California Native Plant Society

California Native Plant Society
Orange County Chapter
November/December 2009


Location, Time, Contact
UCI Arboretum; Thursdays 10-1; Celia Kutcher, 949-496-9689
Golden West College; Tuesday & Thursday, 10 – 1; Dan Songster, 949-768-0431
Fullerton Arboretum; any day, 8:30-12; Chris Barnhill
Irvine Open Space;
Bolsa Chica; 3rd Saturday; 714-846-1114
Upper Newport Back Bay; 4th Saturday; contact Matt Yurko murko@coastal
Orange County River Park; Tuesdays 10 – 1; call 714-393-3976
Chapter meetings are held at the Duck Club in Irvine on the third Thursday of the month, September through June.
Directions to the Duck Club:
Driving south on the 405, exit on Jamboree, turn right. Left on Michelson to 3rd signal. Right on Riparian View. Pass the IRWD water treatment plant. Follow signs to Audubon House and the Duck Club.
Driving north on the 405, exit on Culver and turn left. At the second signal, Michelson, turn right. Continue on Michelson to third signal, Riparian View, turn left toward the IRWD treatment plant and follow signs to The Duck Club. [Thomas Guide to Orange County, page 859 J-7]
The following chapter board positions are up for election: Secretary, Board Member at Large –2 year term (3 positions), Board Member at Large – 1 year (1 position.). The slate of nominees will be posted on the website following the November 5 board meeting. Election will take place at the general meeting on December 17. Anyone wishing to play a more active role in the workings of the chapter should contact Laura Camp at


November 19, 2009
6:45 PM doors open
7:15 PM Planting Natives feature: Dan Songster--Tips for success during the planting season
7:30 PM Main Program: Dr. Jutta Burger--Preserving the natural treasures of the historic Irvine Ranch
Orange County CNPS is dedicated to helping preserve and protect our native ecosystems. We want to really know and understand the treasures we have in Orange County; therefore we’ve embarked on a program to explore our special places through programs and newsletter articles. Our goal is to present a comprehensive and interesting view of the open spaces, habitats, parks and preserves in Orange County. Take the time to come to the entire series and you too will know the real wealth of Orange County.
For the first program in our Orange County is Special series, Dr. Jutta Burger will present “Preserving the Natural Treasures of the Historic Irvine Ranch”. She will describe the habitats, their regional importance, the vision and approach to managing them, and the various projects that are currently in progress. Highlights will include some observations from recent grassland and sensitive species surveys, some choice photos from wildlife camera operations, and plans for restoration and enhancement of some of our more invaded landscapes. Please see the related article in this newsletter by Michael O’Connell, Executive Director of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy (“IRC”).
Jutta Burger co-manages the science and stewardship team of IRC. Her expertise is invasive species control, developing local genetically representative native seed for restoration, and using passive restoration to improve habitat. She also leads the volunteer land stewardship program, which assists with restoration and invasive species control. Prior to joining IRC, Jutta completed a post-doctoral research program at the University of Georgia, studying associations between cultivated and wild plants. She has a Ph.D. in plant biology and invasive plant evolution and ecology from the UC Riverside, an MS in biology from the University of Nebraska studying plant-insect interactions, and a BS in biology from Washington State. Jutta has published broadly in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a member of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Ecological Society of America, and the Botanical Society of America. She has extensive experience with and technical expertise in southern Californian Mediterranean ecosystems.
Thursday, December 17, 2009—It’s Your Turn!
6:45 PM: Food, fellowship, special prices on books, T-shirts and other gifts
7:30 PM: Lights out, program begins!
Members and guests are invited to share some favorite photos of native plants, wildlife, habitats, or gardens—local, California or anywhere in the world. What amazing and beautiful photos and creative presentations will we see this year?
Your board members will provide a festive spread on the hospitality table. If you have a special holiday recipe to share, please feel free. Come join us for a light-hearted and relaxing evening.
To make sure everyone gets the chance to share, and that we get home before Christmas arrives, the time for each presentation will be limited. So choose
your 10 best photos and plan on a presentation of no more than 5 minutes. That’s right, 10 photos or 5 minutes, whichever is less. (Do you wonder who will hold the stopwatch and crack the whip?)
Digital photos must be in one of these standard digital photo formats: .jpg, .png, or .psd. They may be placed within a Powerpoint or a Keynote presentation file. Submit them on a flash drive, portable hard drive, CD, or DVD. (Windows users: do NOT submit them as an autoexec [.exe] file).
Video presentations must be in one of these standard video formats: .mov (preferred), .avi, .wmv, or .mpeg. (Windows users: do NOT submit them as an autoexec [.exe] file).
Of course you may also bring photos, either loose or in an album, and place them on a table for viewing prior to presentation time (it takes too long to pass them around).
If you’re bringing digital stuff, please try to arrive early to allow time for data transfer before the meeting. If there are questions, contact Laura Camp (, about logistics) or Bob Allen (, about technical details).
President’s Message

