Changing Times, Changing Gardens

Title: Changing Times, Changing Gardens

Location: Cal Poly

Link out: Click here

Description: Join us for an inspiring and educational weekend seminar exploring a contemporary approach to garden design—one that reflects local climate zones, smart water use, and harmonious plant choices.

Start Date: 2014-09-13

End Date: 2014-09-14


Regional Landscape Design in Central California

Register early to ensure your space.

Registration costs will increase after September 1st.

Sponsored by Pacific Horticulture Society

Join us for an inspiring and educational weekend seminar exploring a contemporary approach to garden design—one that reflects local climate zones, smart water use, and harmonious plant choices.

Hub for the weekend is the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo campus and includes a tour of Leaning Pines Arboretum. You’ll also visit gardens designed by seminar speakers, and enjoy an evening together Saturday at one of the area’s outstanding nurseries.

$115.00 for PHS members
$130.00 General Public

Symposium speakers and designers include:

  • Randy Baldwin, San Marcos Growers
  • Carol Bornstein, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Todd Davidson, Sage Ecological Landscapes & Nursery
  • Gabriel Frank, Gardens by Gabriel
  • Jeffrey Gordon Smith, JGS Landscape Architecture, author of A Collection of Residential JGS Landscape Designs
  • Matt Ritter, Professor, Cal Poly, SLO, author of A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us
  • Susan Van Atta, Van Atta Associates, author of The Southern California Native Flower Garden
  • Chris Wassenberg, Director, Leaning Pine Arboretum

Weekend schedule

  • Saturday, September 13th, 9am to 4:30pm: Cal Poly campus, Baker Center for Science and Math with talks, lunch, and campus walks. Check in starts at 8:30am.
  • Saturday, September 13th, 5:30pm to 7pm: Sage Ecological Landscapes & Nursery, Los Osos, wine reception in the gardens
  • Sunday, September 14th, 9am to 1pm, self-guided tour of local gardens

– See more at:

Lichen Walk

Title: Lichen Walk
Location: Fiscalini Ranch, Cambria
Description: Saturday, June 7th, 10.00 am, Fiscalini Ranch, Cambria.

CNPS member Al Normandin will lead a short stroll through the Cambrian pine forest looking for lichens.

Ever present yet mostly overlooked, general information about lichens’ unique characteristics and living strategies will be presented. Most of the species will be identified with easy to remember common names.

If handy, bring a magnifying glass (or binoculars, which if used backwards serves as a magnifying glass) to see individual features up close.

This is not a CNPS sponsored event.

Reservations required.

Contact: or call (805) 927-2202.

Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2014-06-07

The Morros of SLO County

Title: The Morros of SLO County
Location: various
Description: Saturday, June 14th, (varying times)

Join us for a one-day ascent of the five publicly accessible Morros, near San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. All five Morros can be hiked in succession (see schedule listed below) or selected to suit one’s preferences and conditioning. Each has a beautiful but different vista—from city to oak woodland to grassland to seashore. The plants, animals, and the geology of the area will be topics during the hikes.

Total round-trip distance for all five hikes is about 13 miles, with 3,500 ft. elevation gain.

Bring plenty of water (store extra water in your vehicle), lunch and snacks, and dress in layers for changing weather. The day is likely to start and end cool, but be quite warm at mid-day. A hat, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes are essential.

Notification with hike leader at least 24 hrs in advance is requested. Leader: Bill Waycott, (805) 459-2103 or email:

san luis obispo morro7:30 a.m. Islay Hill, 2 miles, 500 ft. gain, moderate. The easternmost of the Morros, with views of five others. To trailhead, take Tank Farm Rd. east past Orcutt Rd, then south on Spanish Oaks Dr., then east on Sweet Bay Lane to end.

9:00 a.m. Cerro San Luis, 4 miles, 1,100 ft. gain, moderate. Has knockout views of SLO. Trailhead at the end of Marsh St., just before onramp to Hwy 101 south.

Lunch: 11:30 am, Throop Park, corner of Cerro Romauldo Street and Cuesta Drive.

12:30 p.m. Bishop Peak, 3.5 miles, 950 ft. gain, moderate. Highest of all the Morros. Hike begins with lunch at 12:30, then up the trail at 1 p.m. From Hwy 1, go west on Highland Dr. (opposite Cal Poly entrance), then right on Patricia Drive. Park at trailhead on Patricia Dr. just before reaching Anacapa Circle.

