Hairy Fleabane or Flax Leaved Horseweed
Family: Asteraceae, Place of Origin: South America
Hairy fleabane is aptly named: it is strigose (set with stiff bristles or hairs) throughout the plant – stems, leaves, flowers.
Hairy fleabane is an low annual, (about 8″ to 3′) and thrives in disturbed areas. I’ve seen it emerge in cracks in pavement and in areas formerly occupied by European beachgrass in the Dunes. Often, it is present with Erigeron canadensis (Horseweed), which is native to North America. Horseweed, along with another native composite, Heterotheca grandiflora (Telegraph weed) are the most unattractive weedy natives in California.
Hairy fleabane produces many urn or barrel shaped flowers, the fluffy seeds are sandy colored and distributed by the breeze. In the Dunes it is competing with other composites such as Dunedelions and Cudweeds and should be removed.
A seed exchange is planned for the time slot from 6:00 to 7:15 before the October meeting. If you have been hard at work collecting this spring and summer, the time is almost here to part with those seeds. If you are interested in growing from seed, here is your chance to obtain free seed to try your hand at propagation.
Just a cautionary note: Plants grown from seed may not come true. Many of our natives hybridize so that the seed of the Mimulus aurantiacus growing near the Mimulus puniceus may produce some interesting flower colors. The result may not be what you expect. It might be delightful or it might not. These garden produced seeds will generally not be appropriate for use in restoration projects. If you are willing to devote your time and effort and take a chance on
garden grown seed then this is the before-the-meeting event you want to attend.
The plan is that we will set up tables and anyone who brings seed can place it on those tables. The seed from one collector will all be kept in the same area so if you have a box or a tray to contain your seeds that might prove helpful. You may stay with your seed to educate those interested or you may go ‘shopping’ to see what is available. It would be best if seed was parceled out into quantities that a person could walk away with and the packets labeled with genus and species.
You should be able to supply the information of the date of collection and location of collection. But if you don’t want to go to that effort bulk seed will be
acceptable. Please have it cleaned to the best of your ability. Also please supply as many envelopes as possible. Those who are ‘shopping’ may need to bring their own envelopes. Most of us get plenty of envelopes in junk mailings. Let’s repurpose those into seed envelopes. You may also need a writing implement to label those envelopes.
Seeds will not be sold. This is a free exchange. Tables will need to be put away before the actual meeting begins so this will be a rather quick event. Hopefully we will all enjoy it and we will want to try it again next year.
Left over seed will be accepted for possible packaging for the plant sale in November. Seeds appropriate for the propagation group experiments might be sequestered for those members.
See you there.
California Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica or S. californica)
The photo by Dr. David Chipping that accompanies this note are of the California goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica or Solidago californica). According to Dr. Hoover in his Vascular Plants of San Luis Obispo County, California goldenrod is found primarily in sandy soils in the western portion of our county.. It prefers open grasslands or edges of wood and shrub lands. It never seems to me to be overly abundant. The currently recognized species (S. velutina) can be found throughout the Western North America from Mexico in to southern Canada. As might be expected of a species with this wide a range, it has been subdivided in a number of sub-specific units. And this is certainly the case. Only two of the subspecies are likely to be encountered in California (S. v. ssp. californica and S. v. ssp. sparsiflora). Subspecies sparsifolia need not concern us here as it is found primarily in Eastern California and
adjacent states. Subspecies californica is found throughout California (except the S.E. Deserts) but is especially common in the California Floristic Province
which includes essentially all of California west of the Cascade, Sierra Nevada, and Peninsular Range axis. In the Morro Bay area I’ve seen it in the grasslands around Shark Inlet.
In Dr. Hoover’s Flora this plant is recognized as S. californica. In the most recent Jepson Manual, S. californica has been reduced to a subspecies of S. velutina. How can this happen? Is it just the whim of the experts? According to the internet, relatively recent numerical taxonomic work on a number of similar, but separately described species of goldenrod indicated that they were more closely related than previously thought. That they were separately described as species should be expected. Until recent advances in communication, taxonomists tended to do plant identification studies primarily on the
plants of their immediate area. They would have had little opportunity to travel and visit reference collections far from home. They would encounter forms of plants that were readily distinguishable from other plants in their area. So why not describe them as a new species. Now, of course, taxonomists have many more tools to help them find characters unknowable to earlier workers. Mass transit and communication help modern taxonomists to know what others have done or are doing. Equally important they have computers to help analyze all this data. So why not expect lots of changes.