A Very Southern California Holiday
American Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays have very specific symbolism. Turkeys, pumpkins, snowmen, shopping, Christmas lights and trees, and presents epitomize the traditional holiday season.
Sometimes those traditions seem to exclude Southern California. We live in a very different climate than the European one where winter solstice celebrations developed, or the cold New England beginnings of Thanksgiving. Whether we are transplants or multi-generation Californians, we have the opportunity to start and promote our own traditions, ones that take advantage of our climate and tie our traditions and our children to our native landscapes.
My friend and co-worker Pat Hornig’s family spent every Thanksgiving at Casper’s Park, barbecuing their turkey dinner and sharing potluck with friends. Now that is a tradition to envy! There’s no snow, but there are trails and trees and picnic tables in the great outdoors.
Back to Natives has a great alternative to the day-after-Thanksgiving-shopping “Black Friday”. All are invited to work off the calories on a hike in the Cleveland National Forest to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. RSVP to for further details on this year’s hike.
And, OF COURSE, we can’t forget that planting season is now, and it may even be raining soon, so it’s time to select and plant some natives with winter season interest.

The best “fall” foliage colors start in November and continue right through December and the New Year. Roger’s Red Wild Grape leaves turn those gorgeous red colors. Sycamore leaves take on a golden glow, then drop to show off incomparable bark and branches. Fremont Cottonwood leaves turn bright yellow.
Native plants make wonderful holiday arrangements, as I’ve learned at the annual wreath-making workshops at Tree of Life Nursery. Just some of the aromatic and long-lasting greenery: Tecate and other cypress, Toyon, Wild Grape vines and leaves, dudleyas and sedums, White Sage, Lemonadeberry, and native pines.
Manzanitas, such as Arctostaphylos refugioensis, which blooms in early winter, provide a profusion of white flowers that attract a lot of notice in the holiday season. Add a few red bows or outdoor ornaments, and you have a perfect green, red and white Christmas tree to adorn your yard, and attract colorful hummingbirds, too.
Toyon is the prototypical holiday plant for our area, sporting serrated leaves and red, red berries like the original Christmas holly. As we know the common names of Heteromeles arbutifolia include Christmas Holly, Christmas Berry, and even Hollywood.
Happy Holidays! We hope you’ll join us for our traditional chapter holiday fellowship at our December meeting.
—Laura Camp, President

Native Gardeners’ Corner—Member’s Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

