Native Plant Appreciation Week

Celebrate Native Flora!

Scarlet fritillaria (Fritillaria recurva)

Scarlet fritillaria (Fritillaria recurva)

California is toward the end of its Native Plant Week, April 15-23, with many events organized through the California Native Plant Society.

For more information on events in California see the California Native Plant Week events page.

Oregon’s Native Plant Appreciation Week starts this Sunday, April 23rd, running through April 29th. The Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO) also has many events planned for the week. NPSO Facebook page

For Siskiyou Chapter Native Plant Society of Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Week events see their Facebook page.

Oregon Native Plant Appreciation Week

Bumble Bee Blitz

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Dr. Robbin Thorp will lead the Bumble Bee Blitz in search of Franklin’s bumble bee.

Bumble Bee Blitz

July 17-July 21 2017

Save the Date! Come out and help look for the possibly extinct Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklinii), and the rare Western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) on Mt. Ashland and in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument this summer. No experience necessary!

Armed with nets and viewing jars we will follow the flowers and keep our hopes up that we’ll find Franklin’s bumble bee, a bumble bee that hasn’t been seen since Dr. Robbin Thorp’s last sighting on Mt. Ashland in 2006.

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Robbin Thorp’s collection of the rare western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) and the possibly extinct Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklinii). Note the size variations between queens, males and females. The queens are the largest.

Jeff Dillon, Endangered Species Division Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explains the task this way:

“Once again, we will be spending time in the Ashland area searching for mainly Bombus franklini but also Bombus occidentalis. This year we plan to spend two full days up on Mt. Ashland (Tuesday/Wednesday), a day over at the Hobart Bluff area (Thursday), and potentially part of a day at Grizzly Peak (Friday morning). This will occur the week of July 17 to July 21, 2017. Some of us may get there early enough to chase a few bumble bees Monday afternoon at Mt. Ashland depending on our travel time (sort of a warm up for the big week).

As before, all are invited to participate – all ages and all experience levels.

If you have any questions this early on, feel free to email me or give me a call. I’ll be sending out reminder emails in the coming months.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jeffrey A. Dillon, Endangered Species Division Manager
US Fish and Wildlife Service Phone: 503.231.6179
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office Fax: 503.231.6195
2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100 Email: Jeffrey_Dillon@fws.gov
Portland, Oregon 97266 http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are interested in joining the Bumble Bee Blitz let Jeff know and he can put you on an email update list.

Viewing jars like these will be used to identify bees in the field. A bee/butterfly net will also be needed.

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Sulphur flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) is potential habitat for foraging Franklin’s bumble bees. Let’s find them!

Springtime Seed Germination

Yellow faced bumble bee queen foraging on Hound's tongue (Cynoglossum grande)

Yellow faced bumble bee queen foraging on Hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum grande)

Ahhh….spring! After a long, very wet winter in the Klamath-Siskiyou, sunshine and warmer weather have finally arrived. Spring weather has brought with it a bounty of beautiful spring wildflowers, bejeweled with overwintering queen bumble bees and butterflies, hungry and eager for the food these wildflowers offer. Another exciting thing that spring brings with it is seed germination! Yay!!!

There are little germinates all over the place where I seeded in the fall and winter —  in the garden; in the nursery; in the forest; on rocky slopes; in oak woodland; in pots in the greenhouse; in pots outside — and where it thrills me most: in the gardens, greenhouses, and on the land of my clients and customers! The wet winter has benefitted habitat restoration projects by triggering a high degree of seed germination this year. Successful projects make those of us who work hard to collect, clean and process native plant seeds happy!

Many people wonder how native plants are propagated from seed. Despite the fact that many native seeds need pretreatment, propagation can still be relatively simple. In order to help you visualize native seed germination and propagation, we offer this slideshow. Sit back and enjoy the slideshow!

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Grasswidows

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Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii)

Have you seen your first spring wildflowers yet? I have, and I couldn’t be happier! Douglas’ grasswidows start blooming as early as late February through early March in the Klamath-Siskiyou.

One of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the spring, Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii), also referred to as purple-eyed grass, is a harbinger of warmer, sunnier days ahead. This cheerful grass-like plant will brighten your day as it announces the arrival of  the coming wildflower-filled spring.

Early season pollinators appreciate the early blooms of grasswidows and it is not uncommon to see native bees foraging on the flowers.

