingdom system) has become a multiplication of many more kingdoms of life. Evolutionary biologists have divided the bacterial level of life (a single kingdom when many of us were in school) into two great groups each comprised of many kingdoms. The evolutionary line encompassing organisms with nucleated cells has been expanded from a 3-kingdom system of animals, plants, and fungi to include at least one additional kingdom of one-celled organisms (and their close multicellular cousins) called Protista. And now many scientists view the kingdom Protista as too much of a grab bag and consider its members to be a number of separate kingdoms as well.

Fossil and other geologic evidence can be used to create a time line for the events that ultimately resulted in life as we know it today. Among the many fascinating stories elucidated through the fossil record are the origin of photosynthesis, the establishment of the earths oxygen-rich atmosphere, the organization of the nucleated cell, and the foundation of the kingdoms of life.

Alan Kaplan, naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District, will present a fascinating slide-illustrated introduction to the latest theories on the origin and organization of life and the evidence supporting them.

Alan has had a keen interest in one-celled life forms since he got his first microscope. He studied bacteriology in high school and microbiology in college, and taught a laboratory section on microbiology at UC Berkeley. His programs through the Tilden Environmental Education Center are always popular, and his interests and knowledge span vast areas of the natural world.

Baskets and cordage in a sedge bed
Photograph and handiwork by Charles Kennard

Monday, April 14, 2003
presentation and slide show
Charles Kennard

Photographer and naturalist Charles Kennard presents a slideshow on native and introduced plants and their uses for food, medicine, baskets, cordage, and boat-building.

A professional photographer for many years, Charlie combined this skill with an interest in local history for his book San Francisco Bay Area Landmarks: Reflections of Four Centuries. During the past ten years he has taken workshops and received hands-on training in habitat restoration through the Golden Gate National Park Association and other organizations, while he also developed a fascination for local botany and botanical photography. Since 1988 he has been attending classes in traditional California Indian skills through MAPOM and other groups, and is self-taught in other basketry techniques. He is on the board of Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed, being active in the areas of public education and habitat restoration.

Monday, March 10, 2003
“If We Build it They Will Come: Gardening for Bees in Urban California”
Mary Schindler

Mary Schindler is a recent graduate from U.C. Berkeley who became involved in Dr. Gordon Frankie’s bee research 3 years ago. Since she began this research, she has had the opportunity to watch thousands of bees in action as they interact with flowers (natives and exotics) in the urban and natural environment. The aspect of her research she most enjoys is fieldwork, which involves wandering around in nature reserves and beautiful residential gardens, observing gorgeous flowers, and counting bees at work.

In the upcoming presentation, Mary Schindler will report on the most recent bee research project headed by Dr. Frankie. The first of its kind, this project aims to provide new information on the diversity of bees identified in the urban residential areas of Berkeley and Albany, California, and to document the unique relationships between urban bees and flowers.

Monday, February 10, 2003
“Two botanically interesting mountains of California:
A presentation of the vegetation and plants of
Snow Mountain in Mendocino National Forest
and Mount Pinos in Los Padres National Forest”
illustrated slide show
Ken Himes

Both of these isolated mountains are very interesting botanically. Many plants are at their natural limits of their range. Ken Himes, who has lead several overnight trips to both mountains for the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CNPS, will give an illustrated slide show of both the common and unexpected plants of each region. Ken has held several positions during his 17 plus years with the Santa Clara Valley Chapter and currently is the chapter representative with the volunteer program to control the spread of invasive exotics st Edgewood County Park & Preserve on the San Francisco Peninsula. He is also employed with the city of Belmont in the Parks & Recreation Department.