This new column offers chapter members a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives.
The question for this issue’s: “In your experience, which native plant grows most successfully in a wide variety of landscape situations and “looks good” for much of the year?”
Here are the responses, edited for space, in the order they were received.
Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'—Lovely glossy leaves, absolutely gorgeous flowers, hummingbird plant, with terrific bark. It can be pruned every which way, works in clay soil, can take full sun (to quite a bit of shade), and although it can take some peripheral water, it is of course drought-tolerant. Manzanitas are great, great plants, and this hybrid/cultivar is a best seller and sometimes can be found at Home Depot—for good reason. Laura Camp
My enduring favorite is Rhus integrifolia, lemonadeberry. It's trainable and tractable, produces flowers in late winter and red berries most of the summer. Can be ungainly in shape, but can be pruned to fit any situation. Seeds sprout all over, but they are easily removed (when young) To me, it is one of the great, reliable, locally appropriate garden backbone plants. Sarah Jayne
It would certainly be our native Heucheras. At the garden center (Rogers), when we’re trying to encourage native plants this is usually a good place to start. Heucheras (Coral Bells) look good year-round, have charming flowers, tolerate nearly full sun or moderate shade, attract hummingbirds, can be drought tolerant or handle some summer water and are perfect for incorporating into existing “exotic” landscapes. Our favorites are those from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, such as ‘Wendy’ (amazing), ‘Santa Ana Cardinal’, ‘Opal’, ‘Genevieve’ and the ‘Canyon Series’. Don’t bother with most of the fancy, colored-leaved exotics, which poop out within a few months—get the real thing. Ron Vanderhoff
‘Sunset’ manzanita—Adaptable, colorful, evergreen, good foundation or mounding groundcover.
Erigeron ‘WR’ (sometimes known as "Wayne Roderick") Neat, nearly year-round bloom (with deadheading), nearly evergreen, can be used as a groundcover.
Salvia 'Pozo Blue'
—Fragrant, adaptable, clay tolerant, fast growing, long bloom.
Ceanothus 'Remote Blue'—leaves like Mirror Plant, great medium blue, frothy flowers—clean and sparkly, evergreen.
Rhamnus ‘Mound San Bruno’—I use this one in Japanese Gardens for its elegance and colorful berries; evergreen; likes watering with good drainage. Clay tolerant. Toyon—Can't miss. Greg Rubin
My choice is Bladder Pod (Isomeris arborea). The specimen I'm most familiar with is in my garden and It's a full sun plant with inflorescences and pods that catch visitor’s attention, and it blooms all year. The yellow flowers attract hummingbirds and insects and although the dried pods can be messy, leaf litter is not a problem on this evergreen. Its crushed leaves do have an unusual scent; some may find it offensive. Bladder pod does need some room; it can grow as tall as 6 feet with the same spread. I planted mine 2 feet from a brick walk and have to prune it back occasionally; it doesn't mind the pruning. Alan Lindsay
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. griseus 'Yankee Point'
I have two of these in my garden, in slightly different “microclimates,” and each is flourishing on minimal (once or twice a month) summer water after three years. As Fross and Wilken recommend in their comprehensive book Ceanothus, it's a good idea to prune the stems that want to grow straight up—this keeps 'Yankee Point' the beautiful low groundcover it was horticulturally selected to be. While I haven't seen too many flowers yet, the year-round deep green glossy leaves alone make it a favorite. Thea Gavin
My favorite native for home landscape use is Heteromeles arbutifolia—Toyon. A very versatile performer, ranging from informal hedge to large shrub, or trained as a small multi-trunk tree. It looks good year-round, important in a close-up setting. Its flowers attract native insects & its fruits attract native birds as well as providing native "holly" at Christmastime. It doesn't mind some summer water, and so can take conditions near turf if drainage is reasonable. Celia Kutcher
Thanks to all who responded! Next issue’s question: Which native plant would you confidently recommend for use in clay soil?
Send replies to Dan Songster at and please be brief so we can include them all!

