Sign up for Chapter Email Alerts
Welcome to El Dorado Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Our chapter lies in El Dorado County on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, stretching from the foothills at the edge of the Sacramento Valley to the mountains at Echo Summit. Our chapter works to protect and teach about all native plants in the county, from rare to common. More.
Check out our Newsletter, bimonthly Meetings, and Spring and Summer Fieldtrips.
Drought: For information about native plant advantages in the garden and other resources, please click here.
General Meeting – Tuesday, January 26th, 7pm
Dittrichia graveolens, commonly known as stinkwort. Photo by Joseph DiTomaso, Ph.D.
Problematic and Expanding Invasive Weed Problems in the California Foothills
Presented by Joseph DiTomaso, Ph.D., Director of the Weed Research and Information Center at UC Davis
Some of the more problematic invasive plants within the foothills of California will be discussed by Dr. DiTomaso, a UC cooperative extension specialist in non-crop weeds. He will emphasize the impacts of invasive plants on wildland ecosystems and native plant communities. The talk will address widespread problems such as yellow starthistle and other thistles, tree-of-heaven, perennial pepperweed, brooms, and others. In addition, new expanding weed problems, including stinkwort and oblong spurge, and their potential expansion and impacts will be discussed. Dr. DiTomaso is Director of the Weed Research and Information Center at UC Davis, past president of the Weed Science Society of America, and senior author of the definitive two-volume guide to “Weeds of California and Other Western States.” To find out more about more about Dr. DiTomaso’s work, see: http://ucanr.edu/?facultyid=537.
The program is free to both members and the public.
For more information, see Press Release here.
Centaurea solstitialis, commonly known as yellow star-thistle. Photo by Joseph DiTomaso, Ph.D.
El Dorado County lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Along the edge of the Great Valley, some grasslands contain vernal pools with a succession of spring-flowering annuals, while the lower foothills have areas of gabbro and serpentine soils which support special endemic plants, and the rivers and streams have lush riparian woodlands with a number of different species of shrubs and herbs. To the east of Pollock Pines we enjoy the Eldorado National Forest which offers a wide variety of destinations, from drought-tolerant foothill and montane chaparral to subalpine above 9000 ft in the Desolation Wilderness, to the shores of the largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe. Our Chapter covers lands west of Echo Summit, while the Lake Tahoe Chapter covers the Tahoe basin.
The California Native Plant Society is a state-wide organization dedicated to protecting the native vegetation that is too often seen as "in the way" when it comes time to bulldoze for a development! By joining, you will be getting to know the plants and learning their importance; then you too can contribute to the well-being and happiness of the community.
If you want to start learning about native plants and why theyneed protection, CNPS is for you.
General meetings: 7:00 p.m, the fourth Tuesday of January, March, May, July, September, and November. Chapter meetings are free and the public is always invited to attend. Meetings usually include a show-and-tell about one or more seasonally notable plants, announcements of upcoming chapter events and projects, and a speaker presentation. We hope you will mingle and meet interesting new friends who share an interest in plants and the natural places of the surrounding foothills.
Directions: Meetings are held at the Planning Commission Room, Building C of the County Government Center, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. If approaching from Highway 50 on Fair Lane, turn left at the top of the hill onto Fairlane Court and drive down the hill to the large parking lot in front of Building C. The Planning Commission Room can be entered from the right side of the building's atrium.
We offer free field trips during Spring and Summer to many areas, and you are invited to attend. You don't need a science background to participate; most of our members are not formally trained botanists, simply people who enjoy learning about our native plants. Contact the trip leaders by the Wednesday prior to the hike if you wish to request a plant list and to let them know you're coming.
Follow the Example of Willis Jepson..."A scientific interest in at least certain features of our natural environment, as for example the trees, shrubs or herbaceous plants, directs one to useful and agreeable intellectual activity. Accurate and detailed knowledge of even a small area lifts the possessor out of the commonplace and enables him directly or indirectly to contribute to the well-being and happiness of his community."
-Willis Jepson, Trees of California, 1921
Our logo flower is the Pleasant Valley mariposa lily, Calochortus clavatus var. avius, a member of the Lily family that was once so common in the Pleasant Valley area of Placerville that people would dig them up for home landscaping. Now they are listed as 1B: Rare, threatened, or Endangered and can only be found in a dispersed population on the El Dorado National Forest, at one location in Placer County, and in eight small occurrences in Calaveras County. (Click on the thumbnail photo to open an enlarged photo.)
