CNPS SCV Blazing Star Logo
California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

Activities

Native Plant ID (formerly Keying with Natives)

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Native Plant ID (formerly Keying with Natives) is a Chapter group that works together to learn plant identification using botanical keys and other resources. Join us as we look at plant samples collected from local gardens and practice methods of identifying the native plants of our region. Bring in plant samples if you have some from property where you have permission to collect or just come and work with the materials provided. We will use a variety of plant books and online resources as we endeavor to improve our understanding of botanical terms used in plant identification. The chapter has 10x hand lenses and dissecting microscopes that we can use to look at small plant parts or bring your own lens. Also bring any of the following reference books that you have:

  • The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition, Willis Linn Jepson, available in hardcover or digital version
  • Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region: Mendocino to Monterey, Third Edition, Linda H. Beidleman and Eugene N. Kozloff
  • Pacific States Wildflowers, Theodare F. Niehaus and Charles L. Rippe
  • A Sierra Nevada Flora, Norman F. Weeden
  • Spring Wildflowers of the San Francisco Bay Region and Flora of the Mount Hamilton Range, Helen K. Sharsmith
  • Wildflowers of the West, Mabel Crittenden and Dorothy Telfer
  • Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2nd Edition

Native Plant ID meets the fourth Tuesday 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 Janet Hoffmann at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Resources

Dee Himes (former CNPS SCV board member, Field Trip Chair, chapter Treasurer, “Weed Warrior” at Edgewood County Park and Preserve and Adjunct Instructor of horticulture at Foothill College, in their Environmental Horticulture and Design program, which she also graduated from with an A.S. in 2006) recorded two online classes that go over the basics of Plant Morphology and the basics of Plant Taxonomy. They cover the basic principles of morphology, which is the study of the form, external structure and development of plants; and the basic principles of taxonomy, which is to learn and look at different plant families. The classes are a good resource for learning the terminology of plant identification.

Additional online resources:

 

Seed Packet Information: Hills of California

Hills of California

We hope you enjoy your seeds from the CNPS SCV Wildflower Ambassadors program. This plant mix is designed to provide flowers over a period of three months in the spring and early summer in a sunny area. 

Planting Instructions

Fall through winter is the ideal time to start growing California native wildflowers as these have adapted to capitalize on the fall and winter rains (October-February is best) and bloom in spring. They may be planted through April, but after that it is best to wait until at least September to plant them as they do not do well when planted in late spring or summer.

Checkerspot Butterfly by Vivian NeouChoose A Site & Prepare Your Soil

  1. Choose a spacious site in full sun.
  2. Prepare your soil (or several very large pots), by removing all existing growth and debris. If your soil is clay, break it up with some compost or cactus soil (sold at nurseries).
  3. Water thoroughly to help seeds settle into the soil. Continue to water a few times a week, unless it rains, so they don’t dry out after germinating. Seeds should sprout in one to three weeks. 
  4. After you plant your seeds, let the area ‘go natural’ by leaving the leaf litter on the ground. While many butterflies go into chrysalis on stems or other hard surfaces like branches, many others go into chrysalis in the debris. If you rake or blow it, you could accidentally kill or throw them away.

Avoid using pesticides anywhere in your garden, it will kill the beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, and ladybugs that you are trying to attract. Try to ignore bugs, as they are part of the ecosystem (for instance, hummingbirds eat aphids). If you hose the plant or try to remove pests you may dislodge butterfly or ladybug eggs or kill tiny caterpillars.  Avoid using herbicides as they also poison the ecosystem you are trying to nurture.

Plants In The Hills Of California Mix

  • Farewell to Spring, Clarkia amoena (hosts White Lined Sphinx Moth, Clark’s Day Sphinx Moth)   
  • Mountain Garland, Clarkia unguiculata (hosts White Lined Sphinx Moth, Clark’s Day Sphinx Moth)
  • Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla (hosts Variable Checkerspot)
  • California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica (useful to pollinators, hosts Acmon Blue, Dotted Blue, Mormon Metalmark, etc.)
  • Globe Gilia, Gilia capitata (host to Fairy Longhorn Moth)
  • Goldfields, Lasthenia glabrata (hosts Small Heliothodes Moth)
  • Tidy Tips, Layia platyglossa (hosts Small Heliothodes Moth)
  • Blue Flax, Linum lewisii (hosts Variegated Fritillary)
  • Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor (hosts Painted Lady, Acmon Blue, Gray Hairstreak)
  • Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus (hosts Orange Sulphur, Painted Lady, Acmon Blue, Gray Hairstreak)
  • Arroyo Lupine, Lupinus succulentus (hosts West Coast Lady, Painted Lady, Acmon Blue, Gray Hairstreak)
  • Five Spot, Nemophila maculate (hosts Funereal Duskywing)
  • Baby Blue-Eyes, Nemophila menziesii (hosts Owlet Moth)
  • Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolila – (hosts Bilobed Looper Moth, beloved by bees)

The list of moths and butterflies hosted by these plants is just a sample, these plants are a host to many more - a comprehensive list of butterflies each plant hosts, and details about the plants and butterflies, can be found at Calscape.org

*”Host” = key food source for the caterpillars of these particular butterflies, that co-evolved to specialize over thousands of years. Butterflies die out without these plants.

