California Native Plants that Attract Birds

California Native Plants that Attract Birds

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Plant these natives to attract birds to your garden.

Don’t forget that insect eating birds will visit most of these plants when looking for spiders, gnats, flys, moths, etc.

Genus/Species Part Used When Specific Birds
Acacia Greggii Seeds Summer Mourning Dove
Atriplex species Leaves/Seeds Sum/Fall Finches, Quail, Sparrows, Towhees
Abies concolor Leaves All-year Blue Grouse, Red Crossbill, Clark’s Nutcracker Pygmy Nuthatch
Acer macrophyllum Seeds/Buds/Flowers Spr/Sum/Fall Evening Grosbeak, many others
Acer negundo Same as macrophyllum in all categories
Achillea borealis. Seeds Summer Goldfinches
Adenostoma fasciculatum Seeds Summer Goldfinches
Alnus rhombifolia Nesting Spring Warblers
Seeds Summer Pine Siskin, Goldfinches
Buds Spring Cedar Waxwings
Alnus rubra Same as rhombifolia all categories
Amelanchier alnifolia Fruits Summer Many Species
Antirrhinum multiflorum Flowers/Seeds Spring/Sum Hummingbirds & seed eaters
Aquilegia species Flowers Spring/Sum Hummingbirds
Arbutus menziesii Fruit Fall Band-tailed Pigeon, Varied Thrush, Long Tailed Chat
Arctostaphylos species Fruit Sum/Fall Jays, Grosbeaks, Mockingbirds, Fox Sparrow
Flowers Late Win/Early Sp. Hummingbirds
Artemisia species Leaves All-Year Sage Grouse, Quail
Flowers /Seeds Spr/Sum /Fall Towhee
Asclepias species Stems, nests Spring Orioles
Aster species Seeds Fall Finches, Sparrows
Baccharis species Seeds Sum/Fall Finches, Sparrows
Beloperon californica Flowers Spr/Sum Hummingbirds, Finches, Sparrows
Ceanothus species Seeds Sum/Fall Quail
Cephalanthus occidentalis Seeds Sum/Fall Ducks
Cercis occidentalis Seeds/Flowers Spr/Fall Hummingbirds, Gold Finches
Cercocarpus species Seeds/Leaves Sum/Fall Blue Grouse
Chilopsis linearis Seeds/Flowers Spr/Fall Hummingbirds, Doves
Chrysothamnus species Seeds Sum/Fall Finches, Quail, Pine Siskin
Comarostaphylis diversifolia Flowers/Fruits Spr/Sum/Fall MANY SPECIES!
Cornus species Flowers/Fruits Spr/Sum/Fall MANY SPECIES!
Cupressus species Seeds Sum/Fall Red-breasted Nuthatch & others
Delphinium cardinale Flowers Spr/Sum Hummingbirds
Mimulus (Diplacus) species Flowers Spr/Sum Hummingbirds
Dudleya species Flowers Spr/Sum Hummingbirds
Eleocharis species Seeds/Culms/Tubers Fall Ducks, Teals,Geese, Scaups, Swans, Rails, Sandpipers, Snipe
Encelia californica Seeds Spr/Fall Sparrows, Finches
Equisetum species Stems/Rootstocks All-Year Geese, Swans, Waterfowl
Eriogonum species Leaves/Seeds All-Year Finches, Juncos, Sparrows, Towhees
Eschscholzia species Seeds Summer Quail
Forestiera neomexicana Fruit Summer Quail, Robin, Other Fruit Eating Birds
Fragaria species Leaves/Fruit All-Year MANY SPECIES!
Fraxinus species Seeds Fall Quail, Finches, Grosbeaks, Cedar Waxwings, Wood Ducks
Galvezia speciosa Flowers Spring Hummingbirds
Geranium species Seeds Summer Doves, Quail, Towhees
Helianthus species Seeds Fall Seed eating birds, Goldfinches, Bush Tits
Heteromeles arbutifolia Berries Winter Blue Birds, Robins, Band-tailed Pigeon
Heuchera maxima Flowers Spring Hummingbirds
Juglans californica Nuts Winter Jays
Keckiella species Flowers Spr/Summer Hummingbirds
Lavatera assurgentiflora Flowers/Seeds Sum/Fall Hummingbirds/Seed eaters
Lepechinia calycina Flowers Summer Hummingbirds
Lonicera species Flowers/Berries Spr/Sum/Fall Hummingbirds, Towhees, Robins, Thrashers, Bluebird
Lupinus species Seeds Summer Quail, Dove
Mahonia nevinii Berries Summer Bluebirds, Thrashers, Robins, Towhee
Mahonia aquifolium Berries Summer Thrashers, Robins, Towhees, Others
Malacothamnus species Seeds Fall Bush Tits/Others
Mimulus species Flowers Summer Hummingbirds
Monardella species Flowers Summer Hummingbirds
Penstemons species Flowers Spr/Sum Hummingbirds
Pinus species Seeds/Bark All-Year Jays, Nuthatches, Many species!
Platanus racemosa Fuzz/Seeds Spr/Winter Seed eaters, fuzz used by Hummers for nesting
Prunus species Berries Summer Jays, many others
Quercus species Seeds Fall/Winter Jays, Hummers, Many species!
Rhamnus species Berries Summer Jays, Thrashers, Berry eaters!
Rhus species Berries Spr/Sum Thrashers,Towhees, Many species
Ribes viburnifolium Berries/Flowers Win/Sum Hummingbirds, Thrashers, Towhees
Ribes species Berries/Flowers Win/Sum Hummingbirds, Jays, Thrashers, others
Rosa species Hips Sum/Fall Thrashers,Towhees Jays,Others
Salix species Insects/Catkins All-Year Many Species Use Galls
Salvia species Flowers/Seeds Spr/Fall Hummingbirds, Seed eaters
Sambucus species Berries/Flowers All-Year Many, Many Species
Scrophularia species Flowers/Seeds Spr/Sum Hummingbirds, Seed eaters
Shepherdia argentea Berries Summer Berry eaters
Sidalcea species Seeds Summer Thrashers, Seed Eaters
Solanum species Berries Summer Berry eaters
Stachys species Flowers Summer Hummingbirds
Trichostema lanatum Flowers Summer Hummingbirds
Washington Filifera Dates Sum/Fall Cedar Waxwings, Others
Epilobium (Zauschneria)sp. Flowers Sum/Fall Hummingbirds

Reference: Las Pilitas Nursery, with permission of Bert Wilson. Edited by Al Naydol and members of the San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Plants that Attract Butterflies

Plants that Attract Butterflies

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To attract butterflies it is important to have two types of plants growing in your yard or your general area:

1) food plants for the larvae (caterpillars), and

2) nectar plants for adult butterflies.

