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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.

November 1996

Volume 29 · Number 11

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In This Issue

State News

State Board Meeting: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M., on a Saturday in January, at a place and on a date to be determined at the October meeting.

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Chapter News

Blue Mountain

Nov. 4, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center, SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. Members are invited to bring slides from this summer, and to share stories of field trips, etc.


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: 7:30P.M., room 2087 Cordley Hall, OSU campus. Dave Wagner will give a program on the cryptogams (mosses and ferns).


Officers: Newly elected officers: Kathy Pendergrass, president; Bruce Newhouse, vice president; Phil Warner, treasurer; Nancy Wogen, secretary.

Nov. 9, Sat. Field Trip: It's time for the Third Annual Forest Fungi Foray! Come with us to the Siuslaw National Forest for a day of chanterelles, porcinis, and learning about the role of mushrooms and fungi in forest ecosystems of the Oregon coast. Meet: S. Eugene H.S. parking lot, 9 A.M., to car pool. Bring water, lunch, bright-colored rain gear, warm and dry boots, mushroom field guides, a basket and paper bags for collecting. Led by Bruce Newhouse and Peg Boulay.

Nov. 25, 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). Dennis Lueck will present a program on gardening with native plants.

High Desert

Meeting: No meetings in November and December. The January meeting will be announced next month.


Nov. 6, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Rhoda Love, a longtime teacher of botany at Lane Community College, will talk about the forthcoming book, Northwest Plant Hunters, of which she is one of the editors.

Dec. 4, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Louisa Evers, ecologist for the Barlow Ranger District, will share her research on the look of plant life in our area in the 1860's.

North Coast

Meeting: No meeting in November.


Nov. 12, Tue. Meeting: 7 P.M. First Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson, Portland. Paul Slichter presents "The High Desert Plants of Lake County, Oregon."

Dec. 4, Tue. Meeting: 7 P.M. First Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson, Portland. There will be a program of slides by members.


Nov. 21, Thu. Meeting: 7:30 P.M., room 171, Science Building, SOSC, Ashland. Frank Lang will take us on a tour of the botanical gardens of Britain.

South Coast

For information on South Coast Chapter, contact Bruce Rittenhouse.

Umpqua Valley

Nov. 14, Thu. Meeting: 7 P.M. Room 310, Douglas County Courthouse, Roseburg. A program on the impacts of climate, fire and grazing on the Umpqua.

Dec. 12, Thu. Meeting: 6 P.M. Hillcrest Vineyards. Bring photos, reports and potluck. Directions from Roseburg: Go west on Garden Valley, Melrose (passing its store, church and fire station and Doerner Rd.) then north on Elgarose Rd. to Vinyard Lane.

Willamette Valley

Nov. 18, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. United Methodist Church, 600 State St. NE, Salem. There will be a members' slide show.

Wm. Cusick

Nov. 19, Tue. Meeting: 7 - 9 P.M. Forest and Range Sciences Laboratory, Gekeler Lane and C Ave., La Grande. Please be prompt so we can take care of business before the 7:30 program which will be presented by Paula Brooks, Forest Botanist, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. She will show slides of this area's wide diversity of spore-bearing plants -- ferns, club mosses and Botrychiums. Join us for this opportunity to view these less showy but fascinating and beautiful plants.

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NPSO/ODA Intern Report: Four Months In The Sun - Sarah Brown

The following if the first in a series of three articles in which NPSO/ODA interns discuss their activities during the 1996 field season. Interns were selected from a pool of applicants and worked with scientists from the Oregon Department of Agriculture/Oregon State University Plant Conservation Biology Program to carry out research related to threatened and endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. Project locations ranged from beaches on the coast to the high desert of eastern Oregon. Interns were jointly funded by NPSO, state and federal dollars and plan to use their experience to further their careers in botany and biology. Thanks again to NPSO for contributing to botanical education and work experience. Tom Kaye, Plant Conservation Biology Program, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Four Months In The Sun

My internship with the NPSO and ODA Conservation Biology Program was one of the best professional experiences of my life. Working side by side with scientists in the field, I was able to learn first hand about current research methods and topics of concern. Not only was this an academically and professionally stimulating summer, it also helped solidify within me the desire to pursue studies in rare plant conservation by returning to school for a masters in botany.

