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.
CNPS + Audubon Annual Picnic

CNPS + Audubon Annual Picnic

Sunday, May 2, 2011

The collaborative Morro Coast Audubon Society and CNPS picnic at Santa Margarita Lake

Admission is free to Santa Margarita Lake for all participants. Families are encouraged to attend. Lunch is a potluck celebration with lots of good food and plenty of desserts.

Several field trips and events are planned throughout the day.

8-11 | River Road Ramble – Join Alan Schmierer at River Road for a birding walk. Meet at the River Road access for an easy 3 mile walk along the Salinas River before it flows into the lake. Appropriate for all experience levels.
9 am | White Oak Birding Walk with Mike Stiles. Appropriate for all experience levels.
9 am |Walk on the Wild Side Hike – Join SLM Ranger Chuck Woodard for a pontoon boat ride across the lake to explore birds and plans on a portion of the new Falcon Trail. Limited to 12 participants.
9:30-11 |Beginning Birder’s Walk – Join Stephanie Little and Jen Moonjian for a fun introduction to the world of birding. Kids and adults welcome. Binoculars will be provided.
10 am |Paddlepazoola – Join Jack Beigle for kayaking and canoeing. Bring PFDs, sunscreen and binoculars.
10 am |Plantapalooza – Join David Chipping and Dirk Walters for a plant walk.
11-1:30 |Pacific Wildlife Care will be on site with live birds giving informal 15-20 minute “visits” with feathered friends.
noon | Lunch Break – Join us for an old-fashioned new-fangled picnic. Bring your own sandwich (or something to grill), a side dish, snack, or dessert to share and your own (preferably reusable) place setting and beverage container. Throw in your picnic tablecloth if possible. Assorted drinks provided by MCAS.
1 pm | Wildflower Sketching – Join Barb Renshaw and Rachael Yon for an hour of wildfl ower sketching. Sketchpads and colored pencils will be provided, but bring your own if you have them.

Daily use fees are waived for the day and members of both organizations as well as the general public are welcome

For more information please contact Bill Waycott (bill.waycott@gmail.com) or (805) 459-2103.

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

 

Tejon Ranch Conservancy

Tejon Ranch Conservancy

Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:00 a.m. (Rescheduled from March 26)

This special event is a Field Trip to the San Joaquin Valley side of Tejon Ranch Conservancy for our SLO-CNPS chapter members and friends.

Tejon Ranch Conservancy field trip, led by Mike White, conservation science director, will host a 3 to 4 hour walk, choosing the best location to see the spring wildflower bloom within the 240,000 acres Tejon Ranch in the Tehachapi Range. Last year’s Tejon trip featured carpets of spectacular flowers. To decide if this trip is for you, please visit their website, then go to Events, 2011 Community Hike Program, and under General Information scroll down to For more information.

Traveling to the Tejon Ranch: It is about a three to three 1/2 hour drive from SLO to the Tejon Ranch taking Hwy 101, Hwy 166 and Hwy I-5. Specific traveling instructions will be emailed to registered participants once the location for the best spring bloom is determined by the Tejon Ranch Conservancy leader, about a week before 3/26.

To Register: Because SLO-CNPS has made special arrangements with the Tejon Ranch Conservancy all participants must register prior to this event. Limited to 25 people. Please contact Lynne Peterson, email, lynne1112@hotmail.com, or by phone, (805) 706-0301, for questions or to make your reservations. For additional information: Contact Bill Waycott (SLO CNPS’ new field trip chair) by email, bill.waycott@gmail.com, or by phone, (805) 459-2103.

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

Guidetti Ranch

Saturday, May 21, 2011 9:00 am

Led by Neil Havlik, Natural Resources Manager at City of SLO.

This field trip for CNPS members is limited to twenty people, on a first come first served basis.

This hike is 7 miles round trip and takes about 4 hours.

We will meet at Foods For Less parking lot, at the corner of South Higuera and Suburban Road, near the US Bank building at 9 a.m., and then drive together to the Guidetti Ranch.

We will be looking for the Indian Knob mountain balm, Eriodictyon altissimum, among other plants.

Bring lunch, water, sun protection, dress in layers, and have good walking shoes. Be sure to bring your copy of Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo, California.

Sign up by calling Bill Waycott at (805) 459-2103 or emailing him at: bill.waycott@gmail.com.

Bishop Peak + Felsman Loop

Bishop Peak + Felsman Loop

Saturday, May 7, 9:00 a.m.

Bishop Peak including Felsman Loop

Come celebrate Mothers Day weekend with a walk through the plant communities that inhabit one of our most popular Morros, Bishop Peak.

Start on the north side passing through oak woodland and grasslands with views of the city to the north, then transition to the south side passing through a diverse and attractive chaparral landscape with views of Laguna Lake and the Irish Hills.  Total distance is 6 miles taking roughly 3.5 hours.

Meet at the trailhead on the west side of Patricia Drive in San Luis Obispo, between Patricia Court and Anacapa Circle.

Bring adequate water, snacks, and dress in layers for the weather; a hat and sturdy shoes are advised.

For info, call Bill at (805) 459-2103, bill.waycott@gmail.com