Monday, January 13, 2003
“Calflora: A Library of Information on California Plants”
program by
Tony Morosco

Calflora has assembled and integrated a rich collection of photographs and plant information from many sources and provides it for free on the web site With more than 28,000 plant photos (representing over half of all California species), reports for over 8,000 kinds of California plants, more than 15,000 synonyms that simplify searching, and over 850,000 plant observations, Calflora has become an essential resource for many, and a vital outreach tool for teaching about California plants. Over 200,000 people visited the website in May of 2002 alone. Partnered with CNPS, state and federal agencies, professional botanists, and hundreds of private contributors, Calflora is developing innovative strategies to expand and refine the available collection of plant information, and to create more learning opportunities for the public. Come learn about what information Calflora has for you, how you can participate, and what improvements are in our near future.

Tony Morosco is Technical Manager for Calflora and has been intimately involved with establishing the nonprofit organization since 1997. Tony’s botanical background centers on floristics and information about plants on computers, and California plant conservation. Tony is current President of the East Bay Chapter of CNPS, former Council Member of the California Botanical Society. Tony has worked on the revision to Howell’s Marin Flora while an intern at the California Academy of Sciences, and various projects at the Jepson Herbarium.

Monday, November 11, 2002
“Plant Galls”
program by
Ron Russo

California’s rich diversity of habitats supports an equally diverse array of native plant species. Many native plants are focal points around which numerous vertebrate and invertebrate species spend a portion or all of their lives. Of spectacular note is the incredible display of plant galls or tumor-like swellings induced largely by specific insects. These strange growths appear mostly on the leaves, buds, stems, and flowers of native plant hosts. Of special interest is the number of species that appear on oaks, willows, sage, and wild roses. Tiny wasps, flies, moths, mites, and various fungi and viruses are the pinciple agents involved in gall formation. Join us for a lively and entertaining journey into one of nature’s least known realms…plant galls and gall inducers.

Ron is the Chief Naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District where he has worked for 36 years. Ron has published over 30 papers and articles in journals and magazines, in addition to six field guides including Plant Galls of the California Region, Pacific Coast Fish, Pacific Coast Mammals, Pacific Intertidal Life, Mountain State Mammals, and Hawaiian Reefs. He has been an instructor for the California Academy of Sciences, University of California Berkeley Extension, and the California State Park Training Academy. In addition, Ron has conducted training seminars throughout the United States for several state park, county, and federal park and land management agencies. Currently, Ron guides trips twice a year into Southeast Alaska to observe whales and other wildlife. Ron’s specialties include nudibranchs, sharks, mushrooms, galls, mammals, and humpback whales. In 1989, he received the distinguished FELLOW award from the National Association for Interpretation.

Monday, October 14, 2002
“An Interpretive Look at Marin County’s Wildflowers”
slide show by
Diana Roberts

We will take an up-close look at many of Marin County’s wildflowers as we enjoy our Autumnal revival of Spring. We will hear interpretive tidbits about the flowers, including Miwok uses of native plants, mythology, and ecological niche.

Diana Roberts is a writer and member of the Marin County chapter of CNPS. She has worked as an interpretive ranger at Point Reyes National Seashore and at Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Marin Headlands, where she created a 100+ image visual interpretive guide to the wildflowers of the Marin Headlands. Learning to look closely at wildflowers to see their hidden beauty has taught her to see everything – not just wildflowers – more clearly. She wants to help the uninitiated (potential new members of CNPS?) have a similar experience.

Monday, June 10, 2002
“Mariposa Lilies and Friends”
slide show by
Stephen Lowens

Stephen Lowens, long-time member and past newsletter editor of the Marin CNPS, avid wildflower watcher and amateur photographer, will give the presentation. The show will feature virtually all known species of the genus calochortus that grow in the United States. A brief history of the taxonomy will be presented, as well as general descriptions and maps of where the species grow. This will be an evening for feasting on the beauty of the flowers – technical details will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Monday, May 13, 2002
“Conservation of Soils of California “
presentation by
Emily Roberson

Emily will speak on the soils of California. She will describe how soils are formed and key components and processes that occur within them. She will also discuss how conservation of soil health relates to CNPS native plant conservation work. Finally, Emily will present examples of CNPS conservation projects in areas where threats to the integrity of soil processes is a key component of the imperilment of native plant communities.