The most important plants for caterpillars are buckwheat, California lilac (Ceanothus), deerweed and milk vetch and lupines, mallows, oaks, rock cress and other mustards, and grasses. Unless you provide larval food plants in your garden or nearby, the number of adult butterflies will be limited.

The butterflies of San Luis Obispo County are listed below, with the host/food plant of the caterpillar. In most cases food of the adult butterfly is also given, that is, the nectar plant. Adults may use the host plant or not. They generally visit many flowers, not just these reported ones.

Compiled by George Butterworth, California Native Plant Society, © 2007. Bold letters = common. Groups and species are in alphabetical order, not taxonomic. Nearly all the plants given are California natives.

 

ADMIRALS

 

California sister. Coast & canyon live oak. Adults use rotting fruit, dung, sap; rarely flowers.Lorquin’s admiral. Willows, cottonwoods, chokecherry. Adults: buckeye, yerba santa, Calif. lilac, mint, sap, fruit, dung.

Red admiral. Nettles, eg hoary; pellitory. Adults: sap, rotting fruit; composites, bur marigold, milkweed, stonecrop, mint.

BLUES

 

Acmon blue. Buckwheats; legumes: deerweed, lupine, Spanish lotus, milk vetch, clover; milkweed. Adults: rabbitbrush, coyote brush, marsh baccharis, heliotrope, buckwheat.

Arrowhead blue. Lupines (eg bush), milk vetch. Adults: hosts; also buckwheat, yerba santa, mint, vetch, dogbane.

Bernardino blue. Buckwheats, eg Calif., sulfur, coast. Adults: same. Our square-spotted blues are here (Opler database).

Boisduval’s blue. Lupines, buckwheat. Adults use buckwheat too, and composites.

Lupine blue. California, sulfur, and other buckwheats. Adults use the host plants, and pussy paws.

Marine blue. Legumes: milk vetch, clover, wild pea, deerweed; leadwort. Adults: wild licorice, probably other hosts.

Pacific dotted blue. Buckwheats: sulfur, nude, & inflated. Adults use them too.

San Emigdio blue. 4-wing saltbush. Nectar: heliotrope.

Silvery blue. Legumes: lupines, vetches, wild pea, milk vetch, lotus, deerweed. Adults: composites, lupine, fiddleneck.

Sonoran blue. Dudleya. Adults: fiddleneck, brodiaea.

Bramble green hairstreak Bill Bouton

Spring azure (echo). Dogwood, oaks, Chinese houses, Calif. lilac, buckeye, Calif. aster. Adults: Calif. lilac, rock cress, milkweed, willow, violet.

Western pygmy blue. Saltbush (eg 4-wing, quailbush, spear oracle), sea blite, pickleweed, pigweed. Nectar: coyote brush, rabbitbrush, golden rod, aster.

Western tailed blue. Legumes like milk vetch, lotus, vetch (eg giant), wild pea. Adults: host plants, and buckwheat, pussy paws, yerba santa, composites, dogbane.

BUCKEYE Common buckeye. Plantains, snapdragon, monkey flower, owl’s clover; blue toadflax, verbena, pine. Adults: coreopsis, aster, rabbitbrush, coyote brush; mint, buckwheat, plantain, heliotrope, buckeye, sage, marsh baccharis.
CHECKERSPOTS Edith’s checkerspot. Many in the figwort family, eg paintbrush; valerian, honeysuckle, plantain (Plantago erecta). Adults: pincushion, yerba santa, milkweed.

Gabb’s checkerspot. California aster, telegraph weed, sawtooth goldenbush.

Leanira checkerspot. Paintbrush, bird’s beak. Nectar: yellow composites, nude buckwheat, coyote mint, yerba santa.

Variable checkerspot. Paintbrush, beardtongue, sticky monkey flower, Calif. figwort; snowberry, others. Nectar: yerba santa, buckwheat, globe gilia, daisy, mint, many others.

COMMAS (ANGLEWINGS) Oreas comma. Straggly gooseberry. Adults take sap.

Satyr comma. Nettles, eg hoary nettle. Adults: sap, fruit.

COPPERS

 

Gorgon copper. Long-stem, nude buckwheats. Adults: host plants, and woolly sunflower, milkweed.

Great copper. Docks, eg wild rhubarb. Nectar: gumplant, heliotrope, dogbane, white umbels.

Purplish copper. Docks, knotweeds like willow weed, smartweed; cinquefoils, horkelia. Adults: heliotrope, aster, coyote brush.

Tailed copper. Gooseberries, currants. Adults use composites, asters, nude buckwheat.

CRESCENTS Mylitta crescent. Thistles. Adults use asters, thistles, rabbitbrush, buckwheats, yerba santa, heliotrope.
DUSKYWINGS, CLOUDY- AND SOOTYWINGS Common sooty wing. Pigweed, amaranth, mallow, ambrosia. Adults use milkweed, heliotrope, clover.

Funereal dusky-wing. Many legumes, eg deerweed. Adults use sunflowers, buckwheat, yerba santa.

Mojave sooty-wing. Saltbush, eg 4 wing.

Mournful dusky-wing. Oaks: live, blue, valley. Adults: yerba santa, buckeye, verbena, buckwheats, sage, mint.

Northern cloudy-wing. Legumes like milk vetch, clover, lotus, false indigo, vetch. Adults use mints, vetches, thistles, milkweed, dogbane, yerba santa, brodiaea, buckeye.

Pacuvius dusky-wing. Calif. lilac, eg buck brush & Jim brush. Adults use the same, and yellow composites.

Propertius dusky-wing. Oaks, eg coast live and Oregon. Adults use blue dicks, yerba santa, Calif. lilac, vetches, phacelia, fiddleneck, buckeye, dogbane.

Sleepy dusky-wing. Oaks, especially leather. Adults use verbena, redbud, heaths, composites, wild onions.

FRITILLARIES Callippe fritillary. Violets. Adults take nectar from yerba santa, buckwheat, coyote mint, sage.

Coronis fritillary. Violets. Adults use aster, rabbitbrush, goldenrod, thistle; yerba santa, mint, buckeye, sage.

Gulf fritillary. Passion vines (alien). Adults use daisies, thistles.

HAIRSTREAKS

 

 

Bramble Green Hairstreak- photo: BillBouton

Bramble green hairstreak (western green). Buckwheats, legumes like deer weed; Calif. lilac. Nectar: yerba santa, Calif. buckwheat, buckeye, dogbane.

Brown elfin. Manzanita, buck brush, madrone, salal, soap plant, dodder, many others. Adults use Calif. buckwheat, willow, redbud, yerba santa.

California hairstreak. Oaks mainly; also buck brush, mountain mahogany, deer brush. Nectar: yerba santa, milkweed, dogbane, buckwheat.

Gold-hunter’s hairstreak. Oaks, esp. blue and scrub; also interior live. Nectar: buckeye, buckwheat (eg nude), dogbane, milkweed, yerba santa.

Golden hairstreak. Canyon live oak, chinquapin, tan oak. No flower nectar taken; food unknown.

Gray hairstreak. Legumes, mallows, buckwheats, chamise, many others. Adults visit numerous flowers.

Great purple hairstreak. Mistletoe. Adults: buckwheat, umbels, composites, buckeye, milkweed.

Hedgerow hairstreak. Calif. lilacs, esp. buck brush; mountain mahogany. Adults use the same, plus buckwheat, dogbane, yerba santa.

Juniper hairstreak (siva). California juniper. Adults: goldenbush, yarrow, buckwheat (eg sulfur), tansy mustard, milkweed.

Moss’s elfin. Stonecrop, dudleya.

Mountain mahogany hairstreak. Mountain mahogany. Nectar: Calif. buckwheat, yerba santa, milkweed.

Muir’s hairstreak. Sargeant cypress. Adults: Calif. lilac.

Sylvan hairstreak. Willows. Adults use milkweed.

Thicket hairstreak. Pine mistletoe. Adults use rabbitbrush.

LADIES

 

American lady. Everlastings, pussy-toes. Nectar: yerba santa, thistles, marsh baccharis, aster, buckwheat, milkweed.

Painted lady. Thistles, mallows, legumes, nettle, borages (eg fiddleneck). Nectar: composites (eg aster, thistles), buckwheat, yerba santa, mint, borages, lobelia.

West Coast lady. Mallows (eg checker mallow, island mallow), nettles. Nectar: thistles, yerba santa, buckwheat, mallow, mint, sage, milkweed.

MARBLES California marble (pearly). Mustards like jewelflower, tansy mustard, rock cress. Adults use the same, plus pussy paws.

Large marble. Mustards like rock cress (eg tower mustard), wall flower, tansy mustard. Adults: mustards, fiddleneck, brodiaea.

METALMARKS Behr’s metalmark. Calif. buckwheat. Adults: buckwheat.

Mormon metalmark. Buckwheats like Calif., inflated, coast, and nude. Adults: buckwheats; also aster, senecio, rabbitbrush.

MILKWEEDS /MONARCH Monarch. Milkweed. Adults: mint, milkweed, composites (eg sunflower, mulefat), manzanita, mallow.

Queen. Milkweed. Nectar: sunflowers, milkweed.

ORANGETIPS Desert orangetip. Mustards like tansy mustard, rock cress, jewelflower, desert candle.

Pacific (Sara) orangetip. Mustards, eg tower mustard, tansy mustard, lace pod. Adults: host plants, plus thistle, fiddleneck, brodiaea, buckeye, blue dicks, yerba santa.

SATYRS Common ringlet. Grasses like perennial fescue (maybe red or

Calif.) Adults use flowers.

Great Basin wood nymph. Grasses like perennial fescue (maybe red or Calif.) Adults use composites, buckeye, Calif. and nude buckwheat.

SKIPPERS Columbian skipper. Junegrass, oatgrass. Adults use rabbitbrush, goldenrod.

Common checkered-skipper. Monterey Co., maybe here. Mallows. Adults use aster, fleabane, rabbitbrush.

Eufala skipper. Grasses like bermuda. Nectar: vetch, composites, croton, heliotrope.

Fiery skipper. Bermuda grass, crabgrass, others. Nectar: composites, verbena.

Lindsey’s skipper. Native grasses like fescue, oatgrass. Adults visit clarkia, mule ears.

Northern white-skipper. Mallows like bush mallow. Adults use lobelia, yerba santa, composites, mints, buckwheat.

Rural skipper. Grasses like melic; horkelia. Adults: buckeye.

Sachem. Bermuda grass, crabgrass. Adults: milkweed, verbena; rabbitbrush, sunflower, thistle, coyote brush.

Sandhill skipper. Grasses like saltgrass, bermuda. Adults use aster, heliotrope.

Silver-spotted skipper. Legumes: locust, wild licorice, false indigo, lotus. Nectar: honeysuckle, milkweed, thistle, yerba santa, vetch, buckeye, dogbane.

Small checkered-skipper. Mallows like alkali mallow. Adults: mints, milkweed, composites, heliotrope.

Two-banded checkered-skipper. Horkelia, cinquefoil. Adults use pussy paws.

Umber skipper. Grasses, eg hairgrass; sedge. Adults use thistles, coyote brush, yerba santa, milkweed, buckeye.