Chapter board meetings are held to discuss business items concerning the chapter and its activities. Board meetings will be held on the third Tuesday in January, March, April, May, June, July, September, October and November. Meetings are held at the El Dorado County Office of Education, 6767 Green Valley Road, Placerville. The meeting rooms are in the B complex (opposite the main office behind the flag pole), usually in B-1 or B-3, at 6:30 pm. Copies of the minutes from board meetings can be requested from the Chapter Secretary or Chapter President.
Finding little information available for forest locations with access for wheelchairs? Here a few suggestions about places worth a visit for those who want to go see wildflowers, birds, or just get a breath of fresh air and enjoy a few hours in a forest. Take a look...
For Immediate Release
Wildland Weeds Presentation by El Dorado Chapter Calif. Native Plant Society
Event Date: Tuesday, January 26th
Wildland Weeds of the California Foothills
by Debra Ayres
Yellow starthistle (Centaurea sostitialis) is the poster child of a wildland weed, covering both our pastures and wild meadows with spiny yellow flowers in the summer. According to Dr. Joe DiTomaso, UC wildland weed specialist, the wide-scale expansion of yellow starthistle occurred during the 1920s and was due to the development of the tractor. "Since yellow starthistle was primarily a weed of hay fields, it spread when hay was baled and delivered to ranches and farms far from the initial infestations. This is how it initially became so well established along roadsides.” People in places that do not yet have star thistle (or stinkwort, another weed more recently arrived in our county) should pay close attention to roadsides, particularly roadsides adjacent to open fields, and eliminate the plant as soon as possible if it appears. However, control of these noxious weeds can be tricky.
To learn more about how to deal with Yellow starthistle, stinkwort, and a number of the other "dirty dozen" or so nasty weeds threatening to ruin our beautiful foothill meadows, fields, and landscapes, the El Dorado Chapter for the California Native Plant Society is presenting "Problematic and Expanding Weed Problems in the California Foothills", a talk by Dr. DiTomaso, Tuesday, January 26th in Placerville.
What is the difference between a wildland weed and the common garden variety?
“Garden weeds”, says Dr. DiTomaso, “require human interventions such as cultivation, irrigation, and fertilizers to do well. But wildland weeds are capable of establishing and expanding without any human intervention.” One of the up-and-coming wildland weeds in El Dorado County (and in California) is stinkwort. Currently found mostly on disturbed sites and roadsides (it can be seen growing up through cracks in the asphalt on Highway 50), it is not quite as adept at invading drier sites as yellow starthistle. However, Dr. DiTomaso warns, “We find and expect it to establish and do well in drier areas where there is not a lot of competition from other plants. As its seed can blow much farther in the wind compared to yellow starthistle, it has the ability to spread rapidly.”
Another potential source of new wildland weeds is our own gardens. Some of those tough, drought-tolerant ornamental plants we’ve replaced our lawns with may be able to spread beyond garden borders and fences into wild areas. But in most cases, Dr. DiTomaso points out, "Other biological, climatic, or resource constraints may be in place that prevent their spread.” To address this question, he and his colleagues recently created a new scientific model designed to evaluate ornamental plants in order to predict their risk of escaping cultivation and becoming established in wildlands. He adds, however, that “The model does not allow us to determine how big a problem it might become or how troublesome it might be if the plant does escape”.
There are many plant species that can invade the wildlands in California. Successful invaders are costly in terms of the money we spend controlling them and in the degradation of native plant communities and ecosystems. Preventing the introduction of potential wildland weeds and detecting new infestations are key to safeguarding our natural gardens. “Knowledgeable citizen scientists, such as members of CNPS, will be important for identifying and managing these small weed populations before they get too large and cause significant damage”, Dr. DiTomaso emphasizes.
Dr. DiTomaso will discuss some of the more problematic invasive plants in our county, with an emphasis on their impacts on wildland ecosystems and native plant communities, Tuesday, January 26th in his presentation "Problematic and Expanding Weed Problems in the California Foothills". He will talk about widespread problems such as yellow starthistle and other thistles, tree-of-heaven (or Alianthus), perennial pepperweed, Scotch and other brooms, as well as new and expanding weed problems such as stinkwort and oblong spurge and their potential expansion and impacts in our county. Dr. DiTomaso’s talk, sponsored by the El Dorado Chapter of the CNPS, takes place Tuesday, Jan. 26th, at 7pm at the Planning Commission Room, Building C, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. The talk is free and open to the public. A short presentation on the Manzanita (Arctostaphylus) plant family by Debra Ayres will precede the presentation. More information can be found at www.eldoradocnps.org or at facebook.com/eldoradocnps.
Dr. DiTomaso is a UC cooperative extension specialist in non-crop weeds, Director of the Weed Research and Information Center at UC Davis, past president of the Weed Science Society of America, and senior author of the definitive two-volume guide to “Weeds of California and Other Western States”.