Seed Packet Information: California Shady Wildflower Mix

California Shady Wildflower Mix

We hope you enjoy your seeds from the CNPS SCV Wildflower Ambassadors program. This plant mix is designed to provide flowers over a period of three months in the spring and early summer in a shady area. 

Planting Instructions

Fall through winter is the ideal time to start growing California native wildflowers as these have adapted to capitalize on the fall and winter rains (October-February is best) and bloom in spring. They may be planted through April, but after that it is best to wait until at least September to plant them as they do not do well when planted in late spring or summer.

Checkerspot Butterfly by Vivian NeouChoose A Site & Prepare Your Soil

  1. Choose a spacious site in full sun.
  2. Prepare your soil (or several very large pots), by removing all existing growth and debris. If your soil is clay, break it up with some compost or cactus soil (sold at nurseries).
  3. Water thoroughly to help seeds settle into the soil. Continue to water a few times a week, unless it rains, so they don’t dry out after germinating. Seeds should sprout in one to three weeks. 
  4. After you plant your seeds, let the area ‘go natural’ by leaving the leaf litter on the ground. While many butterflies go into chrysalis on stems or other hard surfaces like branches, many others go into chrysalis in the debris. If you rake or blow it, you could accidentally kill or throw them away.

Avoid using pesticides anywhere in your garden, it will kill the beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, and ladybugs that you are trying to attract. Try to ignore bugs, as they are part of the ecosystem (for instance, hummingbirds eat aphids). If you hose the plant or try to remove pests you may dislodge butterfly or ladybug eggs or kill tiny caterpillars.  Avoid using herbicides as they also poison the ecosystem you are trying to nurture.

Plants In The California Shady Wildflower Mix

Sphinx-moth-crop-2-small.jpg

  • Mountain Garland, Clarkia unguiculata (hosts Clark's Day Sphinx Moth)
  • Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla (hosts Variable Checkerspot)
  • Baby Blue-Eyes, Nemophila menziesii (hosts Owlet Moth)
  • Five Spot, Nemophila maculate (hosts Alfalfa Looper Moth)
  • Farewell to Spring, Clarkia amoena (hosts White Lined Sphinx Moth)
  • Punchbowl Godetia, Clarkia bottae (hosts Mariposa Forester)
  • Bird’s Eye Gilia, Gilia tricolor (hosts Spotted Sun Straw Moth)
  • Grand Linanthus, Linanthus grandifloras (hosts Buckwheat Borer Moth)

The list of moths and butterflies hosted by these plants is just a sample, these plants are a host to many more - a comprehensive list of butterflies each plant hosts, and details about the plants and butterflies, can be found at Calscape.org

*”Host” = key food source for the caterpillars of these particular butterflies, that co-evolved to specialize over thousands of years. Butterflies die out without these plants.

Seed Packet Information: California Pollinator Seed Mix

California Pollinator Seed Mix

We hope you enjoy your seeds from the CNPS SCV Wildflower Ambassadors program. This plant mix provides a variety of sun loving California native annuals and perennials that sustain pollinators over a long season.. 

Planting Instructions

Fall through winter is the ideal time to start growing California native wildflowers as these have adapted to capitalize on the fall and winter rains (October-February is best) and bloom in spring. They may be planted through April, but after that it is best to wait until at least September to plant them as they do not do well when planted in late spring or summer.

Checkerspot Butterfly by Vivian NeouChoose A Site & Prepare Your Soil

  1. Choose a spacious site in full sun.
  2. Prepare your soil (or several very large pots), by removing all existing growth and debris. If your soil is clay, break it up with some compost or cactus soil (sold at nurseries).
  3. Water thoroughly to help seeds settle into the soil. Continue to water a few times a week, unless it rains, so they don’t dry out after germinating. Seeds should sprout in one to three weeks. 
  4. After you plant your seeds, let the area ‘go natural’ by leaving the leaf litter on the ground. While many butterflies go into chrysalis on stems or other hard surfaces like branches, many others go into chrysalis in the debris. If you rake or blow it, you could accidentally kill or throw them away.

Avoid using pesticides anywhere in your garden, it will kill the beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, and ladybugs that you are trying to attract. Try to ignore bugs, as they are part of the ecosystem (for instance, hummingbirds eat aphids). If you hose the plant or try to remove pests you may dislodge butterfly or ladybug eggs or kill tiny caterpillars.  Avoid using herbicides as they also poison the ecosystem you are trying to nurture.

