Poison oak.  Photo by Tony Iwane.
Poison oak. Photo by Tony Iwane.

Wednesday, November 18, 7:30 pm

Poison Oak!
Speaker: Sue Rosenthal
Location: Garden Room, Orinda Library (see directions below)

Back in 1959, Regional Parks Botanic Garden director Jim Roof wrote about poison oak’s value and limitations as a landscape plant. “[It is one] of our loveliest native CA shrubs. The new leaves, as they emerge in spring, are a bright-glossy red; the old leaves, in September and October are a lovely scarlet. The shrub should be more widely used in the native landscape design. It has only one drawback: it is deciduous in winter.” Some of us might have other reasons for not planting it in our gardens, but poison oak and its relatives in the U.S. and around the world are worthy of admiration for their adaptability, habitat value, and even usefulness to humans. Join us to make a closer acquaintance with the plant we love to hate: You’ll come away with greater understanding, respect, and even appreciation for this ubiquitous California native—all from a safe distance.

Sue Rosenthal is the East Bay CNPS programs chair. After several very unpleasant experiences with the negative aspects of poison oak, she decided knowledge is preferable to fear and dove into poison oak facts and lore. She emerged with the same lack of immunity to the plant, but thanks to her improved attitude, she hasn’t had another serious P.O. rash (yet).

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Email sr0433@yahoo.com or call 510-496-6016 if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way:

From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.
From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.
Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the southeast side of the two-story building on your right. There is additional free parking beneath the building as well as on the street.

From BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Library.

No meeting in December (happy holidays!)