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NPSO Logo Bulletin of the Native Plant Society of Oregon

Dedicated to the enjoyment, conservation, and study of Oregon's native vegetation.

January 1996

Volume 29 · Number 1

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In This Issue

State News

July 12-14Annual Meeting: Hosted by the Blue Mountain and William Cusick chapters at the Joseph Community Center, Joseph. Oregon. This is six miles from Wallowa Lake and will offer many opportunities for exciting field trips. We are planning a get-together on Friday evening, including an old time country dance! If you have ideas for field trips or field trip leaders, a banquet speaker, or anything else, call Barbara Russell. Will include a registration form in the March or the April Bulletin. See you there!

Jan. 20, Sat.State Board Meeting: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. Hosted by the Emerald Chapter in Eugene. Lane Community College Science Building, Room 109. (Same place as last year.) Directions: I-5 to 30th Ave. (LCC exit) just south of Eugene. Go l/4 mi. west, turn left on Eldon Shaeffer Dr., and proceed 1/4 mi. up hill through S curve to upper parking lot. Science Building is last on right. Main topic will be the adoption of the annual budget.

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Chapter News

Blue Mountain

Jan. 8, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center. SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. Discussion regarding the Oregon Atlas Project, and the scheduling of field trips for surveys.

Feb. 5, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center, SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. A presentation on canyonland flora by Charlie Johnson, USFS ecologist.

Mar. 4, Mon.Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center, SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. A presentation on tree death and decay in forest ecosystems by Catherine Park of La Grande.


Officers: New officers elected are: Esther Gruber McEvoy, president; Loren Russell, vice president; Dick Brainerd, treasurer; Keli C. Kuykendall, secretary.

Jan. 8, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Room 2087, Cordley Hall, OSU campus. Peter Zika will present a slide show with show and tell on "Who eats the fruits of the Amazon." For more information call Esther McEvoy.


Jan. 22, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. at Morse Ranch Park. Directions from downtown Eugene. Take Willamette St. south to Crest Dr. (right through "Y" for Donald, between 32nd and 33rd Ave. E.). Go right (W) on Crest Dr. 4 blocks, turn right into Morse Ranch parking lot. Charlene Samson will update us on the "Rare and endangered plants of Lane County" via a lovely slide show. Call Katy Pendergrass, for more information.

Feb. 26, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Morse Ranch Park. (For directions see above). Our local bryophyte expert, Dave Wagner, will present new insights on "Plants with hidden marriage." For more information call Kathy Pendergrass at 683-3889.

Mar. 25, Mon.Meeting: 7 P.M. Morse Ranch Park. (For directions see above). Our special guest from Salem, Wilbur Bluhm, will present an interesting and gorgeous multi-media slide show on "Oregon alpine wildflowers." For more information, call Kathy Pendergrass.

Apr. 22, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Morse Ranch Park. (For directions see above). Cathy Whitlock, a researcher at the U. of O., will fascinate us with her findings on "Pollen Profiles: discerning historic Willamette Valley vegetation." Call Kathy Pendergrass for more information.

May 27, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Morse Ranch Park. (For directions see above). Scott Sundberg, from the OSU Herbarium, will update us on the Oregon Flora project, which is aimed at developing an up-to-date flora on the higher plants of Oregon (a book to replace Peck and Hitchcock For additional information, call Kathy Pendergrass.

High Desert

Jan. 23, Tue.Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Central Oregon Community College Herbarium, Room 217, Ochoco Hall. Marge Ettinger, Curator, will show us the college's collections, her work on the Warm Springs Reservation, and share with us the newly-described species she is working on.

Feb. 27, Tue. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Central Oregon Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas, Bend. Rick Dewey of COEC will talk about his interest in the mosses of central Oregon.

Mar. 26, Tue. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Central Oregon Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas, Bend. Staff of the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge will talk about vegetation management and rare plants in the Refuge. There has been no livestock grazing in the Refuge for five years and native grasses are rebounding! We will plan a spring field trip to the Refuge to see Oregon's high desert at its best.

Apr. 23, Tue.Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Central Oregon Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas, Bend. Dr. Tony Svecar or OSU's Northern Great Basin Experiment Station will talk about his research on the native grasslands of central Oregon. We will also plan a summer field trip to see the projects.


