North Coast CNPS




  • January 13, 2010 (Wednesday). - "CNPSers in Patagonia -- the Southern Tip of South America" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 pm with program starting at 7:30 pm.
    Travel with renowned HSU botanist, author, and plant ecologist, Dr. John O. Sawyer to the rich, southern hemisphere rainforest where redwood-equivalent alerce grows, to the bizarre araucaria forest, to the continent's southernmost forest, and to the spectacular, rock-and-ice Torres del Paine National Park. See Patagonian wildflowers, southern beech, surprising species in familiar genera such as Baccharis, Gaultheria, and Ribes, all in the land of condor and penguins.
  • February 10, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Poisonous Plants of Northwestern California" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 pm with program starting at 7:30 pm.
    Professor Emeritus Dr. James P. Smith, curator of the HSU Herbarium, will explain what makes certain plants poisonous or toxic, and the various ways we come into contact with them. His examples will include the most violently poisonous plant in North America, an escaped garden plant that was once used as the active ingredient in a witch’s recipe to cure dropsy, a plant that is second only to the common cold in causing lost days of work in California, a popular herbal remedy that also poisons animals after they are exposed to sunlight, a common roadside plant associated with the death of Socrates (though perhaps not in the way most people think), and a familiar plant that not only harms the animal that consumes it, but also its offspring.
  • February 12, 2010 (Friday), 6-8:30 pm. "Wildflower Art Gallery" - at the monthly 'Arts Arcata' downtown art fair, upstairs at Umpqua Bank, across from Arcata Theater. The artists have agreed to donate a portion of sales to the Spring Wildflower Show's transportation fund (to bring school kids to the show). Organized by Rick Tolley, 707-668- 5370.
  • February 27, 2010 (Saturday). - Coastal Trail Day Hike, Klamath - Mosses, red-flowering current, canyon gooseberry, violets, and a giant purple wakerobin should be glorious along the Coastal Trail from Requa, on the north side of the mouth of the Klamath River, to Lagoon Creek, where Highway 101 meets the ocean north of Klamath. We will shuttle a car to one end and start at the other so we only need walk the 4 miles one way. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange a place farther north. Dress for the weather! Bring lunch and water. Return late afternoon. Please tell Carol you are coming 822-2015.
  • February 27, 2010 (Saturday), 9 am - 5 pm. - "Introduction to the Sedges of Northwestern California: a hands-on workshop" (registration, see below) - co-sponsored with HSU Vascular Plant Herbarium, Science D, 161. This workshop will follow a virtual transect from North Coast dunes, through coastal wetlands, redwood and mixed evergreen forests, coastal prairies and montane meadows to the alpine habitats of the Klamath Mountains at Mt. Eddy. The most common sedges by habitat type along the way will be keyed and reviewed. Participants will hone their skills in sedge sight recognition and keying in the Jepson Manual.
    Basic sedge terminology, morphology, ecology, evolution, and keying techniques will be covered. Much of the day will be spent dissecting and keying specimens in the laboratory using a microscope and the Jepson Manual. Many specimens will be available for review, dissection, and comparison. This workshop is geared for beginner and intermediate caricologists, but familiarity with identifying plants using the Jepson Manual is required.
    Participants should bring: dissection equipment, including extra- fine forceps; Jepson Manual; and lunch.
    Registration: $60 CNPS Members, $95 non-members. Send check made out to "NC CNPS" with your contact information, including email address: CNPS, P.O. Box 1067, Arcata, CA 95518-1067. Information: Gordon Leppig, Flier (PDF 59 KB)
  • March 10, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Blooming Beauties and Graceful Glaciers in the Swiss Alps" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 pm with program starting at 7:30 pm.
    The Swiss Alps are rich in botanical treasures and beautiful landscapes. Botanist Birgit Semsrott will share her pictures of Grindelwald, Switzerland. Located in the Bernese Oberland Region, Grindelwald is in the heart of a massive mountain range and surrounded by majestic, ice-clad peaks. Many of Birgit's pictures were taken at Schynige Platte Alpine Garden, one of only a few botanical gardens in the world that show alpine plants in their natural environment.
