CNPS Happenings, Rare Native Iris Makes Mid Klamath Home & Fall Wildflower Show

August, 2016





Beginners and experts, non-members and members are all welcome at our programs and on our outings.  Almost all of our events are free.  All of our events are made possible by volunteer effort.

Evening Programs

At the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., near 7th and Union, Arcata.  Refreshments at 7:00 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m.

September 14, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.  "Hazlenut Speaks of the Wiyot Past."  Adam Canter, a biologist with the Wiyot Tribe, will share a story of rediscovery. Hazelnut does not often grow on the immediate coast. Recently the Wiyot Tribe documented hazelnut scrub in Humboldt County, extending its known range by ~200 miles into the North Coast. Adam will highlight Wiyot history in relation to hazelnut, research into herbarium records and possible past distribution, and share other important food plants the Wiyot Tribe cultivated.  Current ethnobotanical research efforts help us better understand how California’s indigenous population managed, tended and helped contribute to the diversity of species we see today. In the absense of such management, these habitats are struggling to survive against forest encroachment, invasive species, and development. 


Field Trips & Plant Walks

July 30, Saturday. Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for Wolf's Evening Primrose (Oenothera wolfii) in roadside locations around Humboldt Bay and Trinidad. Oenothera wolfii struggles to survive due to road maintenance activities and hybridization with a similar non-native species. We’ll attempt to map locations of Oenothera wolfii and its hybrids. For details contact Greg O’Connell at or 707-599-4887..

August 5-7, Saturday-Sunday. Del Norte Weekend. Botanical wonders are in every direction in Del Norte County. From headquarters in Rock Creek Ranch, a group-camping facility on the South Fork Smith River, some people will head out rare plant treasure hunting, while other people head for trail hikes. Rare plant hunters will explore the Gasquet region (and possibly Lake Earl area) looking for several late-blooming taxa with historical records from the areas, including Little-leaf Huckleberry (Vaccinium scoparium), Great Burnett (Sanguisorba officinalis), and several sedge species (Carex spp.). For rare plant details contact Greg at or 707-599-4887.  For camping and hiking contact Carol at 707-822-2015 or Come for all or part, but please let us know.

September 25, Sunday. Cold Spring Day Hike. Only one hour away from Arcata, in Six Rivers National Forest along Forest Highway 1 (Titlow Hill Rd off 299) we will be breathing mountain air and gazing at mountain vistas. The Cold Spring area offers diverse habitats: White fir forest, oak woodland, azalea thicket, open meadow, rocky outcrop, and sunny seep. Both Jeffrey and Ponderosa Pines grow there, and at least five species of mycoheterotrophs (a.k.a. saprophytes). We will also assess the impact of cattle grazing. Expect to walk 2-3 miles on cow paths and cross country. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School in Arcata. Dress for the weather (at 4,800 ft elevation); bring lunch and water. Let us know you are coming: Carol 707-822-2015.


Rare Native Iris Makes Mid Klamath Home

Tanya Chapple, Article adapted from the Mid Klamath Watershed Council’s blog

**CNPS Editor’s note: The Northcoast CNPS Chapter is excited to explore rare, native plants through our sponsored hikes, field trips, and treasure hunts. In this article, Tanya Chapple describes a beautiful iris found only near Orleans.

Did you know that the Orleans iris or Ishi-Pishi iris (Iris tenax ssp. klamathensis) is a rare plant? It is! This special yellow blooming iris is only found in the Klamath River region, nowhere else in California or Oregon, or the entire world. In fact it is commonly seen only on the west side of the Klamath River between Orleans and Somes Bar. In the past few weeks the sides of Ishi Pishi Road have been bejeweled by this iris. But the irises you see up the Salmon River, or toward Weitchpec or Happy Camp are different species.

Orleans iris is an example of an endemic plant. Endemism is when an organism has a restricted range, found in only one region and not outside of that location. The Klamath Siskiyou biogregion is home to many endemic species because of its unique geography. And to me, the Orleans iris is the flower shaped shining star that reminds me how special this place we live really is. 

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