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Fall 1998 Newsletter

All typos were generated by the scanner, not the editor and/or author!

Autumn Plant Sale and Photography Exhibit

Saturday, September 19, 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
Sierra College Campus, Grass Valley

Recently a buzz has developed about native plants. Thousands of bored homeowners across the country are ripping up their perfectly groomed lawns and replacing them with native perennials and grasses, according to an article last month in the Wall Street Journal. The publisher of Wild Garden, one of several new outdoor magazines promoting the idea, estimates that 25% of gardeners are now using native plants. A recent article in Newsweek magazine reports that the most important trend in landscape design is the use of indigenous trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses.

Here's your chance to be on the cutting edge (planting edge?)--the Redbud Chapters semi-annual plant sale. We will be offering hardy, beautiful plants, as well as other drought-tolerant plants, well-suited to our climate and soils. Many make for a low-maintenance landscape. All the plant are professionally grown and reasonably priced; many are not commonly available in retail nurseries. Seven nurseries will be participating this year. This will be our second year at the lovely campus of Sierra College in Grass Valley. Last year, we were so successful that the plants were gone in two hours. We aren't going to let that happen again. We have planned for expanded offerings this year. But it is always prudent to get there early for the best selections.

Native plants offer a wide variety of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials with ornamental qualities for basic landscaping, special effects or solutions to special situations like dry shade, or challenging slopes. Locally native plants blend better with their surroundings. They can attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects. And they also provide the intangible benefit of bringing a [symbolic] piece of the wild into your own backyard-the wild mock orange you saw on the Independence Trail or the cantaloupe-colored bush monkeyflower that grows along the South Yuba River. Free handouts will provide lists of native plants with fall color or showy flowers, for shade gardens or hot, dry slopes or for attracting birds or butterflies. Chapter experts will be on hand to share their experience and offer helpful suggestions. Fall, of course, is the very best time to plant natives.

Also for sale will be books on native plants, wildflower posters, framed wildflower photos, wildflower-inspired clothing, and wildflower note cards. Karen Callahan and Richard Hanes will also have an exhibit of their nature photography and Carolyn Chainey-Davis is preparing a display of locally native plants with good fall color or berries.


  1. Take Idaho-Maryland offramp from northbound Hwy 49;
  2. turn left;
  3. proceed to East Main St.;
  4. turn right and proceed to Sierra College Dr.;
  5. turn left and follow signs.
Admission is free. Everyone is index.

Field Trip

Saturday, September 26
Butterflies and Flora of the Old Donner Highway
and Donner Lake Lookout Area

One of the state's leading naturalists and a world expert on butterflies, Dr. Art Shapiro, takes us on another stop along his 20+ year field research transect of the I-80/Hwy 20 corridor. The Donner Pass area of Placer and Nevada Counties boasts a fauna of 115 butterfly species, including 85 breeding residents. In fact, Nevada County leads the Sierran counties in number of butterfly species per square mile. Adult butterflies feed on nectar. Flowers particularly important to butterflies include rabbitbrush, asters, and goldenrod, buckwheats, horsemint (Agastache) and coyote mint, dogbane (Apocynum) ‹all well represented in the Donner Pass area and all late blooming. Lots of fall color and berries in a wide spectrum from bittercherry, mountain ash, snowberry, elderberry, twin berry, aspens, cottonwoods and willows, mountain maples, and many more.

R.S.V.P. Carolyn Chainey-Davis at 273-1581 for carpool or meeting time.

Upcoming Chapter Meetings

Right Plant, Right Place--Designing with Locally Native Plants

Bring your questions to a panel of experts
Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 pm
Geitzen Hall, Old Town Auburn

A panel of experts will answer all your burning questions for successful growing, designing or propagating native plants with ornamental qualities. The brother-sister team of Mark Chainey and Carolyn Chainey-Davis will present a short slide show of some of the best of our area's native plants for the garden, followed by an informal workshop and question/answer session featuring a panel that includes grower/designer/contractor Marsha Braga of Far Star Nursery and Braga Brothers Landscape, and Chet Blackburn, creator of his very own botanical garden of native plants and trees from all over the world. Foothill bird expert Mark Chainey has also created a paradise in his own backyard, specializing in bird attractants, locally native plants and rare plants. Carolyn is a revegetation specialist with tips on large scale, low-cost and maintenance-free designs. Everything you wanted to know (about plants) but were afraid to ask--this is a great opportunity to make the most of your new acquisitions from the fall plant sale.