Emily Brin Roberson is Senior Land Management Analyst for CNPS and Project Director for the Native Plant Conservation Campaign. She holds a bachelors degree magna cum laude in plant ecology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in soil microbial ecology from UC Berkeley. She worked as a researcher in the plant and soil sciences in the U.S. and France for 10 years before joining CNPS in 1993. Her work focuses on native plant conservation advocacy with the federal and state land management agencies.

Monday, April 8, 2002
“Production Trilogy: Assembling Botanical Illustrations, Watercolor Plant Portraits, and Fremontia
presentation by
Linda Ann Vorobik

You key a plant in The Jepson Manual, you write on a lovely note card, you read Fremontia: how are the images and text created, and what does “publication” really involve? Linda Ann Vorobik, botanist, illustrator, and Fremontia Editor, describes the process of her work, from pencil to CD-ROM burner, with examples from her latest projects. By using examples from the new Jepson Desert Regional Manual, she describes how the final 110 electronic illustration plates were assembled from scans of the original Jepson Manual illustration plates and new drawings. With her botanical watercolors (several framed paintings will be displayed), she shows how such plant portraits are created. Finally, Dr. Vorobik overviews how your CNPS Journal Fremontia is assembled, and solicits your input for Fremontia.

Dr. Vorobik has been a part of large botanical projects for several years (The Jepson Manual as Principal Illustrator, The Flora of Santa Cruz Island as Principal Illustrator and Page Designer, the Flora of Yosemite National Park as Technical Editor, etc.) and is now Illustrations Editor for the two Flora North America grass volumes as well as Fremontia Editor. She resides in Berkeley where she is a Visiting Scholar at UC, and in Washington state where she is a Visiting Scholar at UW, Seattle, but lives on Lopez Island.

Linda will have notecards, prints, and original artwork for sale; 30% of proceeds will be donated to the CNPS Marin Chapter.

Linda will be offering two illustration workshops through Friends of the Jepson Herbarium:
March 9-10: Basics of Botanical Illustration, UC Berkeley Campus and Botanical Garden
April 18-21: Desert Wildflowers: Sketching With Watercolors, Granite Mountain Research Station
For more information call the Jepson Herbarium at 510-643-7008 or visit the UC/JEPS web page.

Monday, March 11, 2002
“Useful Plants and Seaweeds”
presentation by
Autumn Summers

Come explore the world of edible and medicine plants that is in our own gardens and open spaces. Through slides and fresh specimens, we will discover the many native plants of the Bay Area that can and have been used as food and medicine by humans for hundreds of years. These riches include familiar plants such as manzanita, oaks, willow, California bay and California Poppy plus some not so familiar plants including hedge nettle (Stachys spp.), silk tassel (Garrya spp.), figwort (Scrophularia spp.), gumweed (Grindelia spp.) and some local seaweeds.

Autumn has been a plant addict for the last 12 years. She graduated from the California School of Herbal Studies in 1988 where she currently is a member of the teaching staff. Other studies include receiving a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Ethnobotany from Sonoma State University. Her current focus is on teaching botany, edible and medicinal plant use, and seaweed classes in and around the Bay Area including a summer course at Sonoma State. She is the past President of the Sonoma County Herb Association and lives in Sebastopol.

Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman, Timber Press, 1998
Native American Ethnobotany Database – online lookup
The Flavors of Home – A Guide to Wild Edible Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area by Margit Roos-Collins, Heyday Books, 2001
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore, Red Crane Press, 1993
Little Acorns – A Guide to Marin County Plant Lore by Ruth Stotter, Stotter Press
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory L. Tilford, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Inc., 1997

Monday, February 11, 2002
“Death Valley, Spring 1998: Wildflower year of the century”
presentation by
Rosemary Donlon

The El Ni&ntildeo rains of 1997-98 didn’t all fall on the Central Coast – there was enough left to bring a record 5.8 inches of rainfall to Death Valley (average rainfall, 1.7 inches). The rains were spaced just far enough apart to ensure an extensive growth period and continuous bloom for much of the Death Valley flora. Monterey Bay Chapter, California Native Plant Society past president, Rosemary Donlon, was there for a week in March and a week in April of 1998 to see and photograph the phenomenal display.