Plants In The California Pollinator Seed Mix

  • Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (hosts Northern Scurfy Quaker, Olive Arches, Yarrow Plume Moth, Smeathmann's Aethes Moth)
  • Mountain Garland, Clarkia unguiculata (hosts Clark's Day Sphinx Moth)
  • Fort Miller Clarkia, Clarkia williamsonii (hosts Clark's Day Sphinx Moth, White-lined Sphinx, Pacific Green Sphinx Moth, Mariposa Forester)
  • California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica (useful to pollinators, hosts Acmon Blue, Dotted Blue, Mormon Metalmark, etc.)Lupinus micrantha densiflorus himes crop small
    Central Valley Gumplant, Grindelia camporum (hosts Orange Tortrix Moth, Cremastobombycia grindeliella)
  • Dense-flowered Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus (hosts Painted Lady, Acmon Blue, Boisduval's Blue, Silvery BLue, Orange Sulphur)
  • Rock Phacelia, Phacelia californica (hosts Oidaematophorus phaceliae, Clepsis fucana, Bilobed Looper Moth, Orange Tortrix Moth)
  • Great Valley Phacelia, Phacelia ciliata (hosts Bilobed Looper Moth, Orange Tortrix Moth, Geranium Plumed Moth)
  • Bolander's Phacelia, Phacelia bolanderi (hosts Bilobed Looper Moth, Orange Tortrix Moth, Geranium Plumed Moth)
  • Serpentine Sunflower, Helianthus bolanderi (hosts Painted Lady, Milbert's Tortoiseshell, California Patch)

The list of moths and butterflies hosted by these plants is just a sample, these plants are a host to many more - a comprehensive list of butterflies each plant hosts, and details about the plants and butterflies, can be found at Calscape.org

*”Host” = key food source for the caterpillars of these particular butterflies, that co-evolved to specialize over thousands of years. Butterflies die out without these plants.

CNPS SCV Wildflower Ambassadors

IMG 2893 jennifer wfaCNPS SCV Wildflower Ambassadors (WFA) hand out free native seeds and information at events and library talks, join and assist with tours of local native gardens, enjoy seed packing parties together, pitch in at pollinator gardens and restoration projects and promote native gardening on social media. Above all, they have a good time while inspiring people to start their own native gardens and create habitat for our native bees, butterflies, birds and more. 

The program is lead by Jennifer Dirking, the founder and inspiration for the Bring Back Bay Area Bees and Butterflies (BBBABB) group on Nextdoor. In the BBBABB Nextdoor group, members share ideas and upcoming events, invite friends to join, and post pictures of their gardens and of wildflowers they saw on hikes.

For more information and questions email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Want to sign up? Join the group: https://cnps-scv-groups.groups.io/g/WFA.

DSC09000 variable bluedicksSeed and Garden Information

Did you receive a free wildflower seed packet from us? Go here for more information about the seeds you received.

Learn more about habitat gardens and native plants on this webpage. 

Wildflower Seed Planting

Grow Wildflowers - Grow Butterflies!

Acmon Blue ButterflyCNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter is promoting biodiversiity by giving free wildflower seeds to new native plant gardeners in our chapter area (Santa Clara and San Mateo counties) to re-energize the ecosystem in their home gardens. Together, we can bring back butterflies, bees, and birds. Find us at events to receive free seeds.

poppies & goldfieldsEach seed packet you receive from us contains California native wildflowers in rich hues of gold, orange, pink, purple and blue that, depending on their mix, will cover an 80-130 square foot area if scattered thinly and allowed space to grow to their natural dimensions.  The flowers will bloom in succession from early spring through late summer. You can disperse these seeds in an area planted with native grasses for a meadow effect. 

Scattering a packet of native wildflower seeds is a joyful way to restore lost essential habitat while enhancing your gardening experience. We hope you revel in the beauty of the flowers, colorful caterpillars, variety of pollinators, baby birds, and the dance of life in your garden. We offer several varieties of seed packets containing mixes from Larner Seeds:

Click on the links above for detailed planting instructions and descriptions of the seed mixes. For more information, check out the instructions at the Larner Seeds website.

clarkias-crop2-small.jpgThe beauty, color, and scent of flowers fill us with joy. Yet, very importantly, to the bees, butterflies and birds, flowers are an essential source of nourishment for their survival. The plants and flowers provide pollen for bees, nectar for butterflies and moths, and essential food for their young, the caterpillars. Butterflies drink nectar from many different types of flowers, but lay their eggs on just one or two types of host plants that will feed their offspring. The Variable Checkerspot, Silvery Blue, and other butterflies and moths rely on plants in these seed mixes as a caterpillar food source. The caterpillars, in turn, are essential for the survival of our local birds, since 96% of the birds that visit your yard depend on caterpillars to feed their young. Read New York Times Best Seller Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy or tune into the video. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Some neighborhoods are creating “butterfly corridors” with patches of wildflowers and native plants in each of their gardens. Enjoy! 

Your Wildflower Ambassadors at CNPS, Santa Clara Valley Chapter 

Contact us with questions at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Resources for Gardeners

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a science-based organization founded in 1965 with a mission to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants. The Santa Clara Valley chapter covers Santa Clara County and southern San Mateo County. Check out the great resources on our website and the numerous talks on native plant gardening and native plant science on our YouTube channel. We also have chapter fieldtrips, online plant sales, and other exciting events like our annual Growing Natives Garden tour. The CNPS state website also has excellent resources and information to get you started with native plant science or gardening. 

Tortoiseshell crop. smallWant to find more California Native plants specific to your area, and the butterflies that use them as host plants? Then check out the wonderful CNPS Calscape website, which includes descriptions and planting information about every California native plant and links to native plant nurseries all over the state. For a user guide to using this amazing resource, watch this talk.

Discover flora and fauna in your region and across the globe, and even post your own observations on the iNaturalist app.