Jan. 3, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Jerry Igo recently completed a plant survey for ODOT, and will give a slide and video presentation, "Rare plants on our roadsides," on that survey.

North Coast

Jan. 21, Sun. Meeting: 5 P.M. Potluck and NPSO planning session. Bring a dish and a dish full of ideas to Christine Stanley's house. Call Christine at 436-0161 for information and directions.


Jan. 9, Tue.Meeting: 7 P.M. First Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St., Portland. Bill Oberteuffer will present a program on sustainable forestry in Oregon. The room will be open at 6:30 for the delayed December refreshments.


Jan. 18, Thu. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Room 171, Science Building, Southern Oregon State College, Ashland. Jerry Igo will give a fascinating presentation on Pacific Northwest berries, "Berried Treasure." He will also speak about the Oregon State Highway Department's Roadside Rare Plants Program. And Veva Stansell will talk briefly on the Oregon Plant Atlas project. A full evening!

South Coast

No events announced for South Coast chapter this month.

Umpqua Valley

Jan. 11, Thu. Meeting: 7 P.M. Room 310, Douglas County Courthouse. Mildred Thiele will tell about her adventures in a small, classic cruiser going from Juneau to Ketchikan, seeing totems, Indian villages, icebergs, whales, on small harbors, and on plant trails over tundra to see wildflowers.

Jan. 20, Sat. Field Trip: 10 A.M. Visit the herbarium to view specimens and browse the reference books at the Douglas County Museum of Natural History. Get the latest information on the Oregon Plant Atlas project. Bring sack lunch. ID yourself at the door to get in free. Exit 123 on 1-5.

Willamette Valley

Jan. 22, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. United Methodist Church, 600 State Street NE, Salem. Bruce Newhouse will introduce and update the Oregon Flora Project. This is also UFO month; bring your favorite slides or photos. Note: This is one week later than usual.

Wm. Cusick

Jan. 17, Wed. Meeting: 7 P.M. Forest and Range Laboratory, Gekeler and C Aves., La Grande. Students from Jerry May's and Lorrie Carmichael's high school classes will present projects they have been working on in the Rebarrow Stewardship Project. Themes are natural resource inventory and restoration. Topics may include inventories of snags, insects, soils and plants. Restoration topics may include controlled burning, fencing, tree planting, and logging methods. Ms. Carmichael will do a slide presentation of their restoration of Five Points Creek. Elections New officers will be elected at the January meeting. If you would like to nominate someone, or if you want to vote but can't be at the meeting, call Barbara Russell.

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Welcome New Members - Joining from 10/9/95 to 12/2/95

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In the Sand with Pink Sandverbena - Jennifer Tilson

This is the last in a series of three articles in which NPSO interns discuss their activities during the 1995 field season. Interns were selected from a pool of applicants and worked with scientists from the Oregon Department of Agriculture/OSU Plant Conservation Biology Program to carry out research on threatened and endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. Project locations ranged from beaches on the coast to an island in the Columbia River. Interns were jointly funded by NPSO state and federal dollars, and plan to use their experiences to further their careers in botany and biology. Thanks again to NPSO for contributing to botanical education.

Tom Kaye and Bob Meinke, Plant Conservation Ecology Program, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Thanks in great part to the Native Plant Society of Oregon, I had the opportunity this summer to contribute to plant conservation and Tom Kaye's research by working in the field with pink sandverbena, Abronia umbellata ssp. brevifolia. Over the course of four months I visited several experimentally introduced sites and a few natural populations along the Oregon coast from Brookings to Tillamook. The primary goal was to develop a protocol for reintroduction, by preparing an area for experimental study, which would he monitored and provide data over the next five years.

Appropriately named (Abros means delicate and graceful in Greek) Abronia umbellata was once ubiquitous along the Oregon coast. However, due to the introduction of foreign, competing plants, the species is listed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as endangered and it is a candidate for federal listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Abronia umbellata thrives in the littoral zone and on sand dunes; the sand readily adheres to its leaves and showy floral tubes and provides its growth medium. However, at the turn of the century, European beachgrass, Ammophila arenaria was introduced to much of the Oregon coast to help stabilize dunes. The beachgrass out-competed native species and created a loss of both diversity and habitat for plants and animals.