In my limited search of the literature and internet, I found three common names. These are velvety goldenrod in Jepson and California goldenrod or 3-nerve goldenrod everywhere else. The name goldenrod I think refers to my observation that most of them produce clusters on unbranched stems (= “rods”) topped with clusters of bright golden flowers (i.e. ‘gold bearing rods’). Most of the plants answering to the California goldenrod subspecies have densely fuzzy or velvet leaves. 3-nerved golden rod refers to the fact that a ‘few’ of the larger plants produce leaves with 3 major veins running from base to tip. I suggest this is not the best common name as it is misleading as only a few of the largest plants produce 3-veined leaves. California goldenrod is the best as this subspecies is essentially restricted to our state.
California goldenrod is highly recommended for the native plant garden. It prefers moist soils but is relatively tolerant of drier soils from sandy to light clay. It’s going to do best in sunny locations. It is attractive to a number of different classes of pollinators so it is great for those who would like to encourage beautiful, beneficial insects to visit their garden. Lastly, one internet site showed pictures of yarn dyed a beautiful yellow color using extracts from California goldenrod..
One last thing about goldenrods in general. Where I grew up, in the Midwest, there were a large number of species of goldenrods and they were exceptionally widespread and numerous. Many species could even be said to be ‘weedy’. Like a lot of members of the sunflower family, they tended to bloom in the late summer into fall. This is also when another member of the sunflower family bloomed-rag weed (Ambrosia trifida among others).
Rag weeds are unusual composites in that they produce tiny, wind pollinated flowers. Rag weeds were nearly as or more common than goldenrods but because of their tiny flowers many didn’t even recognize they were blooming. However they were blooming and they produced exceedingly huge amount of wind-borne pollen. This made rag weed pollen a major component in allergy forecasts. Unfortunately, announcers would say, “the rag weed and goldenrod pollen counts were high”. I had a botany professor who told the class that goldenrod were included in the forecasts only because it was common and
conspicuous. Goldenrods are insect pollinated and therefore would produce little pollen and that wouldn’t have been released into the air. In fact, it would be sticky so it could stick to the pollinator’s bodies.
Dr. Dirk Walters
It’s time to register for the CNPS Conservation Symposium and field trips to be held in Morro Bay from 8th to 11th September. The field trips are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, with the Conservation Symposium on Saturday at the Morro Bay Vet’s Hall, 209 Surf Street. These events are free and open to the public – Members are encouraged to attend so please register at the link below.
You are also encouraged to attend the mixer and banquet after the Symposium Saturday night – with our own native plant superstar, Dave Keil, as the banquet speaker – there will be a $30 fee for the catered meal.
Saturday, 10th September, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Morro Bay Vet’s Hall, 209 Surf Street, Morro Bay
This year’s Symposium will address the complex issues associated with climate change, as they relate to California native plant conservation. The Symposium presentations will focus on three areas:
- Hands-on projects that incorporate climate change considerations during planning and implementation
- Modeling of future vegetation projects based on climate change projections
- How regional planning considers and incorporates climate change.
Area A – Hands-on projects:
Speaker Ellen Cypher: Creating new populations of an endangered species: recovery efforts for Bakersfield cactus
Speaker Jessica Wright: Identifying valley oaks that grow best under projected climate conditions
Speaker Todd Esque: The Race North: Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) and climate change
Area B – Modeling of vegetation dynamics:
Speaker Alexandra Syphard: Modeling vegetation dynamics under global change: Approaches, challenges, and examples
Area C – Regional conservation planning:
Proponents of the new Regional Conservation Framework (California Assembly Bill 2087 and pilot projects) will present the nuts and bolts of this approach to regional planning. CNPS members from around the state will be asked to discuss how they have engaged in and commented to planning projects, while assessing how the degree climate change thinking has begun to influence planning decisions.
Speaker Jerre Stallcup, a longtime conservation planner, will share her perspectives on how “doing it the old-fashioned way” has evolved since the early 90’s in Southern California. Key points that help to support plants in any kind of regional planning process will also be presented. She will help us understand the many facets of how and where climate change thinking is being translated into native plant research, restoration projects, and planning.