Seek answers to questions:

Why should we grow native plants to save birds and butterflies?  Listen to Susan Karasoff here

How can you restore nature in your garden? Dennis Mudd shares his insights

Where can you find more information about pollinator plants? Juanita Salisbury is an expert who talks about this. 

When should you plant, water, prune, or leave things alone? Helen Popper shares a month-by-month guide for California gardeners.

What planting methods and soil will ensure success? Haven Kiers from UC Davis shares some research. 

Looking for more native seeds? Check out the great selection at Larner's SeedsVarious mixes are also available from Pacific Coast Seeds. Also, Botanical Interests sells “California Color” and “Narrow Leaf Milkweed”.

Need Plants? Find nurseries and plant sales using our list.poppy w bee crop small

Seeking a few more butterfly resources? The Xerces Society is a great resource as well as the Bay Area Wildlife resource website. 

Looking for a list of great books for gardening with native plants and ifor wildlife? Go to our resource page for books.

Need help getting started with a native plant garden? Tips are available in this video

Want to see most of California’s native habitats in one location? Check out the Regional Botanic Garden in Tilden Park. 
Here is a list of public gardens with native plants.

Field Trip! Chapter field trips are listed here or on our Meetup page.

Contact us with questions at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2020 CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series

bannerThe CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series was started during the pandemic in 2020. Talks in the series cover a wide range of native plant related topics -- conservation, rare plants, gardening, plant science, tours of botanical hot spots, and more. The talks were live presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. 


DSC09065 mariposa lily moth croppedProject 467: Enhancing Native Plant Diversity at Edgewood, Stuart B. Weiss Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Watch on YouTube.

Edgewood Natural Preserve near Redwood City is famous for its flower-filled serpentine grasslands. But the 467 acres of Edgewood support great biodiversity in the chaparral, oak woodlands, and grasslands on more fertile soils. The 100+ acres of fertile grasslands are by far the most weed-invaded habitat, and have been the focus of successful control of “macroweeds.” Learn how the Friends of Edgewood and Creekside Science are pursuing the goal of decreasing “microweeds” and increasing native cover and diversity.

A Rapid Assessment Plot (RAP) inventory with over 80 plots documented more than 90 native species in the fertile grasslands, albeit often at low cover. They are investigating treatments to reduce annual weed seedlings just after germination, including hydromechanical pulverization (HMP) -- basically pressurewashing the grassland, and close-mowing with string cutters.

Besides commercially available local seeds, they are using more than 15 species of “boutique” seeds grown at Edgewood Farms and the Native Garden. They are trying to develop a long-term “indigenous” approach to restoration, whereby a beautiful, colorful diversity of native plants is established and can spread naturally given occasional management.

Stu Weiss, Ph.D. (Stanford University) is Chief Scientist of Creekside Science, which provides scientific and conservation expertise to diverse organizations as they cope with the rapidly changing 21st Century environment. He has researched the Bay checkerspot butterfly and serpentine grasslands since 1979, and has authored numerous scientific papers concerning climate/microclimate, population dynamics, nitrogen deposition, and conservation ecology. Creekside Science executes many hands-on restoration projects, including butterfly reintroductions, propagation of endangered plants, and habitat monitoring and management. His research and advocacy were instrumental in the development of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, and he is Science Advisor for the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network. For more information see www.creeksidescience.com

                               Native Plants for Year-Round Color, a talk by Madeline Morrow

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Watch on Youtube

Learn how to select and group plants with varying bloom times so your garden is never without color. You’ll enjoy it and so will the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds! See how to choose different plant forms and include beautiful bark, berry, and seed producing species for maximum interest all year long.

Madeline Morrow is a past President of our CNPS Chapter and current board member. A former computer programmer, she now volunteers in her community and works extensively on her native garden. Her garden was featured in Bay Nature magazine in March 2013; and she solved her drainage problem by installing a rain garden.

Doug TallamyNature’s Best Hope, A talk by Doug Tallamy

Saturday, November 14, 2020 5:00pm

Watch on Youtube

Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current land management practices have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Doug Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can and must ̶ take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 103 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug’s new book, Nature’s Best Hope, released by Timber Press in February 2020, is a New York Times Best Seller.

Ameet ZaveriWildlife of the Bay Area, a talk by Ameet Zaveri

October 26, 2020 7:30pm

Watch on Youtube

We call the Bay Area our home. How well do we know the wildlife that inhabit this space? Over 400 species of birds, charismatic cats like puma and bobcat, even non-felines like Western Tiger Swallowtail? Can you tell a rattlesnake from a non-venomous snake? Do you know there are *two* whale-watching seasons every year?
 
Learn about these and other fascinating aspects of wildlife in the Bay Area from naturalist and photographer Ameet Zaveri. An avid naturalist from a young age and a long-time Bay Area resident, Ameet is the founder of the informative website sfbaywildlife.info. He will share pictures and information about when, where, and how to experience wildlife in the Bay Area, and answer your questions.

