Featured Plants

An in-depth look at a plant – what makes it special, it’s characteristics, where to find it in the natural landscape, and other notables. Common non-native and invasive plants are occasionally reported about.

Viola pedunculata (Johnny-jump-up)

Viola pedunculata (Johnny-jump-up)

Wild (California, yellow, or grass) violet, pansy or Johnny –jump-up

This botanical illustration was created by Mardi Niles using a Micron 005 #1 Archival Ink pen and Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils on Bristol Regular paper. It will be the first of several beautiful pieces of native plant art by Mardi you will be seeing on our covers into the near future. 

Viola pedunculata is widespread throughout the coastal portion of our chapter area. It extends inland as far as there is enough moisture. Dr. Hoover reports that it is apparently absent from the desert portions of our county such as the Carrizo Plains. It is always a visible treat read more…

Common Milkweed (kotolo) Asclepias eriocarpus

The cover drawing and article for this issue of the OBISPOENSIS was written and drawn by Alice Meyer. She was a very active member (and first Hoover Award Recipient in the 1970 and 80’s. She is the one who named our newsletter, OBISPOENSIS, and served as its editor...

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Coast Live Oak

Dirk Walters, illustration by Bonnie Walters Oaks have been in the news a lot recently. Essentially all of it has been bad from the Oak’s point of view. First, there was the clearing of valley (Quercus lobata) and blue (Q. douglasii) oaks in the Paso Robles area. and...

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Common (White) Yarrow (Achillea millefollium)

Common (White) Yarrow (Achillea millefollium) The plant discussed in this issue of the Obispoensis is one that I’ve wanted to take on for a long time, but could never bring myself to ask Bonnie to draw. Since we are using photos to illustrate it by, I think it’s time....

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Fall Color

O.K.... so we’re not Vermont. However we do have some pretty fall color displays. If you like the gold of aspen, you will see the same colors in our closely related cottonwood stands, both trees belonging to the genus Populus. Cottonwoods are riparian trees, and the...

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Ceanothus hearstiorum

Introduction October and November are when our Chapter gets serious about growing native plants. We have a November meeting devoted to it as well as our annual plant sale. This got me to remembering some articles written and drawings drawn by Alice G. Meyer that are...

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Solidago californica

California Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica or S. californica) The photo by Dr. David Chipping that accompanies this note are of the California goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica or Solidago californica). According to Dr. Hoover in his Vascular...

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Oenothera deltoides

Desert Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides) Desert evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides) is in full bloom at Shell Creek as I write this. So it seemed appropriate to resurrect a drawing Bonnie drew back in 1981. It is one of her earlier drawings since it shows a...

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Cucurbita palmata

Coyote melon Bonnie’s drawing for this issue of Obispoensis is based on a picture sent to me by George Butterworth. The species, Cucurbita palmata, has many common names. The ones I found on the web include coyote melon, coyote gourd, desert gourd, palmate-leafed...

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Quercus Kelloggii

Kellogg Oak The following is an article from February 1993. It was chosen by the editor to spare me the choice since Bonnie and I were away in late October. We totally agree with his choice; we had totally forgotten about it. The repeat of this article reminds me that...

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Antirrhinum ovatum

Oval Leaved Snapdragon Drawing by Bonnie and article by Dr. Malcolm McLeod below appeared in the November, 1991 Obispoensis.   When you read it you will see lots of similarities with our current drought situation as well as the much hoped for possibilities of an...

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Cornus sericea

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

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Atriplex patula

Spear Orache, Spear Salt Bush As I write this article, it’s August in the year of California’s third most severe drought. There’s not much out there in bloom. So I’ve retreated to one of the few places where plants are doing anything. Yes, I’m returning to the coastal...

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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...

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Valley Oak Snag

We are going back into the archives for this cover of Obispoensis. The landscape is a drawing of the Shell Creek area that Bonnie drew for the December 1991 cover. The inset is an ID drawing of the leaves and acorn of the valley oak. Why would one want to combine...

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Erodium moschatum

Filaree Erodium moschatum & E. cicutarium I assume it is not news to anyone that California in general and the Central Coast in particular has been experiencing an extreme drought. That means that most native plants that are adapted to this situation have been in...

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Vernal Pool with Downingia

Vernal Pools occur where there is moderate to large sized “natural” depression with no outlet. The depression has to be large enough to capture enough rainfall to fill the pond to some depth. The water collects in the lowest point in the depression. There also must be...

