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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.

October 1996

Volume 29 · Number 10

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In This Issue

State News

Oct. 19, Sat. State Board Meeting: 10 A.M. - 3 P.M. Portland. Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave.

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Chapter News

Blue Mountain

Meeting: No meeting in October.


Oct. 14, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Room 2087, Cordley Hall, OSIJ campus. Jerry Lynn-Peck will present a program on the moss harvest in Oregon.

Oct. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Foray to the central western Cascades for mushrooms and truffles. We will contribute to the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show and keep our eyes open for "FEMAT" listed species. Meet: 9 A.M., Arco station, west side of I-5, Corvallis (Highway 34) exit. Light to moderate short hikes. Return to I-5 about 4 P.M. Contact trip leader, Dan Luoma,, for more information.

Nov. 2, Sat. Field Trip: Abbey Rosso will lead to Macdonald Forest to look for lichens, followed by a workshop at Cordley Hall. Bring lunch and rain gear. Meet: 9 A.M., parking lot across from Monroe Beanery. (Rain date, Sat. Nov. 9).

Nov. 11, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 PM., Room 2057, Cordley Hall, OSU campus. Dave Wagner will give a program on tile cryptograms (mosses and ferns).


Oct. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Foray to the central western Cascades for mushrooms and truffles. We will contribute to the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show and keep our eyes out for FEMAT" listed species. Meet: 9 A.M., Arco station, west side of I-5, Corvallis (Highway 34) exit. Light to moderate short hikes. Return to I-5 about 4 P.M. Emerald chapter members may meet at S. Eugene H.S. (19th & Patterson) at 8 A.M., or at the Corvallis meeting place. Contact trip leader Dan Luoma,, for more information.

Oct. 28, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) building, 500 E 4th Ave. (near Ferry St. Overpass) in the Community Room (building left of fountain). Dharmika Henshel will present the Siskiyou rare plants and endemics. Call Kathy Pendergrass for more information.

High Desert

Oct. 22, Tue. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Central Oregon Environmental Center, 16 NW Kansas, Bend. Members slide show night. Each member is encouraged to bring ten slides from the past year, to share with other members.


Oct. 2, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Bill Oberteuffer will give a talk on sustainable forestry in Oregon.

North Coast

Meeting: No meeting in October.


Oct. 8 Tue. Meeting: 7 P.M. First Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson, Portland. Joy Belsky will talk on "Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: my floral experience with the oil riggers." The room will be open at 6:30 for socializing.

Oct. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Foray to the central western Cascades for mushrooms and truffles. We will contribute to the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show and keep our eyes open for "FEMAT" listed species. Meet: 9A.M., Arco station, west side of I-S, Corvallis (Highway 34) exit. Light to moderate short hikes. Return to I-S around 4 P.M. Contact trip leader Dan Luoma,, for more information. Portland Chapter members can meet to car pool at 7:30 A.M., Tualatin Fred Meyer parking lot (just west of I-S).


Oct. 17, Thu. Meeting: 7:30 PM. Room 171, Science Building, SOSC, Ashland. Richard Boekel, frorn Australia, on an exchange with the Rogue River National Forest, will speak about native plant management and rare species in Australia. Learn more about the world down under.

Oct. 19, Sat. Field Trip: To the Applegate Valley to plant native grass seed. Meet at Star Ranger Station (7 mi. south of Ruch) at 9 A.M. Barbara Mumblo and Jeanette Williams will lead.

South Coast

For information on South Coast Chapter, contact Bruce Rittenhouse.

Umpqua Valley

Oct. 10, Thu. Meeting: 7 P.M. Room 310, Douglas County Courthouse, Roseburg. Call 673-3709 for more information.

Willamette Valley

Oct. 21, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. United Methodist Church, 600 State St. NE, Salem. A program by Kareen Sturgeon, "Church Bells, Cow Bells and Harebells: Basic Botany in the Swiss Alps," will be presented. Call Mark Quistad, for more information.

Oct. 26, Sat. Field Trip: Foray to the central western Cascades for mushrooms and truffles. We will contribute to the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show and will keep our eyes open for "FEMAT' listed species. Meet: 9 A.M., Arco station, west side of I-S, Corvallis (Highway 34) exit. Light to moderate short hikes. Return to I-5 about 4 P.M. Contact trip leader, Dan Luoma,, for more information.

Wm. Cusick

Oct. 23, Wed. Meeting: 7 P.M. Forest and Range Sciences Laboratory, Gekeler Lane and C Ave., La Grande. Please join us for dessert potluck to plan our winter programs and to reminisce about summer projects.

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Environmental Federation of Oregon - Maya Muir

The Environmental Federation of Oregon has started training members of its member groups, such as NPSO, to participate in the fall campaign. This campaign is the chance we have to speak to employees of participating businesses about the work of the Federation and of the Native Plant Society. It's also a good way to fill some of the hours of work we owe the EFO -- and it has become an even better way this year! We will be credited with four volunteer hours for every presentation made, and presentations usually take 20 minutes or less. This is a very good deal, and it would be great if some members took advantage of it.

