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Field Trip Reports

By Dee Wong, Field Trip Chair

bighorn sheep anza borrego lohseCo-leaders Patricia Evans and Joe Cernac took 17 hearty souls (including CNPS fellow Sally Casey, age 94) on a trip to the desert, despite forecasts of rain. After arriving in Anza Borrego on Sunday March 6, the trip started in the rain Monday with a stop at the visitor center. Two days of sunny hiking followed in Palm Canyon and Culp Valley. Many of the highlights were seeing the desert peach, desert apricot, and desert almond all on the same day. We also saw five bighorn sheep which the state park is partially named after, Borrego, and hundreds if not thousands of sphinx moth caterpillars of various instars (molting phases) devouring the brown-eyed primrose and sand verbenas. Dee Wong even saw one that was digging a hole in preparation for pupating.

By Dee Wong, Field Trip Chair

asclepias-fascicularis-narrow-leaved-milkweed-closeHike #2 was to see the progression of drought effecting Stile Ranch. There were 11 attendees including the co-leaders Stella Yang and Dee Wong, and Ken Himes as sweep. As the weather heated up without much winter rains, the grasslands along the trail had already started drying out and turning gold and silvery in color. The native grasses such as Elymus glauca, Melica californica and Melica torreyana had begun to set seeds. With most spring wildflowers finished flowering, the summer flowering plants that were in bud (during hike #1) were now flowering, such as the Monardella douglasii, Streptanthus glandulosus var. glandulosus.

By Dee Wong, Field Trip Chair

lewisia-rediviva-bitterroot400The intention of having a three-part series of hikes to the same location over the course of the year was to see the changes of diversity of one particular area.
Hike #1 started at 9am and ended about 1pm.  Thirty people attended, including the trip leaders and sweeps.  We split into two groups, with Dee Wong and Woody Collins as co-leaders and Huey Shin Yuan as the sweep in one group, and Ken Himes and Stella Yang as co-leaders and Carolyn Dorsch and Michael Yantos as the sweeps for the other group. Thanks to all participants for sharing their knowledge and their time to help make this a very successful trip.

We saw these flowers in bloom:

By Dee Wong, Chapter Treasurer at the time, now (Feb 2015) our Field Trip Chair

Our last field trip for the year took us to Castle Rock State Park.

There were 14 in attendance including the co-leaders, Ken Himes and Dee Wong, and with Toni Gregorio-Bunch as our sweep. Thank you Toni! Of the 14 people, there were one new member who joined before the field trip and three that are not members and were enthusiastic to become members of our Chapter. While on the trail, Dee also encountered a young couple from Marin, who were curious about what we were doing, and was handed a membership form and a plant list for this hike. They were so thrilled! We hope this will capture their interest in joining CNPS!

On the morning of the hike, the weather was overcast with light drizzle on and off but cleared to occasional blue skies in the afternoon. The view was quite dramatic with Ken and Dee vocalizing their view of the scenery to be that of the Oregon mountain ranges with mist rising from the forest, rain curtains drifting by in the background, and misty sun rays shining through the clouds.

By Dee Wong, Chapter Treasurer at the time, now (Feb 2015) our Field Trip Chair

Mt. Lassen Car Camp, six people in the shade of a tree. Photo taken by Carolyn DorschDee Wong, Ken Himes, and with the help of Paul Heiple and his wife, Linda (who helped shepard the group to be keep the pace going) successfully co-led the Santa Clara Valley Chapter field trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park from Monday, July 14 through Thursday, July 17.  We camped at Summit Lake South and Warner Valley to see geological and botanical wonders that are unique to this area. Including the co-leaders, there were 19 participating CNPS members mostly from our Chapter, along with Deanna Giuliano, president of the Santa Cruz Chapter who was also there, and made it all so fun.

Photo: from Left to Right: Diana Quon, Patricia Evans, Dave Hershey, Ken Himes, and Dee Wong. Photo taken by Carolyn Dorsch.

By Toni Corelli, Chapter Chair Rare Plants, San Mateo CountyCoastal flowers overlooking tidepools and Pacific Ocean beyond

The one mile walk along the Arroyo de los Frijoles (Creek of the Beans) Trail between Pebble Beach and Bean Hollow Beach offers a close-up look at tide pools, wildflowers and colonies of harbor seals and shorebirds.

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By Toni Corelli, Chapter Chair Rare Plants, San Mateo County

Two pink flowers in grass

Cascade field is the best example of native coastal terrace prairie and associated wildflowers along the San Mateo Coast. Eight people joined California Native Plant Society member Toni Corelli (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and State Park volunteer Avis Boutell on the May 6, 2014 walk along the Atkinson Bluff Trail at Cascade Field.

Blue-eyed grass in coastal prarie

In the past the prairie was managed through fire by the Native Americans to bring grazing animals into the area and enhance desired plants that produce seeds that were gathered for food. Coastal prairies require some sort of disturbance regime to sustain them--either by grazing or fire--or bushes will grow and the prairie will turn into coastal scrubland.

By Carol Mattsson, Chapter Newsletter Editor

On September 15, 2013 I joined several other Chapter members in a field trip to visit Sharsmith Herbarium at San Jose State University. The trip was led by Curator Toni Corelli and Assistant Curators Teri Barry and Lars Rosengreen.

The herbarium is named for botanist Carl Sharsmith, who started the herbarium and collected and mounted over 15,000 specimens. We started our tour in the room with the many rows of cabinets holding the herbarium sheets.


Removing specimens from herbarium cabinet. Photo: Judith Elaine Bush The curators had taken out several specimen sheets for us to examine Two people examining herbarium sheets. We learned that the most damage to the specimens is from insects. Thus the first step for a dried, pressed plant specimen to become part of the herbarium collection is to freeze it for a week at -20 degrees F. When we examine the specimen we are to keep the sheet specimen-side up, and not roll or bend it in any way. After we examine the specimen we put the sheet in a special case designated for a refreeze before being restored to its permanent cabinet.

I like ferns so I enjoyed a good look at a specimen of Dryopteris arguta. herbarium sheet Dryopteris arguta.  Photo Richard Tiede This specimen had the roots tied to the page with special linen thread, and in other places the specimen was attached to the page with special linen strips. As you can see in the photo, each herbarium sheet has a unique identifying number, called the "accession number." The sheets contain labels identifying the specimen: The lower right is the original label, showing plant name, date collected and by whom, location found, and other information. A second newer, smaller label is being added to all the specimens now, giving the plant's name in the 1993 version of the Jepson Manual.

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