CNPS Panamint Daisy Logo
California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

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:

Upcoming Talks

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:30pm

Jane Rieder

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

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!

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

Nick and Alyssa, Scholarship Winners

CNPS SCV 2021-2022 Research Scholarship Projects

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.   

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

Recent Talks

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 7:30pm

Cynthia Powell

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

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.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 7:30pm

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

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

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.

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 7:30pm


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

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

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.

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

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.


  YouTube icon Facebook icon Instagram icon Meetup icon Twitter icon