  • March 21, 2010 (Sunday). - Arcata Community Forest Day Hike - reaches of the this great city park are beyond the casual stroll. We will explore some of the farthest trails, hiking a long loop or shuttling cars to a different trailhead. We can count trillium for fun, practice spotting false azalea, learn at least five conifers and five ferns, and watch for fetid adder's tongue (aka slinkpod) and other early signs of spring. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the trailhead at the top of Diamond Drive. Dress for the weather, for being in shady, redwood forest, and for walking about 4 miles on dirt roads and paths. Bring lunch and water. Return mid- or late afternoon. Information: Carol 822-2015.
  • March 27, 2010 (Saturday), 11:30 am - 1:30 pm. - Baker Beach Plant Walk. The lush, tangled vegetation on the coastal bluffs and rocks above this beautiful Trinidad beach reveal a good diversity of shrubs and herbaceous plants, including the uncommon coastal mistmaiden (Romanzoffia tracyi). Dana York will lead us down the trail and along the beach to find it. Meet at 11:30 at the Baker Beach trail marker. Take Westhaven exit off 101, go west, then north on Scenic Drive, past Luffenholtz, to a wide shoulder under trees. Just a note, Baker Beach is clothing optional. To carpool meet at Pacific Union School at 11 a.m. Info: 825-1043 or 822-2015
  • April 11, 2010 (Sunday). - Humboldt Redwoods Day Hike - Roadside stops and walks on several short trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park should find milkmaids, western trillium, and, hopefully, fawn lilies, as well as other early bloomers under the magnificent redwoods of southern Humboldt County. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata), 9:00 a.m. at the McDonalds end of Bayshore Mall parking lot, or arrange another place. Dress for the weather, all sorts. Bring lunch and water. Return late afternoon. Please tell Carol you are coming 822-2015.
  • April 14, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Our Coastal Grassland Treasures - contemporary conservation challenges and pathways to restoration" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 pm with program starting at 7:30 pm.
    Bureau of Land Management botanist and range conservationist Jennifer Wheeler will share the story of the historical and modern plight of grasslands on the North Coast. She will tell what defines coastal grasslands, where they are, why and how fast they disappear, and how small restoration projects could make a big impact. She will share her experiences and passion with modern methods of enhancing and restoring native perennial grass populations.
  • April 17, 2010 (Saturday)8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - "Ivy bash at Patrick's Point State Park" - In honor of Earth Day CNPS is supporting State Parks in tackling the invasive English ivy on Ceremonial Rock. Bring gloves if you have them. Lunch provided. Free park admission for volunteers. 677-3109, 443-204-2411, or 822-2015.
  • April 24, 2010 (Saturday), 10 am - noon. - Ferns in and around the dunes - plant walk with Carol Ralph. Prehistoric, persistent, and lovely describes most ferns. Meet eight species and learn about their morphology, reproduction and identification on a walk along the Lanphere Dunes entrance road. Bring a hand lens. Meet at Pacific Union School, 3001 Janes Road in Arcata and carpool to the protected site. Co-sponsored by CNPS and Friends of the Dunes. Please register by calling 444-1397 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • April 25, 2010 (Sunday), 1-3 pm. - Flowers in a fir forest - plant walk near Hydesville, hosted by landowners Bill and Linda Shapeero. A grand fir forest, stream, pasture, and pond offer a rich assortment of flowering herbaceous plants, including two trilliums, two fairy bells, two violets, skunk cabbage, delphinium, inside-out-flower, checker lily, redmaids, candyflower, and bleeding heart. From 101 at south end of Fortuna, exit Kenmar Dr., go left under 101, right on Eel River Drive, left on Drake Hill Rd, right on Rohnerville Rd, and 1.7 miles to Puddin Lane at the bottom of a gulch. Follow signs to Shapeero. The ground may be damp. 768-3287 or 822-2015.
  • April 30, May 1-2 (Friday-Sunday). - "Spring Wildflower Show" - ...the North Coast celebration of California wild plants. Volunteer! Call 707-822- 2015.
  • May 1, 2010 (Saturday), 2-3:30 pm. - "Amazing Adaptations of Dune Plants." - Join Tamar Danufskya, a Friends of the Dunes docent, on a walk through the dunes to learn about the difficulties of life in a pile of sand and about how some plants overcome those challenges. Meet in front of the main hall at Manila Community Center, where the Spring Wildflower Show will be happening, 1611 Peninsula Dr., Manila. 822-2015
  • May 2, 2010 (Sunday), 1:30-3:00 pm. - "Flora and Fauna of the Dunes." - Join Andrea Packart, Friends of the Dunes docent (and Lanphere Dunes unit Manager), to look for the creatures that inhabit and interact with the beautiful dune vegetation. Many of them have six legs. Meet in front of the main hall at Manila Community Center, where the Spring Wildflower Show will be happening, 1611 Peninsula Dr., Manila. 822-2015