Symposium Lunch: ($10 per person, please register), Saturday, 10th September, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Choice of sandwich on baguette, served banquet style with green salad, fresh fruit, chips, and cookies:
Symposium Mixer and Banquet: ($30 per person, please register), Saturday, 10th September, Morro Bay Vet’s Hall, 209 Surf Street, Morro Bay
Mixer/Social, 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Dinner, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
- Greek Caesar salad
- Roasted garlic potatoes
- Marinated roasted vegetables
- Assorted rolls and butter
- Vegetarian sautéed portabella mushroom stuffed with cheese ravioli
- Lemon garlic herb chicken with mango q
- Roasted pork tenderloin with cherry sauce.
- Linn’s fruit pies with ice cream.
Banquet speaker: Saturday, 10th September, Dave Keil – the Native Flora of San Luis Obispo County
Dr. Dave Keil is Professor Emeritus of Biology at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Dave has had a lifelong interest and enthusiasm for botany. He received his B.S. and M.S. in botany from Arizona State University and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He has taught courses in general botany, plant taxonomy, field botany, evolution, and biogeography. For many years Dave served as Curator of the Robert F. Hoover Herbarium at Cal Poly. He has authored scientific papers, textbooks, and study guides, and has been a major contributor to the Jepson Manual and the Flora of North America. His research interests include Asteraceae systematics and floristics of Western North America. He edited the Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo and is preparing the second edition of the Vascular Plants of San Luis Obispo County.
Field trip schedule
Thursday – 8th September Morning – 8:30 am to 12:00 noon
East Cuesta Ridge, Los Padres National Forest
Led by Dave Keil, Cal Poly; co-leader Bill Waycott, CNPS
Meet at entrance to East Cuesta Ridge (Mount Lowe Rd.), off Highway 101 at the top of the Cuesta Grade, 30 minutes from Morro Bay.
This is a driving tour along the ridge separating coastal and interior regions in the Los Padres National Forest. See diverse plant communities and spectacular views of the coastal plain with its nine Morros, the city of San Luis Obispo, and the Pacific Ocean.
No more than 0.5 miles walking; elevation gain no more than 100 feet
Afternoon – 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Sand Spit at Montaña de Oro State Park
Led by Michael Walgren, CA State Parks; co-leader: Bill Waycott, CNPS
Meet at the Sand Spit Road parking lot, at the end of Sand Spit Rd., in Montaña de Oro State Park, 15 minutes from Morro Bay.
Start by walking to the beach through a rich stand of coastal dune scrub, then north along the beach to an access trail into the dunes. Hike across the dunes, observing the fore-, mid-, and far-dune plant communities. Return through maritime chaparral, via the Old Army Rd..
2.5 miles walking; elevation gain 300 feet
Friday – 9th September Morning – 8:30 am to 12:00 noon
Serpentine plants near San Luis Obispo
Led by Dave Keil, Cal Poly; co-leader: Bill Waycott, CNPS
Meet at the entrance to Bog Thistle Trail, in the Irish Hills Natural Reserve, on Perfumo Canyon Rd., roughly 1.0 miles from the intersection with Los Osos Valley Rd. The trailhead is on the left. 20 minutes from Morro Bay.
Walk the Bog Thistle and Mariposa Trails. See plants of the central coast chaparral scrub community adapted to serpentine derived soils, with a handful of rare endemic species native to San Luis Obispo County.
2.0 miles walking; elevation gain 500 feet
Afternoon – 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Field Trip, Coon Creek at Montaña de Oro State Park
Led by Lisa Andreano, CA State Parks; co-leader: David Chipping, CNPS
Meet at the Coon Creek parking lot, at the end of Pecho Valley Rd. in Montaña de Oro State Park. 20 minutes from Morro Bay.
Walk going east along Coon Creek Trail and return going west via Rattlesnake Flats Trail. The Coon Creek Trail follows a coastal canyon with a perennial creek and is filled with riparian species typically seen further north. Rattlesnake Flats Trial returns by ascending the south-facing slope of the canyon with a healthy sampling of maritime chaparral species.
4 miles walking; elevation gain 500 feet
Sunday – 11th September
Afternoon – 1:30 pm Field trip – Morro Bay State Park Estuary
John Sayers, California State Parks, co-leader: Bill Waycott, CNPS
Meet at the parking lot for Morro Bay State Park Marina off Main Street, across from the entrance to Morro Bay State Park Campground.
