Cornus sericea

Cornus sericea

Creek Dogwood

For this issue of the Obispoensis, I’m going out on a limb so to speak. Since the plant is a very small tree or moderately sized shrub, that limb will prove to be slender. The plant is the red osier, creek, or as stated in the new Jepson California flora, American dogwood (Cornus sericea).

Different from flowering dogwoods

This dogwood is the ugly sister to the “flowering” dogwoods as it doesn’t have its clusters of tiny flowers subtended by the large white to pink bracts found in its beautiful sisters. The beautiful sisters include the Sierra dogwood (C. nuttalii) and the even more famous eastern dogwood (C. florida). The individual flowers of all dogwood species are small; it’s the tight flower cluster that we see. The showy difference is only the presence of the large showy bracts surrounding the flower clusters. If you don’t have the large bracts to go on, how do you know it’s a dogwood? (more…)

Rare Plants of Montaña de Oro

Rare Plants of Montaña de Oro

Title: Rare Plants of Montaña de Oro

Location: Montaña de Oro State Park

Description: This field trip will focus on some of the rare perennial plants growing near the east boundary of the park (Arctostaphylos species and the Indian Knob mountain balm – Eriodichyon altissimum). Danny Slakey (CNPS rare plant program) will talk to the group during the hike on how to document a rare plant encounter, and David Chipping and John Chesnut (local CNPS botanists) will speak about recent efforts to protect the area.

To reach the trailhead, go south on Bayview Heights Dr. off of Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos (the 9th Street traffic light at Los Osos Valley Road), pass the fire station, continue left at the 45 degree bend, then take the first right turn (up the hill) on Covey Lane, and again right on Calle Cordoniz.  Park your vehicle where Calle Cordoniz heads back down the hill and the pavement ends.

Bring water and snacks.  Sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hats, and layered clothing for warmth are recommended.

For more info, contact Bill Waycott, (805) 459-2103,

Rain or the threat of rain cancels this hike.
Start Time: 08:00
Date: 2014-12-05

December Meeting – Danny Slakey

Rare Plant Hunting on California’s Central Coast

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 7:00 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo

We are pleased to welcome Danny Slakey, CNPS Rare Plant Program Assistant Botanist

Danny Slakey bio picAbout Danny Slakey

Danny Slakey works for CNPS as a coordinator for the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt project and also as assistant botanist for the CNPS Rare Plant Program.  Before working for CNPS, he studied plant invasion ecology for his master’s and worked seasonal botany jobs throughout the West.

About the program

Over the past two field seasons, CNPS staff and chapter members hiked, botanized, and documented rare plants on California’s Central Coast, with a specific focus on the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas in Monterey County. This project was part of a statewide volunteer effort called the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt.  The Wilderness Areas often challenged volunteers with rugged terrain, overgrown trails, and hot weather, but rewarded them with incredible rare plant finds, great company, and access to some of the region’s best swimming holes.   Danny will share the results of the Central Coast project, with some stunning photos of the landscapes and rare plant found on the trips.  Work in the region is far from complete, however, so Danny will discuss some of the taxonomic problems that still linger in these Wilderness Areas.


The November CNPS-SLO chapter meeting will be held at SLO Vet’s Hall, 801 Grande Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA.

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Thank You, Plant Sale Volunteers and Customers!

Suzette and I want to say, “job well done“ to all the volunteers who spent their Saturday helping at the plant sale.  Your devotion to the group goes beyond normal expectations and we really do appreciate your outstanding efforts during one of our rainiest plant sales I can remember.  As we look forward to next year’s sale, I hope you had fun and will be willing to sign up again to help. Once again thank you for making this year’s sale a success.

And thank you to all the customers who braved the rain to find a few special plants for their landscape. We hope you’ve planted your treasures already and are busy reading your new books from our book table and making plans for our next sale, Saturday, November 7, 2015.

With your support, the chapter will be able to continue teaching the public about native plants and the importance of protecting them for future generations to enjoy.

Your plant sale chairpersons,

John and Suzette.

Explore Cruikshank & Salmon Creek Trails, Big Sur

Saturday, November 1, 8:00 a.m.

Explore the Cruikshank and Salmon Creek Trails in Big Sur with local naturalists

If you are looking for an outing with inspiring views and diverse landscapes, please join us. This hike will be very strenuous. We will hike through the heart of the Silver Peak Wilderness in southern Monterey County starting in the coastal redwoods, seeing many Santa Lucia fir, then passing through the Lion Den Springs Botanical Preserve with its abundant stand of Sargent’s Cypress and adjacent serpentine barrens, and finally returning to the coast through stands of Douglas Fir, as well as Coulter and Ponderosa pines. The total length is 13 miles with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The hike will take all day.

We will set up a car shuttle between the two trail heads. Our route will start at the Cruikshank trail head, climb nearly 7 miles to the South Coast Ridge Rd., walk 1/4 mile south to the top of the Salmon Creek Trail, and descend back to Highway 1.

There is poison oak on this hike.

We will meet at Santa Rosa Park (SLO) at 7:20 a.m. and Washburn Day Use Area in San Simeon State Park at 8:00 a.m.

Bring water and food. Sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hats, and jackets are recommended.

Hikers must register with the hike leader at least 24 hours ahead of time. Contact Bill Waycott, (805) 459-2103,

Rain or the threat of rain cancels this hike.