Julie InField 2020 02 ByBillWaycott P1040199 croppedCNPS Vegetation Program: Fine-scale inventory and mapping, a talk by Julie Evens

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 7:30pm

Watch on Youtube

Julie Evens, the Vegetation Program Director of CNPS, will give an overview of CNPS's Vegetation Program and our broader collaborations on fine-scale vegetation classification and mapping in California to document our state’s incredible vegetation diversity. Julie helps maintain standard methods for surveying, classifying, and mapping vegetation in California and works with agencies, conservancies, and CNPS chapters on vegetation assessment projects, including current projects in the Greater Bay Area, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Sierra Nevada foothills, North Coast, Modoc Plateau, among other regions. She is a co-author with John Sawyer and Todd Keeler-Wolf of A Manual of California Vegetation, 2nd edition (http://vegetation.cnps.org), and she is a co-editor with Michael Barbour et al. of California’s Botanical Landscapes: A Pictorial View of the State’s Vegetation. She also helped compile the CNPS Fire Recovery Guide, 1st edition (available for download here: https://www.cnps.org/give/priority-initiatives/fire-recovery). Julie has a M.A. degree from Humboldt State University, and she has two B.A. degrees from the University of California–Santa Cruz.

IMG 1356Planting Demo, Nursery Tour and QA session

Saturday, October 10, 2020 10am

Watch on Youtube

There's a twist on our Going Native Garden Tour session in October -- rather than our usual garden visits, we'll be visiting the CNPS SCV and Grassroots Ecology Nurseries. Our 2020 fall plant sale is going to be online and will start immediately after the session (more information about the CNPS SCV plant sale at http://cnps-scv.org/2020-plant-sale, and Grassroots Ecology's at: https://www.grassrootsecology.org/online-plant-sales). Since you won't be able to come to the nursery to pick your plants out, we're doing our best to bring the nursery to you. This session includes a planting demonstration by Krzysztof Kozminski and tour of the nursery followed by a QA session with knowledgeable native plant gardeners from both nurseries so that you can ask for advice and get answers to questions about specific plants that will be available at their sales.

 

dee orangutanCNPS Explorers: A Botanical Quest in Asia & Europe, by Ken and Dee Himes

September 24, 2020

Watch on Youtube

Join Ken and Dee Himes as they highlight their 2019 travels from May to November: a journey to Hong Kong, Borneo, Singapore, Penang, India and parts of Europe, on a botanical quest to compare flora and geological features with those of California. The main botanical focus of the trip was in Munsyari, the southern side of the Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, India. They will share some of their experiences from a once-in-a-lifetime trek in the Himalaya with three other Chapter members: Arvind Kumar, Ashok Jethanandani, and Joe Cernac. See a surprising geological feature in Hong Kong; orangutans in Borneo; amazing flora in the Himalayas; and other botanical interests in the other countries visited. Of course there will be some interesting insect and bug photos as well.

Ken and Dee Himes have been Chapter members since 1974 (Ken) and 2007 (Dee). Ken is a CNPS Fellow who has held nearly every Chapter position, in addition to leading long-term habitat restoration efforts at Edgewood. Since joining CNPS, Dee has been our Chapter treasurer, field trip chair and board member, a member of the CNPS State Board; and has inspired many with her exceptional photography skills. Ken and Dee were married in 2016, and have continued to celebrate by enjoying interesting plants and habitats wherever they travel.

GNGT: Matadero Garden and Bol Park

September 15, 2020

Watch on Youtube

View two fabulous native plant gardens in Palo Alto with talks and Q&A sessions by their owners and designers. This is a terrific opportunity to get ideas for your own garden and receive advice from experienced gardeners and designers.

Matadero Garden, http://gngt.org/MataderoOaks_GNGT, Melanie Cross & Stephanie Morris

Bol Park Native Garden, http://gngt.org/BolPark_GNGT, Melanie Cross & Claire Elliott

GNGT: Hernandez Backyard & Butterfly House Native Garden

September 2, 2020

Watch on Youtube

Going Native Garden Tour (GNGT - http://gngt.org) - virtual visits to two of the garden on the tour.

Hernandez Backyard in San Jose, http://gngt.org/Hernandez_GNGT

Carrie Levin, Butterfly House Native Garden in Sunnyvale, http://gngt.org/ButterflyHouse_GNGT

Bruce Homer-SmithPlant ID for the Curious, a talk by Bruce Homer-Smith

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Watch on Youtube

PlantID.net is a website for people who see a plant in the wild and wonder about it. You enter what you know about your plant (where you are, plant type, color, leaf arrangement, deciduous, has berries, etc.) to get a short illustrated list of possibilities. Then you dive down into photos and captions to learn about your plant.

Bruce is a retired database developer. He loves to learn about plants in the wild because it helps him notice more when he’s out. Since 2012 he’s spent about half of his time programming and adding content to PlantID.net – a labor of love. He works with a large community of plant enthusiasts, adding ID tips and stories to make PlantID.net an extraordinary place to learn about California plants.

 

Matt BergerDeath Valley ̶ Botanizing High and Low, a talk by Matt Berger

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Watch on Youtube

Matt Berger has hiked from the lowest to the highest points of Death Valley National Park, observing and recording flora throughout its diverse environments. Matt provides an overview of the biogeography and microhabitats of the park, and shares his photos of the limestone endemics and other rare plants. Hear a few of his secrets to finding rare plants in the desert and mountains.

Matt is preceded by the recipient of the CNPS SCV 2019 Graduate Research Scholarship, Lacey Benson from San Jose State University. She describes her research doing a morphometric analysis comparing western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) pinnae size across the coast redwood ecological gradient. Analysis of pinnae morphology will be compared to climate data and will aid in understanding how the longevity of this fern may be affected by climate change.

