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The NPSO membership year is January to December. Now is the time for members to renew.
A remittance envelope is in this issue of the Bulletin. Or use the membership form on the inside back page.
NPSO brings you field trips, programs, classes, the monthly Bulletin and Kalmiopsis.
It's also a good time to consider a tax-deductible contribution to our special funds. The Leighton Ho Memorial Award is used for research projects in western Oregon. The Rare and Endangered Plan Fund supports work with our most threatened plants. The Jean Davis Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a botany student at an Oregon college or university. Contributions can also be made to the NPSO general fund.
Your membership and donations make it possible to carry out more of the many projects that are needed to pursue the goals of NPSO.
Note for EFO contributors: If you are receiving the Bulletin because you have designated part of your contribution to NPSO, your membership will continue for one year from the time of your contribution; you do not need to send a renewal payment now.
Jan. .31, Sat. State Board Meeting: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. Clark Public Utilities Building, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington. Directions: About one mi. from I-5 bridge between Vancouver and Portland. Take Mill Plain exit off I-5, go east one block on Mill Plain, turn right on Fort Vancouver Way to building entrance. Public Meeting room is at south end of building.
May 8 - 10 Annual Meeting: Mosier, Oregon, the heart of the Columbia River Gorge! Registration information will appear in the March Bulletin.
Dec. 1, Mon. Meeting: 7 P.M. Small Business Development Center, SE 1st & Dorian, Pendleton. Bruce Barnes will demonstrate the latest version of the computer plant keys.
Dec. 8, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Holiday slide/dessert potluck. Come join us for our annual sharing of 10 to 15 slides and a dessert, at Loren Russell's house, 3420 SW Willamette Ave., Corvallis. For more information, call Loren.
Surveys: LAST CALL for the Corvallis Chapter surveys (sent last month). Please return them no later than Nov. 30, so they can be compiled. If you need one or have questions, call Carolyn. Thanks for responding!
Spring Garden Sale: Any donations of pots, native plant seeds or plants for the next Spring Garden Sale are welcome. Please contact Esther for more information.
Dec. 6, Sat. Field Trip: Lichens with Linda. Join us for a day of learning about lichens at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. Led by Linda Geiser of the Siuslaw National Forest. Meet: 9 A.M., S. Eugene H.S. parking lot. Bring lunch, a hand lens if you have one, and appropriate dress for the weather. Bring binoculars if you want to stay into the afternoon and go birding with Peg and Bruce. For more information, call Bruce.
Dec. 8, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P. M. Room 110, Science Building,g main campus, Lane Community College, Eugene. Come for our annual holiday party. Bring a dozen of your favorite slides if you wish, and a finger food snack to share, if convenient. Your chapter will provide punch and decorations. See you there! Directions: From 30th Ave., turn south on Eldon-Schafer Drive, go past Oak Hill School and park in LCC's south parking lot, east end. Walk downstairs to Science Building. Entrance to room 110 on east side of bldg. NOTE CHANGE FROM 4TH TO SECOND MONDAY.
Jan. 24, Sat. Field Trip: Winter Twig Walk, co-sponsored by Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and NPSO. Fees will be used to support MPA's Education Program. Judith Manning of MPA's Board of Directors will take us on a 2 hour walk and help us identify trees using only their twigs. Meet: Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Visitor Center, 10 A.M. Bring hand lens, ruler and pocket knife (if possible) and $3 ($2 for Arboretum members). You'll receive a copy of Dr. Rhoda Love's Key to Winter Twigs of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum (revised Oct. å97).
Jan. 26, Mon. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Room 109, main campus, LCC, Eugene. Free-lance writer Christine Colasurdo of San Francisco will give a slide-illustrated talk titled "Sprouting in the Shadow of the Volcano: The Flora of Mount St. Helens." Christine, who wrote the biography of Ema Gunther for the NW Plant Hunters book, will also read from her new book, "Return to Spirit Lake: Journey Through a Lost Landscape," which is being published by Sasquatch Books of Seattle. See Dec. meeting for directions. Entrance o room 109 is on the south side of the building.