3:30 p.m. Cerro Cabrillo, 2.5 miles, 800 ft. gain, moderate. 360-degree views from the Santa Lucia Mts. to the coastline. Meet at Quarry Trail trailhead on South Bay Blvd, 1.4 miles south of Hwy 1 or 0.4 miles north of Turri Rd.

6:00 p.m. Black Hill, 0.5 miles, 100 ft. gain, easy. Ocean views from Montana de Oro north to San Simeon. From South Bay Blvd, drive into Morro Bay State Park, turn right at first fork onto Park View Rd., then right onto Black Hill Rd. to end.

Date: 2014-06-14

Calandrinia ciliata

Calandrinia ciliata

Red Maids

Bonnie’s drawing for this issue of Obispoensis is of a plant that is found throughout the western United States as well as spreading north into British Columbia. It has also been recorded in a couple of South American countries. It is especially common in coastal California. It is generally given the common name of red or pink maids (Calandrinia ciliata) although I’ve also seen it called fringed red maids and desert rock purslane on the web.

Although common and displaying easily seen bright pinkish-red, or is it reddish-pink flowers, it is often overlooked. This is because it tends to grow with its leaves and branches flat against the ground or flat against  surrounding plants. One sees it best when looking straight down on it. This is how the photo was taken upon which Bonnie’s drawing is based. The flower in the picture has its stamens just emerging from deep in the flower. It also has to be admitted that Bonnie’s drawing portrays a phase in the life of this wildflower that is fleeting.

What has been drawn is only the initial tight spiral cluster of leaves attached to a stem less than ¼ or so inches tall. Botanists call this a basal rosette. In order for the next statement to make sense, one must remember that stems grow longer only from their tips. This growth point contain cells capable of dividing to produce more cells that can then differentiate into the various types of adult cells. (They are called stem cells in animals such as humans). This region is called the apical meristem.

In the plant drawn, the apical meristem has produced a single, just opened flower. Flowers are genetically limited to parts that are set in size and shape; once they attain that configuration they stop growing. If this is true, then the central axis of the rosette is blocked from growing taller. In order for a plant to expand, it must produce branches from the lateral meristems (found in the upper angle between leaf and the stem to which it is attached). Unlike the initial vertical rosette axis, these branches grow out horizontally and the leaves are produced far apart. Additional flowers can be produced along the sides of these branches in an arrangement (inflorescence) called a raceme. Oh, I suspect it goes without saying that these secondary branches can themselves produce more branches.

David Chipping and I had never seen this plant produce a carpet of color visible from a speeding car until this year. It was a fallow field. The color was so different from anything we had ever seen. We had to stop and take a closer look. It was a carpet of red maids. I suspect that it was able to grow in such profusion due to the drought. All the larger, showier plants were either absent or extremely stunted.

Red maids is a native plant, but it is one that actually thrives with a little human disturbance. For this reason, it
is also classified as a weed, but only a slightly nuisance one.

Some might wonder why I haven’t mentioned to which plant family red maids belong. This is because there has apparently been a recent change. In ALL my “older” reference books this species is listed in the purslane family or Portulacaceae. This family contains miner’s lettuce and the beautiful Lewisias. The old Portulacaceae was easily characterized by its only two sepals and + succulent leaves. But the new Jepson Manual recognizes all the California genera but one (Portulaca – true purslane) that were in the Portulacaceae to be now in the family Montiaceae. None of my plant taxonomy references recognize the Montiaceae so none of them indicate how to distinguish the new family from the old one. A quick perusal of the keys in The Jepson Manual did not yield any obvious distinctions. Why was the Montiaceae separated out? In systematics, any recognized taxon (order, family, genus) should be derived from a single ancestor. Such a taxon is said to be “monophyletic.” However, modern classification procedures called cladistics indicate that the genera of the old Portulacaceae separate into different clusters with different ancestors. Such a group is said to be polyphyletic and is a no-no! Unfortunately many characters used to produce modern classification systems are not readily apparent in the field or even without a well equipped laboratory as they are DNA or physiologically based.

Consistent with its weedy designation, red maids would be expected to be found in disturbed ground. And this is where it is most often found. It is especially common after fires and along trails. And, as mentioned above, it is not adverse to growing in human created fallow fields and other agricultural lands.

by Dirk Walters, illustrations by Bonnie Walters | Dirk and Bonnie Walters are long-time CNPS-SLO members, contributors, and board/committee participants. In addition to his work at Cal Poly, Dirk is the current CNPS-SLO Historian.