Matt Berger received his BS in horticulture and and his MS in plant pathology at West Virginia University. Matt is a passionate backpacker having thru hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail twice, Continental Divide Trail, Arizona Trail and other long distance trails for a total of over 11,000 miles in the last 8 years. Matt is an accomplished photographer of the plants, fungi and animals that he encounters on his adventures. You can find his photos on Instagram at @sheriff_woody_pct and on YouTube at sheriff_woody_pct.

CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series

bannerThe CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series has something for everyone -- whether you're curious about native plants, an experienced or aspiring native plant gardener or a professional botanist, you will find something to interest and educate you in our offerings. From gardening to plant science to conservation to tours of botanical hot spots, if you're interested in California's native plants, there's something here for you. Most of our lectures are on Wednesday evening. Our talks are live presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. They are live streamed simultaneously to Zoom and YouTube.

View past talks on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CNPSSantaClaraValley


Upcoming Talks

Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 7:30pm

Merav Michael Galls

Finding and Appreciating Bay Area Plant Galls, a talk by Michael Hawk and Merav Vonshak

Galls are intriguing plant structures induced by insects (usually), creating a sheltered home for the larval stages of the inducing organism. They have diverse and sometimes incredible shapes and colors, and their natural history is equally fascinating, with complex life cycles, tiny parasites, and more!

Michael Hawk (Nature's Archive podcast and Jumpstart Nature) and Dr. Merav Vonshak (BioBlitz Club) will talk about gall biology, common host plants and gall inducers. They will discuss how you can find and identify galls, with numerous examples including gall look-alikes.

This talk will be live streamed on Zoom (requires advance registration) and YouTube (registration NOT required).


Recent Talks

Arvind Kumar

Locally Native Plants for Bay Area Gardens, a talk by Arvind Kumar

September 7, 2022

Watch on YouTube

Slides from the talk.

The Bay Area is home to a great diversity of native plants that have evolved to fill its many ecological niches: microclimates, soils, aspects, and hydrology. This talk will introduce you to locally native plants that are suitable for the home garden: plants that are beautiful, easy to grow and with great habitat value.

Arvind Kumar leads volunteer workdays at the Lake Cunningham Native Garden in San Jose (see page ). He is a past President of our CNPS Chapter and has served on the State CNPS board. He is an engineer by training, a lazy gardener by choice, and a bit obsessed about native plants.


 The Amah Mutsun: Traditional Knowledge to Steward Mother Earth, Rick Flores

August 10, 2022

Watch on YouTube

For thousands of years the Native people of California's Central Coast managed, stewarded, and sustained ecosystems and plant populations. This talk focuses on the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band's efforts to revitalize their culture through the relearning of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and the formation of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.

Rick Flores is the Director of Horticulture and Steward of the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program (AMRP) at the UCSC Arboretum & Botanic Garden where he has worked for more than 20 years. He holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Environmental Studies from UCSC. He is also a Reseach Associate for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust and a Board member at Pie Ranch.


Dave MufflyCalifornia Native Trees: Climate Change and Adaptation, a talk by Dave Muffly

July 13, 2022

Watch on YouTube

As the reality of climate change comes into focus, questions arise regarding the fate of our native trees. From the seashore to the mountain top, our trees face unprecedented pressure, and we are only just beginning to discern patterns of adaptation. In this talk, Dave will focus on the native trees that provide the greatest support to native biodiversity in the coastal zones. He will look at scientific range projections for key species and review 40 years of local oak tree performance in local reforestation plantings.

Dave will also cover some of the rare oaks from Southern California which are beginning to be planted in the urbanized Bay Area, and consider ways in which the developed urban matrix may be utilized to provide surprising support for migrating biodiversity. Because oaks are genetically fascinating and frustrating, he will discuss historical patterns of oak evolution during previous rapid climate change events, to gain an understanding of how those patterns may be applied to our current circumstances to minimize biodiversity collapse. He will take a peek at the super diverse madro-tertiary geoflora and ponder what California may look like in a substantially warmed world.

Dave Muffly has been planting and caring for trees in the Bay Area for 33 years. Dave earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, then branched into native oak plantings at Stanford, urban tree plantings and fruit trees with the local service organization Magic. In 2007, Dave became an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and designed the thousand tree 101 freeway soundwall planting, between San Antonio Ave. and Willow Rd., led by the non-profit Canopy. The soundwall plantings became the proof of concept for the even more radically diverse plantings at Apple Park in Cupertino, where Dave spent seven years as Apple’s senior arborist.


Nick and Alyssa, Scholarship Winners

CNPS SCV 2021-2022 Research Scholarship Projects

June 1, 2022

Watch on YouTube

Since 1999, the chapter has sponsored a scholarship program for students doing research on native plant topics. Several of the recipients of scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year will present their projects during this talk. They include:
 
Alyssa Anzalone and Nicholas Mazzotti, UC Santa Cruz (Undergraduate Scholarship Winning Team) Does Seeding and Planting Plus Nitrogen Addition Result in Differentiated Seed Bank Composition in Restored California Coastal Grasslands? Nick is exploring how different planting versus seeding methods contribute to site seed banks. Alyssa is investigating how nitrogen fertilization affects emerging seed bank species composition by simulating anthropogenic nitrogen deposition in a greenhouse setting. Alyssa and Nick will evaluate how different revegetation methods influence the resulting seed bank postimplementation and whether increased nitrogen affects native species density. 
 
