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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter


Bean Hollow & Pebble Beach, May 11, 2014

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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Cascade Field, Part of Año Nuevo State Park, May 2014

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.

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Sharsmith Herbarium 2013

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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Keying With Natives

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Keying With Natives is a Chapter group that promotes plant identification training using botanical keys. Join us as we learn and practice methods of identifying the native plants of our region. From beginners to more advanced, there are challenges for all. Bring in plant samples if you have some or just come and work with the materials provided. We primarily use Jepson Manual, 2nd edition, so please bring yours if you have a copy. Other plant books are welcome as well, and we often practice keying with them. Botanical microscopes are available.

Keying With Natives meets the last Friday of the month at the Peninsula Conservation Center, 3921 E Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto. Join other native plant enthusiasts in a fun and educational atmosphere, as we hone our skills at plant identification (aka “keying”). For details, contact Joe Cernac atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Upcoming Events

Sat Oct 16 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Sat Oct 16 @10:00AM - 12:00PM
Martial Cottle Park Master Gardeners’ Tour (San Jose)
Wed Oct 20 @ 7:30PM - 09:00PM
Water Resilience in the Garden
Fri Oct 22 @ 7:00PM -
Photography Group - Photo Sharing Meeting
Sat Oct 23 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Sat Oct 30 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Sat Nov 06 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Tue Nov 09 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Conservation Committee
Sat Nov 13 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden