California Native Plant Society - Orange County

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California Native Plant Society - Orange County

Chapter Meeting: March 2015

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Botanizing Baja California by mule: Adventures into remote regions of Baja California, including cowboy uses of native plants

Speaker: Sula Vanderplank

Date: March 19, 2015 (doors open 6:45 pm, Speaker at 7:30 pm)

Location: Duck Club, Irvine (Directions)

Sula VanderplankSula VanderplankWhen someone as adventurous as Sula Vanderplank is invited along on a series of mule trips through a large chunk of central Baja California, she does just what you might expect: She loads up her plant presses, camera, and sense of humor and enjoys what turns out to be a classic California adventure! Sula will take us along on her trip through some of Baja’s unique environments, affording us a glimpse of stunning scenery accessible only by mule and the cowboy culture of the isolated mountains as well. 

A field botanist who loves natural history, floristics and conservation science, Sula’s graduate research has focused on the botany and ecology of the mediterranean-climate region of Baja California, Mexico, which is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. She actively collaborates with the land trust Terra Peninsular A.C., of Mexico, and has numerous local and regional collaborators in Mexico and the United States, helping to bring current science to regional conservation projects. For the last eight years she has published broadly on the flora of this region.

Sula recently finished her Ph.D. research with Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra at the University of California, Riverside, where she won the departmental student achievement award. She is now participating in a series of expeditions to explore new regions and document botanical diversity.

Conservation Report: November/December 2014

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A colony of Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) has recently been discovered in Arroyo Trabuco at the edge of Ladera Ranch. Stinkwort is one of California's most serious invasive plant threats, especially in the Bay Area and northern Central Valley. This was the first time it had been discovered in OC. It was found by OC wildflower expert Bob Allen. The population covers about 1.7 acres along a narrow gravel roadway and adjacent footpath in an area just north of the Crown Valley Parkway bridge over Trabuco Creek.

Bob immediately reported the infestation to OCCNPS and within a few days chapter members had mapped the infestation and begun steps to insure its immediate removal. 

OCCNPS’ Invasive Plant Subcommittee, led by Dr. Jutta Burger, Ron Vanderhoff and Celia Kutcher, with Bob’s assistance, communicated the significance and urgency of the infestation to Jennifer Naegele, Chief Restoration Ecologist at OC Parks. Because the plants were already dispersing seed, if OC Parks was unable to act swiftly, our chapter offered to mobilize its own volunteers. With our urging, Jennifer and OC Parks have organized resources to remove this year's infestation. Ongoing removal efforts, combined with several years of monitoring will be needed to ensure complete eradication. OCCNPS will continue to monitor the area. (Many thanks to Ron Vanderhoff for the information in this article.)


Native Gardener's Corner: November/December 2014

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Native Gardener’s Corner-Member’s Tips, Tricks, and Techniques has been a regular newsletter feature since the September/October 2009 issue, offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. Now that planting season is here, this seemed a good opportunity to share some of the excellent information from past columns.
Here are excerpts from November/December 2009: “Which native plant do you find to be the most successfully grown in a wide variety of landscape situations and “looks good” for much of the year?”

Laura Camp: 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.

Sarah Jayne: Rhus integrifolia, Lemonadeberry. It's trainable and tractable, produces flowers in late winter and red berries most 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.


2015 Field Trips

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Almost all field trips are free and open to all, but read the trip outlines to be sure they fit your needs and physical abilities. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, appropriate trail shoes, a camera, a notepad and lots of enthusiasm. A copy of the recently published Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mts. by Robert Allen and Fred Roberts is also very helpful. If you have other field trip suggestions or would like to lead or assist with a field trip, we would love to hear from you. Please email

Important – always check this website for current trip information.

Rain cancels – check this website after 7 pm the evening before the trip for final weather and trip updates.

   Upcoming trips (click on a trip to expand entry and see details):


Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains

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Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains
Robert L. Allen and Fred M. Roberts, Jr

Paperback, 500 pages

Laguna Wilderness Press, July 2013

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Books will be shipped promptly.




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Our newsletter is published six times a year and is the best source of information about current activities. The newsletter also contains useful and fun articles.


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