Western branded skipper. Grasses, eg bluegrass, needlegrass, fescue; sedges. Adults use asters, thistles, mint, buckwheat, yerba santa.

White checkered-skipper. Mallows like alkali mallow.

Woodland skipper. Tall broad-leaf grasses, eg wild rye. Adults use asters, thistles, everlasting, rabbitbrush, coyote brush, dogbane.

SULFURS

 

California dogface | photo: Bill Bouton

California dogface. False indigo, other legumes. Adults: yerba santa, buckeye, thistle, verbena, woolly blue curls, sage, mint, hedge nettle, Calif. fuchsia.

Cloudless sulphur. Senna. Nectar: thistle, morning glory.

Harford’s sulfur. Douglas milkvetch, deerweed, lupine. Nectar plants: thistle, mint.

Orange sulfur (alfalfa). Legumes: vetches, clovers, milk vetch, deerweed. Adults use milkweed, aster.

Southern dogface. Legumes, eg clovers, false indigo. Adults use coreopsis, verbena.

Sleepy orange. Sennas. Adults use bur marigold, daisies.

Anise swallowtail. Umbels, eg anise (non-native), Tauschia, Lomatium. Adults visit a vast array of flowers.

Pale swallowtail. Rose family, eg holly-leaf cherry; buckthorns, eg redberry, coffeeberry, Calif. lilac (eg buck brush). Adults: wallflower, yerba santa, thistle, mint, lilies, Ithuriel’s spear, blue dicks.

Western tiger swallowtail. Cottonwood, willow, sycamore, ash, alder trees. Nectar: composites, lilies, thistles, yerba santa, milkweed, coyote mint, buckeye, dogbane, lobelia, sage.

TORTOISESHELLS

 

California tortoiseshell. Calif. lilacs, eg buck brush, blue blossom. Adults: flowers (eg manzanita), fruit, sap.

Milbert’s tortoiseshell. Nettles. Adults: fruit, thistle, daisies, rabbitbrush, aster, coyote mint, chokecherry.

Mourning cloak. Willows, cottonwoods. Adults: oak sap, fruit, willow, composites, rabbitbrush.

WHITES

 

Becker’s white. Mustards, eg prince’s plume; bladderpod. Nectar: mustards, rabbitbrush, aster, goldenrod.

Cabbage white. Non-native. Many mustards, eg crops. Adults use mustards, mint, composites.

Checkered white. Many mustards, eg peppergrass. Nectar: mustards, composites, aster, daisy, milkweed, legumes.

Margined white. Mustards, eg toothwort, rock cress, water cress. Adults use mustards.

Spring white. Mustards, eg rock cress, jewel flower, tansy mustard, lace pod. Adults use a variety of flowers.

 

TOTALS: 99 species (49 common)

GARDENING TIPS

Butterflies like:

  • big patches of flowers and color
  • sunny places without wind
  • wet places for “puddling”
  • weedy areas

Insecticides and herbicides are very harmful.

IMPORTANT NECTAR PLANTS (adapted from lists by Las Pilitas Nursery and Paul Opler)

In order to have adult butterflies in your garden for the longest period of time (spring to fall) you must have plants flowering continuously. Thus the nectar plants below are very important. They are given in approximate order of flowering time, beginning with March. You may have to revise these for your own place, according to zone, soil, etc.

Globe gilia. Gilia capitata. Hedge nettle. Stachys.
Pincushion. Chaenactis, eg glabriuscula. Saw-tooth goldenbush. Hazardia squarrosa.
Seaside daisy. Erigeron glaucus. Verbena. Verbena lasiostachys.
Yerba santa. Eriodictyon californicum. Woolly blue curls. Trichostema lanatum.
Sunflower. Helianthus gracilentus. Thistle. Cirsium, eg occidentale var venustum.
Sage. Salvia, eg mellifera, spathacea. Desert willow. Chiloposis linearis.
Mock orange. Philadelphus lewisii. Milkweed. Asclepias eriocarpa, fascicularis.
Tree anemone. Carpenteria californica. Buckwheat. Eriogonum elongatum, latifolium, nudum, roseum.
Buckwheat. Eriogonum fasciculatum. California fuschia. Epilobium canum.
Mint. Monardella. Rabbitbrush. Chrysothamnus nauseosus.

GLOSSARY, CHOICES

Aster Aster, eg chilensis. Calif. aster— Lessingia filaginifolia.

Beardtongue Penstemon, eg centranthifolius, heterophyllus

Buck brush Ceanothus cuneatus

Buckwheat Eriogonum elongatum (long stem), fasciculatum (Calif.), latifolium (coast), nudum (nude), roseum (rosy), trichopes (inflated), umbellatum (sulfur).

California lilac Ceanothus, eg cuneatus, griseus, maritimus, thyrsiflorus

Composites Asteraceae

Daisy Erigeron, esp. glaucus, foliosus

Deerweed Lotus scoparius

Dock Rumex hymenosepalus, maritimus, or salicifolius

Everlasting Anaphalis; Gnaphalium, eg californicum, canescens

False indigo Amorpha california

Fescue Festuca californica, elmeri, rubra (red)

Figwort Scrophulariaceae. Scrophularia atrata or californica

Fleabane Erigeron, eg glaucus, foliosus

Legumes Fabaceae, pea family

Lotus Lotus scoparius; and L. purshianus (Spanish lotus), others

Mallow Malvaceae . Eremalche parryi; Lavatera (tree mallow); Malacothamnus jonesii, palmeri, davidsonii (bush mallows); Malvella leprosa (alkali mallow); Sidalcea diploscypha, malvaeflora, hickmanii (checker mallows).