[See also:

President’s Message June 2014

Season Wrap-up

Thanks to everybody who has contributed to our season, which has been successful in spite of the drought. We start up again in October with our annual member-contributed slide show and dessert potluck. At that meeting we hope to have our sales table up and running again, as it has been on hiatus due to the retirement of the wonderful Heather Johnson. We are still looking for volunteers to rotate the job of tending book sales, so call me if you would like to help out once and a while.

Water Conservation and Drought

Now is the time to really worry about where your garden’s water supply will come from. Some county reservoirs lost volume between 2013 and 2014 that is approximately equal to the remaining water supply within the reservoir (Nacimiento went from 46% to 22%, Salinas from 58% to 36%). We urge you to maximize grey water use, and to water only in the immediate vicinity of each plant where roots might be encountered.

NOAA expects drought in the West to intensify through this summer, although the probability of El Nino conditions is increasing for the 2014-2015 water year. However this may not mean rain. The LA Times states “A potent El Niño in the winter of 1997-98 doubled rainfall in Southern California, but other episodes, including strong El Niños in 1965-66 and 1991-92, resulted in below normal rainfall.”

Thank You, Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley is stepping down from the Executive Directorship of Greenspace in Cambria. CNPS would like to thank him for his long service in the conservation of the unique Cambria pine forest.

– David Chipping

Conservation June 2014

SLO County Alternative Energy Projects

The county is preparing to “fast track” alternative energy projects. The details can be found at ( They have done a GIS based constraints analysis which point toward “least constraints” being our remaining natural lands. The presence of known locations of “listed” plants is a constraint, but CNPS will be insisting that full biological analysis should not be by-passed in the fast-tracking, as most private lands have never been surveyed. Project evaluation should require both pre-approval surveys by project proponents and the studies made during CEQA evaluation, as well as the cumulative impact analysis of each project. Comments on the scope of the proposed EIR are due by May 28. Many hitherto unknown localities of DFW/CNPS listed plants are discovered during the biological surveys associated with CEQA review of projects through the EIR process. The biological constraints map shows one of their “best” areas in critical habitat for Nipomo lupine, our chapter’s iconic symbol.

Carrizo Plain National Monument

We have reviewed BLM has issued Final Supplemental Regulations for Carrizo Plain National Monument, and have found no significant issues with its limited content. However, in dealing with OHV use in the southern Temblor Range, we should be ensuring sufficient insulation between CPNM and the OHV play areas near Taft. This is an area requiring further work on our part.

Water Conservation & Drought

We are expecting a number of “drought emergency” projects to arise and will keep a careful watch on them over the summer. For example, within the County Water Resources Advisory Committee it was revealed that there is insufficient fresh water remaining in Cambria to fight a wildfire in the pine forest, and thus the most probable fire fighting scenarios suggest that ocean water will be dumped.

– David Chipping

June Meeting – Jenn Yost

June Meeting – Jenn Yost

Thursday June 5, 2014

Dead Plants are Good Too: How herbaria work, and why they are more important than ever – 7:00 pm

Jenn Yost will be exploring California’s plant diversity from a historical perspective based on plant collections housed in herbaria.

Jenn will talk about the Hoover Herbarium at Cal Poly and some of the treasures it contains.

Prior to the talk Jenn will be offering a workshop where you can learn the methods of plant preservation for scientific collections.

jenn-yost2Come early and join us for our Pre-Meeting Workshop – 6:30 pm

At 6:30 PM Jenn Yost will be leading a workshop on how to collect plants in the field and properly preserve them for scientific research. You will learn how to properly collect specimens while on field trips, how to press them, mount them, and make the information available to the public. Mounting plants and working in the herbarium is a great way to experience California’s plant diversity.

No experience is necessary for this workshop and all supplies will be provided. Please come and learn and enjoy yourself while learning how to make a valuable contribution to plant science in San Luis Obispo County.

Biographical Sketch

Jenn Yost was an undergraduate at Cal Poly and now has returned as a new faculty member in the Biology department.  She will be taking over directorship of the Hoover Herbarium at Cal Poly.  She teaches general botany courses and the upper division plant taxonomy and field botany courses. She studies the genus Dudleya, little succulent plants found on rocky outcrops, and the genus Lasthenia, or goldfields. She is an evolutionary biologist who tries to understand how new species are generated. Jenn received her PhD from UC Santa Cruz where she studied cryptic species on serpentine outcrops throughout California.


The June CNPS-SLO chapter meeting will be held at SLO Vet’s Hall, 801 Grande Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA. Workshop begins at 6:30, followed by the meeting/program at 7:00 pm.

