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Fall 2002 Newsletter


Redbud Chapter Newsletter Vol. 11, No.4, Sept. 2002

October Chapter Meeting

Wild Lilies of California
By Brad Carter
Wednesday, October 23, 7pm
Nevada County Library Community Room

Redbud member, Brad Carter, spent six months of 2002 traveling throughout northern California and photographing members of the Lily Family (Liliaceae). Brad will share his experiences in the field hunting for the rare Western Lily, (Lilium occidentale), Redwood Lily (L. rubescens) and Bolander's Lily (L. bolanderi). We'll be treated to photographs of many uncommon Fritillaries, Wild Onions, Brodiaeas and Mariposa Lilies from Brad's collection. His slide presentation on October 23 will be a preview of his work in progress—an illustrated guidebook on the large and fascinating Liliaceae Family in California.

Brad has a Bachelor's degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo and an MBA from UC Irvine. He worked at several botanical gardens in southern California, including UC Irvine's Arboretum, where he was curator of a large collection of California and South African bulbous plants. In 1999 he moved to Tampa, Florida, to serve as Director of the University of South Florida Botanical Garden. In July 2001, Brad returned to California to resume work on his Lily book and to make his home near Grass Valley.

Nancy and Ames Gilbert of Far West Bulb Farm will bring bulbs for fall planting & info on growing native lilies. (However, their stock of Lilium humboldtii bulbs is sold out for 2002.) They've created a beautiful and interesting new web site: www.californianativebulbs.com.

To get there: The library is located at 980 Helling Way, Nevada City. At the intersection of Hwy 49 & 20 in Nevada City, turn west toward Downieville on Hwy 49. At about 1 mile, turn right at the Nevada County Government Center & follow the signs to the library.

November Chapter Meeting:

The Los Angelization of Placer County
By Ed Pandolfino
Wednesday, November 6, 7pm
The Rose Room, Auburn Civic Center
1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn (Lincoln Way @ Hwy 49)

In spite of a General Plan that envisions doubling the Placer County population in the next 20 years, that isn't fast enough for a few powerful land speculators. Plans are moving forward that will ensure an endless spread of suburbs and strip malls across all of western Placer County, destroying open space, wildlife habitat, oak woodlands, and prime agricultural land forever.

The forces behind these plans are not deterred by the following facts:

  • Excess development is not needed to meet the projected population growth.
  • There is simply not enough water to support this growth.
  • The western Placer region is already in Severe Non-attainment of air quality goals with no improvement in sight.

What is happening? What can we do about it? Come and find out!

Ed Pandolfino serves as Placer County Conservation Chair for the Sierra Foothills Audubon Society and is a member of the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club. While currently working with Placer County officials on promoting open space, Ed also finds time to be an avid birder and enjoys working on forest issues. For information contact Cathie at 530-878-9116.

To get there: From Hwy 49 in Auburn, just after 49 passes under I-80, there is a T intersection. Continue straight ahead at this intersection to the Auburn Civic Center. The building looks like an old school. Go to the large parking lot behind the building & look for the Rose Room entrance.

Mark your calendar for the Oct. 23 and Nov. 6 Chapter meetings!

Know Your Weeds

Take a few minutes at the Sept. 21 Plant Sale to look at the noxious weeds exhibit. We'll have new brochures by the Nevada Placer Weed Management Area. Many aggressively invasive non-natives are still being used in landscapes and gardens. Here are just a few examples: English Ivy (Hedera helix), Jubata Grass (Cortaderia jubata), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perfoliatum), Periwinkle (Vinca major), Salt Cedar / Tamarix (Tamarix chinensis, T. gallica, T. parviflora, T. ramosossima), Giant Reed (Arundo donax), and French Broom (Genista monspessulara)

Recommended web sites for more detailed info and photos are:

CNPS presents A Conference on Landscaping with California Native Plants

Sunday Oct 20, Sausal Creek Field Trip 10am-3pm
Mon Oct 21, Conference 9am-5:30pm in Oakland, CA

Have you ever wished you had more help carrying out native plant protection and restoration projects? Would you like a paid staff member to take on some tasks? Want to find out how you can find funds to support activities that will educate about, protect, and restore native plant communities? If so, this is the conference for you!

The goals of this conference are to function as a springboard for creating partnerships between non-profits, businesses and government agencies interested in increasing the use of California native plants. The registration fee for the conference is $20. This includes morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, and a wine and cheese. The field trip is $10. Attendance is limited to 80 at the conference and 30 on the field trip. This event is expected to fill, so don't be disappointed; register early!