  • May 9, 2010 (Sunday), 12:30-4:30 pm. - Stony Creek Half-day Hike. - Meet the California pitcher plant and other serpentine soil-lovers on this 2-mile roundtrip hike through open forest to the confluence of Stony Creek and the North Fork Smith River. A favorite destination, this trail always offers diverse blooms. This trip is for CNPS members and for registrants of the California Redwoods Bird & Nature Festival (, limited to 15 total. Please call Carol 707-822-2015.
  • May 12, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Hiking the South Fork Trinity River" evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 pm with program starting at 7:30.
    Artist, photographer, woodworker, and naturalist Rick Tolley has documented many faces of this popular trail. He will share wildflowers, vistas, and adventures from 20 years of family hikes, art hikes, CNPS hikes, Wild Heritage hikes, tubing hikes, and backpacking hikes. Indian warrior, dogwood, blazing star, fawn lily, trillium, scarlet larkspur, Indian pink, Indian paintbrush, and brodiaeas are some of the treats he will show us.
  • May 16, 2010 (Sunday). - South Fork Trinity day hike. This popular trail features mixed evergreen forest of various ages, oak woodland, lush riparian, rock cliffs and outcrops, shrubby slopes, and gravelly seeps. Diverse terrain means diverse plants. Some will be blooming. The trail is well graded, 4 miles each way to the river, but you don't have to go all the way. Bring lunch and 2 quarts of water; dress for the weather. The trailhead is 2 hrs from Arcata. Return by dark. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange someplace else. Call Carol 822-2015.
  • May 22, 2010 (Saturday). - Bair Road and Pine Ridge day trip. Bair Rd., from Hoopa to Redwood Valley, offers great roadside wildflowers as it winds through mixed evergreen forest, serpentine outcrops and woodland, crosses the summit at 3,674 ft., and descends through more mixed evergreen broken by prairie and pasture. We'll take a side trip a few miles out Pine Ridge Rd. to see very early spring in the prairie we discovered in a cold rain in November 2008. Being May, we can't miss. Lots will be blooming. We'll try for 4 species of Dichelostemma. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Bring a two-way radio if you have one, to maintain contact between cars. Meet at 8:30 at Pacific Union School (or arrange another spot). Carol Ralph 822-2015.
  • May 23, 2010 (Sunday), 1-3 pm. - Azalea Reserve plant walk - with Pete Haggard. See many of our native plants that are recommended for gardens, both shrubs and herbs, including the native azalea, which should be blooming. Take North Bank Rd. off 101 just north of the Mad River; after a little more than one mile turn left on Azalea Dr., and shortly after that, left into the parking lot. Pete Haggard 839-0307.
  • May 28-31, 2010 (Friday-Monday). - Mendocino coast field trip - Participate in all or just part. Itinerary
    Explore many of Mendocino's favorite botanical sites, including the Pygmy Forest and the Mendocino Botanical Garden. Overnight in campgrounds or motels; make short day hikes in the Fort Bragg-Mendocino area. Tell Carol you are interested 822-2015.
  • June 5, 2010 (Saturday) 11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Jacoby Creek Forest wildflower walk. Join City of Arcata botanists Mike McDowall and Javier Nogueira to walk in this lush, city-owned forest closed to public access. See western wahoo, stink currant, a diversity of saxifrage family and ferns, a sparkling stream, a rich forest. Moderate hike; two stream crossings. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water. Meet at 11 a.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall, 500 7th St., to carpool to the trailhead. Information: City of Arcata Environmental Services Dept., 822-8184 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • June 6, 2010 (Sunday), 1-3 p.m. - Stagecoach Hill Azalea Reserve and Dry Lagoon plant walk. Great blooming azaleas! and Douglas iris! and beach pea! Admire our amazing, variable, fragrant, native azaleas on this short, easy trail through a pocket spruce forest and brushy clearing overlooking the wide Pacific Ocean. Then drive across to Dry Lagoon park to marvel at the colors of the sand plants in the strand. Leaders Barbara Kelly and Elaine Weinreb will identify the many species flowering in both these habitats. Meet at the reserve parking area: from 101 north of Big Lagoon turn right (east) on Kane Rd. at mile marker 112.5. 839-5356 for carpool suggestions