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Next Meeting: October

The next Chapter meeting is the October “Dessert Potluck,” Thursday, October 2, 2014. Bring a dessert and photos and videos of your summer travels to share.

May Meeting – Dr. Dave Keil

Title: Chapter Meeting – May 1, 2014
Location: SLO Vets Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, SLO

Dr. Dave Keil – Native Grasses

Although the Poaceae (grass family) comprises almost nine percent of California’s flora, many people shy away from trying to identify grasses. The evening CNPS meeting on May 1 will be an opportunity to become familiar with the characteristics of grasses and to try out Dr. David Keil’s new key to genera of California grasses.

dr dave keil imageDr. Keil will begin the program with a Power- Point introduction to grass features in which you will be encouraged to ask questions. This will be followed by a hands-on workshop in which you will have the opportunity to begin using the new key. The goal is for workshop participants to begin to develop the knowledge and skills to tackle grass identification using Dr. Keil’s key and The Jepson Manual. Bring a hand lens and any unidentified grasses.

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. He is 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.

Meet at the Veterans Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, Thursday, May 1, 7 p.m.

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2014-05-01

Central Coast Biological Society Presentation

Title: Central Coast Biological Society Spring Meeting
Location: PG&E Community Center, 6588 Ontario Road
Description: Central Coast Biological Society Presentation by two CNPS members

Central Cost Biological Society Spring Meeting

Thursday, May 8th at 7p.m. PG&E Community Center 6588 Ontario Road south of San Luis Obispo

Directions: From Hwy 101, exit at San Luis Bay Drive/Avila Beach off ramp. Turn west, then immediately turn left onto Ontario Road.


6:45pm refreshments

7:00pm Announcements

dr jenn yost image7:05pm “Speciation in Plants” – Dr. Jenn Yost, Biological Sciences, Cal Poly

Jenn Yost was an undergraduate at Cal Poly and now has returned as a new faculty member in the Biology department.  She will be taking over directorship of the Hoover Herbarium at Cal Poly.  She teaches general botany courses and the upper division plant taxonomy and field botany courses. She studies the genus Dudleya, little succulent plants found on rocky outcrops, and the genus Lasthenia, or goldfields. She is an evolutionary biologist who tries to understand how new species are generated. Jenn received her PhD from UC Santa Cruz where she studied cryptic species on serpentine outcrops throughout California.

7:45pm Break

steve schubert image8:00pm “Fire ecology in SLO CO” A discussion of the ‘94 Hwy. 41 fire, the ‘96 Hwy. 58 fire, and the ‘97 & 2012 Montana De Oro fires – Steve Schubert, BS & MS Biological Sciences, Cal Poly

8:40pm- adjournment


More information: Contact Ron Ruppert 546-3100 ex. 2721

Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2014-05-08

Flyer: SPRING CCBS2014

SOD Blitz 2014

SOD Blitz 2014

May 16, 17, and 18

What is Sudden Oak Death

Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic disease, is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. As of 2013, SOD is found in 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt.

Researchers have discovered that Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes SOD, spreads most often on infected California bay laurel leaves. Some management options are available, but they are effective only if implemented before oaks and tanoaks are infected; hence, timely detection of the disease on bay laurel leaves is essential for a successful proactive attempt to slow down the SOD epidemic.

Purpose of SOD Blitz

The SOD Blitz informs and educates the community about the disease and its effects, gets locals involved in detecting the disease, and produces detailed local maps of disease distribution. The map can then be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to justify proactive management.

  • A community meeting/training session held on a Friday evening; followed by collection of leaf samples by volunteers on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Samples and accompanying forms are then turned in at a central location Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evenings.
  • We will provide a list of recommended areas for sampling at the meeting.
  • We will divide into groups for collecting. Ideally, one person in a group will have a GPS device or tablet or phone with GPS capability.

San Luis Obispo SOD Blitz 2014


Friday, May 16, 7pm to 8:30pm, SLO County Department of Agriculture, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, CA

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Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18 (Locations TBD). All of the materials necessary for training and collecting will be provided.

The training is free although space is limited – If you are interested, please submit your name and contact info to:

Lauren Brown , (805)460-6329, or

Kim Corella (fmr. Camilli), (805) 550-8583

For additional information on SOD and the SOD Blitz project, please visit

Special thanks to all of you who contributed and participated in 2013 and I look forward to having the same level of participation in 2014.

– Lauren Brown, SLO Chapter Invasive Plants Committee

SODBlitz 2014 FLYER


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