Mushrooms and Fungi with Jerry Bloom

Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.
Nevada County Library, Community Room, Nevada City

Although it is dependent on the rains, November is usually the best time for fungus hunting in Nevada and Placer counties. So what better time to determine if that mushroom you've found could go with your Thanksgiving feast. Whether you want to eat them or just admire them, here is your chance to learn from an expert. Jerry is a member of the San Francisco Mycological Society and a volunteer with the Forest Issues Group. He's been a mushroom enthusiast since 1975 and led a successful and entertaining field trip for the Redbud Chapter this past spring. Jerry's agreed to host this informal workshop. Please bring fresh fungus or mushroom specimens as examples for discussion. Recipes also index.

In Memory Of Lillian Mott

by Julie Carville

Lillian Sarah Mott, who did so much to awaken the joy of wildflowers in others, passed away in her home, surrounded by the love of her family, on August 6. Lillian was a long-time member of the California Native Plant Society and had spent countless hours with her husband Doc, and with Gordon True and other well-known botanists on wildflower forays that ranged throughout California and elsewhere. Her work contributed much to the knowledge of Nevada County wildflowers. For many years she wrote a weekly wildflower column for the Union and Sacramento Bee and was an accomplished photographer and expert on mushrooms. Her wonderful slide shows delighted and educated many people over the years. In 1993 she was made a Fellow of the California Native Plant Society, in honor of her and her contributions. Lillian, who was 82, had spent 65 years in marriage with her husband, Doc, and had worked alongside him as his nurse in their chiropractic practice in Grass Valley for over 40 years. She is also survived by her two sons, David and Gregory, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Lillian was a friend of mine, and we spent many wonderful hours together delighting in the wildflowers. Besides Doc, wildflowers were her greatest joy, and I remember in later years, when she began walking with a cane for support on back-country trails, how she would zip along the trail oblivious to her cane. One time when we were hiking at Grouse Ridge, she spotted a little pink flower up in the rocks quite a ways up the mountain. Neither of us was sure what it might be, so off we went, cane flying, scrambling up the mountain to discover another little treasure. She didn't hesitate for a moment‹her mind and head were just on that little flower. I loved her for that‹that age or a cane wouldn't stop her. She never lost her youthful spirit around wildflowers. Another time we were heading out of Grouse Ridge, when a rain storm hit with thunder and lightening crashing closer and closer. Lillian had put on a little extra weight in later years, and while others in our group were rushing out to avoid getting too wet or in fear of the lightening, Lillian and I tagged behind. As we walked along, enjoying the rain and the wildness of the thunder, she turned to me and said, We don't need to hurry out, all this rain just might do me good - it might shrink me a little!!" Lillian was a true mountain spirit who delighted in life. She leaves a void In the hearts of many of us, but I'm sure that the wildflowers in her new journey will be delighted she has returned!

Memorial contributions can be made to Christian Encounter Ministries, 17183 Retrac Way, Grass Valley, CA 95949

Conservation Update

By Carolyn Chainey-Davis

City & County Planners Working Closely With Chapter

The CNPS reputation for science-based advocacy is paying-off locally and our chapter is now a major player in the local conservation movement. Conservation chair Carolyn Chainey-Davis and Cheryl Belcher of the Nevada County Land Trust helped earn that reputation locally with a presentation to city and county planners on the recently completed inventory of Important Natural Community Areas of Nevada County (I.N.C.A.). Funded and orchestrated by The Nature Conservancy, our local chapter was a major contributor of information on rare, threatened, unique and declining natural communities and species in Nevada County.