Please make your checks out to CNPS. Send your check and a self-addressed, stamped envelope (or e-mail address) to: Kathy Kramer, CNPS Education Coordinator, 1718 Hillcrest Road, San Pablo CA 94806. Questions? Call (510) 236-9558 between 9 am and 9 pm, or e-mail Kathy(at)KKramerConsulting.net.

South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport

Redbud Chapter has donated plants to start the new native plant garden next to the Visitors' Center. Please call Mary Miller at 530-432-4255 to help with planting.

Fossilized Chinese plant may have been the first flower

By Paul Recer, Associated Press

The ancestor of all the grains, fruits, and blossoms of the modern world may have been a fragile water plant that lived in a Chinese lake 125 million years ago.

The plant, called Archaefructus sinensis for "ancient fruit from China," is of a species never before seen and carries the clear characteristics of the most primitive of flowering plants, said David Dilcher of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida.

"It is like the mother of all flowering plants," said Dilcher, co-author of a study appearing Friday in the journal Science. "It changes our whole impression of what is the oldest of all flowering plants."

Botanists had long considered a woody plant from New Caledonia as the most ancient of flowering plants. Dilcher said the new discover precedes that magnolia-like species.

The discovery also suggests that flowering plants got their start as herbs growing in shallow pools and were able to reproduce quickly, a distinct advantage for survival, said Dilcher. Archaefructus "was not a flashy flower," he said. The plant's flowering part had no real petals but acted only as a reproductive unit.

"The reason we can say it is a flowering plant is that the seed is enclosed inside of carpels of the fruit," said Dilcher. "That is primary key." A carpel is the female part of a flower.

Dilcher said that Archaefructus apparently lived in clear, shallow pools, with its flowers and seeds extending above the water surface. Its leaves probably were submerged, he said, and the limbs were partially supported by the water. The plant rooted in the floor of the lake.

The best evidence of its waterlogged lifestyle is that fossils of nine fish were found among the branches of the plant in the slab of stone dug from the ancient lake, he said. "The closest modern relative is probably the water lily," said Dilcher.

At the time the plant thrived, 125 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the early ancestors of mammals were tiny creatures skittering among the rocks.

Dilcher said the lake were the plant lived was near erupting volcanoes. The plant was buried and preserved by a heavy fall of volcanic ash.

Other experts in Science said it will require more examination of Archaefructus before it is generally accepted as the most ancient of flowering plants. But Peter Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis said it "may be the most significant flowering plant ever found."

Butterfly Gardening In The Northern California Foothills

by Arthur M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

Butterfly gardening in the foothills is different from butterfly gardening in the Central Valley. In the Valley, most of the butterfly species are weedy, highly dispersive, multiple-brooded, reach highest densities in the autumn, and depend on a combination of introduced plants (weeds and cultivated species) and irrigation for their continued presence. In the foothills, though some of these weedy species still occur, most of the butterflies are native, adapted to the foothill climate and thus restricted to one or two broods a year in spring, and less likely to feel at home in a garden. You have many more species nearby to the foothills, but may have a lot less action to see in your garden!

Your strategy and success gardening for butterflies in the foothills will depend heavily on your landscape surroundings.

  • Urban/suburban:
    Most similar to butterfly gardening in the Valley, since most of the vegetation is artificial. Because winters are colder (and summers may be warmer, without the maritime influence below 1200 ft. near the Delta), some of the weedy butterflies may be excluded, or may show up only late in the year and erratically as overflow from the Valley. The farther you are from natural vegetation, the harder your job of attracting native species to the garden.
  • Ranchettes:
    Isolated homes on large lots often have quite a bit of grassland, with scattered native trees (mainly oaks, maybe buckeye). The trees may sustain some butterfly populations, but much of the annual grassland is dominated by weeds not useful to butterflies and its fauna is likely to be poor. Rocky areas have richer native floras and more butterfly species; so do creek bottoms. Hog wallows (ephemeral ponds in low areas between hills) may have good plants but do not support special butterflies in our area. If your lot is dominated by yellow star thistle (condolences!), it is a superb nectar source and there is little point in supplementing it in the garden - what you see on it is what you'll get.
  • Semi-Natural:
    Where homes are interdigitated into more-or-less intact landscapes, gardeners can tap into the resident fauna, whatever it is. There are few resident butterflies in forest per se. Most occur in clearings, along roads, and by streams. The highest diversity in our area always occurs on rocky canyon walls with a high diversity of flowering plants. Typically, streams that flow E-W have richer butterfly faunas than those that flow N-S because there is greater vegetational differences between N- and S-facing slopes and each plant community brings its own fauna. If you live in or near such a canyon you may see from 40 to 70 species at or near your home! If you live on a special soil (serpentine, gabbro, or limestone) you may get rare species not found elsewhere.

There are very special butterflies that feed as larvae on MacNab Cypress, Leather Oak (Serpentine Scrub Oak, Quercus durata, pine mistletoes, etc. - watch for them.

