Request For Help Monitoring Unusual Plants

Another spring, another field season. Time to get out in the sunshine and search for our Rare and Unusual plants again. For those of you who may not know, our Unusual plants are those that are rare locally but not statewide. Some of these plants are even rarer in our two-county area than the statewide rare plants that occur here.

Field research for our Unusual plants has fallen off in the last few years as we have turned our efforts to producing an on-line version of the Chapter’s database, Rare, Unusual, and Significant Plants of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Although we have made great strides, we are still working on some final changes and improvements.

But the most urgent job right now, as another spring approaches, is to get our data up to date, and that is where you, our members, come into the picture.

We need any recent data (2010-present) that you may have for our Unusual plants. A list is available on the Chapter website of our locally A-ranked plants. Please review your field notes from your hikes, surveys, memory banks, etc. of the last 5 years in Alameda or Contra Costa counties. If you have seen any of these plants in our area recently, please contact Dianne Lake at diannelake@yahoo.com with the name of the plant, when you saw it, and a precise location. Or you may also download an Unusual Plant survey form from the website and email it to her. GPS coordinates or a map are also greatly appreciated.

We are also asking our members to go out this year and hunt for these Unusual plants and to report their findings. We need to know how these populations are doing, and especially to see how they are responding to the drought. A list is available on the Chapter website of the priority Unusual plant species and locations most in need of updated information. In addition, a list of Unusual plants known at a specific site or area, or a list of known locations for an individual Unusual plant species can be obtained by emailing diannelake@yahoo.com .

There are no formal group surveys for Unusual plants, but members are encouraged to go out on their own or to form their own groups to go out and survey for specific plants or groups of plants, or to survey specific areas for the Unusual plants in that area.

Identifications need to be verified for accuracy, so it is always good to have someone in the group who is familiar with East Bay plants, or verifications can also usually be made at the Jepson Herbarium at UC Berkeley.

So go out and explore our area, have fun, and let us know what you find!

Happy Botanizing!

Dianne Lake
diannelake@yahoo.com