Visit several access points by car around the perimeter of Morro Bay Estuary. See and discuss plants growing in brackish water within the tidal zone, beyond the high tide line, and further inland. Discuss effects to this fragile habitat because of climate change.
0.5 miles walking; elevation gain 50 feet
If you have any questions or need for more information, please contact Bill Waycott, (805) 459-2103, firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you can offer a bed to a member from out of town during the conference, please let Bill know as soon as possible.
CNPS Conservation Symposium and Field Trips Information, schedules, links, and the registration page
Image: By Leif Arne Storset – originally posted to Flickr as Bishop Peak, CC BY 2.5
The Mission Plaza riverwalk in downtown San Luis Obispo caters to thousands of central coast tourists and SLO community members every year. While SLO creek is widely admired, the riparian and creek bed vegetation leaves much to be desired. The City of San Luis Obispo Natural Resources Manager, Robert Hill, began to talk with the Executive Director of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and Cal Poly Horticulture and Crop Science professor, Bill Waycott, about the possibility of restoration for the riverwalk. This initial talk led to the involvement of others on the project including: Freddy Otte, the City of SLO City Biologist, John Doyle, landscape architect for J. Doyle Landscape and Construction, and Cal Poly Emeritus professor and curator of vascular plants, Dr. David Keil. The group met once to begin making plans but, the project was slow-moving with each member having a tremendous workload to manage for their respective jobs. The passion for the restoration was present; the time for the project work was missing.
For the past two years, Freddy Otte has been a Mentor for the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP) at the San Luis Obispo Steelhead Initiative. At the mention of the need for help with the restoration project, Freddy mentioned the possibility of collaboration to one of the Region II Team Leaders for the WSP SLO Office, Allie Watts. The Watershed Stewards Program is an AmeriCorps program and a special program of the California Conservation Corps whose goal is salmonid habitat restoration throughout California. WSP aims to give young natural resource professionals the hands on experience with experts in fisheries, conservation, and environmental fields during their 10 ½ month service term. Each Team Leader and Member of WSP must complete a watershed restoration project to fulfill part of their program requirements. The SLO Creek Restoration project would be the perfect fulfillment for WSP and truly allow Allie to immerse herself in the SLO community.
After email introductions, Allie began setting up meetings with all the project leaders to put these plans into action. The SLO Creek Restoration project team met several times prior to the first volunteer day on April 27th, 2016. The team decided the first plan of action was to remove the many invasive species throughout the riparian area of SLO Creek from the footbridge near Chorro Street to Broad Street. In general, invasive plants have shallow root structures which cause erosion into the creek in rain events. They also outcompete native plant species which provide valuable habitat for native animals living there, have deep root systems that reduce erosion, and are drought tolerant plants. Common invasive species the team planned to remove included: Vinca (periwinkle), Agapanthus (), and Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven).
Allie, Freddy, Bill, John, and Martha Rutherford, CNPS member, became the core leaders on the team and worked together to recruit volunteers, procure tools and safety gear, and spread the word about the event. On April 27th, 2016, the team’s hardwork was rewarded when over 140 volunteers showed up to remove invasive plants at SLO Creek. The volunteers ranged from Cal Poly students, CCC corpsmembers, community leaders from CNPS and the Downtown Association to local community members and families. While invasive removal is an ongoing process, this volunteer day was an excellent step in the right direction for the health of the SLO Creek riparian area. The shock of bare riparian areas kept the team’s momentum high moving forward.
The following meetings focused on native planting plans. Dr. David Keil provided great insight into the appropriate native plants that would thrive in the conditions at SLO Creek. Using his list, the team decided to reach out to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) student chapter at Cal Poly to acquire a planting palette. Brandon Cornejo, ASLA member, took charge of the project and the team was supplied with a base conceptual planting map and palette to allow the native planting volunteer days at SLO Creek to begin. Using the ASLA map and recommendations from Dr. Keil, the native plants were purchased from local nurseries, Growing Grounds, Las Pilitas, and Clearwater Color, and donated by project leaders. On March 12th, 2016 the team hosted the first native planting volunteer day at SLO Creek. Around twenty volunteers consisting of community members, WSP members, and CCC corpsmembers came out to help plant eighty native species in the first round of planting restoration. All volunteers learned proper planting techniques and the importance of creating a bern around the plant’s base. The bern is essentially a channel around the plant that keeps water close, allowing it to sink in. The berns were especially important for the natives planted on a downhill slope to ensure runoff was not rolling into the creek.