Death Valleys geologic history, topographic diversity and climatic extremes make it home to a fascinating flora. Of the nearly 1,000 plant species found in this National Park, 22 are found nowhere else and another 33 have only a few populations found elsewhere. Many of these bloomed in record profusion in the El Ni&ntildeo rains, some for the first time in years. Come see the vast fields of desert gold, the rare golden carpet, Gilmania luteola, rock mimulus, Death Valley sage and other beautiful treasures of one of our states magnificent National Parks.

Rosemary Donlon is a landscape designer and horticultural consultant in Carmel, California and specializes in native plant landscaping. She is the past president of the Monterey Bay Chapter and is a member of the state CNPS horticultural committee. Rosemary began to hear about Lester Rowntree soon after she became a CNPS member about 20 years ago. Her serious interest grew as she helped plant some of the first areas of the Rowntree Native Plant Garden in Carmel and she began to be intrigued by Lesters elegant writing as well as her immense knowledge of Californias native flora.

While studying in Cal Poly San Luis Obispos ornamental horticulture and botany departments she decided to compile a bibliography of Lesters journal and magazine articles, little realizing the magnitude of the task she had undertaken. (Lesterss own estimate was that she had written approximately 100 articles over her lifetime.) That project has expanded considerably (and extends to include over 680 articles) and has taken her to libraries all over the country. Her current projects include compiling and editing a collection of Lester Rowntrees articles on the horticultural use of California native plants for publication by CNPS.

Monday, January 14, 2002
“Charles Kellogg, founder of the Save the Redwoods League”
presentation by
Dabney Smith

Charles Kellogg was a famous vaudeville performer. He recorded bird songs for Victor Records, and these were best sellers. He travelled with John Burroughs in the West Indies for two weeks, observing nature. The last known photograph taken of John Muir is with Charles Kellogg. So who was Kellogg and what does he have to do with native plants? Kellogg built what may have been the world’s first motor home. It was made from a single redwood log. He used the “travel log” to tour the country and promote the newly formed Save the Redwoods League.

Dabney Smith is a park ranger for Santa Clara County Parks. She currently works at Mt. Madonna County Park, the former estate of Henry Miller, the cattle king and savior of Tule Elk. Dabney graduated with a B.S. in Biological Science from Cal State Hayward in 1970. Shortly thereafter, she met Rick Bergman and Gini Havel. Upon Rick’s recommendation she joined the newly formed Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. She attended Gini’s field biology classes at the College of Marin, and sometime thereafter met Wilma Follette and Phyllis Faber. She considers Gini, Wilma, and Phyllis her mentors, and responsible for her lifelong adventures with native plants.

Monday, November 5, 2001
“California Deserts in Spring”
slide presentation by
Rob Badger


Monday, October 1, 2001
“Gardening With Native Plants for Wildlife & Insects”
slide presentation by
Leanna Beeman-Sims

This slide presentation will explore using our wonderful native flora to create a garden for butterflies, birds and beneficial insects. The interdependence of plants and insects takes us to a new, deeper level in our gardens. Most of the information I have comes from personal observation and experience, gardening in a mostly native setting in Western Sonoma County. I have found that by nourishing butterflies, the garden attracts many other wonderful beings that live in community with native plants.

Leana Beeman-Sims is first and foremost a habitat gardener. She started Wayward Gardens, a nursery specializing in habitat plants, three years ago on her farm outside Sebastopol. She is a Master Gardener and current President of the Milo Baker Chapter of CNPS.

Monday, 4 June, 2001
“Rare Plants of Point Reyes”
presentation by
Doreen Smith

More than half of Marin’s listed rare, threatened and endangered plants grow on Pt. Reyes. For many of these species this area has the only abundant populations left in California/the world. Other plants not (yet) officially recognized as special will be included as they are different from other morphs of the “same” species of and in the rest of the state.

