Explore, Botanize, Feast, Camp, Repeat.

Rare Plant Treasure Hunts

Explore desert wildlands, hike canyons and washes in search of rare beauties, and witness the most extravagant adaptations in extreme desert niches. Learn more about our desert plants, and take home a Mojave or Sonoran experience to savor, inspire and inform our future.

Join the CNPS commitment to rediscover and document the rare plant populations across the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, from the giant saguaro to the tiniest ephemeral wildflower.

The Mojave and Sonoran Deserts are currently under significant pressures from wind and solar energy projects designed to meet the growing demands of an expanding human population.

Deserts are biodiversity hotspots - home to a vital array of rare plants, many of which have not be documented in decades, or remain entirely un-described, yet they are an essential component of desert ecosystems, in need of fuller understanding and long-term conservation.

{slide=Castle Mountains / Sat. May 5 - Sun. May 6, 2012 / 10:30 am - 3:30 pm |green|active}

A proposed addition to the Mojave National Preserve, the Castle Mountains area includes some of the highest-quality desert habitat remaining in Southern California. Native desert grasslands converge with pinion-juniper habitats overlooking some of the highest wilderness peaks in the Mojave Desert. It's also a rich historic and cultural resource for the Piute Indians, and contains a unique source of obsidian that was traded throughout the Mojave. Western mining history is also evidenced in the Hart and Viceroy mines.

No need to be a botanist, just a desert enthusiast (or newbie) and decent desert hiker. We'll have botanists and materials on hand to help with the plant ID. This is a fun way to experience and enjoy the flora and fauna of remote desert locations and help inform future conservation efforts.

Meet up with us Saturday morning for a weekend of exploring and botanizing in the Castle Mountain, looking for some of our favorite plant rarities including Penstemon bicolor, Lotus argyraeus var. multicaulis, Grusonia parishii, Cymopteris multinervatus, Allium nevedense, Mirabilis conccinea, and Linum puberulum.

We'll enjoy a sunset feast and campout in a remote mountain locale, taking in the pleasure of each others company under a ceiling painted with the starry-starry night..

There's still a few spots left! Sign up below.

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{slide=Bighorn Mountains / Tues. May 15 - Wed. May 16, 2012 / 10:00 am - 3:30 pm|green|active}

This 2-day trip includes a day of climbing and bouldering in granitic peaks and a second day looking for limestone endemic plants on carbonate substrate. The rare plant list for this area is huge!

Erigeron parishii (Parish's daisy), Eriogonum ovalifolium var. vineum (Cushenbury buckwheat), Astragalus albens (cushenbury milkvetch), Astragalus bernardinus (San Bernardino milkvetch), Arabis shockleyi (Shockley's rockcress), Oxytheca parishii var. goodmaniana (Cushenbury oxytheca), Hulsea vestita ssp. parryi (Parry's alpinegold), Arabis dispar (pinyon rockcress), Linanthus killipii (Baldwin Lake linanthus), Dudleya abramsii ssp. affinis (San Bernardino Mtns. dudleya), Castilleja cinerea (ashgray Indian paintbrush), Arabis parishii (Parish's rock cress), Phlox dolichantha (Big Bear Valley phlox), Arenaria ursina (Big Bear Valley sandwort).

No need to be a botanist, just fit for mountain exploring. We'll have botanists and materials on hand to help with the plant ID. This is a fun way to experience and enjoy the flora and fauna of our beautiful San Bernardino Mountains.

We'll enjoy a sunset feast and campout in a remote mountain locale, taking in the pleasure of each others company and sleeping under the stars.

We'd love to have you on the trip! Get directions and reserve your spot below.

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{slide=Round Mountain / Sat. May 19, 2012 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm|green|active}

Bear Deep Creek Hot Springs, the beautiful backcountry makes this 1-day trip a treasure in itself.

Meet up with us Saturday morning in Apple Valley for a day of exploring this diverse area. We'll drive in most of the way, then hike the mountain looking for Perideridia pringlei, Syntrichopappus lemmonii,Castilleja plagiotoma, Dudleya abramsii subsp. affinis, and Phlox dolichantha.

No need to be a botanist, just a nature enthusiast and decent hiker. We'll have botanists and materials on hand to help with the plant ID. This is a fun way to experience and enjoy the flora and fauna of our desert-mountain foothill areas while helping find rare plants in beautiful places.

Come out with us for the day! Get directions and reserve your spot below.

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{slide=Granite Mountains / Sat. May 26, 2012 / 10:00 am - 4:00 pm|green|active}

This mountain range is a botanical black hole, highly under-explored and uncollected. This is a great opportunity to collect in new territory, and help in the first documentation of this area. Who knows what we'll find!

No need to be a botanist, just an enthusiast nature hiker. We'll have botanists and materials on hand to help with the plant ID.

Meet up with us Saturday morning for a day of exploring and botanizing in the Granite Mountains, looking for some of our favorite plant rarities.

A great 1-day project for botany types. Get directions by reserve your spot below.

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{slide=Kingston Range / Fri. June 1 - Sun. June 3, 2012 / 10:30 am - 3:00 pm|green|active}

Due to the possibility of excessive heat, the dates for this project may change. If necessary, we'll pick the coolest days the week before or after, but it will most likely take place over this weekend.

You'll need 4WD for the trip, but we try to get everyone into carpools to accommodate those in 2WD.

Day 1, we'll explore rugged canyons on the west side. Day 2, we'll attempt a climb to the summit (no guarantees there!), which will make it a 9-mile hike round trip with over 3000' elevation gain. Day 3 we'll pack up and head home.

No need to be a botanist, just a highly fit desert hiker. We'll have botanists and materials on hand to help with the plant ID. This is a fun way to experience and enjoy the flora and fauna of this dynamic desert mountain range.

Rare plant populations from the summit haven't been updated in over 30 years, so we'll be scouting for Galium hilendiae ssp. kingstonense (Kingston Mtns. bedstraw), Penstemon stephensii (Stephens's beardtongue), Ivesia patellifera (Kingston Mountain mousetail), Woodsia plummerae (Plummer's cliff fern), Eriogonum umbellatum var. juniporinum (juniper buckwheat), Stipa divaricata (Small-flowered rice grass), Tetradymia argyraea (striped cottonthorn), Penstemon utahensis (Utah penstemon), Selaginella leucobryoides (Mojave spikemoss).

We'll enjoy two sunset feasts and campouts in a remote mountain locale, taking in the pleasure of each others company with a billion stars all around.

We'd love to see you there! Get directions and reserve your spot below.

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Reserve Your Spot...
Copy and paste the following to :

Name:
Project Name/Date: Castle Mountains / May 5 & 6
Best e-mail:
Best phone (en route to project):
City:
Vehicle make/model/4WD:
Carpool driver or rider:
Vegan, vegetarian or omnivore:
Age Range:
Do you have any physical limitations in rugged conditions?:
Specialties such as botany (level of expertise), photography, GPS, guitar:
Any questions:

Yes! We try to coordinate carpools wherever possible to reduce our carbon footprint, to share the high cost of fuel, and to help folks with low-clearance 2WDs participate.
 

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. 

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