Members from Portland, Salem, Eugene and Bend could help with this, as campaigns will be going on in all those areas.

The materials explaining how to give presentations are very good, and tell you everything you could possibly need to know. EFO staff are also available to answer any questions about this process. It's not hard, and if we do it, the chances are we will also increase the amount of funds specifically ear-marked for NPSO. If you are interested, please call Sarah Sameh at EFO, 503-223-9015.

Interview With Louise Tippens, Director of EFO

Beyond campaigning to gain access to new employers, what is the day to day work of the EFO staff and volunteers?

It's crucial that we stay in touch with employers between campaigns where we've already gained access. People give to people where they have a relationship. We don't want it to be that the only time they see us is when we're asking for money. A big part of our work is developing relationships with the people running campaigns in businesses, and with donors. In the beginning, when we only had one staff member and didn't have the capability for this kind of follow-up, we lost access to at least one employer.

Part of our outreach is the outings program, so contributors can learn where their money is going. We -- and usually "we" is volunteers -- take them to Opal Creek, the Gorge, the high desert, or they help The Nature Conservancy at Cascade Head. Then they are far more likely to give again.

We have a recognition ceremony where we thank employees who worked especially hard on our campaigns. We try to provide easy ways for contributing employees to get involved in environmental work, for example Earth Day. It's a good way to connect with businesses, and give employees an easy way to link up with member groups. We put out a newsletter with news about our member groups. People don't give to the coalition, they give to the work of the organizations, so we need to let them know what that is. We get involved in community events where we can strengthen our relationships with business and government, like the Best Business and Green Government Awards. And our committees are always trying new ideas.

What do the annual fall campaigns involve for staff?

Work for the fall campaigns actually goes on year round. In December each year we start evaluating the last year's campaigns in each workplace -- and we have over 70 now. In March we start planning new campaigns with the other federations who also campaign, and with employees. How much effort we put in really affects contributions; last year our development director spent a lot of time developing a marketing strategy with state employees, and contributions from them rose 15%. We also have to bring in, allocate, and account for all the money. And, to be responsible to our donors, we have to be able to assure them that their money is going to viable environmental organizations, so we require all groups to reapply each year.

What does it take to bring new businesses in?

Again, we have to build relationships. Sometimes it's relatively quick, sometimes not. We started talking to PGE in 1990, but it wasn't until 1996 that we got in. It's not unusual for it to take so long. We have to learn how our message fits into their culture and values, which change -- and we have to keep up with the changes.

You're also involved in a national coalion of groups similar to EFO?

Right. I've been working there to strengthen the movement toward workplace giving to environmental groups. When alternatives to the United Way become more common and accepted, it will make things easier for all environmental funds. And in the national coalition, EFO is seen as a model; it is one of the most successful funds.

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Forest Park Needs Native Plants - Leslie Labbe

Donations of native plant material are being requested by the Friends of Forest Park in Portland. They will be used in the Weinsoft Handicapped Memorial. The dedication for this memorial is planned for 1997, exactly one hundred years after Donald Macleay gave the park to the city. If you can help, please call Leslie Labbe.

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Devil's Gulch - Mary Vogel

At the NPSO annual meeting, I participated in the Devil's Gulch field trip, a six-mile, downhill walk to pull knapweed and Scotch thistle on Nature Conservancy land. This trip gained the reputation at the annual banquet as "the death march."

A herd of elk running from us, then with us, all jump the first fence, then jump the second. Only one jumps the third as we start to outpace them, bumping along in the back of an old pickup truck. Maybe they realize which way is away.

Suzan from Chicago asks best spots in Oregon. She has three weeks to fit it all in. Song sparrow flits boldly past two hawks on fenceposts, announcing its bravery to all who might listen. Maybe a would-be sweetheart watches nearby.

Picking our tools for the knapweed and thistle, we steeply descend, five women, three men, stopping for lunch at the nettle-walled cabin. Lazuli bunting, wood pewee, house wren. Maybe it's the ubiquitous teasel they crave.

Sun scorches, heat wearies, rock scuffs us. Teasel, burdock, thistle, hawthorn scratch us. I go on strike when we get to Scotch thistle, tramping through creek to soothe my bruised feet. "Maybe," I mutter, "give it back to the cows.!!!"

Turning boulders to look for grubs, leaving steaming, blue-black, seedy mounds, So this is what it's like to follow a bear trail, half hoping at each turn to see our benefactor. Maybe I could hitch a ride out of this hell-hole.

Suzan says her foot was severed from her body. Her license reads "handicapped."

"On a one-to-ten scale," she admits as we finish, "this was a ten!"

Maybe I can weed out this Devil's gulch in my head.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts - Rhoda Love

When is a Yam not a Yam?