Meeting: There will be no meeting in December.
Dec. 9, Tues. Meeting: 7 P.M. Dessert/snack potluck at Susan Erwin's house. Bring food item to share, wine/beer/beverage of choice and up to 10 slides of interesting plants, if you have them. Call Susan for directions.
Officers: Newly elected officers are: Barbara Robinson, president; Heather Laub, vice president; Krista Thie, secretary/treasurer. We are seeking candidates take on the treasurer duties. Many thanks to all our chapter officers, past and present.
Dec. 3, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Bonnie Brunkow of the Leach Botanical Garden will give us a slide show on the flowers of Turkey and Mt. Olympus.
Jan. 7, Wed. Meeting: 7:30 P.M. Mosier School. Jerry Igo will give a presentation on Lewis and Clark.
Dec. 9, Tues. Meeting: 7 P.M. Room 202, First United Methodist Church, 1838 Jefferson St., Portland. Members' night. Bring 10 - 15 of your favorite slides (or other botanical wonders) to amaze the group. NOTE: SINCE ROOM NUMBER WILL NOW CHANGE FROM MEETING TO MEETING, IT WILL BE LISTED IN ANNOUNCEMENT.
Dec. 18, Thurs. Meeting: It's time for our holiday gathering. 7 P.M. at Joan Seever's home, 725 Leonard St. Romain Cooper and Christy Dunn will present a slide show, "Wild Places and Wild Plants: A Naturalist's View of the Southwestern Siskiyous." Dessert potluck. For more information or for directions, call Jennifer Beigel.
For information on South Coast Chapter, contact Bruce Rittenhouse.
Dec. 11, Thurs. Meeting: Potluck at Hillcrest Vineyard. Share your field trip or other botanical experiences. Bring some photos, slides and revelations. From Roseburg, proceed west on Garden Valley, Melrose, and Doerner roads, then north on Elgarose to Vineyard Lane and winery. For information, call Richard Sommer.
Meeting: No meeting in December.
Dec. 3, Wed. Meeting: 7 - 9 P.M. Union-Baker ESD building, 2100 Main St., Baker City (across from the Basche-Sage bldg.) Paula Brooks will present slides of flowers people might like to grow in their gardens, and Dick Kenton of Plantworks Native Nursery and Clair Button of the BLM will discuss how to propagate them. NOTE: THIS MEETING IS BEING HELD IN BAKER CITY, BECAUSE THERE ARE CHAPTER MEMBERS AND OTHER INTERESTED FOLKS THERE. THE PRESENCE OF LA GRANDE MEMBERS, TO SUPPORT THE NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY IN BAKER, WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO FIELD TRIP PARTICIPANTSField trips take place rain or shine, so proper dress and footwear are essential. Trips may be strenuous and/or hazardous. Participation is at your own risk. Please contact the trip leader or chapter representative about difficulty, distance, and terrain to be expected on field trips. Bring water and lunch. All NPSO field trips are open to the public at no charge (other than contribution to carpool driver) and newcomers 'and visitors are always welcome.
NOTICE TO FIELD TRIP CHAIRS AND LEADERSThe Forest Service and other agencies have set policies limiting group size in many wilderness areas to 12. The reason is to limit human impacts on these fragile areas. Each group using wilderness areas should be no larger than 12.
POSTAL NOTICEBulletin of the Native Plant Society of Oregon; John Robotham, Editor; 117 NW Trinity P1. #28, Portland, OR 97209.
Published monthly. Subscription price $18/year. ISSN 0884-599. Date and issue number on page 1.
Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors of the articles. They do not represent the opinions of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, unless so stated.
Guidelines for Contributors to the BulletinThe NPSO Bulletin is published monthly as a service to members and the public.