Reed Kenny, UC Davis (General Graduate Scholarship Winner) Systematics of the Genus Juncus Using DNA Analysis of Various Gene Regions.  Reed is working to determine the relationships between several species of Juncus native to California and four small genera found only in South America. Currently, molecular data indicates that these South American genera are closely related to some Juncus species and that the genus Juncus does not form a good evolutionary group. Reed hopes to resolve the relationships between the California native Juncus and the related South American genera and to publish a revised taxonomy that reflects the true evolutionary relationships in the group.
 

Lauren Hamm, UC Berkeley (Graduate Scholarship Winner) Evolutionary Dynamics of Climate Stress ̶ Responsive Mobile Elements in Yellow Monkeyflower  Yellow monkeyflower can be found surviving anywhere water is available. However, the steadily increasing temperatures  and hyper-variability in climate across California may affect the survival of these populations as water becomes scarcer. Lauren will be using collections of monkeyflower from locations around the state to investigate how climate change affects the movement of transposable elements, also affectionately known as “jumping genes” because of their ability to replicate and move around the genome.   


Jane RiederCalifornia Ethnobotany for Learners of All Ages, a talk by Jane Rieder

May 11, 2022

Watch on YouTube

California has a wealth of diverse ecosystems for plant and animal communities, which gives our beautiful state a variety of habitats for people and other creatures. The native people of California have practiced sophisticated ecosystem engineering for thousands of years, using plants to meet human needs for food, shelter, tools, decorations, medicine and fiber. In this talk, we’ll learn about the discipline of ethnobotany and explore some of the traditional human uses of California native plants. This talk is suitable for kids as well as adults.

When Jane Rieder was two years old, her parents called her the Baby Botanist, so she thinks it’s fair to say that she’s a lifelong lover of plants. As an adult, she uses her knowledge and interest in plants in her roles as a high school botany teacher, a parent, a gardener, a hiker, an amateur scientist and a cook. She loves teaching other people about the amazing world of botany!


Cynthia Powell

New Calflora Tools for Your Native Plant Ventures and Adventures, a talk by Cynthia Powell

March 16, 2022

Watch on YouTube

This presentation is for native plant professionals, gardeners, and plant enthusiasts! Calflora aggregates millions of plant observations across the state from dozens of sources and serves them to the public free of charge. These data sources include CCH2 (a worldwide plant information portal from the California Consortium of Herbaria), iNaturalist, and CNPS plant checklists from around the state. How can you better use this incredible resource to learn more about regional plants from home AND in the field?

Cynthia Powell is Calflora’s Executive Director. She graduated with her MS in GIS in 2010 forecasting Mokelumne River water supply based on MODIS remote sensing snow pack images. She’s been examining what was under that snow — plants — ever since. She coordinates all of Calflora’s programs, research, outreach, and advocacy, as well as fundraising and management.

Dee Himes

Keying With Natives: Basics of Plant Taxonomy, a talk by Dee Himes

February 18, 2022

Watch on YouTube

The CNPS SCV Keying with Natives (KWN) group is learns plant keying by practicing on plant samples. Dee Himes of the KWN group teaches two special online classes that go over the basics of Plant Morphology (https://youtu.be/phvVMbk01CA) and the basics of Plant Taxonomy. These classes cover the basic principles of morphology, which is the study of the form, external structure and development of plants; and the basic principles of taxonomy, which is to learn and look at different plant families. The classes form a great crash course for beginners who are enthusiastic about learning how and why some plants are named ̶ and for others they’ll form a refresher. By knowing the basic morphological characteristics of plants, a plant’s name will become obvious. Once the plant has been identified, it can be placed within categories, a plant family, a classification system that is part of plant taxonomy. As you attend you may want to have ready a copy of Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2nd Edition.

Dee Himes is a CNPS SCV board member, Field Trip Chair, and former chapter Treasurer (2012-2014) and Field Chair (2014-2018). She is also an active “Weed Warrior” at Edgewood County Park and Preserve. She is now an Adjunct Instructor of horticulture at Foothill College, in their Environmental Horticulture and Design program, which she also graduated from with an A.S. in 2006. Dee is passionate about sharing her landscape and horticultural experiences and expertise in caring for California native gardens that includes sustainable gardening practices.


Book Covers

Favorite Native Plant Books and Resources, Panel Presentation and Interactive Discussion

February 9, 2022

Watch on YouTube

Just getting started with native plant gardening or trying to find solutions in your existing garden? In this panel discussion, Madeline Morrow, Shelkie Tao and Vivian Neou discuss the books and resources they find most helpful. The talk will be interactive: there will be ample time for the audience to ask questions, comment on books, and suggest more helpful books or other resources. A list will be compiled and shared with attendees.

Madeline Morrow will moderate the panel and discussion. Madeline is a past president of our CNPS Chapter and current board member. Her garden was featured in Bay Nature magazine in March 2013 and has been on the Growing Natives Garden Tour for many years.