Last Thanksgiving I cooked some canned yams. At least the large print on the cans proclaimed them to be yams -- "Princella Brand Cut Yams, America's Leading Yam." But wait, just beneath was smaller text: "cut sweet potatoes in light syrup." I was confused, so I did some further label reading. At the bottom of the front I found: "Weight of yams 18.6 oz." Good, 2 out of 3 = 66.6% -- the majority of the written evidence suggesting we were eating yams.

But then I checked the back of the can and found: "Ingredients: sweet potatoes... " I was back to a neutral 50% -- the statistical advantage of the yams having vanished. But the situation changed again. In even smaller print on the back, the word "yams" appeared four more times. So. in the final analysis, the concltision based on the label was that, with our turkey and stuffing, we ate yams.

Did I really cook yams? Probably not. For those who have forgotten, yams are monocots in the family Dioscoreaceae which is said to be closely related to Liliaceae and Iridaceae. This is a temperate and tropical family of herbaceous vines. The best known yam is probably Dioscorea batatas, the Chinese yam. Wild yams from Mexico contain diosgenin, a steroid-like chemical with birth control properties.

Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are dicots in the Convolvulaceae, the morning glory family, genus Ipomoea or Ipomea. The cultivated sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas is native to Central or South America and is also found on the islands of the South Pacific. It is a long, trailing perennial vine with milky juice from a deep tuberous root. The word "batata" is an American Indian word. After Columbus, sweet potatoes were introduced to most of Africa and tropical Asia. Sweet potatoes cannot stand frost and in the United States are cultivated in the southern states.

But are both yams and sweet potatoes grown as commercial crops in the United States? The Princelia Company is headquartered in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. But research into the agricultural literature gave no indication that yams are grown commercially in this country.

I decided to carry out one further piece of research at my local grocery store. There I found one bin of "yams" and one of "sweet potatoes." The yams were small with dark skins and a dark yellow intenor; the sweet potatoes were larger and paler with pale flesh. The price per pound was the same. I bought one of each, and as far as I could tell, there was no major difference in anatomy, cooking qualities or taste. (I am of an age where I cannot say whether either affected my fertility!)

A further reading of the agucultural literature yielded this statement: "The moist, soft-textured sweet potato cultivars are often erroneously called "yams" to distinguish them from the dry-textured cultivars."

Well, Popeye used to say "I yam what I yam." But to answer the question in my title, as we move into the holiday cooking season, I think we can be reasonably sure that a yam is not a yam but rather a sweet potato.

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Vegetation, Livestock and Water Quality - Nick Otting

Floodplain vegetation and groundwater are my research interests. My current study sites are in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, but over the years I have done vegetation surveys across eastern Oregon, ranging from Lakeview to Enterprise. Almost all the areas I've worked in are active cattle allotments (including wilderness areas) or ranches. A majority of the streams are in bad shape; streamside vegetation, crucial for bank stability and shade, is heavily grazed and stream-banks are trampled down. Streams in fine-textured soils are often gullied and eroded, and streams in coarse-textured substrates are wide and shallow.

Ballot Measure 38 (the Oregon Clean Streams Initiative) seeks to protect the waters of Oregon from water pollution caused by livestock. The measure addresses only those streams that do not meet standards for, among other things, temperature, bacteria, and dissolved oxygen. If livestock contribute to violation of water quality standards, and the DEQ designates the stream as water quality limited, the livestock must be removed from the land immediately adjacent to the stream until a water quality plan is developed to curb the pollution.

In 1988, the Government Accounting Office reviewed BLM and USFS management of degraded riparian (streamside) areas in the West and published the report "Public rangelands: some riparian areas restored but widespread improvement will be slow" (GAO/RCED-88-105). The report found that there were no technical barriers to improving riparian areas and that successful restorations had been achieved primarily by improving livestock management. However the number of successful restorations was very low compared with the number of areas needing restoration. Some BLM staff interviewed said most cooperative ranchers were already involved in improvement efforts, and they felt they would have difficulty engaging the remaining permittees, who do not support restoration efforts. Based on my observation of streams in eastern Oregon since 1988 I would agree with the GAO findings; progress has indeed been slow. This year, the lDEQ identified more than 800 Oregon streams that did not meet federal water quality standards. More than half were listed because they were too warm to support healthy fish populations.

Despite working group and watershed coalition efforts involving the livestock industry, there has been resistance to making effective changes in grazing management. Can we expect an industry to voluntarily regulate itself at its own expense? It is only because of state and federal laws that the timber and manufacturing industries have begun to address water quality. We should not be intimidated by the livestock industry as we seek to hold them accountable as well.

I urge NPSO members to support Measure 38. We are, after all, "Dedicated to the enjoyment, conservation, and study of Oregon's native vegetation." Streamside vegetation such as native sedges and willows strongy influences stream bank form, floodplain form, and water quality. The NPSO should seek conservation of all of Oregon's native vegetation, not just high profile threatened and endangered species. The conservation of Carex aquatilis and Salix exigua communities which are key to the functioning of ecosystems may be as important to us as is the conservation of a rare species like Lomatium bradshawii.

I welcome your comments. I can be reached at

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

Last Modified September 22, 1996