I was reading the October issue of Fremontia, a journal of the California Native Plant Society. The first article was titled "Why is California's Flora so Rich?" The authors start out as follows: "More than 6,000 species, subspecies and varieties of native plants, conifers and ferns grow in the gentle oak woodlands, lofty mountains, spacious deserts and along the magnificent coast of California. This is nearly one fourth of all plant types found in North America north of the Mexican border and more than are found in any other state." After reading this I wondered if the diversity in California was really greater than the diversity of native plants in Oregon. After all, California is a much larger state than Oregon and diversity must be considered in relation to relative size, if we want to make comparisons. I looked up the November, 1995 issue of the NPSO Bulletin, page 128, and found that "current estimates at Oregon State University place the number of taxa in the state at 4,391 (excluding cultivated taxa)." The article in Fremontia claimed over 6,000 species, etc. for California, as stated above. I looked up the relative size of California and Oregon and found that California is 1.63 times as large as Oregon. I f we compare 6,000 versus 4,391, the ratio is 1.37. Thus is California is 1.63 times larger than Oregon it should 1.63 times as many native plants to justify a claim that it has a more diverse and rich flora than Oregon.
At the September Board meeting a motion was made and passed directing me to write to the Jepson Herbarium in regard to the cost of acquiring corrections to The Jepson Manual. There was a feeling that purchase of the Manual should have included complimentary copies of the corrections. I wrote to the Director of the Jepson Herbarium. His response follows:
Dear Mr. Fahey,
I am writing in response to your letter of 9/30/97. Since the Jepson Herbarium depends on goodwill from knowledgeable botanists across the West, I really want to clarify any misunderstandings among your membership about the Jepson Herbarium and its projects.
First of all, you should realize that we are not a commercial operation or a state-funded agency. The Jepson Herbarium is a privately-endowed unit within the University and depends on income from its modest endowment, grants, and income from the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium, a support that raised most of the money for the Jepson Manual, for example. Since we are not the publisher, we don't receive most of the income from the sale of the Manual, only a small percentage royalty, but these royalties go into a fund restricted to support further revisions to the Manual. We publish corrections and additions to the Manual from time to time in the Jepson Globe (copy enclosed), a newsletter that goes out to all the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium (more than 1500 people). We are quite liberal about our list of Friends, i.e., we don't comb through it to delete people who haven't given a recent contribution, so basically anyone who has ever made a contribution is on the list, as are all authors, etc. You are right that we should add those who have sent in a large number of suggestions, as well (see below).
So you see, we aren't selling the updates, but rather publishing them in our newsletter. The updates are of two types, Some are corrections of errata in the original printing (e.g. typographical errors, etc.), and as you say those should be available to any purchaser of an original printing. The second type of update, however, involves an actual revision (e.g., fixing a key that didn't work, changing a description to better fit new data), and those require a lot of time, effort, and expertise to track down and take care of. We employ a half-time staff member and at least one work-study student to work on this, and I think it is fair to give this new information to people who have contributed funds towards these expenses. As president of a non-profit yourself, you certainly must understand the need to generate funds to support your valuable work. You don't give your newsletter or publications away free, neither does CNPS or any other botanical society.
We are a strong supporter of native plant societies (an institutional member of your society, for example, as well as CNPS and other western native plant societies), and I want to maintain a good relationship with you because we have a common goal: to understand and conserve the native flora. Thus, in the interest of cooperation, if any of your members would like a list of errata to the original printing, and either can't afford or don't wish to make a donation to the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium, have them write me and I will send them a free list. I will also look into the feasibility of giving a complementary subscription to the Globe to everyone who has made major contributions o the corrections and updates of the Manual.
I hope in this way we can heal any misunderstandings that might exist, and get on with our mutual endeavors. Please convey our best wishes to your members, and assure them that I appreciate their interest in and support of the Manual and welcome any further comments or suggestions.
Sincerely yours, Brent D. Mishler Director, University and Jepson Herbaria Professor, Dept. of Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley
Mailing address: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY 1001 VALLEY LIFE SCIENCES BLDG. #2465 BERKELEY, CA 94720-2465 USA Phone: (510) 642-6810; FAX: (510) 643-5390 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon's Rare Wildflower Poster depicts Punchbowl Falls and three of the Columbia River Gorge's endemic wildflowers. Text on the back describes the natural history of the Gorge and the mission of the NPSO. Available from Stu Garrett. Individuals may order posters at $12 each, plus $3 per order for shipping. Posters are mailed in tubes. Chapter treasurers may contact Stu, for wholesale prices to chapters.
