A New Rubus Among Us; New Nursery; and Field Trip Report

December, 2017

 

 

North Coast CNPS’s New Nursery

 

North Coast CNPS President Carol Ralph and North Coast Regional Land Trust Executive Director Dan Ehresman sign the lease. Photo: Gura Lashlee.

 

 

North Coast CNPS’s primary fundraisers are our spring and fall native plant sales featuring plants raised in our nursery. North Coast CNPS is in the process of moving our nursery from its current location at the Jacoby Creek Land Trust’s Kokte Ranch to the North Coast Regional Land Trust’s Freshwater Farms Reserve property at 5851 Myrtle Avenue, near Three Corners Market. This location has significantly more space, which should make watering and maintaining disease-free plants much easier. The new location also has a 90-foot long hoop house. This greenhouse space will allow more of our nursery operations to take place at a CNPS facility, and provide storage for nursery materials, as well as a warm, dry space to work in. We will also be able to take advantage of the larger outdoor space to establish a demonstration garden. 

While exciting, this move also presents new challenges. There will be many opportunities to help with moving our nursery and improving the new site, as well as the usual nursery work.

Clean-up in the hoophouse. Photo: Gura Lashlee.

We have nursery work days on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but will also have occasional weekend work days.  If you are interested in volunteering, contact our nursery manager Chris Beresford at thegang7@pacbell.net or by calling  707-826-0259.

 

 

A New Rubus Among Us

 

Have you ever seen a Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) and thought, "Hmmm. That doesn't look quite right." You might have been seeing Rubus praecox, a species not even in The Jepson Manual or Calflora! In the newsletter of the California Invasive Plant Council (CalIPC), Marcel Rejmánek calls attention to this confusion in an article entitled "Rubus praecox: a newly recognized invasive European blackberry in California." ( Dispatch summer/fall 2017:12-13).

Botanists working on a biological control for the non-native blackberries have been looking carefully at the blackberries in our region. They found that some of the specimens being called R. armeniacus were actually the similar R. praecox, a European species. Rejmánek looked at California specimens in the herbaria at UC Berkeley and UC Davis and found several R. praecox, misidentified as R. armeniacus or R. discolor (a misapplied synonym of armeniacus). These R. praecox were all in Butte or Humboldt Counties! That's us! We'd better get out there looking more carefully at those big, nonnative blackberries!

The author provides field marks. Here are some: 

R. armeniacus.

  • Prickles on first year stems are stout, rarely curved, red at the base, contrasting with green surface of the stem (Look on the shaded side of young stems.), 3-7 per 5 cm.
  • Prickles on the inflorescence rachis (stem) are mostly straight.
  • Petals are pale pink, 13-20 mm long x 10-15 mm wide.
  • Stamens are long, up to twice as long as styles.

R. praecox.

  • Prickles on first year stems are stout, usually slightly declining or slightly curved, colored green or dark violet like the stem (Look on the shaded side of young stems.), 3-6 per 5 cm.
  • Prickles on inflorescence rachis are strong, mostly curved.
  • Petals are white or pale pink, 10-14 mm long x 7-11 mm wide. Stamens are usually only slightly longer than styles.

Besides R. armeniacus the blackberry I see abundantly in Humboldt County is the native California Blackberry (R. ursinus), with its round stem, gentle prickles, and early blooms. Two other non-natives I have seen, both with robust, 5-angled stems like like armeniacus, are Elmleaf Blackberry (R. ulmifolius var. anoplothyrsus), which has no prickles, and Cutleaf Blackberry (R. laciniatus), with jaggedy, divided leaves. The Jepson Manual shows R. pennsylvanicus as a possibility here also. Its leaves are gray-hairy underneath, and its stems do not root at the tips, which would mean it doesn't form huge thickets as fast as the other species, which do root at the tips. In case you think these fine points of blackberry taxonomy are unimportant, consider this: A rust being studied as a possible biological control grows on R. praecox and R. laciniatus, but not on R. armeniacus! In case you think blackberry taxonomy is all worked out, consider this: Rejmánek disagrees with the treatment of this genus in the Flora of North America. 

 

Inland Fall Day Trip Report

 

Two cedars: Western red cedar on the left, Port Orford cedar on the right. Photo: Evan Mahoney-Moyer.

In October, CNPS had a field trip with various stops along 299. While this was pitched, at least in part, as a fall color trip, we ended up seeing numerous interesting species.

First stop was near the bridge at the bottom of Chezem road, where we observed bountiful poison oak displaying fall colors along with various riparian species along Redwood Creek.  

Our second stop was at the East Fork campground. There we were able to see numerous species, including tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus) and canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis). In what was to become a theme of the trip, we compared their acorns: tanoak is much larger.

Our third stop at the Boise Creek campground was unexpectedly interesting. On the hike to the creek, we saw numerous species not seen every day on the coast: cliffbrake (Aspidotis densa), alum root (Heuchera micrantha) , mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii), and wood saxifrage (Saxifraga mertensiana). We had the good fortune to observe two cedars (Port Orford cedar, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana;and incense cedar, Calocedrus decurrens) growing side-by-side during our lunch break. Though it would have been more interesting to see the more readily confused Port Orford cedar and western red cedar (Thuja plicata) side-by-side, this was nevertheless informative. 

Humboldt county fuchsia at the Hlel-Din river access. Photo: Evan Mahony-Moyer.

We continued on from here to the Hlel-Din river access point, just over the border into Trinity county and at the confluence of the South Fork and main stem of the Trinity River. Here we saw a variety of plants.One of the most noteworthy, spotted by Carol Ralph, was the hollyleaf redberry, Rhamnus ilicifolia. To the casual observer, this looks deceptively like a live oak. However, on closer examination it has... berries. Or, more correctly, drupes. Also, the leaf buds are not enclosed in a protective scale. After admiring this plant and comparing it to a nearby live oak, we continued to the riverside, where the author licked river rocks to sample honeydew. Another highlight of this stop was the Humboldt county fuchsia (Epilobium septentrionale).

Our final stop was the Francis B. Matthews rest stop further up 299, where  we encountered a rugged hike and few plants of note. 

 

 

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