NEWPORT BEACH: Plans call for a new city hall complex to be built on a city-owned site located just north of the Avocado Avenue library. The site was designated some years ago as mitigation open space and slated to become a park, but in 2008 the citizens of Newport Beach voted to build the city hall there. The DEIR detailing the plan is on the City’s website,, under “Projects & Environmental Documents - Civic Center Project”. Figure 3-4 is the conceptual site plan. The plan calls for about half of the site to become a multi-use park. A natural drainage on the site and the surrounding coastal sage-scrub habitat, about 1.5 acre total, is to be preserved as part of the park.
OCCNPS has long been aware of the native habitat still on the site, and has monitored it and the site’s populations of Atriplex coulteri (CNPS List 1.B.2), Hordeum intercedens (CNPS List 3) and Microseris douglasii platycarpha (CNPS List 4) for more than a decade. Mitigation plans call for the A. coulteri still on site to be translocated to a suitable offsite area. OCCNPS’ comment letter (see on asks that the DEIR be more specific and thorough about mitigation plans for both the rare plants to be translocated and for the habitat to be preserved onsite.
A public hearing will be held on the DEIR, possibly in late November. ACTION NOW: Contact Laura Curran, , to help the advocacy coalition that is working to promote and enhance the preservation outlined in the DEIR and to have the entire complex landscaped with appropriate native plants.
OC PARKS: Negotiations are underway to transfer 20,312 acres of designated natural open space lands, long owned by The Irvine Company (TIC), to OC Parks. This land transfer has been planned for many years and is a fulfillment of Orange County’s Central-Coastal NCCP. OCCNPS and the rest of the enviro community are generally in favor of the transfer.
But there are some hitches:
1. Of the total acreage to be transferred, 11,549 acres are currently protected by conservation easements that are monitored and enforced by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Key provisions of the transfer call for TNC to:
§        Transfer its Easement Compliance Fund balance (minimum $4.6M) to the County.
§        Extinguish the conservation easements, which are to be replaced with deed restrictions.
This would essentially end TNC’s invaluable independent oversight and monitoring, which has guaranteed that these natural open space lands remain protected and preserved despite the enormous and potentially conflicting pressures on them.
2. Funding sources for monitoring and management to replace TNC’s work are not clearly identified. Easements are unenforceable if their defense is not funded.
3. There is question whether deed restrictions will provide the same protection and preservation as conservation easements.
See for up-to-date and in-depth discussion of this complex issue. ACTION NOW: Tell your County Supervisor that you want him/her to negotiate a transfer of these lands that ensures both full land protection and public benefit, and provides adequate operating funds. (Find your district and Supervisor at
Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair
[As always, you may contact Celia at if you have questions or would like to become actively involved.]


Saturday, September 19, 2 PM to 5 PM
Drowning in Salt: Common Plants and Algae of Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Leader: Trude Hurd
clear water
murky water
like a storm cloud
bottom silt disperses
grey disc
exclamation point
gently lifts
petal like
sting ray lunches
clam shell crunches
clear water
murky water
bolsa chica wetlands
chuck wright
2010 Garden Tour–Saturday, May 8, 2010—Water-saving plants your neighbors will love
We are still calling for gardens—new gardens (in the ground for at least one year), established gardens, lawn replacement gardens, gardens that have passed the HOA test. We’ll consider gardens from anywhere in the county. Gardens that blend multi-use (such as vegetables, fruit, and non-natives) with natives are most acceptable providing that the native element is at least 75%.
The garden selection process will continue through February. If you’re uncertain about showing your garden, we’d be happy to take a look and let you know if it fits our guidelines for this tour. We love looking at gardens!
To request a garden visit, for more information, or to sign up for a team, contact me, Sarah Jayne, at or see me at the chapter meetings.
Coast Live Oak, Paul Landacre, from Natural History of Western Trees

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, by Chuck Wright
Last months article by Laura Camp of her favorite place, Caspers Park was inspiring. Two things that made that park special for her were that it was close to home and close to work. My favorite place is my favorite place for the same reason. It is a short ten-minute drive from my front door. The Laguna Canyon Wilderness is that nearby far away place for me. Two of my favorite things are listening to the waves rolling onto the shore and the wind in the pine trees. With a little imagination, I tell myself that the road noise is just that, wind and waves. It is very possible to find places in the Laguna Coast Wilderness that are blocked and you really can hear the wind rustle the leaves and then the only clue of civilization is a passing plane