NPSO Window Stickers are decals with NPSO's trillium logo in green over an opaque white background, for use inside car windows. Available from Stu Garrett, $1, minimum order five.
NPSO's Original Wildflower Poster depicts 13 Oregon wildflowers in a striking artist's rendition. Soon to be a collector's item. Available from Stephanie Schulz, 84603 Bristow Rd., Pleasant Hill, OR 97455, $5 each,. plus $3 per order for shipping. Posters are mailed in tubes.
Conservation and Management of Native Plants and Fungi: Proceedings of an Oregon Conference on the Conservation and Management of Native Vascular Plants, Bryophytes, and Fungi. Edited by Thomas N. Kaye, Aaron Liston, Rhoda M. Love, Daniel L. Luoma, Robert J. Meinke, and Mark V. Wilson, with a foreword by Reed F. Noss. Available from NPSO Conference Proceedings, 804 Jefferson Ave., La Grande, OR 97850. (541-962-7749), $20, plus $5 for shipping for the first copy, $2.50 for shipping for each additional copy.
I want to thank the NPSO members who submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for motorized access to non-federal land in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The Siskiyou National Forest received approximately 366 letters, 95% being opposed to permitting any motorized access to the patented Wilderness mining claims on the Little Chetco River (see March, 1997 NPSO Bulletin). In addition, two of the leading scientists, on Port Orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) and Phytophthora lateralis, the non-native pathogen killing Port Orford cedar and Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), questioned the effectiveness of the proposed "risk reduction" measures and recommended no motorized access. Despite overwhelming opposition to granting motorized access, scientific logic and the strength of the Wilderness Act itself, the Forest Service issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement on November 1 with a new preferred alternative that compromises the values of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness the agency is mandated to protect.
The FEIS preferred alternative would permit 8 round trips of three vehicles each during the dry season. Reconstruction and maintenance of the trail/road "in the Wilderness" by heavy equipment would not be permitted. This compromise alternative should not be accepted because 1) the high risk to Port Orford cedar and the ecological integrity of the Wilderness remains (the effects of root disease introduction are irreparable and irreversible), 2) permitting "limited" motorized access only defers environmental analysis of lodge construction and logging to a future document, 3) permitting motorized access to non-federal lands in the Kalmiopsis sets a precedent for future increased access, and 4) Congress specifically inserted a provision in the Wilderness Act for land exchange when there is a conflict between providing access to non-federal lands and protecting wilderness values. The owner refused offers of fair market exchange or purchase.
Let your senators and representatives know the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and the rights of current and future generations for an "enduring resource of wilderness" should not be "compromised" on the whim of a few individuals. The final decision about December 1. A 45 day appeals period follows the Record of Decision.
Barbara Ullian, Siskiyou Chapter
The NPSO Board of Directors met at the Central Oregon Environmental Center in Bend on September 27. This center is due, in part, to the support of the High Desert Chapter of NPSO. Because of its popularity for use in environmental education and meetings, Stu Garrett, High Desert Chapter president, recommends such projects for other chapters. Other conservation projects on the east side of the state include: establishing a Research Natural Area between Madras and Redmond, input to Eastside EIS process, working with statewide and local weed coordinators on pamphlets and Weed Awareness Week, and a regionwide BLM initiative to elevate weed awareness in Oregon and Washington.
The fall Environmental Federation of Oregon (EFO) campaigns are starting. Members can help NPSO fill its 100 annual volunteer hours as an organization by performing small tasks such as stuffing envelopes for individual companies, giving presentations, or distributing information about EFO. Contact Shane Latimer if you are available to help. Stu Garrett offered Columbia River Gorge posters from the High Desert Chapter to be used for rewards and incentives for companies or contact employees involved in the fall campaign.