The port of Port Orford on the southern Oregon coast is one of the few remaining sites where an Abronia umbellata ssp. brevifolia population grows naturally on the beach. At this site, the Army Corps of Engineers dredges ocean sediment and piles it onto the beach, creating a unique situation for Abronia plants to colonize. With the sand dumped on the beach, the European beachgrass is suffocated, in this way returning the port's littoral zone to that of it's turn-of-the-century habitat.

Spring dredging in 1995 resulted in a vast beachgrass-free area for our test plot. The site was spectacular: sounds of surf, scenic views of Humbug Mountain, sea stacks, rolling fog, and whales in the distance. The plot was also extensive and level: we were all relieved it didn't invite any beach volleyball.

After we developed a plot methodology (using a strict method of random variables), we transplanted greenhouse starts that we had previously propagated from seed in greenhouses at Oregon State University. We were later to discover, much to our surprise, that our carefully placed samples were interspersed with a large quantity of naturally occurring seedlings that were transferred to our area by the Army Corps contractor when they arranged the existing dunes.

By the end of the summer our test plot had turned into a verdant blanket. Spreading vegetation was interspersed with the pink inflorescence of Cakile maritima. Our transplants thrived along with the naturalized individuals and a host of other companion plants. In August, 1995, the largest population in Oregon, quite possibly in the world, was before us! [Note - One population in northern California visited after this article was written has a greater number of plants than occur at Port Orford. - T. Kaye]

Data gathered by 1995 NPSO interns is currently in a database and is being analyzed. Key questions that must be answered in order to re-establish the species back to its former range include: Is the plant an annual or a perennial? What role do soil hydrology and mineral content play in Abronia umbellata ssp. brevifolia viability? Are mycorrhizal relationships a factor? What are the connections between seed set fecundity?

Ultimately, the compilation of several years of data will provide information about Abronia umbellata ssp. brevifolia's life history and native habitat. It is through conservation biology programs like this that rare species re-establishment can be achieved.

Jennifer Tilson

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Mahonia or Berberis - Wilbur Bluhm

Recently, while researching the Oregon Historical Quarterly, I found the following amusing and informative "Letter to the editor" by Faith Mackaness, Portland botanist and famous Pacific Northwest gardener, and a NPSO member some years after this epistle was written:

"To the editor and readers of OHQ:

Although Oregon's lovely state flower, holly-grape, has for some years been officially Mahonia aquifolium, everywhere else in the world but Oregon; few of its citizens have bothered to question the technical name which usually accompanies Oregon grape on most state publications. When the Oregon Horticultural Society first selected the state flower at its annual meeting in Hood River, on July 18, 1892, the tall Oregon holly-grape was known in western scientific circles as Berberis aquifolium Pursh. Under this same title, in deference still to Frederick Pursh, who had described the specimens collected by the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Portland Woman's Club submitted their own choice to the Legislative Assembly of 1899. Little did either group suspect that the great Scottish plantsman, Sir Archibald Menzies, had discovered both Douglas fir, now our state tree, and tall Oregon grape, at Nootka, B.C., over one hundred years previously ( 1787 and 1792).

Because Captain George Vancouver failed to cooperate with Menzies' efforts to bring living plant material from the northwest coast of America to England, it was 32 years before Oregon grape arrived at Kew, the Royal Botanical Gardens, to he spread in world horticultural channels. A large portion of the seeds which Meriwether Lewis had sent east from the Oregon country was entrusted by President Jefferson to nurseryman, Bernard McMahon, author of the popular American Gardener's Calendar, and our young nation's first successful horticulturist. At Lewis's request, McMahon engaged the young botanist, Frederick Pursh, to describe and illustrate the dried plant specimens found on his cross-country trek. Although Lewis died tragically before the species new to science had been classified, McMahon took the young botanist into his home, financed his labors for six months, found him his next job, and generally saw to it that the explorer's interests were well protected in the publication and disposition of his finds. Vigilance was necessary, as other plantsmen cast envious eyes in the direction of the plant treasures from the far west -- among them Harvard instructor Thomas Nuttall, who in l810 had gone up the Missouri with the Astorians and was to go later with Wyeth to the Columbia.