  • June 12, 2010 (Saturday). - Horse Mountain to Grouse Mountain day trip. It will be full spring along Forest Highway 1 (Titlow Hill Rd.) along the ridge in Six Rivers National Forest. We will stop and wander at various favorite places. Possibilities include Cold Springs, Spikebuck Meadow, Camas Meadow, Veratrum Camp, and Horse Mt. Botanical Area. We can hope to see violets, iris, pussyears, trillium, fritillary, Sanicula tuberosa, fawn lily, dogwood, etc.! Bring lots of layers of clothing for mountain weather; bring lunch and water. Return mid- to late-afternoon. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange another place. Call Carol 822-2015.
  • June 13, 2010 (Sunday), 1-3 pm. - "Blooms and Bugs at Mad River Beach" - Join Pete Haggard to see blooming beach buckwheat, seaside daisy, sand verbena, and others where the sand meets the firmer, damper soil of the willowy, rushy swale. Easy walking. Meet at the beach parking lot at the very end of Mad River Rd. 839-0208.
  • June 26, 2010 (Saturday), 9 a.m.-2 p.m. - Baylands Restoration wetland exploration. Poke and splash around in the City of Arcata's wet pastures, waterfowl habitat, sloughs, and riparian zones in the area behind the Little League field and the Highway Patrol. Our goal is to list all the plant species, including all those grass and grass-like things. Meet on the pullout just off the roundabout at Old Arcata Rd. and Union St. Bring your sharp eyes, any books you find useful, lunch and water. Please tell Carol you're coming 822-2015.
  • July 9-11, 2010 (Friday-Sunday). - Poker Flat and Kelly Lake day hikes and campout. In the heart of the Siskiyous at 4-5,000 ft. elevation in Klamath National Forest between Happy Camp and O'Brien, these sites of distant past CNPS trips offer great exploration of mountain forest and meadow, including serpentine and possibly the "most beautiful meadow in northwest California." We will camp in a primitive Forest Service campground at Poker Flat. Non-campers could look for accommodation in Happy Camp, Patrick Creek, or Cave Junction area. Contact Carol 707-822-2015.
  • July 31, 2010 (Saturday), 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - "Orchids in the Dunes". Explore the Lanphere Dunes with Carol Ralph . Find four species of orchids blooming. Bring a lens; the flowers are small! Meet at Pacific Union School, 3001 Janes Road in Arcata, and carpool to the protected site. Co-sponsored by CNPS and Friends of the Dunes. Please register by calling 444-1397 or contact
  • in July, August, or September 2010. - Waterdog Lake - plant, butterfly, and bird day hike. Surprise CNPS-Audubon event - date to be announced. This hike was smoked out by forest fires the last two years, so this year we will schedule it on short notice, advertised through our Yahoo! groups. It could be in July, August, or September. Famous for their butterfly diversity, tiny Waterdog Lake and adjacent North Trinity Mountain are our destination on a two-mile trail through diverse mountain habitats: white fir and Sadler oak; regeneration from the 1999 Megram Fire; creekside mountain alder thicket; gravelly bald; wet, rocky hillside; red fir; and a small, sedgy meadow (with gentians) around the land-locked pond. The trail gains about 1,000 ft elevation, starting at 5,300 ft., but is not steep. Bring lunch, snack, at least 2 quarts water, and many layers of clothing. Meet at 7:30 a.m. sharp at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange another place. Two hour drive to the trailhead northeast of Hoopa. Return before 6 p.m. Call Carol 822-2015.
  • September 8, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Life in Our Saltmarshes, with and without Cordgrass (Sparina Densiflora)", evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 p.m. with program starting at 7:30 p.m.
    Andrea Pickart, Annie Eicher, and possibly others, as researchers and practioners on the forefront of this global problem will present the exciting story of invasion and spread by a non-native plant species, recognition of the problem, combat by weed warriors, and remarkable recovery by native marsh species. The talk will be illustrated by stunning photography of an extremely important intertidal habitat.
  • September 11, 2010 (Saturday), 10 a.m.-12 noon. - Conifers of the World, plant walk with Dr. Dennis Walker. Not all conifers look like Christmas trees. Learn what makes a conifer and see the wide array of conifers growing on Humboldt State University campus, led by the man who put them there. Meet at the front doors of the dome greenhouse, between the biology and engineering buildings. Parking is free on weekends in campus lots. 822-2015.
  • September 12, 2010 (Sunday). - Lake Earl Wetlands exploration. Lake Earl, near Crescent City, has a wide shoulder, providing zones for plants with different water requirements, even a few salt marsh species. We will be able to walk dry-shod to many of them, and with water footwear to more. We might spot unusual species among the many common wetland plants. Expect diverse monocots, such as bulrush, spikerush, three-square, arrow-grass, and toadrush; and diverse dicots, such as cudweed, silverweed, owl's clover, cow clover, dock, lamb's quarters, and brass buttons. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange another place north of there. Bring lunch and water; dress to be outside all day. Tell Carol 822-2015 where you will meet us.