EFO seems to be reaching its fund raising goals, but they are worried that downsizing companies and agency shutdowns may change corporate and government giving. Fortunately, new companies are including EFO in their donation options and they may meet or exceed next year's fund raising goal. This is very important to NPSO because a large percentage of the NPSO annual budget comes from the fund raising efforts of EFO. In turn, this money helps us to support the many activities and internships that we feel protect and enhance the enjoyment of native plants.
A motion was passed which allows NPSO to sell the conference proceedings, Conservation and Management of Native Plants and Fungi, to booksellers at a wholesale rate. This will allow the Northwest Interpretive Association, located in many Forest Service offices, and the Berry Botanic Garden, among others, to sell the book for us. This will give the books a wider distribution than they have now. In conjunction with this effort, letters and a review of the Proceedings will be sent to other state native plant organizations. This book represents a large time commitment from the Society and its membership and it is a potential source of thousands of dollars worth of funds for the organization. Revenue from the Proceedings is needed to fund some of our traditional activities such as internships and support of the Oregon Flora project.
State president, Mike Fahey, would like to see a vision, core values, and critical issues for NPSO be developed. The process by which this will be accomplished should help keep NPSO a vital organization. in which to be involved.Members of a newly appointed committee to pursue this process include Rhoda Love, Steve Jessop, Bruce Rittenhouse, Stu Garrett and Heather Laub, with Mike McKeag as chairperson. Anyone interested in steering the direction of the organization is welcome to join in the discussion. Members of this committee should have e-mail access so that "meetings" can take place without travel. A new Web page committee was also founded to assist in the time-consuming job of being NPSO's "web-master."
A great deal of time was spent discussing the activities of the chapters, because that is where the bulk of the action in the organization occurs. The Blue Mountain Chapter will be planting native grasses and shrubs in the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge. Members of the Corvallis Chapter continue work on Avery Garden. The William Cusick Chapter will be recognized in the local paper for their informative Gangloff Park brochure. Recent recipients of donations by the Portland Chapter include the Atlas Project and the Leach Botanical Gardens.
The Emerald Chapter recently elected new officers and committees for the coming year. Like many other chapters, they already have a full schedule of presentations, field trips and wildflower shows arranged for the fall and winter. Charlene Simpson has secured a grant for the Emerald Chapter of $2,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to produce a Lane County checklist by September, 1998. Bruce Newhouse has also secured a grant for the chapter of $3,000 from the Fish and Wildlife Service to survey Lomatium bradshawii in the Amazon Creek corridor in Eugene. The Emerald Chapter continues its interest in local conservation issues such as the extension of West 11th Avenue through wetlands, and management of Cypripedium montanum on BLM land in southern Lane County.
The High Desert Chapter has coordinated many weed field trips with the BLM and USFS, including: a medusahead pull on the Island RNA; teasel/knapweed control at Alder Springs, Squaw Creek and the Deschutes River; and a toadflax pull at Pilot Butte State Park. Both the High Desert and Mid-Columbia chapters held plant shows in the spring which attracted hundreds of visitors.
The Willamette Chapter met recently and decided to support many projects such as a native plant identification class at Chemeketa Community College, surveys along the Willamette River greenways, maintaining a small collection of dried and pressed native flowers to show at schools and senior centers, monitoring local plant communities by working with county officials, and working with local Boy Scouts in conservation projects.
NPSO's newest chapter in Klamath Falls drew 30 people for its first meeting. Already, members are planning a revegetation project along a nature trail. A local reporter in interested in native plants so publicity for NPSO projects is a good possibility.
The meeting -- unusually -- was over only two and one half hours after it began, and the board members were off to their far-ranging corners of the state to continue their efforts to protect, enhance, and, of course, to enjoy Oregon's native plants.