Explore the Hidden Beauty of Montana de Oro

Saturday, December 20, 8;30 a.m., Hazard Peak, Montaña de Oro State Park.

Join us to explore some of the hidden beauty of Montana de Oro State Park

We will meet at the Montana de Oro Visitors’ Center located just beyond the entrance to Spooner’s Cove, walk inland along Islay Canyon, then hike up the Barranca Trail, joining the Hazard Peak Trail to the top, and finally back to the Visitors’ Center.

We will see different plant communities from riparian, to oak woodland, and coastal sage scrub. This is a moderately strenuous nine mile hike with 1,000 ft. elevation gain and will take a minimum of four hours to complete.

Bring water and snacks. Sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hats, and jackets are recommended.

For more info, contact Bill Waycott, (805) 459-2103,

Rain or the threat of rain cancels this hike.

November Meeting – Susan Krzywicki

November Meeting – Susan Krzywicki

Native Plant Gardening for a Water-Challenged Future

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 7:00 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo

We are pleased to welcome Susan Krzywicki, Horticulture Program Director for the California Native Plant Society.

About Susan Krzwicki

Susan has also served on her local chapter board, run the chapter Gardening Committee, and was a native plant landscape designer in San Diego. She is chair of the San Diego Surfrider Foundation Ocean Friendly Gardens Committee and has been a member of the Bayfront Cultural and Design Commission for the Port of San Diego.

About the Program

California native plants are the key component to creating a sense of place. Because of the unique interaction of flora, fauna, geography and rainfall, we can create beautiful gardens that are evocative of our rich cultural heritage while providing space for the rich variety of wildlife that make our state so special. Supporting native plant gardening is a natural branch of the CNPS mission for preservation and conservation.

Susan will talk about the watershed concept of gardening, review key issues and discuss maintenance and appreciation of native plants in the garden, near the wildland interface and in public places. She will also talk about her role as the Horticulture Program Director, how CNPS supports the chapters and expand their sphere of influence to all Californians including the Baja region.


The November CNPS-SLO chapter meeting will be held at SLO Vet’s Hall, 801 Grande Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA.

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SLO CNPS Chapter Meeting nov 14



Honeybees and Native Plants

Honeybees and Native Plants

Honeybee on clover, New Zealand

By Andy Murray (New Zealand honey bee on clover) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret, honeybees are not doing well. There are many scientists and researchers working on this problem. At this time there is not a clear cut answer to what is causing what is called “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD. Some scientists believe a small parasitic mite is the culprit. Others believe the lack of rain the last three years has impacted wildflower fields and the honeybees are dying from starvation. Lastly, pesticides applied by homeowners and farmers to fruit and vegetables crops are harming bees as they forage for pollen.

So what can we do to help? With winter just around the corner and the possibility of rains, we are once again thinking about what should we plant this year. Keeping the bees in mind, I would like to make some suggestions.

The genus Ceanothus is my first pick. With flower colors of blue and white, the sweet smell draws bees by the thousands. It’s not hard to find a species that can fit in your garden. There are large tree types, shrubs, and groundcovers to pick from. They must be planted in a sunny area.

My second choice is the genus Salvia. Many Salvia species grow in sandy, dry soil types and are well know to attract bees. They do not require heavy irrigation and are free of many pest problems.

Lastly, Eriogonum or buckwheat is a wonderful plant that will grow in many soil types and requires very little irrigation once established. My favorites are E. arborescens, Santa Cruz Island buckwheat, and E. giganteum, St. Catherine’s lace.

So this year while you are thinking about what to plant in the garden, I hope you will consider what you can do to help the little bee.

John Nowak

Conservation Nov 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a draft policy on crediting voluntary conservation actions taken for species prior to their listing under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed policy seeks to give landowners, government agencies, and others incentives to carry out voluntary conservation actions for non-listed species by allowing the benefits to the species from a voluntary conservation action undertaken prior to listing under the Act to be used – either by the person who undertook such action or by a third party – to mitigate or to serve as a compensatory measure for the detrimental effects of another action undertaken after listing.

This is thinking of conservation under the same mindset that came up with carbon credits. This might work for carbon, but when a species is about to be listed it is because it is approaching a crisis, and the last thing it needs is additional take justified by this credit system. CNPS has commented, and comments close November 6. You can find more here.

On the local front, the Phillips Refinery Rail Spur DEIR has been reissued and I invite anybody who has found additional biological information since we commented on the original DEIR to get hold of me. The main issue this time is the rail traffic.

David Chipping

President’s Notes Nov 2014

The chapter is very happy to see the Pismo Preserve come to fruition, and we will be offering our help in any botanic assessments that are needed.

Our last meeting was very interesting with some great photos, but mostly wildflowers had eluded photographers this year and some of us had very
interesting travel stories to tell. Thanks for all the desserts as well.

I would like to welcome Holly Sletteland to our Board. She will be working with Jim Johnson on membership, handling communications with members while Jim will maintain mailing list and member roster. I would like to thank them both for this vital contribution.

Our next meeting has Susan Krzywicki coming down from the CNPS State Office to talk about our new horticultural programs. We always have a horticultural talk around the plant sale, but this will follow the sale.

We expect a big turnout at the sale as the long term forecasts say we are heading for slightly lower than average rainfall till the new year, and then slightly higher than average after that. Doesn’t close to average sound good! This is the time to get those drought tolerant natives in the ground. We will have our book table at the sale.

David Chipping

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