The result is an unprecedented cooperation between city and county planners and our local CNPS chapter, particularly in regard to mitigation for impacts to rare plants. The Rare Plant Program of our state organization has long been widely accepted by agencies and professionals as an accurate, current source of information on the distribution, ecology and conservation status of rare plants in California. But cooperation on a local level is new to Nevada County. Our rare plant coordinator Richard Hanes and vice president Karen Callahan were contacted by city planners for advice on mitigation for impacts to a population of the List 4 species Sanborn's Onion (Allium sanbornii var. sanbornii). The developer of the serpentine parcel at the southwest corner of Sutton Way and Dorsey Dr. in Grass Valley voluntarily agreed to transplant the population of the native bulb to a similar but unimpacted portion of the project site. CNPS will oversee the transplanting operation by the developers landscape contractor scheduled for the upcoming dormant season.

Protection for Pitcher Plant Fen A Done Deal!

A conservation easement was signed in August that will preserve in perpetuity the Grouse Ridge pitcher plant fen , its buffer zone of white fir forest and its hydrology. But it took far more than a stroke of a pen to get to that point. In no les than 12 months of negotiation, old adversarial relationships were set aside in an agreement between the real estate company that owned the bog, Pat O'Brien Realty, and the Nevada County Land Trust and our chapter. The realtor agreed to hold the sale of the Darlingtonia site, for which there was a buyer, until $26,000 in Nature Conservancy matching funds could be secured to purchase a conservation easement. And that was after we had intervened in O'Brien's timber harvest at the site last summer and successfully petitioned the California Department of Forestry for greater setbacks around the bog.

The match for the $26,000 matching grant came in part from a donation by Pat O'Brien of 4 acres of the 10 acre easement. The Truckee-Donner Land Trust helped with a generous $5,000 donation. Five-hundred dollar were made by our chapter and Dr. Art Shapiro of UC Davis who has been studying an unusual lower elevation population of the subalpine butterfly Mariposa Copper (Lycaena mariposa) at the site for several years. One hundred dollar donations were also made by Cheryl Belcher and the out-of-state father of another scientist, Dr. Barry Meyers-Rice, who made the discovery of the unique green-flowered pitcher plants found nowhere else in the world.

Well nothing can lure the general public to a botanical preserve like insect-eating plants can. The California Native Plant Society coalesced around just such a conservation issue long ago when botanist John Thomas Howell and Walter and Erica Knight persuaded the forest service to acquire the Butterfly Valley, Plumas County insectivorious plant bog. But Butterfly Valley and other pitcher plant bogs have suffered from public access and plant poachers. In fact, the day the California Department of Forestry made its decision on the timber harvest plan at the Grouse Ridge site last summer, the local paper prepared a front page story complete with a map of how to get there. Frantically we called the editor and reporter that night, begging them not to run the map, warning them of the dangers of revealing locations of these curious plants. Still unconvinced, we urged them to call the forest service botanist to confirm our warnings and promised to be at the editors desk at the crack of dawn with a professional color slide to replace the map graphic that had already been composed and laid out.

Next morning, apprehensive in front of the editors desk, we watched her hold the slide up to the light. "Very coo-ool," she said. "Let's run it."

The Commitment is There, But Issues Need Resolving at Hell's Half Acre

Dreams can come true. Inspired and humbled by the kaleidoscope of color on the volcanic mudflow wildflower field known locally as 'Hell's Half Acre', the late local naturalist and CNPS fellow Lillian Mott spent a good part of the last 30 years exploring and sharing the uncommon beauty of its wildflower treasures.

Lillian's dream of a wildflower preserve at Hell's Half Acre may come true. In another unprecedented compromise between a proposed local development and local conservationists, CNPS, the Rural Quality Coalition and the Nevada County Land Trust persuaded the owners of Kenny Ranch and Hell's Half Acre and their planner Andy Cassano to let us redesign the proposed zoning map for the subdivision and reassign the ready buyers of the Hell's Half Acre portion to another location on the ranch to preserve the best of the wildflower fields with an open space designation.

But this is a temporary safeguard. 'Open space', as defined in the county general plan, allows for all sorts of incompatible uses such as soccer fields and baseball diamonds. Open space generally remains in private ownership -- public access for a wildflower preserve or nature center would not be permitted for obvious liability reasons.