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Mystery Manzanita in the Elfin Forest

All three of Bonnie’s drawings this time are of manzanitas. One is a repeat of the endemic rare plant commonly known as Morro manzanita or Arctostaphylos morroensis. As you will see, it is included here to serve as a basis of comparison. The other two drawings are...

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Cynodon dactylon

Bermuda Grass It’s November in a very dry year which was preceded by a dry year. Most native plants are waiting for the rains. The small amount of rain that fell in the last week in October I doubt will be considered significant, i.e., sufficient enough to initiate...

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Dendromecon rigida

Bush Poppy A funny thing happened while Bonnie and I were working on the drawing and article for and about the plant discussed in this issue of Obispoensis. Before we started, we consulted Dirk’s list of past drawings and could not find any entry for Bush Poppy,...

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Silene laciniata

Coastal catchfly Late summer or early fall (or more appropriately “late dry season”) is a downtime in our local wilds, especially true when we've had no significant rain after December. Even the animals seem to be resting. But if one looks carefully in our coastal...

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Calystegia macrostegia

Coastal Morning Glory (California) The plant featured on the June 2013 cover of the Obispoensis was chosen because of a request. It is the California, coast, island, or wild morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia). The common name, false bindweed, is sometimes used...

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Fremontodendron californicum

Flannel Bush This month’s cover drawing by Bonnie Walters is a repeat of flannel bush, Fremontodendron californicum. It was last used on the Obispoensis cover back in 1991. Does anybody remember it? Fremontodendron classification It is being reused now due to a...

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Asparagus asparagoides

Asparagus Fern or Bridal Creeper This month’s plant is a South Africa native that has become naturalized in Southern California where there has the potential to become an extremely troubling weed species. It is already considered so in some localities in Southern...

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  • 15

    7:00 pm-9:00 pm
    SLO Vets Hall
    801 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, USA

    Predicting Future Climate Change and its Impacts

    Dr. David Chipping

    Dr. David ChippingDr. David Chipping is Emeritus Professor of Geology from Cal Poly. He received a BS in geology from the Cambridge University, and an MS and PhD in geohydrology and geology from Stanford University. He joined the faculty at Cal Poly in 1971. While spending much of his life kicking plants out of the way to see the rocks, his wife, Linda, got him to kick the rocks to see the plants. In the late 1980s he started doing conservation work with the chapter and continues to this day. He has been state CNPS Conservation Director, has served on the CNPS Board of Directors, has served as chapter
    president, and is a Fellow of the Society. He is heading up a breakout session on Climate Change at the CNPS Conservation Conference the week before our meeting and will also report on how that came out.

    Chapter meetings are generally held the first Thursday of the month at the San Luis Obispo Vets Hall on Grande Ave near the corner of Monterey Street.

    Our meetings kick off with a social time that begins at 7:00 p.m.  This  is a time to sample the treats that members have brought along to share,  and browse the book table. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. with some  brief announcements before the program begins.

    Speakers and notes from Chapter Meetings are documented in each  Obispoensis newsletter. Please see the Obispoensis archive for PDF file  of each newsletter.

  • 24

    9:00 am-12:00 pm
    Lopez Lake - Upper Lopez Canyon Road Entrance
    1928 Upper Lopez Canyon Rd, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420, USA

    Saturday, February 24, 9:00 am, Lopez Lake Plant and Bird Walk

    Join Audubon, California Native Plants, and Sierra Club on a plant and bird walk. Expect to hike about 4 miles with a 200-foot elevation gain. We will be looking for waterfowl, which should be plentiful and visible along the trail, as well as an abundance of early spring flowers. A continuation hike to the top of the Duna Vista lookout is an option.  Directions: From Arroyo Grande, follow the signs towards Lopez Lake. After crossing the dam, but before entering Lopez Lake County Park, turn right on Hi Mountain Road and proceed 0.8 miles to the junction of Upper Lopez Canyon Road. Bear left on Canyon Road and proceed 3.6 miles to the old entrance of the Boy Scout Camp (now part of the County Park). Enter the gate, if open, if not park along the side of the road. Restrooms are available. No day use fees will be charged. Bring water and snacks, and dress in layers for changing weather. A hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes are recommended. For more information, call Bill at (805) 459-2103 or bill.waycott@gmail.com. Rain or the threat of rain cancels.

    Green-bark Ceanothus image

    Green-bark Ceanothus

    Chalk Dudleya image

    Chalk Dudleya

    Henbit image