California Native Plant Society | August 2023

August Field Trips

Beach evening primrose

Saturday, August 5, 10am-1pm. Orchids in the Dunes Walk.  Join Carol Ralph to learn about five species of orchid that live in the Lanphere Dunes.  Walk 1-2 miles, partly on soft sand. Meet at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) to carpool to the protected site.  Co-sponsored by CNPS and Friends of the Dunes. RSVP: 707-444-1397.

Sunday, August 6, 9am.  Ferndale Fun: Russ Park and Hadley Gardens Day Hike.  Russ Park in Ferndale is a beautiful, mature, coastal forest. We will also stop at the new Hadley Gardens on Main St., which features native plants.  Meet at 9am at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd, Arcata), 9:30am at the Kohl’s end of Bayshore Mall, or 10am at the parking area on Bluff St. Bring lunch and water.  RSVP: 707-822-2015 or 

Evening Programs 

Wednesday, September 13, 7pm. 53rd Anniversary Celebration! Speakers, pictures, and cake! Gather in person at Six Rivers Masonic Lodge in Arcata. 

Restoration Day

Saturday, August 19, 9-11am.  Rohner Park Restoration Work Party.  Help preserve Fortuna’s exceptionally old second-growth Redwood forest by removing invasive plants.  Meet at the Fireman’s Pavilion. Contact Steve: 707-601-6753.

Native Plant Nursery

The chapter’s nursery is open for sales during regular work day hours on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, 10am ‐1pm. Please check out our website for nursery info and an updated plant list. Due to limited onsite connectivity, checks are the preferred method of payment. Currently beach evening primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia) is blooming away.

Native Solitary Bees

Leafcutter Bee by Andrea Pickart

It’s bee season; a great time to visit our local dunes to see pollinating and nesting activity of our local solitary bees!  As their name suggests, solitary bees nest individually rather than in a colony like honeybees. During mating season in summer, females burrow into the sand to lay their eggs, which overwinter. New adults emerge in spring and summer. Although solitary, the nests of some species are made close together in colonies. One charismatic species is the silver bee (Habropoda miserabilis), a relatively large bee that has a unique mating strategy. Males emerge from the nest before females and then buzz around the nesting sites waiting for females to emerge. Once a female is spotted, multiple males will form a mass around her, competing for access. Sometimes these “balling bees” will roll down a slope. Very fun to watch.  The other prominent bee is the leafcutter bee (Megachile wheeleri). These bees cut out small bite-shaped pieces of the leaves of dune goldenrod, and transport them to the nest. They roll the leaf under their body to carry, and resemble bees on magic carpets. The bees then use the goldenrod leaf to wrap around the egg, pollen, and nectar, making a neat package. 

Digressing for a moment into beetles….the Meloe beetle, also known as blister beetle, is a nest parasite on silver bees. The adult beetles lay hundreds of eggs underground. The larvae emerge during the flight season of the silver bee and travel to a nearby plant en masse, crawling to the top and forming a mass that could be mistaken for a silver bee. They emit pheromones that trick silver bees into thinking they are indeed a female bee, and when the silver bee tries to mate with the faux bee, larvae attach to the underside of the bee and are carried to the nest. They overwinter in the nest, feeding on the bee’s egg as well as the pollen and nectar. They will emerge as adults in the spring to begin the cycle again.

Silver bee by Andrea Pickart