With so many local situations to take into account, gardening hints for the foothills can only scratch the surface. Keep the following in mind:

Few butterfly species can maintain an ongoing population within the confines of a residential lot, even a big one. If you get breeding, it will be as part of a larger metapopulation whose borders are constantly changing. Remember that an ongoing population requires larval host plants, pupation sites, adult food supply, and mating sites (which may require male territories).

The principal function of a butterfly garden is to intercept individual butterflies as they move through an area and detain them where they can be observed and enjoyed. Occasionally, one can actually boost numbers by planting nectar sources or larval hosts if these are in short supply. More often, one is just moving individuals around, from one place to another.

Valuable natural history data can be obtained from a butterfly garden.

Skillful planting will enable you to maximize both the number of individuals and the number of species you see, but be realistic in your expectations - don't expect endangered species to breed in your backyard.

Suggestions For Foothill Butterfly Gardens, by intended function

  • A. LARVAL HOST PLANTS FOR NATIVE BUTTERFLIES
    • California Pipevine, Dutchman's Pipe, Aristolochia californica (sole larval host of the very showy Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor).
    • Bush Monkey Flower, Mimulus aurantiacus; shrubby and perennial herbaceous Penstemon; Bee Plant, Scrophularia (larval hosts of the Chalcedon Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona; also eaten by the rather weedy Buckeye, Junonia coenia, whose larvae also eat Lippia, weedy plantains (Plantago), and garden Snapdragons).
    • Pearly and other Everlastings, Gnaphalium, Antennaria, Anaphalis (sole larval hosts of the West Virginia Lady, Vanessa virginiensis).
    • Wild Buckwheats, genus Eriogonum; perennial and shrubby, but natives more successful than south-state species (larval hosts and adult nectar sources for a variety of Blues, Coppers, and Hairstreaks).
    • Native perennial vetches and sweet peas (Lathyrus, NOT the introduced day-glow pink species latifolius!!; Vicia and most perennial Lupines, including Bush Lupine, Lupinus albifrons (larval hosts for many Blues and some Hairstreaks, also the Northern Cloudy Wing, Thorybes pylades).
    • Milkweeds, genus Asclepias, all species (larval hosts of Monarch, Danaus plexippus).
    • Native members of the Carrot Family (Umbelliferae = Apiaceae), including Biscuitroot, Lomatium; Angelica; Tauschia; Yampah, Perideridia; also weeds such as Wild Carrot, Daucus carota; Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare (larval hosts for Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon).
    • Wild Lilacs, Ceanothus (larval hosts of California Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis californica; Echo Blue, Celastrina argiolus echo; Pale Swallowtail, Papilio eurymedon - this one also on all species of Coffeeberry, Rhamnus).
    • Deer Weed, Lotus scoparius; Spanish Lotus, L. purshianus; most other Lotus species, especially perennials (larval hosts of Eastern Tailed Blue, Everes comyntas; Acmon Blue, Plebejus acmon; Persius Dusky-Wing, Erynnis persius; Lotus crassifolius hosts Northern Cloudy Wing, Thorybes pylades and Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus).
    • California Wild Indigo or Lead Plant, Amorpha californica and other Amorpha species (California Dogface, Zerene eurydice - the State Insect, very showy and desirable; Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus; the latter also breeds on Black Locust and other Robinia species).
    • Willows, Salix sp., EXCEPT Weeping Willow, S. babylonica (host of Lorquin's Admiral, Limenitis lorquini; Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa; Willow Hairstreak, Satyrium sylvinus).
    • Oaks, Quercus sp., (California Sister, Adelpha bredowii; California and Gold-Hunter's Hairstreaks, Satytium californica and auretorum; Propertius and Sad Dusky-Wings, Erynnis propertius and tristis); Goldencup Oak, Q. chrysolepis, for Habrodais grunus.
    • Stinging Nettle, Urtica (Satyr Anglewing, Polygonia satyrus; Red Admiral and West Coast Lady, Vanessa atalanta and annabella).

    Other butterfly host you can try are native bunchgrasses (various skippers), thistles, Cirsium (Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui; Mylitta Crescent, Phyciodes mylitta; both are equally happy on weedy thistles), chaparral mallow, Malacothamnus (Large Checkered Skipper, Heliopetes ericetorum); Mountain Mahogany, Cercocarpus (Gray Hairstreak, Satyrium tetra); Jewel Flowers, Streptanthus sp. And Rock Cresses Arabis sp. (various Whites and Orange-Tips); and Bleeding-Heart, Dicentra formosa (Clodius Parnassian, Parnassius clodius - in moist woods and on N-facing canyon walls only).