Doreen was born in England, educated at the Universities of Bristol and London and has a B. Sc. in Botany. Her first “real” job was at the Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working on the flora of tropical East Africa. She did graduate work in ecology and conducted pollen analyses of marshes. Since coming to the U. S. in 1967, she has worked in Radiation Biology and taught Elementary Science. She has also taught non-credit Botany courses at the College of Marin.

Doreen learned about the local flora mostly from field trips with CNPS. She is a treasured member of our Marin CNPS board, on which she has served as education chair and is currently chair of rare and endangered plant. She is a frequent field trip leader and has an eagle eye for the minutiae of our diverse flora.

Monday, 7 May, 2001
“The Marin/Sonoma Weed Management Area”
presentation by
Amanda Stephens

Amanda will discuss the formation process of this new group and what it has accomplished in just two short years. It is a group of enthusiasts that work toward education about and eradication of noxious weeds within Marin and Sonoma Counties. Funding has been received in both 2000 and 2001 from the California Department of Agriculture as well as from the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

Amanda graduated from CalPoly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Animal Science. She worked as an Agricultural Biologist in 1995 for Fresno County and for 2.5 years for Mendocino County. Amanda came to work for Marin County in 1999 and became Chairperson of the Marin/Sonoma Weed Management Area in May of 2000.

Monday, 2 April, 2001
Sudden Oak Death…new developments in host range biology and potential control
presentation by
Dr. Matteo Garbelotto

In 1995, a mysterious oak-killing disease was discovered in Marin County. Since then, it has been identified in six coastal counties of central California, where it has killed tens of thousands of coast live oaks, tanbark oaks and California black oaks. The pathogen believed to cause the disease, a previously unknown species of Phytophthora fungus, is now also believed to cause disease in ornamental rhododendrons and in huckleberry.

Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, a plant pathologist and mycology extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, is a leading researcher in the effort to understand this new disease, termed Sudden Oak Death or Oak Mortality Syndrome. Dr Garbelotto will discuss the history, diagnosis and distribution, the fascinating story of isolating and identifying the causative agent, and current ideas on managing the disease.

Dr. Garbelotto received his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Padua, Italy in 1988. He continued his studies in Padua and received a Master’s degree in Silviculture/Forest Pathology in 1990. Matteo then left Italy and came to Berkeley to study Plant Pathology and received his M.S. in February of 1993. Matteo received his PhD in December 1996.

Currently, Matteo is a Forest Pathology & Mycology Extension Specialist and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

For more information on Sudden Oak Death, visit: California Oak Mortality Task Force or U.C. Cooperative Extension in Marin County

Monday, 5 March, 2001
Native Ferns for the Garden
demonstration by
Miriam Leefe

Tonight’s program will not include a slide presentation, but will take the form of a demonstration on the cultivation of ferns, particularly local California native species and their uses in Marin gardens.

Miriam will bring examples of ferns for the demonstration. These ferns, raised at the Strybing Arboretum Society’s nursery, will be available for sale at the end of the program, with proceeds benefitting the Arboretum.

Miriam Leefe has been Fern Chair at the Strybing Arboretum Society in Golden Gate Park for nearly twenty years. She has consulted for public and private fern gardens throughout the Bay Area, spoken for many horticultural societies, and taught Master Gardening classes on ferns.

Monday, 5 February, 2001
“The Tomales Bay Dune Complex”
slide presentation by
Dr. Peter Baye

Dr. Baye’s talk will include a slide presentation on the contemporary Tomales Bay Dune system. This is the area also known as the Dillon Beach Dunes or the Sand Point Dunes. His talk will cover dune landforms, geomorphic processes, dune wetlands, vegetation, and plant species. He will offer examples of other dune systems in California and elsewhere to highlight geographic comparisons and distinctions of the Tomales system.