The potential destruction of the Rough and Ready Creek watershed by the proposed NICORE Mine (see April Bulletin) is gaining national and international attention. In addition to the "Window on the West" feature in the September issue of Sunset Magazine (see October Bulletin), the current front page of World Wildlife Fund's international web site features Rough and Ready Creek and the Klamath-Siskiyous. But much still needs to be done to raise public, scientific and congressional awareness of Rough and Ready Creek's plight and values. The Siskiyou Project and Barbara Ullian have produced a ten minute video about Rough and Ready Creek and the 1872 mining law, to be used as a tool to gain public opposition to the NICORE Mine and support for preserving the 23,000 acre watershed. The video footage was taken over a one and a half year period, in an attempt to share the many moods, seasonal variation and botanical diversity of this exceptional landscape. Written information on Rough and Ready Creek, the NICORE mining operation and actions to take will be included. To obtain a copy of the video, write to: Siskiyou Project - R&R Video, P.O. Box 229, Cave Junction, OR 97523, or phone (541) 592-4459.
The Siskiyou National Forest is scheduled to release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the NICORE Mining Plan of Operation on January 15, 1998. Please be sure you're on the Forest Service's mailing list to receive the Draft EIS (address in April Bulletin) and the Siskiyou Project's mailing list to receive an action alert and comment guide on the DEIS (see above).
Northwest Penstemons, by Dee Strickler. The Flower Press, 192 Larch Lane, Columbia Falls, MT 59912. $29.95, plus postage, hard cover. It is not very often that a species gets a book to itself, even a book covering part of its total range. There is one now, for Penstemon, which covers 30 percent of the total number of species. Dee Strickler, a retired university professor living in Montana, who has issued several books on Western wildflowers, has now published a well-researched volume on the genus Penstemon in the Pacific Northwest. His introduction is excellent, being informative and well-written. All 80 species in the four states he covers (Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana) are included in an introductory key. Each species then appears in a two-page spread, with an excellent color photo filling one page. The other page contains a written description, some drawings of the plant and a map showing where it grows. At the end is a glossary of terms. This book is a must for anyone working with Northwest Penstemons, either in the wild or in the garden. The beauty of the photographs may win new friends for the genus, also. (Note that some of these species were hard to find; the author located some that grow only in narrow ranges, on mountain tops or deep in wilderness.)
Dee Strickler is the author of Wayside Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, available in most bookstores, and three other smaller volumes dealing with Montana wildflowers. He is also an "at large" member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.
Kenneth and Robin Lodewick
The following is the second in a series of three articles in which NPSO/ODA interns discuss their activities during the 1997 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 related to threatened and endangered species in Oregon. Project locations ranged from coastal beaches to serpentines of southwestern Oregon to the eastside's high desert. 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 and work experience.
Plant Conservation Biology Program
Oregon Department of Agriculture
My internship with the NPSO this summer took me all over Oregon, from eastern range lands to mountain valleys to the beautiful southern coast. We visited all sorts of hidden, out of the way places, and I saw many of our rare and endangered plants for the first time. I grew up camping all over Oregon and I though I knew our state pretty well, but I was continually surprised by how much there still is to see, how many undiscovered treasures there are waiting to be found. One of my favorite surprises of the season was Cimicifuga elata, tall bugbane.
Cimicifuga elata caught me off guard. It is a stunning plant. I think that anyone who sees it for the first time must immediately fall in love with it. Standing up to two meters tall, with its delicate sprays of petalless white flowers arching above humongous, prehistoric-sized multiple-compound leaves, it looks as if it had traveled here from a very ancient time and place to hide quietly away in our western woods. It is a member of the Ranunculaceae and favors steep north-facing slopes in old-growth forests. It has been found west of the Cascades from British Columbia to the southern Oregon border.
Currently, Cimicifuga elata is listed as endangered and threatened by the Oregon Natural Heritage Program, and as a sensitive plant by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Corps of Engineers. Potential threats to its survival are timber management activities, lack of reproductive potential, lack of seedling recruitment, and fire suppression. Establishment of long-term monitoring plots throughout its range began in 1992. Most known populations are composed of 25-200 individuals, but in the southern pat of its range, sites can contain over 2,000 plants. This summer, one of my many projects was participating in the establishment of two new monitoring plots near Ashland.