  • B. NATIVE NECTAR PLANTS
    • Lemonade Bush, Rhus trilobata (early spring).
    • Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis and var. consanguinea (autumn).
    • Baccharis salicifolia (spring-midsummer).
    • Dogbane, Indian Hemp, Apocynum species (late spring-summer).
    • Milkweeds, Asclepias species (spring-fall).
    • Goldenrods, Solidago sp. (late summer-fall).
    • Haplopappus arboreus (late summer-fall).
    • Rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus (late summer-fall).
    • Aster, Aster sp. (summer-fall; eastern species even better than ours).
    • Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon (spring-summer).
    • Coffeeberry, Rhamnus sp. (late spring-early summer).
    • Buckeye, Aesculus californica (late spring-midsummer).
    • Native bulbs, (Brodiaea in broad sense; not Calochortus or Fritillaria). (spring-summer).
    • Large native umbels, e.g. Angelica, Heracleum (late spring-early summer).
    • Coyotemint and Western Pennyroyal, Monardella species (late spring-autumn).
    • Giant Hyssop, Agastache nepetoides (midsummer-early fall).
    • Medium-to-large Lilies, Lilium sp. (for swallowtails)(midsummer).
    • Pussy-Paws, Calyptridium umbellatum (spring).
    • Wild Buckwheats, Eriogonum sp., except annuals (spring-fall, depends on taxon).

    Sorry, butterflies are NOT attracted to Evening-primrose Family, Onagraceae (except large swallowtails may visit Zauschneria), most Rosaceae (including Spirea), Poppies, Nightshades, and the vast majority of showy native annuals.

  • C. NON-NATIVE NECTAR PLANTS

    • SHRUBS
      • Butterfly Bush, Buddleia (purples and pinks are best) (summer-fall).
      • Lilac, Syringa (spring).
      • Lavender, Lavendula (all year).
      • Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis (all year).
      • Pride of Madeira, Echium fastuosum, etc. (spring).
      • Waxleaf Privet, Ligustrum, several species (spring-fall).
      • Escallonia, Escallonia rubra and varieties (all year).
      • Abelia and Weigelia (spring-summer, Abelia into fall).
      • Lantana. Especially pinks and 2-toned red/oranges (all year in frostless areas).

    • GROUND COVERS
      • Lippia (spring-fall)
      • Gazania, plain yellow flowers best (all year, least in summer)

    • PERENNIALS
      • Sedum spectablis and other large, showy varieties with pink or purple flowers (mostly fall).
      • Mint, Mentha (spring-fall).
      • Horehound, Marrubium vulgare (late spring).
      • Onions, Scallions, Leeks (Allium, large showy types best)(summer).
      • Gayfeather, Liatris (late summer-fall)
      • Joe-Pye Weed and other Eupatorium sp. (late summer-fall).
      • Gum plant, Grindelia (spring-fall).
      • Alfalfa, Medicago sativa (spring-fall).
      • Verbenas (spring-fall).
      • Non-native Asters, Goldenrods, other genera listed under Natives.

    • ANNUALS
      • Marigolds, Tagetes, Bidens, etc. (summer-fall).
      • Zinnia (summer-fall).
      • Vetches, esp. V. benghalensis (also larval host for 2 Blues and the Orange Sulphur).
      • Weedy Thistles and Star Thistles urp
      • Pincushion Flower, Scabiosa (summer-fall).
      • Pot-Marigold (Calendula) and Chinese Aster (Callistehus) are not very attractive to butterflies. Nor are Gardenias, Camellias, Dahlias, and most non-native bulbs.

***THIS LIST IS BY NO MEANS EXCLUSIVE***TRY EXPERIMENTING!***
For more information: Dr. Arthur M. Shapiro
Section of Ecology and Evolution
UC Davis
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-2176;
fax 752-1449; sorry, no e-mail.

PS: WEEDS THAT BUTTERFLIES LOVE (not already mentioned)

All the following are host plants of butterflies in our area!

  • Mallows (Malva sp.): Painted Lady, West Coast Lady, Common Hairstreak, Common Checkered Skipper.
  • Dock (Rumex sp.): Purplish Copper, Great Copper.
  • Turkey Mullein (Eremocarpus setigerus): Common Hairstreak.
  • Amaranth Pigweeds (Amaranthus): Common Sooty Wing.
  • Tumbleweed, Russian Thistle (Salsola): Pigmy Blue.
  • Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon); Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense); Harding Grass (Phalaris sp.); Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata); Paspalum sp.; Echinochloa sp.: all are hosts of multiple skipper species.
  • Yard Grass or Prostrate Knotweed (Polygonum aviculare): Purplish Copper, Acmon Blue.

Guess what? Poison Oak is of no butterfly importance whatsoever!



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Last updated
Sept 3, 2002