Dr. Peter Baye is a well-known botanist and plant ecologist specializing in the flora and ecology of coastal plant communities, particularly sand dunes, beaches, and tidal marshes. He has studied and worked on conservation of coastal dunes and marshes since 1975 ranging from Great Britain, the Maritime Provinces of Canada, New England, the Great Lakes, and California. He is currently employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Endangered Species Program and is stationed at the Mare Island sub-office.

Monday, 8 January, 2001

“Plant Communities of the White Mountains of California …”
slide presentation by
Terry Sozanski

Terry Sozanski grew up in Sydney, Australia, where after graduating from Sydney University, he worked as a chemist before embarking on a world journey in 1975. He settled in Marin County and has lived here since 1981 where he works as a painting contractor. He studied landscaping at the College of Marin and has a keen interest in horticulture. He has been a photographer for 25 yrs and now specializes in plant and landscape photography.

Monday, 6 November 2000

“Frontier Botanists on the Pacific Coast…”
program by
Richard Beidleman

This lecture will follow early botanical adventurers on the Pacific Coast from George Steller in 1741 on an Alaskan island, penning the West’s first botanical paper (in Latin), to Professor Willis Jepson of the University of California (Berkeley), boating and botanizing in 1912 on the Colorado River. In between, what an interesting diversity: among them Captain Cook’s botanist and Captain Vancouver’s botanist, naturalists with the French, Spanish, Russian and American oceanic expeditions; David Douglas of the Fir, Thomas Nuttall of the Pacific Dogwood, John Charles Fremont of CNPS’s Fremontia, and of course not to be overlooked, Alice Eastwood of the California Academy of Sciences. The talk will be illustrated with color slides of these early botanical explorers’ haunts and some of the plants which they collected.

Dr. Beidleman is a Research Associate, University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California (Berkeley), and Professor Emeritus(Biology) at the Colorado College. Although professionally an ecologist, with a Ph.D from the University of Colorado, he has for a number of years researched the impact of the American frontier on science, and more recently the impact of the Australian frontier on natural science. He has lectured and written extensively on these topics and is currently working on a book about California’s frontier naturalists. With his wife Linda he has co-authored Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park, just published by Falcon Press, and will have an article in the next issue of Fremontia on CAL botanist Jepson’s 1912 rowboat trip down the Colorado River. While in Colorado, Dr. Beidleman served for eight years on the Colorado State Park Board, including four years as chairman, and he is a member of both CNPS and the Colorado Native Plant Society.

Monday, 2 October 2000

“Native Plants Are For The Birds”
program by
Doreen Smith
Rare and Endangered Plants Chair, Marin CNPS

Before humans altered the native California vegetation patterns the native birds occupied all habitats in Marin County. If you are planning to garden with some or all native plants you may want to know which birds are most compatible with which plants. Birds require cover, nesting sites and food. Many plants provide all three and a balance of trees, shrubs and herbaceous species is ideal for both humans and birds.

If your garden is on the margins of one of the wildland areas, the birds most attracted to that plant community are in the neighborhood and likely to visit you. Some very urban areas also have native bird populations. If you like herbaceous perennials, hummingbirds are particularly easy to attract in Marin County.

One thing to remember is that if you use chemical pesticides in the garden, the insects many birds feed on become poisoned and poisonous to those birds, so it is unkind to attract birds to such a spot. Usually, an “organic” garden can be attractive to humans as well as wildlife and be in balance ecologically. Provide water, keep your cats inside and enjoy your birds and flowers.

Doreen was born in England, educated at the Universities of Bristol and London and has a B. Sc. in Botany. Her first “real” job was at the Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working on the flora of tropical East Africa. She did graduate work in ecology and conducted pollen analyses of marshes. Since coming to the U. S. in 1967, she has worked in Radiation Biology and taught Elementary Science. She has also taught non-credit Botany courses at the College of Marin.

Doreen learned about the local flora mostly from field trips with CNPS. She is a treasured member of our Marin CNPS board, on which she has served as education chair and is currently chair of rare and endangered plant. She is a frequent field trip leader and has an eagle eye for the minutiae of our diverse flora.