The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game recognize these volcanic mudflow wildflower fields as imperiled and irreplaceable resources. The recently completed inventory of Important Natural Community areas of Nevada County and an earlier Audubon study of Significant Natural Areas include Hell's Half Acre in their lists of portfolio sites. Consequently, matching funds [of up to $50,000] are available to help purchase the wildflower resource in order to protect it in perpetuity. However, there are still a number of hurdles to be cleared before Lillian's and our dream become a reality. But we are hopeful that this singular area will be preserved.

More Rare Plants

by Richard Hanes and Karen Callahan

It has been a busy summer for us. In the process of photographing plants for our Chapter's future book on wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties and working as volunteers for the Tahoe National Forest Sensitive Plant Program, we have found and recorded new populations of rare or uncommon plants. Karen's eagle eye found two populations of Clarkia stellata during our Bear Valley plant walk in July!! One population in Nevada Co. and one in Placer Co.; previously known only in Plumas and Yuba Counties. We have recorded three occurrences of Clarkia biloba ssp. brandegeae near the South and Middle Forks of the Yuba River. Richard found and recorded a new population of Ivesia sericoleuca in eastern Nevada Co. Karen has recorded new populations of Allium sanbornii var. sanbornii in the Grass Valley area. And Karen has verified and recorded a population of Perideridia bacigalupi, cited by Gordon True! But that is not all, Richard found and is reporting three more populations of Bacigalupi's Yampah (ask Carolyn to say Bacigalupi).

All of these findings are being reported to the Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game's Natural Diversity Data Base and CNPS. It is very important to record and report rare plants to CNPS and the Natural Diversity Data Base! Our reports are the basis for classifying plants as rare or endangered. If you have found rare plants this summer and would like to report them, or if you need forms and instructions, contact us!!! We can help you complete the forms. Richard Hanes (530) 477-0643 (email to mrflower at, and Karen Callahan (530) 272-5532.

Native Planting Suggestions

By Carolyn Chainey-Davis

If you share the impulse to create a wildland garden, try one of these recipes for your favorite natural habitat.

A Lush, Shaded Riparian Woodland:

  • BIG LEAF MAPLE (Acer macrophyllum)
  • SPICEBUSH (Calycanthus occidentalis)
  • WESTERN SPIRAEA (Spiraea douglasii)
  • BLACKFRUIT DOGWOOD (Cornus sessilis)
  • TREE ANEMONE (Carpenteria californica)
  • WILD HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera hispidula)
  • HORSETAIL REED (Equisetum hymale)
  • WESTERN COLUMBINE (Aquilegia formosa)

A Sunny, Chaparral Rock Garden:

  • LEMMON'S CEANOTHUS (Ceanothus lemmonii)
  • CALIFORNIA FUSCHIA (Zauschneria californica latifolia)
  • COYOTE MINT (Monardella odoratissima)
  • SILVER BUSH LUPINE (Lupinus albifrons)
  • PITCHER SAGE (Lepichinia fragrans)
  • FOOTHILL PENSTEMON (Pentstemon heterophylla)
  • IDAHO FESCUE (Festuca idahoensis)

A Mountain Meadow Garden:

  • MEADOW SEDGE (Carex tumulicola)
  • WESTERN SPIRAEA (Spirea douglasii)
  • MOUNTAIN MEADOW ASTER (Aster alpigenus)
  • ALPINE LILY (Lilium parvum crocatum)
  • WESTERN BLUE FLAG IRIS (Iris missouriensis)
  • WILD ONION (Alium validum)
  • DEER GRASS (Muhlenbergia rigens)

A Wild Bird Garden:

  • BLUE ELDERBERRY (Sambucus caerulea)
  • WESTERN CLEMATIS (Clematis ligusticifolia)
  • SCARLET BUGLER (Penstemon centranthifolius)
  • COFFEEBERRY (Rhamnus tomentella)
  • SERVICEBERRY (Amelanchier alnifolia)
  • COYOTE WILLOW (Salix exigua)
  • BLUE WILDRYE (Elymus glaucus)

Flora of Sagehen Creek

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Last updated
Sep 12 1998