  • September 18, 2010 (Saturday), 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.. - Native Plant Sale - Prepare for the fall planting season. Get your native shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs, and ferns. Experienced gardeners to help you choose. Cash or check. At the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center parking lot, 569 South G St., Arcata (5 blocks south of Samoa Blvd.).
  • October 9, 2010 (Saturday), noon - 5 p.m., appx. - Chapter picnic and book sale & auction, at the Ralphs' on Arcata Bottom. Members and friends are invited to share good food and good company around a campfire between the dune forest and the Mad River Slough. Bring a dish to share, your own item to BBQ, your own beverage, and eating gear. Fire ready for BBQ at 1; eat 1-2:30; then walk in the Lanphere Dunes or the Ralphs' agricultural wetlands. Meanwhile (in the Ralphs' house) a botanical book sale, culminating in an auction. Bring any botanical books you can donate to the chapter to sell. Please tell Carol you are coming (and ask directions): 822-2015.
  • October 13, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Unexpected Delights: the People, Fruit Stands and Flora of Jamaica" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 p.m. with program starting at 7:30 p.m.
    HSU Professor Michael Mesler was in Jamaica for several weeks in 2009 and 2010, working on an NSF-sponsored study of coffee pollination. He'll tell us a little about the research project, but he will mainly present photographic impressions of the cryzy-quilt Jamaican cultural and botanical landscapes.
  • October 16, 2010 (Saturday), 1-3 p.m. - "Autumn Falls on Falk", a plant walk on Elk River Trail. BLM botanist Jennifer Wheeler will introduce many common redwood forest and streamside plants, both native and non-native, in an historic corner of Headwaters Forest. The trail is paved and gentle, good for any weather. From 101 exit onto Elk River Rd. After 1.5 miles take right fork; after 4.5 more miles at the bridge fork right; go 1 mile more to the trailhead parking lot. 822-2015.
  • October 30, 2010 (Saturday), 2-4 p.m. - "Going to Seed: Late Fall Plants at the Arcata Marsh", a walk with lively naturalist Jenny Hanson on the paths of Arcata Marsh. Meet many common native and non-native species and see the results of their flowering. Meet at the Marsh Interpretive Center, 569 South G St.. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Arcata Marsh and North Coast Chapter of California Native Plant Society. 826-2359.
  • November 7, 2010 (Sunday). - Horse Mountain day hike. Grand vistas, diverse shrubs, and a study of seed pods will entertain us on a 2- to 4-mile hike on this popular, nearby ridge in Six Rivers National Forest. We will test a proposed route for a trail in this area. If the day is too wintry at this 4,400-ft elevation, we will opt for someplace lower. It's a day to be outside with the plants! Meet at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata). Bring lunch and water. Dress for the weather!. Return late afternoon. Tell Carol you are coming: 822-2015.
  • November 10, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Experience the beauty of an Oak Woodland in Spring" - evening program, Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union. Refreshments at 7 p.m. with program starting at 7:30 p.m. Kathy Dilley and Donna Wildrearth will share pictures from their trip to Cache Creek and Bear Valley (off Hwy. 20), where they saw masses of Indian Warrior, monumental Manzanitas, a glorious field of Cream Cups and Gilias, and two listed CNPS plants.
  • November 14, 2010 (Sunday), 1-3 p.m. - "What's Happening at Elk Head?" - plant walk. Discover botanical answers to this question on a walk with naturalist Dr. Dennis Walker. Some plants will be sprouting; others will be going dormant; some will be dispersing seeds; a few will be blooming. About 2 miles level walk. Meet at the College Cove parking lot, 3/4 mile north of Trinidad on Stagecoach Road, on the left. 822-2015.
  • December 8, 2010 (Wednesday). - "Native Plant Show and Tell" - evening program, refreshments at 7 p.m. with program starting at 7:30
    An informal evening for anyone to share photos, artifacts, readings, or food relating to native plants and their habitats. Contributors will include John Sawyer in the Rocky Mountains, Bill Wood looking at local flowers, Brian Dykstra illustrating poetry, and David Imper aiming at rare plants and deserts. Tell Dave Imper, coordinator,, 444-2756, what you'd like to share. Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road near 7th and Union.