Milkweed Asclepias fascicularis (narrow leaf), eriocarpa (Indian)

Milk vetch Astragalus curtipes, douglasii, macrodon, nuttallii,

(locoweed) oxyphysus, trichopodus

Mint Lamiaceae: Agastache urticifolia; Mentha arvensis; Monardella, eg antonina, frutescens, palmeri, villosa; Stachys; Trichostema lanatum

Mustard Brassicaceae

Nettle mainly Urtica dioica

Pigweed Chenopodium esp. californicum

Plantain Plantago elongata, erecta, maritima, subnuda

Rock cress Arabis glabra; also pulchra, sparsiflora

Sage Salvia carduacea, leucophylla, mellifera, spathacea

Snapdragon Antirrhinum, eg kelloggii, multiflorum

Soap plant Chlorogalum pomeridianum

Sunflower Helianthus gracilentus, plus annuals annuus, bolanderi

Thistle Cirsium, eg brevistylum, occidentale

Tower mustard Arabis glabra

Umbels Apiaceae, carrot family

Vetch Vicia americana, gigantea, hassei

Violet Viola, esp. V. pedunculata

Wild pea Lathyrus jepsonii, vestitus

Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum, tomentosum, traskiae

REFERENCES:

“Art Shapiro’s Butterfly Site,” 2006, [butterfly.ucdavis.edu] Brock & Kaufman, Butterflies of North America, 2003.

Bouton, Bill, personal communication

Garth and Tilden, California Butterflies, 1986.

Glasberg, Jeffrey, Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West, 2001.

Heath, Fred, An Introduction to Southern California Butterflies, 2004.

Hickman, The Jepson Manual, 1993.

Hoover, The Vascular Plants of San Luis Obispo County, 1970.

Las Pilitas Nursery, [laspilitas.com]

Naydol, Al, “California Native Plants for Butterfly Gardening”, 2002.

Opler, Paul, “Butterflies and Moths of North America,” database, 2006. [butterfliesandmoths.org]

Opler & Wright, Western Butterflies (Peterson Guide), 1999

Pyle, Robert, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, 1981.

Sedenko, Jerry, The Butterfly Garden, 1991

Layia platyglossa

Layia platyglossa

Tidy-tips

Layia platyglossa is one of our more common spring wildflowers. It can turn the hills a shade of yellow. When people talk of great wildflower displays, it is often this plant of which they are speaking. Its flowers are predominately yellow. The center is dark yellow to even orange while the bases of the petal-like structures are medium yellow. The tips are pale yellow to white. When in mass, they form medium-yellow patches as opposed to dark orange-yellow of goldfields (Lasthenia).

It is the pale tips that give this plant its common name ‒ tidy-tips. It is a member of the sunflower family, Asteraceae or Compositae. The name Compositae is an older, alternative name that has been conserved by the Rules of Botanical Nomenclature. It refers to a trait shared by nearly all members of this very large family of having its tiny flowers aggregated (composited) into flower-like clusters commonly called heads. The heads are made up of two types of flowers. In the center of the head is a tight, disk-like cluster of dark-yellow to orange flowers with their petals (corollas) formed into a tube.

These flowers are called tube flowers based on this trait or disk flowers referring to their forming that tight disk in the center of the the head. However, it is the “petals” that surround the head that give us the common name. The “petals” are actually the modified corollas (petals) of the second type of flower, the ray flower. Ray flowers are so named, I assume, because they radiate out from the outer edge of the disk. The flat strap-shaped petal-like corolla is termed a ligule and is made up of three fused petals. The ligule in tidytips generally has a medium yellow base and pale yellow to white tip.

California Wildflower

Illustration by Bonnie Walters

A second species of Layia is called white layia, because its pale tip extends all the way to the ligule base. White layias are common in the drier portion of our Chapter area. Dr. Robert Hoover recognized eight Layia species in the county.  However, I’m only familiar with four of them: common, white, Munz’s, and Jones’s tidy-tips.

How do you tell them apart? Well, white layia is the easiest to distinguish because its ligule is completely pale yellow to white. The other three species would all appear to be tidy-tips in a casual photograph. In order to distinguish these, one needs to get kind of technical. A hand lens would also prove to be useful, if not essential. The main character that  distinguishes the species resides in the greenish, modified leaves immediately surrounding the heads. Leaves associated with flowers are called bracts. A tight whorl or spiral of bracts is called an involucre. In the Asteraceae, these involucre bracts are given the unique term phyllaries. The phyllary tips in common tidytips are “visibly hairy.” In contrast, the phyllary tips in Jones’s and Munz’s tidy-tips either lack hairs or have hairs so short as to appear absent (puberulent).

The common tidy-tips is by far the most widespread and is easily the one most encountered. It is especially partial to well drained, sandy or rocky soils and is found practically everywhere. In contrast, Munz’s and Jones’s tidy-tips are more localized and are partial to clay soils. Munz’s or alkali tidy-tips is found in extremely alkali soils such as around Soda Lake on the Carrizo Plain. Jones’s tidy-tips is partial to soils derived from serpentine. It is known from several locations in the San Luis Obispo area.

It must be added that tidy-tips are extremely variable in many characteristics such as presence of odor, red striping and sticky hairs on the stem and the shape of individual bracts. Members of the sunflower family do not have typical green sepals. Instead of being green, they can be absent or consist of dry scales, bristles or some combination of both. Because the sepals do not look like sepals, botanists give them another name. They are called pappus. The pappus found in the various species of tidy-tips runs the full spectrum of forms with some species such as the common tidy-tips which can possess either no pappus or a pappus of thick fuzzy bristles (awns).

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.
May Chapter Meeting

May Chapter Meeting

Chapter Meeting

Our program for this chapter meeting includes a talk by Lisa Stratton, the Director of Ecosystem Management for UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER). She will tell us how native plants have become a priority for UCSB open space areas, and cover current and ongoing open space projects.
John Chestnut will give us a run down on the recent CNPS is proposal to add a new species, to list 1B. This species is restricted to the Central Ca sand dunes– Los Osos, Oceano, Guadalupe and Vandenberg. C. littoreum was segregated from C. carnosulum var. patagonicum by the Chenopodium author in the forthcoming Jepson 2.

David Chipping will challenge us to help out with weed control in our open areas. Much can be done, and creative ideas are welcome. David is happy to coordinate if companies, groups, or families would like to “adopt” an area within which invasive weeds are a problem.

photo courtesy of Sharon Lovejoy

 

President’s Message

If you have not yet visited our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CNPSSLO, please do as it shows recent photos of field trips, up to date flower locations and more. If you would like to post information, you can send it to me at dchippin@calpoly.edu.