Pursh had placed the two pinnate-leafed evergreen barberries from Oregon in the European genus Berberis; but Nuttall felt that they merited a pigeonhole of their own. On McMahon's death, four years after the publication of Pursh's Flora (1814), Thomas Nuttall dedicated the new genus Mahonia to his memory. In the previous year (1817), Rafinesque had placed the western American barberries in the genus Odostemon. His genus lost out when Menzies' protégé, the brilliant David Douglas, appeared on the horizon.

Nuttall played host to Douglas when the latter visited the eastern coast of the United States in 1823 and guided him to a mature plant of Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nuttall had grown from Lewis's seed. Douglas shipped it to Kew as a prize trophy of his American trip. A horticultural gem on foreign soil, Oregon grape soon became a favorite of European gardeners and landscape architects. United States nurseries now propagating the latest cultivar are unable to keep up with the demand.

At the turn of the century when Oregon horticulturists singled out Berberis aquifolium as state flower, mid-western plantsmen favored Odstemon for the holly-grapes, and the east coast as often as not sided with Europe and Mahonia. The International Congress of Botanists was formed to straighten out just such problems; but for a long time, American botanists remained a law unto themselves. In 1950, however, the American delegation capitulated to the concept of conserved genera (names preserved because of long usage regardless of priority considerations) and Mahonia won the blessing of the International group. Although hybrids of Mahonia and Berberis species are sterile, Derman in 1931 had attempted to recombine the groups on the basis of cytogenetical studies. Since the paleontological evidence and the interests of nurserymen lean toward retaining Mahonia a return to Berberis aquifolium on the international level is not expected soon.

As things stand now, the Oregon gardener must needs refer to the pedigreed Oregon grape which he keeps sprayed, pruned, and fertilized inside his garden as Mahonia and dismiss the unpampered native on the other side of the fence as Berberis . Therefore, as wildflower chairman of the Oregon Federation of Garden Clubs, I am advocating that the state printing office substitute Mahonia aquifolium for Berberis aquifolium when it changes the technical name of its number one timber tree, Douglas fir, to Pseudotsuga menziesii in the interests of international cooperation."

Faith Mackaness

[From: Oregon Historical Quarterly 57 (2): 171-172 (1955)l

The Mahonia - Berberis argument continues. While professional botanists insist upon Berberis aquifolium, professional horticulturists affirm Mahonia aquifolium. The Jepson Manual calls the species Berberis; The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, an elite in horticultural nomenclature, says it's Mahonia without acknowledging Berberis to be a synonym.

Throughout the North American nursery trades and landscape professions, and apparently European as well, our state flower is universally recognized as Mahonia aquifolium. Intergeneric hybrids between horticultural "Mahonias" and horticultural "Berberises" -- there are at least four, one in the local trade -- are X Mahoberberis species.

So the Oregon grape in your garden is Mahonia aquifolium unless you dug it up in the wild. As it stood with Faith Mackaness 40 years ago, and as it still stands, "the Oregon gardener must needs refer to the pedigreed Oregon grape which he keeps sprayed, pruned, and fertilized inside his garden as Mahonia and dismiss the unpampered native on the other side of the fence as Berberis".

Wilbur L. Bluhm, Willamette Valley Chapter

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Remember When... ? - Jerry Igo


From The Oregonian --- "Wildflower Group Begins." February 6, 1961. A meeting was held in the Portland Public Library. The purpose was to "Disseminate knowledge of wild flowers ... their distribution, ecology, culture and other subjects. Mr. Leonard Wiley organized this first meeting. Plans were formed to have programs, field trips, and study groups." Thus was initiated a step which produced the Native Plant Society of Oregon.


From the January 1976 NPSO Bulletin. "A wide selection of material, from condensed to comprehensive, has been compiled by George E. Lewis, Jr. If you are just starting to identify plants, consult the glossaries for definitions of botanical terms you will want to learn, and study diagrams of flower and leaf parts. Examine these books and manuals and learn to use one or more that will challenge you to improve your botanical vocabulary and your skill in observing plants."