Calscape

Picking the Perfect Plants for your Garden with Calscape, a talk by Vivian Neou

February 2, 2022

Watch on YouTube

Finding the right native plants for your garden can be challenging. Calscape can make it easy. From showing you a list of plants that grow naturally at your site to picking the plants that will attract and support the most butterflies, Calscape provides a wealth of resources to help you choose and find the best plants. In this talk, Vivian Neou will introduce you to Calscape ̶ including how to create a customized plant list, how to choose the right tree, shrub or perennial, and where you can purchase the plants you want.

Visit Calscape, a CNPS site created with the help of many sources, at calscape.org.

Vivian Neou is a retired software executive. She became interested in native plants after she retired and started hiking. That led her to the CNPS SCV Nursery, where she became an active volunteer and eventually Nursery Manager. Not wanting to leave her technology background unused, she also became our CNPS Chapter’s Technology Coordinator. Vivian is a huge fan of Calscape and is on the Calscape advisory committee.

Dee Himes

Keying With Natives: Basics of Plant Morphology, a talk by Dee Himes

January 21, 2022

Watch on YouTube

The CNPS SCV Keying with Natives (KWN) group is learns plant keying by practicing on plant samples. Dee Himes of the KWN group teaches two special online classes that go over the basics of Plant Morphology (https://youtu.be/phvVMbk01CA) and the basics of Plant Taxonomy. These classes cover the basic principles of morphology, which is the study of the form, external structure and development of plants; and the basic principles of taxonomy, which is to learn and look at different plant families. The classes form a great crash course for beginners who are enthusiastic about learning how and why some plants are named ̶ and for others they’ll form a refresher. By knowing the basic morphological characteristics of plants, a plant’s name will become obvious. Once the plant has been identified, it can be placed within categories, a plant family, a classification system that is part of plant taxonomy. As you attend you may want to have ready a copy of Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2nd Edition.

Dee Himes is a CNPS SCV board member, Field Trip Chair, and former chapter Treasurer (2012-2014) and Field Chair (2014-2018). She is also an active “Weed Warrior” at Edgewood County Park and Preserve. She is now an Adjunct Instructor of horticulture at Foothill College, in their Environmental Horticulture and Design program, which she also graduated from with an A.S. in 2006. Dee is passionate about sharing her landscape and horticultural experiences and expertise in caring for California native gardens that includes sustainable gardening practices.

 

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunting after the 2020 Fires, a talk by Amy Patten

January 19, 2022

Watch on YouTube

In 2021, CNPS staff and collaborators visited the burn area of the CZU Complex and SCU Complex Fires to conduct post-fire rare plant and vegetation surveys. CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Manager Amy Patten will share photos, stories, and rare plant discoveries from field work in the burn zones of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range.

Amy Patten is a staff member at the CNPS state office in the Rare Plant Program. Amy manages the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, a community science effort which collects up-to-date information on rare plant populations to improve conservation and management and provides botany skills training to volunteers. Amy is a longtime resident of Santa Cruz County and is passionate about our local natural history and conservation. Amy earned a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz in 2009.

Master Gardeners - Martial Cottle Park

Profile of a Garden: Martial Cottle Native Plant Garden, a talk by Stephanie Morris

January 12, 2022

Watch on YouTube

 Community gardens can serve as native habitat havens, connecting people with plants and soil, and connecting wildlife with the spaces needed to flourish.  Join us for a virtual tour of the UC Master Gardeners Native Plant Demonstration Garden at Martial Cottle Park and learn about one of the dedicated volunteers who tends this garden, Ann Finney.  We hope this talk will become one of a series that profiles volunteers and community gardens.

Learn when this garden was established in San Jose and enjoy captivating photos by Hank Morales showing the plants in the garden, seasonal highlights, and wildlife.  What is most rewarding for Ann as she volunteers at the garden?  What are the challenges to be learned from?  What are her primary maintenance activities and what aspects of the garden fuel her continued volunteering? The garden includes a pollinator garden that is 100% California native, an area dedicated for large California native shrubs and trees, and some spaces that are combinations of native and Mediterranean plants.  This talk was inspired by an in-person tour of this garden last year.  It’s a place worth exploring again with our virtual audience as we also ponder: what makes a volunteer?

Stephanie Morris is a Landscape Architect with a focus on Native Plant Design.  Ann Finney is a Master Gardener who volunteers at UC Master Gardeners Native Plant Demonstration Garden at Martial Cottle Park.

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Upcoming Events

Sun Jun 23 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Bird and Plant ID Walk at Lake Cunningham Park (San Jose)
Tue Jun 25 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Native Plant ID
Fri Jun 28 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Friday Edgewood Restoration
Fri Jun 28 @ 7:00PM - 08:50PM
Photography Group - Photo Sharing Meeting
Sat Jun 29 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Sat Jun 29 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Community Work Day at the Native Plant Garden in Kirk Park
Fri Jul 05 @ 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Friday Edgewood Restoration
Sat Jul 06 @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM
Lake Cunningham Native Garden
Sat Jul 06 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Community Work Day at the Native Plant Garden in Kirk Park
Tue Jul 09 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Conservation Committee