or power line.
What I'm saying is find your special wild place and make it yours. By going to one place over and over and over you learn to appreciate the cycles of the seasons. There are different things to be found each time that I visit. What was a fresh cocoon is now an empty shell, and that flower is a seed head and soon the cycle will start all over again. During these outings I've looked and looked and looked again and I've found bugs and butterflies, spiders and birds and plants that I'd never have seen if I'd not been on alert. I love that place and marvel at the shed snakeskins, dragonflies, hawks and ravens, and numerous song birds. I love that place more than I'd ever have guessed. I encourage you to find your nearby far away place and nurture it and it will nourish you.
By Michael O'Connell
Executive Director, Irvine Ranch Conservancy
The original 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch encompassed an extraordinary wealth of natural resources. Today, more than 50,000 acres of open space are set aside in various parks and wilderness areas. The spectacular nature of these lands was recognized in 2006, when the U.S. Department of the Interior designated nearly 40,000 acres of the historic Ranch as a National Natural Landmark (NNL), based on a careful scientific evaluation of the area’s diverse geology, natural communities, and wildlife. In 2008, these same lands were designated the first-ever California Natural Landmark (CNL). Unique and well-known locations within the Landmarks include Bommer Canyon, Crystal Cove State Park, Upper Newport Bay, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Quail Hill, and Limestone, Fremont, and Weir canyons. (Editor’s note: Look for future articles in this newsletter focusing more specifically on some of these special places of Orange County.)
The expansive landscape on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks runs from the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It is one of only a few places in Southern California where natural communities have been preserved along this entire gradient. From riparian forests to oak woodlands, to critically rare native grasslands and coastal sage scrub, a vast diversity of native plants and animals, as well as many rare and threatened species, can be found here. Cactus wrens, California gnatcatchers, and pearly-white Catalina calochortus lilies all find refuge on the Natural Landmarks. Other local plant treasures include chaparral beargrass, Tecate cypress, many-stemmed dudleya, intermediate mariposa lily, chocolate lily, and the elusive Cooper’s rein orchid.
In addition to native wildlife and plants, the Landmarks reveal extensive and highly unusual geological formations. The foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains contain rocks and fossils dating back nearly 80 million years, which display the ancient coastline of California and the tectonic forces that shaped the landscape. This combination of broad geological history and unusual biology makes the Irvine Ranch a rarity even among other designated Natural Landmarks.
In 2005, Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren established the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, a non-profit, non-advocacy organization. The Conservancy doesn’t own land, but it currently helps owners manage more than 30,000 acres of the Landmarks. It works with partners on all aspects of stewardship as well as enhancing public appreciation of the land.
For those who want to experience the land, there is wide variety of volunteer opportunities and recreational activities available. The diversity of the Landmarks provides many ways for people of all ages to get involved and connect with this magnificent landscape. Sightseeing, horseback riding, bird watching, mountain biking, and even tide-pool exploration are just a few possibilities. One of the best ways to experience the Natural Landmarks is through one of many free docent-led interpretive tours offered by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and other partners.
It is also possible to participate directly in caring for the land by signing up as a volunteer for either a one-time event such as a stewardship day or mountain biking clinic, or ongoing programs like leading interpretive hikes. The Conservancy and other partners offer many different ways to get involved including the Community Fire Watch Network, land stewardship and restoration programs, and trail maintenance and interpretive guiding.
Information about the land, activities, and how to get involved is available at For more information about the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, visit
Do you have a special place that you enjoy in Orange County or nearby? Send your stories to the newsletter editor () and share the joy of the outdoors. Orange County is special!


At Barbara's Lake, Laguna Coast Wilderness, a California sister (Adelpha bredowii), a native bee, and a _____willow, all came together for me to see. Too bad I didn't pay more attention to Dick Newell's excellent willow ID lesson!
butterfly & bee
willow sap &
afternoon breeze
a precious moment indeed
chuck wright
Send your poems to . Visit Thea's website at
The chapter held an outstanding plant sale on October 24 at Tree of Life Nursery. Our volunteer turnout was huge, plant sales were the strongest in years, and we signed up a record 21 new members plus 13 renewals. The weather was perfect, and 55 people attended the excellent panel discussion.
Thanks are due to:
Dan Songster – our Plant Sale chair for organizing everything and providing drinks & pizza
Diane Wollenberg – for organizing the volunteers
Joan Hampton, Kathy Glendinning, Mary Ar├ímbula, Jennifer Mabley – for manning the membership greeting table
Brad Jenkins, Nancy Heuler, Bob Allen – for expertly presenting our panel discussion
Laura Curran, Thea Gavin, Dori Ito, Sarah Jayne, Dennis Keagy, Celia Kutcher, Alan Lindsay, Monique Miller, Beth Nelson, Gene Ratcliffe, and Christiane Shannon—for helping customers and making the day so very special.
Tree of Life Nursery—for supporting our chapter in so many ways.
A special welcome to all of our recent new members, including those who joined at the plant sale. Thank you!
Laura Camp



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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