Look here in the future for information to help you identify and appreciate our native plants.  The first posting might be

 Carol's Basic Willow Lesson for coastal Humboldt County

 How do you know it's a willow?
            You are in a wet place.
            It is deciduous.
            This time of year it has "pussies," the catkins of flowers.
            Its buds have a certain look--no seams; like slippers (some exceptions, but not right here).
            Leaves are simple (not lobed or divided) and alternate.

Looking at the catkins.
            Some trees have male flowers.  These have stamens sticking out all over, with anthers full of pollen on the ends. Looking closely you can see how many stamens stick out from each flower, which is represented by a single bract (scale-like thing).
            Some trees have female flowers. The female flower has a single, bowling pin-shaped pistil sticking out from behind each bract of the catkin.  Willows are dioecious--sexes on separate plants.
            Willows produce lots of pollen and can be wind pollinated, but they also provide nectar and attract insects that can pollinate them. 

 The species of willow at Arcata Marsh.
These are the three common species you will see anywhere on the coast in Humboldt County.

  1. If it is a real tree, with a single trunk reaching for the sky, it isPacific Willow (Salix lasiandra).  This willow is conspicuous because its bright green leaves are coming out at the same time as the catkins.  The male catkins can be quite yellow with pollen. Each flower has 3-5 stamens.  The leaves are distinctive for being tapered to a pointy tip and for having glands at the base of the leaf blade.  Glands look like tiny warts right on the edge of the leaf.  I said tiny.
  2.  If it is a large but sprawling tree with wide leaves and robust catkins (......), it is Coastal Willow (Salix hookeriana).  This willow's catkins bloom before the leaves open.  It is the most common willow at the Arcata Marsh and all over Arcata Bottom.  In a population some individuals bloom long before others; they are very unsynchronized.  The male flower has 2 stamens. 
  3.  If it is more shrubby than a tree and has velvety leaf undersides, it is Sitka Willow (Salix sitchensis).  Truly velvety, not just slightly fuzzy (which other willows are); you will know it when you see it.  The top of the leaf looks slightly quilted.  The catkin is also quite hairy, narrower than Coastal Willow's. The male flower has only one stamen. 

A fourth species at Arcata Marsh, along the railroad tracks is a tree-form willow with yellow, flexible twigs.  This is White Willow  (Salix alba), a European species escaped from cultivation for use in basketry.  It is not common; you are unlikely to encounter it elsewhere. 

 When you are ready to broaden your willow repertoire, look up Arroyo Willow (Salix lasiolepis) and Scouler's Willow (Salix scouleri).  Arroyo Willow is closely related to Coastal Willow and hybridizes with it.  It is more common inland than on the coast.  It is a large shrub, with its main distinction being that its leaves are widest beyond the middle, while variable in all other characteristics.  Scouler's Willow occasionally grows near the bay, but it is an upland willow, more likely to occur inland among conifers.  It is a tree-form willow, often with rusty hairs on the underside of the leaf. 