The first site we visited was reached by a long, difficult, bushwhacking hike up steep hillsides and through thistle-filled clearcuts. The population itself, discovered in 1992, is spread out across the top edge of an area which was clearcut by helicopter in 1994. At the time of its discovery, the population was estimated to be about 2,000 individuals strong and the habitat was described as "classic old growth." When we arrived there was much less old growth to be seen, but the Cimicifuga elata was still there, scattered among the stumps, sword fern, thistles and wasps nests.
As the day progressed, we all became quite grateful for the abundance of sword fern, because it was the only reliable hand-hold as we scrambled up and down and over and across the snag-filled, thistle-thick, dusty, poky, 45 degree slope to set up our 15 subplots. These were each one meter wide by 100 meters long, and within each one we measured the total number of plants, number of leaves per plant, number of reproductive stems, number of racemes, and herbivory. This data will serve as baseline information for detecting future changes in the population at this site and to compare it with other populations.
It was a long, grueling day, the kind of day that makes you realize why it's called "work" (these days fell few and far between this summer). By the end of it we had all accumulated our share of new cuts, bruises, scars, curses, and a slight feeling of resentment toward this rare plant for choosing such an uncomfortable site to persist in. I felt myself beginning to doubt my love of Cimicifuga elata after all.
As we dove to the second site the next day, Tom assured us that it would be a much friendlier place. For the most part, he was right. The population of Cimicifuga elata at Grizzly Peak, east of Ashland, was glorious. Huge patches of robust plants were scattered throughout a gently sloping, open, old-growth hillside, where the humming of pollinators filled the warm air above a wonderful diversity of wildflowers and berries. It was a beautiful woodland garden, and we all breathed a sigh of relief and anticipated a pleasant, sunny day ahead. We spent the morning assessing the boundaries of the population and ended up with a 280 x 350 meter grid system which included most but not all of the plants. Within this we randomly selected twenty 2 x 50 meter plots wherein we collected the same data as at the other site, and additionally mapped and tagged individual plants. All was going just fine until lunch, when I met my least favorite surprise of the summer -- an angry wasp stirred up by my co-worker, giving me the first sting of my life, right in my eye. Within minutes the whole right side of my face was swollen to twice its normal size and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon, spaced out on Benedryl, in the back of the truck, applying cooler ice to my head. I wish I could show you a picture.
As we returned to the Ashland youth hostel for the night I thought about this rare and beautiful plant I had fallen in love with and which had made me suffer so. I felt sorely tested. But in the end I decided, of course,that the survival of this beauty is most certainly worth some small hardships. There are still many questions to be answered about Cimicifuga elata before we can really determine what management practices are best for its survival. It is an old-growth evolved species which seems to respond favorably, initially, to clearcutting by more plants becoming reproductive and more racemes being produced. This is probably a response to increased light availability. But Cimicifuga elata evolved in an old-growth dynamic and the long term effects of such severe disturbance are still unknown. Continued monitoring is needed if we wish to understand this lovely endangered plant well enough to make the right choices to ensure its quiet existence in our backwoods.
I am very grateful to the NPSO and Bob Meinke and Tom Kaye for granting me this wonderful opportunity to not only learn about our rare and endangered plants but also the science and management practices which are necessary to preserve them. I never had so much fun and learned so much at the same time as I did this past summer working with Tom, Sahni Burkhart, Anne Turner and Shannon Clery. Thank you all for being so cool. I would also like to thank Kelly Amsberry for planting the seed.
(title supplied) There should be no monotony In studying your botany. It helps to train and spur the brain Unless you haven't got any. It teaches you -- does botany To know the plants and spot any And learn just why they live and die, In case you plant or pot any. You learn from reading botany Of woolly plants or cottony That grow on earth and what they're worth And why some spots have not any. You sketch the plants in botany. You learn to chart and pot any Like corn or oats, you jot down notes If you know how to jot any. Your time, if you'll allot any Will teach you how and what any Odd plant or tree can do or be And what's the use of botany!!
© Copyright 1996 Native Plant Society of Oregon, All Rights Reserved
Last Modified April 6, 1996