Following the initial planting, Allie continued to hand water all the plants once a week for four months and monitoring their progress. About 70% of the native species planted on the first volunteer day survived. During these four months, the team continued to meet to discuss the plant’s progress, future planting volunteer days, and future signage for the creek. ASLA and Brandon were instrumental in delivering a large “Back to the Natives” planting sign for SLO Creek. This sign features educational information on native and invasive plants as well as photos of the plants. The final sign is set to be approved by the city in September or October of this year. Upon approval and after more restoration work is completed next year, two large signs will be printed and placed at either end of the project, near the footbridge by Broad Street and past the footbridge near Chorro Street. In addition to the large signs, small native plant signs will be placed near different plant species in the riparian area to help community members and tourists identify California riparian native plants. The goal for all of this signage is to help educate and enhance the visitors experience when walking near the creek.
After a four-month hiatus, the team scheduled another large native species planting volunteer day at SLO Creek. On July 23rd, 2016, around twenty volunteers consisting of community members and families, WSP members, and CCC corpsmembers came out to SLO Creek to help plant 108 more native plants and place bark mulch throughout the planted area of the project to help soak up water and prevent weed and invasive species growth. With one area of the project beginning to adapt to the native plant growth, the project team feels good about the current condition of the river walk but knows there is still more work to do. When asked why this project was so vital for SLO Creek and the city, Bill Waycott explained in saying, “The pristine landscapes of Coastal California are slowly being colonized by invasive plants introduced from other parts of the world. The banks of the perennial creek that flows through downtown San Luis Obispo is no exception. Local residents can make a difference in stemming the tide of invasives by learning what California native plants look like and opting to use them when planting an area. Our mild climate and abundant sunshine provide the opportunity for non-native plants to thrive, having negative consequences. Restoration of SLO Creek at the Mission Plaza will serve as an excellent example of the use of native plants to all who visit our city.” This project will take years to reach its full potential but, this team is all committed to this county and continuing to be a part of the SLO Creek Restoration team. Next October or November the team will be hosting another volunteer event to plant native species, remove some limited invasive growth, and place bark mulch throughout the second area past the footbridge near Broad Street. Moving forward the project team envisions, the removal of the sprouts and large Tree of Heaven near the creek, more volunteer days for native planting in the first area and the second, creekbed invasive removal and native planting volunteer days, and inputting the large and individual educational signage.
The September meeting of the CNPS Chapter Council will be held in Morro Bay from Thursday to Sunday, September 8-11, 2016.
This meeting is held four times per year in different parts of the state (the last meeting was held near Lake Tahoe), and is attended by delegates and representatives from the majority of CNPS’s 35 chapters statewide, along many CNPS staff from the Sacramento office. The San Luis Obispo chapter is hosting this meeting and we hope our membership will participate in the events being offered. The Morro Bay Vet’s Hall (209 Surf Street) will serve as the location of meetings between Friday noon to Sunday noon.
Thursday and Friday, we plan to offer field trips to choice botanical destinations on the Central Coast. Friday afternoon, the State Board of Directors will also meet between 2:00 and 6:00 pm at the Vet’s Hall, followed by a no-host dinner at a local restaurant. Local members are invited to participate in the field trips, board meeting, as well as “meet and eat” dinner, Friday night.
For Saturday, the session will focus on Statewide Conservation Projects, with a series of presentations devoted to all-things pertaining to California native flora conservation. The Sunday morning session will be devoted to Chapter Council business topics, with another field trip planned for Sunday afternoon. Local members are encouraged to participate in Saturday’s Conservation Symposium as well as Sunday afternoon’s field trip.
An official agenda of the meeting will be circulated by mid-August.
An important tradition of the Chapter Council meetings is the offer by local members of free accommodations to outside participants during the event. If you have the ability to accommodate one or more participants from outside the area in your home, please send an e-mail or call Bill Waycott, email@example.com, (805) 459-2103, to discuss your offer. In your communication, please indicate the number of persons to be accommodated and whether there is a sexual preference or not.
Current motel prices for that weekend in the Morro Bay – San Luis Obispo area are easily above $150 per night. The offer of a bed with access to a bathroom will go a long way in making the meeting more affordable for those traveling to our area. One never knows – hosting one or more visitors may create a lasting friendship that can be reciprocated in the future. Plus, these folks know their native plants and will be happy to talk about the botany of their area.