From the February 1986 NPSO Bulletin. "Cooperative moves from every direction are expediting the purchase of a tract adjacent to the Tom McCall Preserve of The Nature Conservancy and Meyer State Park near Mosier. Barbara Robinson reports that an option has been negotiated by Dave Talbot, State Parks Administrator, with the Andersons, property owners, who have generously reduced their asking price. Matching funds assure that this hilltop property will he acquired. It provides superb views of the east end of the Gorge, and tremendous wildflower vistas." [Ed. note: The tract was acquired and is now called McCall Point. Each spring hundreds of visitors enjoy it.]

Jerry Igo, NPSO Archivist

If you have material you wish to donate to the NPSO Archives, please contact Jerry Igo at PO Box 603, Mosier, OR 97040.

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Green City Data Program - Mary Vogel

I participated in a Green City Data team from George Middle School this past year and found it a very rewarding experience. NPSO members who have weekday time available please consider volunteering. NPSO members outside the Portland area, please consider helping to start such a program in your area.

Green City Data is an after-school environmental education program that partners urban youth with conservation groups and resource management agencies in an effort to steward remaining urban natural areas. Green City teams map natural areas, identify and assess animal habitat, conduct species inventories, take water quality measurements and make public presentations in support of natural area preservation.

For the 1995-96 project year, they have 19 teams conducting research in support of natural area acquisition, stream and pond restoration, trail siting and natural resource management plan development. Since the project began in 1992, they have trained over 550 youth and 45 team leaders. Supporting these teams are over 30 agencies, educational institutions, conservation groups and businesses.

As part of a National Science Foundation Grant, the project has also begun a national dissemination program. Interested communities will be provided with curricula, team leader and participant handbooks, data collection forms, teaching aids, promotional videos and materials, and start-up assistance. Contact Jim Gillen at Saturday Academy, 690-1341, to volunteer or get more information.

Mary Vogel, Portland Chapter

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NPSO Conference a Success - Bruce Rittenhouse

From all indications the NPSO Conference held in Corvallis in November was a success. In spite of some minor problems, the meeting went pretty well. I would like to commend the people who presented papers and posters. Comments from people indicated that many of the papers were at a level of what is heard in national meetings.

The next question is whether NPSO will sponsor another conference. I think you might see one in a couple of years, possibly alternating with the Rare Plant Conference.

Financially, the conference came out in the black. The OSU Bookstore book sale was a huge success. They sold $3,355 worth of hooks, with 10% going to NPSO. This will help with the cost of publishing the proceedings. Speakers have been submitting their manuscripts, and it is hoped that we can have the proceedings out within a year. I anticipate that the price will be about $30. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, send your name and address to: Bruce Rittenhouse, 550 Fillmore, Coos Bay, OR 97420.

Many people deserve a big thank you for helping make the conference a success: Tom Kaye for receiving all the abstracts from presenters, for being a moderator, and for overall support. Kate Dwire for organizing the poster room. Jan and Dave Dobak for handling the registrations and for easing my worrying. Sue Kolar for helping register people. Nancy Wogen for helping at the conference. Bob Meinke, Rhoda Love and Dan Luoma for being moderators. Eric Peterson, Jerry and Mike Igo for operating the video camera. Finally, thanks to anyone else who helped that I may have forgotten.

See you at the next conference in two (?) years.

Bruce Rittenhouse, South Coast Chapter

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Jay Marston Fund Grows at LCC - Rhoda Love

When my colleague, Jay Marston, died of esophageal cancer in 1994, he provided in his will for the nucleus of a scholarship fund for science students needing financial help. I am happy to report that due to contributions from many of Jay's friends and former students, this fund has grown to the point where two scholarships were awarded last spring. I know many NPSOers remember Jay fondly -- he taught biology at LCC for 26 years -- and some may wish to contribute to the growing fund which bears his name.

If you wish to donate, send your contribution, marked "Jay Marston Endowment Fund," to the Lane Community College Foundation, 4000 East 30th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97405-0092.

Rhoda Love, Emerald Chapter

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© Copyright 1996 Native Plant Society of Oregon, All Rights Reserved

Last Modified July 2, 1996