We had two excellent early April field trips to Shell Creek and then to Chimineas Ranch with George Butterworth. Even though we lacked the lush windflower carpets of last year, there was plenty to see at both locations including interesting snakes and lizards. In spite of the heavy rains of March, the rains of late 2010 combined with the extended January drought to reduce the show this year, although we hope late flowering species such as Clarkia might do well. It seems you never can tell, and that is half the fun. Where you WILL have fun is at the Santa Margarita Lake picnic on May 1, so we hope to see you there.

Work has started on compiling photos of the flora of the Carrizo Plains, using the team that put together the wonderful San Luis Obispo book. If you have photos of sufficient detail of species that you suspect might be missed by the committee, please send them to me. We don’t want scenery but if you have high quality images of an interesting plant we would like to see them. Don’t be shy.

— David Chipping

Conservation May 2011

Conservation May 2011

Carrizo Projects

CNPS testified at the first Planning Commission hearing on the Topaz Solar Plant that we would prefer the plant to be moved as far to the northwest as possible into existing ploughed fields, giving better protection to grassland areas closer to California Valley and the National Monument. We are unfortunately getting opposition from agriculturalists who wish to keep the Williamson Act-protected plough land from being converted.

Weed Control

In the last newsletter I had asked for help from any certified herbicide applicators that could help us perform weed control in our vastly underfunded public lands. None were forthcoming, and so I will now ask for any people who might be willing to shovel, hoe and rake to protect native plants. I will be working with California State Parks as they have expressed a willingness to work with CNPS on this issue. Projects I have in mind are the protection of wildflower populations though veldt grass and long leaf ice plant control in the Butte Drive area of Montana de Oro and the Powell Addition to Morro Bay State Park. There is also cape ivy that can be raked out of the understory in Los Osos Oaks. I am sure some of you may have some other projects in mind. I will set up a field trip to take any interested people to look at these projects. Please contact me if you are interested in adopting some small patch in wildflowers and saving them for future generations.

California EPA

State Senator Canella is proposing a bill (SB 241) that will essentially gut the California Environmental Policy Act. CNPS urges you to contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to withdraw any support he might have for this bill. Blakeslee was one of the five state Republicans who bravely broke away from the main Republican block to attempt a budget negotiation with Governor Brown, but unfortunately he brought some elements of this bill into the bargaining process. The bill is long and you should read it at: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/SB_241/20112012/

The bill prohibits any comments on a project after the official close of comments from being considered by an agency, even if the project was changed. It severely restricts consideration of cumulative impact, massively raises the costs of appeals and eliminates the fair argument standard for preparing an EIR, a fundamental element in the creation of CEQA. It exempts many projects and weakens enforcement to an extreme degree. There is more. You can contact Senator Blakeslee via his web page http://cssrc.us/web/15/contact_me.aspx

— David Chipping

President’s Message

We had an excellent turnout for our yearly north county meeting, and it was really great to see faces that don’t usually appear at out SLO Meetings. I would be very interested to hear from north county people on what they thought of the program, and what they would like to see next year.

Our next meeting not held in the Vets Hall, but at Shell Creek (field trip information). This is always a fun outing, and it may be a bit more of an adventure as the creek is running high at the moment. I think the wildflowers will be great this year, including those along Highway 58 on the way.

We are going to be present at Earth Day celebrations at the SLO Botanic Garden, so give us a visit. We are always looking for volunteers who would help our boothing regulars.

We will be presenting before the Board of Supervisors the week before California Wildflower Week (third week in April) with a long list of
happenings, which will also be mounted on our web site.

Contact me if you have something in mind for celebrating wildflowers during either that week or the weekends at either end. We are also trying to post stuff like wildflower sightings on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CNPSSLO. — David Chipping

Conservation April 2011

CORRECTION: In the last Conservation post of the solar project that adjoins Belmont Trail and which lies closest to the Temblor Range I mistakenly named the developer as First Solar, instead of SunPower. CNPS is also commenting on First Solar’s project, which is further north and to the west.

SunPower project

I regret to say that the Planning Commission seemed to have ignored CNPS concerns with the SunPower project’s impacts to flower fields, and approved the project by unanimous vote. We had asked that some definite conservation actions such as offsite mitigation funding be set up prior to approving the project, as the EIR assigns Class II impacts (impacts that can be mitigated) only if additional steps are taken. We have concerns that the Board of Supervisors might be equally dismissive of biological impacts on the basis of an overriding consideration that solar power and carbon reductions trump local effects. We do not have the same problems with the First Solar/ Topaz project, where impacts to flora are much less evident.

Pismo Beach and the Godfrey Ranch

In another problematic move, the City of Pismo Beach is changing the area that they are considering for annexation in the Price Canyon area, removing the Spanish Springs North Ranch property which is northwest of the highway, and adding the Godfrey Ranch which lies southwest of the Spanish Springs South Ranch, and is west of the western end of Vetter Lane. The Godfrey ranch is essentially undeveloped grasslands with scattered oaks and would appear to be prime habitat for Pismo clarkia. To develop this property, which is remote from the core of Pismo Beach, would be the epitome of urban sprawl. One would imagine that this property would also require an additional water source.

Weed Control

As state and federal agencies get poorer, it looks like conservation actions such as noxious weed removal are being ignored. I would be interested in seeing if there are any certified herbicide applicators within our chapter who could be called upon in the event that CNPS could take
over some weed control from certain agencies under an MOU of some sort. I would also ask any agency people who are reading this to contact me if they think CNPS and the agency could work together on certain weed removal projects. — David Chipping

March Chapter Meeting

March Chapter Meeting

The Carrizo Plains: A Wildflower Wonderland

Speakers are Dr. Dirk Walters and Dr. David Chipping, Emeritus Professors from Cal Poly

Thursday, March 3, 2011, 7 p.m.