Tom Kaye quickly taught us the basics of data collection and entrusted us with integrating the newly obtained information into data bases and annual status reports. We focused our efforts on eight rare plants: Abronia umbellata, Astragalus tyghensis, Cimicifuga elata, Haplopappus radiatus, Lomatium bradshawii, L. cookii, Lupinus cusickii and Plagiobothrys hirtus. The work associated with these plants took us all over Oregon from the temperate southern coast to the busy roadside of Interstate Five and the hot, barren range lands of the eastern Oregon high desert.

Abronia umbellata, a persistent annual, was one of the first plants we worked with. The common name is pink sand-verbena, and it often grows in conjunction with its perennial relative, Abronia latifolia, or yellow sand-verbena. Historically, A. umbellata's range was along the Pacific coast from northern California to southern British Columbia. Today only four naturally occurring sites exist in Oregon.

The research we were involved in focused on two ways of reintroducing A. umbellata. First, in the fall, thousands of seeds had been distributed at specific sites along the coast, and we scanned the beaches for seedlings seven months later. The second method involved transplanting greenhouse grown plants into monitored plots at Port Orford and Gold Beach.

During the summer we visited a variety of beaches along Oregon's southern coast. Walking for miles, we searched the sand along the high tide line for seedlings. Results varied. In November, close to 5000 seeds had been scattered at each site, and the first year's seed germination ranged anywhere from zero to twenty-four plants. From casual observation, we were left with the impression that several complex factors were affecting seedling establishment. For example, beach morphology seemed to be important and we hypothesized that a long, gently sloping forebeach may be beneficial. The types of beach "structures" that existed also may have been relevant. For example, the area above the high tide mark seemed most successful for seed development when the beach flowed either into a shelf of sand or a cove of driftwood for seeds to become lodged among. In addition, the amount of sand movement and subsequent seed burial also had a negative impact with consequent higher mortality rates. These factors were of great interest to me and directed my thoughts toward the methods necessary in order to learn more about where and how A. umbellata can be successfully reintroduced.

The story behind the second reintroduction project and the research plots at Port Orford and Gold Beach is an interesting one. In 1990, it was noticed that A. umbellata was flourishing in areas along the beach where the Army Corps of Engineers had placed material accumulated from the harbor's bottom during dredging operations. Accordingly, to determine the effect of differently aged, dredged substrate on A. umbellata, we planted greenhouse grown starts on the differently aged material and compared growth rates. That was part of a study that has been continuing for the last four years, and results tend to support the initial observation that A. umbellata grows and persists better on the newer dredge material. Again, this information has led me to ask questions beyond the scope of our current studies. For example, does the substrate change over time? Is the difference in plant size associated with a leaching of minerals and nutrients? If so, which minerals and nutrients are relevant to A. umbellata?

I am very appreciative of the opportunities this internship provided. It gave me a basis from which to ask questions and a chance to be in the company of those who were more than willing to share their wealth of knowledge. In addition, it became an opportunity in which to focus my interests in the ecology of rare plants. I can only hope that I was half as useful to the ODA/NPSO Conservation Biology Program, as it was beneficial to me.

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Audubon Wild Arts Festival Show and Sale

A celebration of nature in arts, crafts and books will be held in Montgomery Park, 2700 NW Nicolai Street, Portland. These events will take place on Friday, November 29th, from 5 to 9 P.M., on Saturday, the 30th, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Sunday, December 1st, from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission for adults is $3.00 and children under 12 will get in free.