Monday, 5 June 2000

“Upper Caribou Lake Area of the Trinity Mountains”
program by
Stewart Winchester
Diablo Valley College

For over fifteen years, Stewart Winchester has been taking students into the field to explore floristically diverse regions of the West, including alpine flower field trips to every mountainous part of California, Oregon, and Nevada that he can reach. Tonight he will share one of his favorite destinations with us, the Caribou Basin of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. This area offers some of the greatest diversity of conifers and perennials in the North Coast Ranges of the state. Because of the glacial scour of granite (like the Sierra’s) many species make for an outstanding rock garden display in July and August.

Stewart has a background in in Environmental Science and Horticulture and is currently an instructor at Diablo Valley College. He has taught in the DVC Horticulture Department for over ten years and has also been an instructor with the Merritt College Landscape Horticulture Department for over ten years.

Stewart claims our Marin Chapter’s Terry Sozanski as his mentor in photography. At past meetings, Terry has shared with us his photographs from a number of Stewart Winchester’s field trips.

May 2000

“Invasive Cordgrass in San Francisco Bay lands”
program by
Dr. Debra Ayres,
U.C. Davis

Smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, is native to the eastern U.S. and was introduced into south San Francisco Bay 21 years ago. It has since spread by deliberate planting and tidal dispersal. This species is very robust and capable of out-competing our locally native California cordgrass, S. foliosa. Smooth cordgrass is able to grow at both higher and lower levels of the intertidal plane than our native species, which is left no refuge. In addition, the two species are now hybridizing.

Dr. Ayers and her colleagues at U.C. Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory have been studying the spread of Spartina alterniflora and S. foliosa x alterniflora hybrids in California marshes. DNA markers diagnostic for each species were used to detect the two parental species and nine categories of their hybrids. The California coast outside of S.F. Bay contains only the native S. foliosa. All nine hybrid categories exist within S.F. Bay, implying that several generations of crossing have occurred and that hybridization is multidirectional. Hybrids are found principally near sites of deliberate introduction of S. alterniflora, and S. foliosa is now virtually absent from these areas. Marshes colonized by water-dispersed seed contain the full gamut of hybrid types.

Dr. Ayers will discussed this research and the dangers that this introduced species and its hybrids pose to the tidal ecosystem. Physical traits of the hybrids were displayed so that CNPS chapters can recognize these menaces to our marshes.

Debra graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1976 with a B.A. in Botany, and in 1978 from the University of Oregon, Eugene, with an M.A. in Biology. From 1992 to 1997, Debra has been a researcher and teaching assistant in the Department of Plant Biology at U.C. Davis, from which, in 1997 she was awarded a Ph.D. in Ecology.

April 2000

Growing a National Park
program by
Greg De Nevers,
Resident Biologist at Audubon Canyon Ranch

Greg presented a brief history of Audubon Canyon Ranch, and tied this to the larger history of land protection and preservation in Marin County and the national scene. He also discussed the history and future of vegetation in coastal California, with illustrations drawn from the local landscape.

Greg was born in San Francisco and raised in San Rafael. He attended Redwood High School, then UC Santa Cruz, receiving a BA in Environmental Studies in 1980. His Senior Thesis was a flora of the Kingston Range, an isolated mountain range in the eastern Mojave Desert. After college he taught biology at Kuskokwim Community college in Bethel, Alaska. He then spent three years in Panama documenting the flora of the lands of the Kuna Indians (San Blas, east of the canal). During this time he developed an interest in the systematics of neotropical palms, which he continues to pursue.

For 13 years Greg was Resident Biologist at Pepperwood, a 3,117 acre preserve in Sonoma County. At Pepperwood Greg developed a strong interest in newts (Taricha). He has done botanical field work in Tanzania, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Colombia, Yugoslavia and Mexico.