The San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will present a slide show and lecture entitled “The Carrizo Plains: A Wildflower Wonderland” on March 3, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Atascadero Association of Retired People building, 7484 Pismo Avenue,#adjacent to the Lake Pavilion, Atascadero, off Morro Road (Hwy 41).

A large selection of natural history and botanical books will be offered for sale. The lecture and slide show are free and open to the public, but arrive early as seating is limited.

Call 441-3777 for more information.

Conservation March 2011

We are still trying to force some decent mitigation built into the First Solar project in the Carrizo. We are concerned that pressure for jobs and tax income might cause local government to allow the project to go forward without securing off-site mitigation. Our main concerns lie in the southwest corner of the project, and the positioning of Arrays 8 and 9 in a recognized wildflower field. If you have seen the spring flower displays on the north side of Belmont Trail, then you know what is at stake.

If you don’t know about these displays, come to our next meeting in Atascadero.

President’s Message

Those of you who missed Bob Stafford’s wonderful talk on the wildlife of the Carrizo Plain and Chimineas Ranch areas can have another chance to learn about the area at our March 3 meeting in Atascadero. Following the snafu last year when we posted insufficient information on time and place, we want to make sure you find your way to the AARP building at the rear of the Lake Pavilion in Atascadero Lake Park.

Dirk Walters and myself have developed a slide show on the wildflowers and landscapes of the area, and will start at 7:30 after the social gathering at 7:00.

After a month with no rain, I am getting worried that all the field trips planned by us and other organizations for celebration of California Native Plant Week may be too late for short-lived annuals. Right now, Montana de Oro State Park has nice displays of shooting stars and chocolate lilies along the East Boundary Trail, and trillium in Coon Creek. Snag them while you can.

I encourage you to use our Facebook page to post wildflower sightings and fast breaking news at http://www.facebook.com/CNPSSLO.

–David Chipping

Feb Chapter Meeting

Feb Chapter Meeting

Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve – Biodiversity, Monitoring, and Research

by Bob Stafford

The Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve contains a wide variety of vegetative communities. This botanical variety supports an equally diverse faunal assemblage which will be explored during this presentation. We will also look at past, present, and future wildlife research projects and how all of this information will be used to direct the future management direction of the ecological reserve.

Bob Stafford has worked as an associate wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game for over 19 years and he has worked in the San Luis Obispo county unit for the past 13 years. He has extensive experience working with the endangered vertebrates of the San Joaquin Valley as well as large mammal species such as black bear, tule elk, and pronghorn. His current duties include developing a land management plan for the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve, including the Chimineas Unit.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 — Meet at the Veterans Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, 7:00 p.m. 7 – 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy social time, refreshments and browse our book table.

The meeting  begins at 7:30 with a little time for chapter business and announcements, followed by the presentations.

Conservation Feb 2011

Carrizo Plain Solar Projects

Our chapter submitted comments on the Draft EIRs of both Carrizo Plain solar projects. I was invited to tour the Topaz Project, which is generally north of Highway 58 and centered around the site of the old solar panel site that was torn down years ago. Topaz is composed of low, stationary solar panels bolted to aluminum frames that can easily be removed if necessary. The entire area has been disturbed by agriculture, but there is some grassland in which native species are returning.

CNPS has argued for keeping grassland and using more of the existing ploughed ground, but there is some opposition from those that don’t want to see Williamson Act lands
converted in this way. There are some large protected areas in which scarce listed plants could be increased as part of the mitigation, and the botanic part of the DEIR is one of the best I have seen.

We agree with the developer that this is an excellent site for solar power, given the winter tule fogs in the Westlands area along I-5 that has been suggested as an alternative.The site will not have a large visual impact on the national monument.

The final EIR is out for the Sunpower Project, which will sit south of 58 and reaching to Belmont Trail. Site disturbance will be far greater than for Topaz. Visibility will be higher, impacting the vistas of Soda Lake as seen from the highway. The final EIR has finally produced some decent plant data, and it appears that the Array #8 bank of generators will have a big impact on CNPS 1B plants and significant wildflower fields. Only avoidance and appropriate grassland management will suffice to protect these resources.

The EIR also recommends off-site mitigation, but there is no such program as part of the project at this time. CNPS will argue first for avoidance, but, in the event of approval, that the offsite mitigation will take place in the flower fields immediately west of the project and north of the vernal pool area along Belmont Trail.

At the current time we see no evidence that the take of CNPS listed species can be mitigated to Class 2 (Less Than Significant), based on current project description.

North County Habitat Conservation Plan

CNPS has been asked to join an Advisory Committee on a new North County Habitat Conservation Plan, and I need information on the locations of botanic assets in the areas defined by the Paso Robles zone of influence. I have already suggested adding what is left of vernal pools around the airport, most of which have been obliterated by vineyards.

–David Chipping

President’s Message

The rain and warm weather has fuchsia flowered gooseberry, trillium and ceanothus in full flower, and now, in mid January, the accursed veldt grass is setting seed. If not global warming, it is certainly global weirding. It seems to me that we should make notes on early flowering when we see it as it could be useful in global warming studies.

North County members will be happy to know that we will be having our March 3 meeting at the Atascadero Association of Retired People (AARP) Hall, which is right across the parking lot for the Lake Pavilion at Atascadero Lake. We are planning a great show on the flowers and landscapes of the Carrizo Plain and east County.