More than 80 artists will attend, and there will be readings, book signings by NW authors, and children's arts and crafts activities. The festival opening on Friday evening will feature live music and there will be a silent auction all weekend.

The proceeds will benefit the Audubon Society's education, conservation and wildlife rehabilitation efforts. For the exact schedule of classes, appearances and book signings, contact: Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Road, Portland, Oregon 97210, (503) 292-6855.

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Botanist Wanted

The Roseburg District BLM is seeking a botanist to work in the rare plant and natural area programs. Appointment will be for eight months, beginning in November or December.

Applications can be obtained from any state employment office. For more information, contact: Russ Holmes Bureau of Land Management 777 NW Garden Valley Blvd. Roseburg, OR 97470 (541) 440-4930

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To Cut Or Not To Cut: Keeping Your Sword Fern Healthy - David H. Wagner

Have you ever wondered if the common practice of cutting off the old (but still mostly green) fronds of sword ferns (Polystichum munitum) was harmful to the plant?

This practice of cropping old fronds is widely performed in the Pacific Northwest, to make the sword ferns look their prettiest. It is usually done in early spring, before the new fronds appear, so that the plants have only fresh, young fronds during the main part of the growing season. Some gardeners clip the fronds in the fall, when the leaves start to look a bit ratty at the tips, so that only a tight ball of leaf bases is left throughout the winter in carefully groomed, bark-covered beds.

Well, the answer to the question "is it harmful?" is apparently "yes." The evidence comes from a study described in a paper published in last year's journal of the American Fern Society by two people working in Massachusetts. (Van Buskirk, I. and J. Edwards. 1995. Contribution of winter-green leaves to early spring growth in the wood fern, Dryopteris intermedia. American Fern Journal 85: 54-57.) They performed a simple yet striking experiment with the wood fern.

Buskirk and Edwards first tagged several sets of nearly equally matched pairs of plants. Then they removed leaves from one of each pair in early spring before new growth appeared. Growth rate of new fronds on the cropped plants was compare with the other of the paired plants left with their wintergreen leaves intact.

By the end of their study, the new leaves of the cropped ferns were only half as long as the new leaves on uncropped ferns. The new leaves of the plants with old leaves still intact had grown nearly twice the size by the end of May! In other words, the old yet still green fronds added a boost of en-ergy to the newly developing fronds of the current season.

It would be profitable to repeat this experiment with our Western sword fern, since it is so widely used in our landscapes and so frequently subjected to early trimming. My prediction is that similar results will be obtained. We should let our ferns be a bit messy in winter and spring, but then enjoy healthier plants throughout the summer and fall.

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Report From China - Mariana Bornholdt

The State Council's economic development office for the Three Gorges district and development companies and departments have put a large amount of funds into three protection zones, since a program for saving wild plants was started in the early 1990's.

The zones cover 196,000 mu (11,760 hectares), and are combined with three reserves for protecting special plants in the gorges reservoir area.

A total of 21 varieties of plants have been successfully removed to safe areas and the removal work is expected to be fulfilled by early 1988. [1998?]

The Three Gorges reservoir area, which covers 53,000 square kilometers, is rich in plant resources, with 3,014 varieties of vascular... plants of different climatic zones, some unique to China or the area.

The reservoir area also has 43 kinds of wild, rare or special local varieties of plants and more than 5,000 trees that are more than 100 years old.

Chinese authorities were placing great importance on protecting plant resources in the gorges area even before the project started.

[Reprinted from: China Today, August, 1996, p. 64. Submitted by Mariana Bornholdt, currently teaching English in China.]

Note: In spite of environmentalist protests, construction of the mammoth Three Gorges hydroelectric dam on the upper Changjiang (Yangtze) River continues. It will be the largest installation of its kind in the world and is expected to accomplish rural electrification of eastern China. It will, however, inundate the cherished confluence of tributaries on the upper Yangtze.

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We Welcome New Members

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

Last Modified October 27, 1996