{tab=Trip Recap}

A hefty group of 33 CNPS members and guests arrived on a beautiful May morning to see and learn about the plants of Upper Newport Bay. We met at the parking area along Back Bay Drive, adjacent to Bid Canyon (about .5 mi N of San Joaquin Hills Road). We invested the first several minutes learning a bit about the bay, its ecology and its plant and animal life. A common theme throughout the trip was the adaptations of many of the plant here to extreme levels of salt (called "halophytes"). We learned of two strategies that plants employ to deal with these toxic salts: to exude the salt crystals out of the leaf and stem through specialized glands along the leaf surface and margins or to isolate these salts in specific areas of the leaves (usually in the leaf vacuoles) thereby protecting the rest of the plant parts.

We also discussed other interesting aspects of many of these marsh and estuary plants, specifically succulent foliage and stems, adaptations to intertidal waters and summer growth/winter dormancy patterns. We then set out to explore the area and began with a walk along the edge of the bay, on Back Bay Drive. Soon we discovered two the botanical highlights of the area: salt marsh bird's beak (Cordylanthus maritimus var, maritimus) and Southern tarplant (Centromadia parryi ssp. australis). Both are quite rare plants and both have federal protection through the Endangered Species Act.

As we headed inland through the area known as Big Canyon we continued our discussion of another theme of the morning, non-native invasive plants. We paused on many occasions to see and discuss many of the non-native threats to the local ecology. These invasive plants include Brazilian pepper, Italian buckthorn, various species of Limonium (sea lavender), annual and perennial iceplants, pampas grass, some of the saltbushes and some of the European annual grasses. While standing near invasive stands of watercress, fennel and celery we joked about pausing for a lunch break - vegetarian style - perhaps a new tactic of invasive species control.

As usual, we were fortunate to have a few experts along for the trip that could elaborate upon some of the natural history of the area. Vic Leipzig, in particular, an excellent birder and officer with Sea & Sage Audubon was especially helpful in discussing a few of the birds of the bay, especially the light-footed clapper rail and Belding's savannah sparrow.

We had a fun morning and enjoyed the company of each other and about the interesting and unique plants of the area.

{tab=Plants Seen}

Agave attenuata*

Acacia redolens*

Aeonium urbicum*

Ambrosia psilostachya

Anagallis arvensis*

Anemopsis californica

Anthrocnemum subterminale

Apium graveolens*

Artemisia californica

Artemisia dracunculus

Asparagus densiflorus*

Atriplex amnicola*

Atriplex canescens ssp. canescens

Atriplex lentiformis ssp. Breweri

Atriplex semibaccata*

Avena sp.*

Baccharis salicina

Baccharis pilularis

Baccharis salicifolia

Callistemon viminalis*

Batis maritima

Bolboschoenus maritimus ssp paludosus

Brassica nigra*

Bromus diandrus*

Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens*

Carduus pycnocephalus*

Carpobrotus chilensis*

Carpobrotus edulis*

Centaurea melitensis*

Centromadia parryi var. australis

Cleome (=Peritome) isomeris

Conyza canadensis

Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. maritimus

Cortaderia selloana*

Cotula coronopifolia*

Cupaniopsis anacardioides*

Cuscuta salina var. major

Cylindropuntia prolifera

Distichlis littoralis

Distichlis spicata

Dudleya lanceolata

Echium candicans*

Encelia californica

Erodium sp.*

Foeniculum vulgare *

Frankenia salina

Fraxinus uhdei*

Heliotropium curassavicum

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Heterotheca grandiflora

Isocoma menziesii var. vernonioides

Isolepis cernuus

Jaumea carnosa

Juncus acrticus var. balticus

Juncus acutus ssp. leopoldii

Limonium sinuatum*

Limonium californicum

Limonium otolepis*

Limonium ramosissimum*

Lolium multiflorum*

Lonicera japonica*

Lotus scoparius var. scoparius

Lycium californicum

Malephora crocea*

Malva parviflora*

Marrubium vulgare*

Melilotus albus*

Melilotus indicus*

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum*

Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum*

Myoporum laetum*

Nasturtium officinale*

Nicotiana glauca*

Opuntia littoralis

Opuntia oricola

Populus fremontii (*?)

Phalaris minor*

Pinus halapensis*

Phoenix canariensis*

Picris echioides*

Plantago major*

Platanus racemosa (*?)

Pluchea odorata var. odorata

Populus fremontii (*?)

Pulicaria hispanica*

Raphanus sativus*

Rauvolfia samarensis*

Rhamnus alaternus*

Rhus integrifolia

Ricinus communis*

Rosa californica

Rubus ursinus

Salicornia bigelovii

Salicornia pacifica (virginica)

Salix gooddingii

Salix lasiolepis

Salsola tragus*

Sambucus mexicana

Schinus terebinthifolius*

Schoenoplectus americanus

Schoenoplectus californicus

Spartium junceum*

Sonchus asper *

Suaeda californica var. pubescens

Suaeda esteroa

Suaeda taxifolia

Spergularia marina

Tamarix sp.*

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Tropeolum majus*

Urtica dioica

Washingtonia robusta*

 

114 species (included a scouting trip on 5-16-13)

* = Not native, at this site.

2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Travel Grant

Congratulations to Marlee Antill, James Bailey, Rebecca Crow, Hailey Laskey, and Wilnelia Ricart, winners of our 2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Student Travel Grant! We look forward to seeing them at the Conference next February. 

Go to top