Go for a Willow Walk
At Arcata Marsh you can find these willows around the Log Pond.  You don't have to go to Arcata Marsh to find willows.  They are everywhere there is fresh water.  We are fortunate to have lots of that.  All the sloughs, gulches,shorelines, and streams are habitat for willows.  Now you know that it is possible for mere mortals to identify many of them to species.  Try it!

 27 March 2020

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Places to See Native Plants

Seeing native plants in their natural habitats is one of the favorite activities of CNPS members and something we want everyone to do. The chapter helps make this happen by offering short plant walks near our population centers and by organizing day trips and a few over-nighters to more distant sites. These trips are open to any interested person, not just members. We welcome beginners and experts; we enjoy learning from each other. See the activity list for upcoming trips, and look at the lists of past trips in the left column of that page.

Many wonderful guides to hiking in our area are in bookstores and on websites.  I find especially useful the two Hiking Humboldt volumes from Back Country Press.  Volume 1 by Ken Burton has hikes at least 5 miles long (which can be customized shorter), and volume 2 by Rees Hughes has shorter hikes.  For hikes in the Redwood parks, Jerry and Gisela Rohde have written Humboldt Redwoods State Park the Complete Guide and Best Short Hikes in Redwood National & State Parks.

The places we visit are usually open to the public.  We encourage you to explore there on your own. 
The plan is to add information about each place on this list.  If you would like to help develop and improve this list, please contact me! Carol Ralph, Field Trip Chair

Places Very Near Arcata-Eureka listed north to south

Hammond Trail
Azalea State Reserve
Mad River County Park
Lanphere Dunes Unit
Jolly Giant Creek
Humboldt State University campus - conifers
Arcata Community Forest
Arcata Town and Forest--Native Plants in Gardens and Nature. (Godwit Days walk)
Arcata Marsh
Jacoby Creek Canyon
Ma-le'l Dunes North and South
Humboldt Coastal Nature Center
Manila Dunes
Eureka Dunes
North Spit
Humboldt Area Foundation
Sequoia Park, Eureka
Elk River Trail in Headwaters Forest Reserve
Hikshari' Trail

Places North of Arcata-Eureka near to far, with approximate hours driving time

Baker Beach & Luffenholz Beach
Trinidad Head 0.5
Trinidad State Beach 0.5
Elk Head
Patrick's Point State Park
Big Lagoon County Park 0.5
Stagecoach Hill Azalea Mangement Area.
Dry Lagoon-Stone Lagoon Trail
Stone Lagoon north end
Old State Highway around Freshwater Lagoon
Bald Hills Rd
Redwood Creek Trail
Dolason Prairie Trail
Skunk Cabbage Trail
Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park--various trails
Coastal Road
Flint Ridge Trail
Coastal Trail--Requa to Lagoon Creek
Mill Creek Campground 1.5
Dead Lake
Lake Earl
Point Saint George 1.5
Tolowa Dunes
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Stony Creek Trail near Gasquet 2
French Hill Rd
Myrtle Creek Trail
Rock Creek Ranch, South Fork Smith R. 2
High Divide Rd
Bear Basin Butte & Buck Lake
Sanger Lake
Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside
Oregon Caves National Monument 3
Siskiyou Mts. around Selma; Siskyou Field Inst.
Chetco River Redwoods 3

Places East of Arcata-Eureka alphabetically, with approximate hours travel

Ammon Prairie 2
Bair Rd. 1
Big Flat, Trinity Mts. 3
Board Camp Mt. 1
Burnt Ranch Campground 2
Cedar Camp area, out of Orleans 2
Cold Spring near Horse Mountain
Cook and Green Pass 3
East Fork Willow Creek 1
Friday Ridge Rd. 1
Grays Falls Campground 2
Grouse Mt. 1
Groves Prairie 2
Horse Mountain Botanical Area 1
Horse Mtn. to Spikebuck Meadow 1
Horse Mtn. to Grouse Mtn. 1
Kangaroo Lake 4
Lily Heaven (Bluff Creek Rd.)
Mad River Buttes (Board Camp Mtn.) 2
Mt. Lassen 4
Pine Ridge 1
Poker Flat & Kelly Lake 3
Scott Mtn. & Mt. Eddy 3
South Fork Trinity River Trail
Titlow Hill 1
Waterdog Lake 2