A reminder that April will include Native Plant Week, and we are getting quite a few organizations signing up to do something special during the week. Spread the word and feed me contacts.
— David Chipping

 

Flora of Fern Canyon

CHECKLIST OF THE FLORA OF FERN CANYON

(LODGE HILL AREA, CAMBRIA)

 

Scientific name Common name Foot Note
Acacia melanoxylon Blackwood Acacia 1
Albizia lophantha Plume Acacia 1
Artemisia douglasiana Mugwort
Baccharis pilularis Coyote Bush
Briza maxima Rattlesnake or Quaking Grass 2
Calystegia macrostegia Morning-Glory
Conium maculatum Poison Hemlock 2
Cortaderia selloana Pampas Grass 4
Crocosmia X crocosmiliflora Montbretia 1
Dryopteris arguta Coastal Wood Fern
Equisetum telmateia Giant Horsetail
Fragaria vesca Wood Strawberry
Galium californicum Bedstraw
Genista monspessulana Broom 4
Geranium dissectum Cut Leaf Geranium 2
Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon
Juncus effusus Rush
Leymus condensatus Giant Ryegrass
Lonicera hispidula Coastal Honeysuckle
Lonicera involucrata Twin Berry
Mimulus aurantiacus Sticky Monkey Flower
Myosotis spp. Forget Me Not 1
Oemleria cerasiformis Oso Berry
Pennisetum clandestinum Kikuyu Grass 4
Pinus radiata Monterey Pine
Polystichum munitum Western Sword Fern
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken Fern
Quercus agrifolia Coast Live Oak
Quercus chrysolepis Canyon Live Oak
Raphanus sativus Wild Radish 2
Rhamnus californica California Coffee Berry
Ribes sanguineum Pink Flowering Currant
Ribes speciosum Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry
Rubus discolor Himalayan Blackberry 1
Rubus ursinus California Blackberry
Rumex crispus Curly Dock 2
Salix lasiolepis Arroyo Willow
Satureja douglasii Yerba Buena
Scrophularia californica California Figwort
Senecio mikanioides German-Ivy 4
Sonchus oleraceus Common Sow Thistle 2
Stachys bullata Hedge Nettle
Thalictrum fendleri Meadow Rue
Toxicodendron diversilobum Poison Oak
Tropaeolum majus Garden Nasturtium 1
Vicia gigantea Giant Vetch
Vinca major Greater Periwinkle 1

1. Ornamental species escaped from cultivation.

2. Introduced more-or-less weedy species.

3. Crop plant escaped from cultivation.

4. Noxious weed.

 

Conservation Dec 2010

Carrizo Plain Solar Projects


We commented on the DEIR for the Carrizo Plain Sunpower solar array. Prior to writing the comment, we attended a meeting the developer held, in which they revealed biological information on rare plant distributions and possible revision of the project footprint that was not mentioned in any part of the DEIR. Our comments therefore reflected the feeling that the document was effectively useless.

Another DEIR has just been released for the Topaz Project, which is further north, and we will be commenting.

Pismo Beach Project

Nearer the coast the City of Pismo Beach has closed the EIR process on the annexation of 1,700 acres of Price Canyon into the city. The EIR is lacking planning specifics, and fails to identify proven sources of water for the project, so the project will have a hard job getting by LAFCO review, the next step in the annexation process.

Although the City says it’s policies will force it to protect important biological resources, their history gives us considerable doubt.

— David Chipping

President’s Message

Another Plant Sale is behind us, and everybody likes our new location. We had a lot of people coming in due to our better visibility from the highway, thanks to our sign makers.

Thanks also to all of the volunteers, to people to grew plants for the sale, and from those of you who bought plants and put our chapter on a firm financial footing. Even the
threatening weather held off until the last half hour when we were packing up.

Other groups are getting on board with our celebration of Native Plant Week in April. So far, both the SLO and Nipomo Native Gardens, BLM and the Friends of the Carrizo, and SWAP at the Elfin Forest are considering activities. If you belong to an organization that could join in the celebration, let me know about it.

Judi Young has redesigned and updated our web site at http://www.cnps-slo.org/. Take a look and tell us how you like it. Thank you Judi.

— David Chipping

 

Conservation Nov 2010

Carrizo Plain Solar Projects

We’re closely watching the Carrizo Plain Sunpower solar array that is currently in the Draft EIR stage. There is a large population of Layia munzii of over a million plants that will be impacted by Solar Array #8, which is at the southwest corner of the project adjacent to Belmont Trail. Other impacted CNPS 1B species are Layia heterotricha, Delphinium recurvatum, and Lasthenia ferrisiae.

The DEIR leans heavily on off-site mitigation, with specific mention of retirement of development in some lots within the California Valley subdivision. My one conversation with a Sunpower representative showed very little enthusiasm of land purchases outside of the project. You can read the biological portion of the DEIR at http://www.sloplanning.org/EIRs/CaliforniaValleySolarRanch/deir/c06_biology.pdf (note: The planning organization has changed their website and I could not find the document. Here is a link to the current page concerning SunPower. -Judi 5/2011)

CNPS finds itself in a difficult position on the numerous solar projects being fast-tracked throughout the deserts of California. We need to reduce fossil fuel use, but not at the expense of imperiling desert species such as tortoise. Impacts to plants are essentially being ignored, given that ‘mitigation’ for the more ‘charismatic’ tortoise has meant moving them into other areas where mortality has been extremely high.
There is no doubt that we can have some solar in the Carrizo Plain, but it must have a footprint much more considerate of our rare plants.! ! ! !

— David Chipping

President’s Message

I want to thank all of the photographers and dessert creators who made out first meeting so successful. There were so many contributions that I think we will have to slightly trim the time allocated per presentation next year, but that is hard when so many of the photographs could have been on national magazine covers.

While most pictures were of interesting and beautiful subjects, there were a couple of4 talks with some solid scientific content, and one, from John Chesnut, showed very real evidence of climate change as desert sagebrush was replaced by hightemperature desert scrubs over the span of a quarter century. This emphasized the dual nature of CNPS as a plant-appreciation group on the one hand, and a science-based conservation organization on the other. You don’t have to have a botany degree to do good plant science, and I am going to suggest that any of you who would like to be involved in scientific data collection, monitoring, photo-surveys, horticultural suitability experiments and the like contact the
appropriate program within our chapter.

As noted in the last newsletter, the third week in April has been designated as Native Plant Week in a California Joint Assembly Resolution. CNPS wants this to be celebrated throughout the county, and this should involve other conservation, horticultural, and natural history-related organizations. If any of you have any special relationships with such an organization, let me know.

We are going to need the usual help at the Plant Sale, but also could use some unusual jobs like sign-wavers to stand on the side of LOVR. If anybody wants to dress up like a daisy or something and dance around, we will welcome them. We have no shame when propagating the use of native plants.!

— David Chipping