March 2000

Invasive Species in Native Habitat
program by
Katrina Strathmann of the GGNRA

The greatest threat to native species – second only to land development – is non-native invasive species. In preserves throughout the United States, invasive species are outcompeting natives and causing extirpations when invasions go unchecked. In the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which hosts over 1,200 native and non-native species of plants, staff and volunteers are controlling, or at the very least slowing the spread of, invasive species in order to protect native plants and habitats. Katrina Strathmann of the GGNRA will present an overview of invasive plant species, followed by an introduction to the most invasive species that occur in the Park, including basic biology, where they come from, and some of the Park’s recent efforts at control.

Katrina Strathmann has worked and volunteered in habitat restoration in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1997, working on invasive species control, revegetation, native plant propagation, and rare species monitoring. She coordinates a volunteer program for high-priority invasive species control (called IPP for “invasive plant patrol”) consisting of individual hikers patrolling specific regions of the Park, (ie, the Gerbode Valley, Tennessee Valley, Rodeo Valley, Oakwood Valley, Coyote Ridge, Wolf Ridge, etc.) for new infestations of the Park’s high-priority invasive species (ie, French broom, gorse, Helichrysum petiolatum, Leucanthemum vulgare, cape-ivy, etc.), removing where appropriate and mapping the infestations. This is a critical component of invasive species control in the Park, as staff and larger volunteer crews do not often work in more remote areas. In addition to focusing on ox-eye daisy, pampas grass and acacia control in the Marin Headlands. Katrina is also conducting research on a rare native species, Cirsium andrewsii, in collaboration with the San Francisco Presidio. A self-taught botanist, she is working toward a graduate degree in plant ecology.


February 2000

An Introduction to Lichens
program by
Janet and Richard Doell

Richard will begin this program with a multi-media show depicting a wide variety of lichens set to music and without commentary as a short introduction to the diversity found in lichens. Janet will follow with a more traditional slide presentation describing what lichens are, how they are divided into three main taxonomic groups, how they reproduce, the structures used in their identification, the roles they play in the environment, their vulnerability to pollution and some of their uses.

Richard Doell was born and raised in California. His professional career was as a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, where his main area of study was the earth’s magnetic field. His interest in lichens started with his marriage to Janet, and he audited a lichen course taught by Dr. Harry Thiers at San Francisco State “in self defense” as Dr. Thiers put it. Combining his long-standing interest in photography together with his exposure to lichens, he has helped many newcomers to this branch of botany become aware of the wide diversity in these interesting organisms through his slide shows and photographs.

Janet grew up in Europe and Canada, following her father around to his various posts in the U.S. Foreign Service. She moved to San Francisco in 1950 after working for six years in Washington D.C. as a translator. After many years spent raising a large family she became interested in lichens while a re-entry student at San Francisco State in the 1970’s, studying under Dr. Harry Thiers. She received her Master’s Degree in 1982. Her thesis study consisted of dating a rock fall in Nevada using lichenometry, a method of dating the exposure of rock surfaces by studying the lichens present on them. Following a number of years more devoted to sailing than to lichen study, she and Richard returned to the Bay Area in the early 1990’s and she found a medium for information exchange among local lichenologists. As a member of CALS (California Lichen Society), she has been active in giving lectures and leading field trips for CNPS and other groups interested in learning about lichens.

January 2000

Floristic Discoveries of North America
program by
Dr. Barbara Ertter, Curator of Western North American Flora and Administrative Curator of the University and Jepson Herbaria, U.C. Berkeley

Contrary to recurring perceptions that the flora of North America north of Mexico has been fully explored and catalogued, the rate of ongoing discoveries has remained remarkably constant for much of the last century and shows no evidence of tapering off. This is particularly evident in western and southeastern North America, where dramatic new species are still coming to light, even along highways and near major cities. Furthermore, the majority of ongoing discoveries are dependent not just on professional taxonomists, but on the collective efforts of individuals and organizations operating outside of academia. The incompleteness of our floristic knowledge takes on critical significance in an era when decisions are being made that will irrevocably determine the fate of our national floristic heritage.