Places South of Arcata-Eureka alphabetically, with approximate hours travel

Alder Point 3
Benbow to Garberville Trail
Bull Creek - Albee  Creek area 2
Canoe Creek in Humboldt Redwoods S. P.
Elk River Trail, Headwaters Forest 0.5
Grasshopper Peak, Humboldt Redwoods S. P.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods S. P.
Guthrie Creek 2
Headwaters Forest 1
Humboldt Bay NWR - Loleta 1
Humboldt Botanical Garden 0.5
Lassics Botanical and Geological Area 3
Mail Ridge (Dyerville Loop Rd.) 2
Mattole Rd. 1
Mendocino - Jughandle, etc. 4
Rohner Park, Fortuna 0.5
Russ Park, Ferndale 1
Shapeero property, Hydesville 0.5
Table Bluff County Park 0.5


List View | Calendar View

Evening programs are free, public programs on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May, offered in person (as Covid protocols allow) at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., Arcata, and online via Zoom. Refreshments at 7:00 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. Find the link to register for them on the home page of this website each month as the date approaches.

Outings are open to everyone, not just members. All levels of expertise, from beginners to experienced botanizers, are welcome. Address questions about physical requirements to the leader. It is wise to contact the leader before the trip, in case plans change.  We follow county covid advice regarding masks and group size.

icon 6Wed, Feb 9 2022 at 7:30pm

Evening Program: Silvery Phacelia, Rare Coastal Dune Beauty of Del Norte County

Silvery Phacelia (Phacelia argentea) exists only in the dunes of Tolowa Dunes State Park and Lake Earl Wildlife Area near Crescent City.  Naturalist Sandra Jerabek, Director for the Tolowa Dunes Stewards, and Katrina Henderson, California State Parks, will share the secrets of this charismatic plant, and feature the heroic, ongoing efforts of volunteers to protect its scenic dune habitat and adjacent estuary.  Possibly in-person as well as Zoom.

icon 6Sun, Feb 27 2022

Field Trip: Dry Lagoon-Stone Lagoon Day Hike

Is Dry Lagoon Dry now? What is visible of the summer-colorful carpet of sand plants? Are Candyflower lighting up the alder forest? Is the trillium still there? We will answer these questions on a 4.6-mile, out-and-back hike on gentle terrain in Humboldt Lagoons State Park. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or 10 a.m. at Dry Lagoon. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Contact Carol at 707-822-2015 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Vaccinated people only; bring a mask.

icon 6Wed, Mar 9 2022 at 7:30p

Evening Program

In this evening program, native bee-man and native plant agriculture experimenter Brian Dykstra will touch on Wailaki ethnobotany, local botany, wildflowers, and wildfire.  Possibly in-person as well as Zoom.

icon 6Sun, Mar 27 2022

Field Trip: South Fork Trail Day Hike

Last year in March Ken Burton reported "huge patches of Indian Warrior and Fawn Lily, plus monkeyflower, hounds-tongue, larkspur, baby blue-eyes, popcorn flower, and many more" along this well known trail and the road to it in Six Rivers National Forest east of Willow Creek.  The trail is well graded but weakly maintained, meaning fallen trees can be obstacles.  Poison Oak is common.  We will walk out and back, probably covering 4-5 miles, not the entire trail to the river (8 miles round trip). Bring lunch and 2 quarts of water; dress for the weather. The trailhead is 2 hours from Arcata, including a bit of rough road. Be prepared for a long day, maybe dinner in Willow Creek.  Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rs., Arcata) or arrange another place.  Tell Carol you are coming: 707-822-2015, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

icon 6Wed, April 13 2022

Evening Program:Three Serpentine Botanical Areas

John McCrea,  Three Serpentine Botanical Areas in Six Rivers National Forest.  Possibly in-person as well as Zoom.

icon 6Sun, April 10 2022

Field Trip: Destination TBD

icon 6Fri, April 29 - Sun May 1 2022

Spring Wildflower Show

icon 6Sat, APR 30 & Sun May 2022

Spring Native Plant Sale

icon 6Wed, May 11 2022 at 7:30p

Evening Program: TBD

icon 6Sun, May 22 2022

Field Trip: Van Eck Forest Day Trip

Van Eck Forest Day Trip with forester Jack from Pacific Forest Trust

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