Douglas’ grasswidow is in the Iridaceae (Iris) family, in the genus Olsynium, with other species in the same genus being mainly from South America. Many folks may have gotten to know this lovely species when it was classified under the closely related genus, Sisyrinchium — hence one of its common names: purple-eyed grass.

The origin of the common name, grasswidow, has not been confirmed despite many theories.

These early blooming flowers inhabit rocky, vernally-wet places that turn very dry in the summer. You will see it growing on dry, rocky bluffs, in meadows, and in open oak woodlands from low to mid elevations.

Douglas' grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii) NRCS range map.

Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii) NRCS range map.

Douglas' grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii)

Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii)

Douglas' grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii)

Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii)

Douglas' grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii)

Douglas’ grasswidow (Olsynium douglasii var. douglasii)

2017 Siskiyou Field Institute Courses

SFI Catalog

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds is a proud 2017 sponsor of the Siskiyou Field Institute!

The Siskiyou Field Institute (SFI) is the place to go to learn about the native flora and fauna in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion. There are so many great field courses to choose from — from kids courses, introductory courses, to professional level courses, there is something for everyone! SFI is an extraordinary resource! The course catalog for SFI’s 2017 field season is now available.

To learn more or register for classes visit: www.thesfi.org

Spring 2017: Updated Inventory

We have updated our inventory! Check it out!

Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds Spring 2017 Inventory

Specialized Relationships in Nature are the Norm

Watch Doug Tallamy’s Plant Natives 2015 presentationscreen-shot-2017-01-29-at-9-37-40-am

From YouTube:

Published on Jan 30, 2015
Specialized relationships between animals and plants are the norm in nature rather than the exception. Plants that evolved in concert with local animals provide for their needs better than plants that evolved elsewhere. Dr. Tallamy will explain why this is so, why specialized food relationships determine the stability and complexity of the local food webs that support animal diversity, why it is important to restore biodiversity to our residential properties, and what we need to do to make our landscapes living ecosystems once again.

Dr. Tallamy is the author of Bringing Nature Home which won the Silver Medal from the Garden Writer’s Association in 2008 and the recently published book he wrote with landscape designer Rick Darke The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. He is an Honorary National Director of Wild Ones and is regarded as one of the leading voices for designing healthy ecosystems in our public and private spaces by using native plants.

Watch Doug Tallamy’s Plant Natives 2015 presentation

Wildflower Seed Mixes

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Shooting stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii) in oak woodland in the spring. 

It’s been quite the winter in the Klamath-Siskiyou this year. I write this with two and a half feet of snow outside and a one and a half mile snowshoe to the nearest plowed road — an unusually big snow year at 2,100′ in elevation!

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Winter beauty in the Klamath-Siskiyou

As winter settles in and you start daydreaming about springtime and wildflowers, take some time to reflect on wildflower seed mixes as well — more specifically, what species are actually in those wildflower seed mixes?

If you support the conservation of native flora, intact ecosystems, biodiverse landscapes, traditional ecological knowledge, or if you belong to a native plant society, or other environmental organization that works for land conservation or pollinator advocacy, for example, you may be just as dismayed as I am to learn that many commercially available packets of “wildflower” seed mixes don’t actually contain native wildflower seed at all, and may, in fact, contain noxious weed seeds.

Native wildflowers of the Klamath-Siskiyou

In most commercial wildflower seed packets the term “wildflower” is often used to refer to species that naturalize easy, or in other words, species that can can take over quickly and flower profusely, spreading themselves around in abundance. Unfortunately, this describes many non-native species that take over native plant habitat, displacing native flora and impacting floral diversity as well as pollinators adapted to native plants.

Your winter daydreams of vibrant wildflower meadows flowering in profusion may turn into a noxious weed nightmare if you don’t do your due diligence in researching what species are in a wildflower seed mix.

In an unpublished study from 2002, a University of Washington undergraduate student researcher grew out the seeds from 19 “wildflower” seed mix packets. The result: All 19 packets contained from 3 to 13 species that were identified as being invasive in some part of North America. And even worse, eight of the plants were identified as noxious weeds.

In the University of Washington’s, UW Today, Sandra Hine’s 2002 article about the research explained that the seed packets used were, “distributed by firms including Burpee, Ed Hume, Lake Valley Seed, Lilly Miller, Molbak’s, Napa Valley Wildflower, Nature’s Garden Seed and Sundance. Seventeen of the mixes in the experiment were purchased and two were gift items.”

Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) was found in four of the wildflower mixes, but only one had it listed. Toadflax is listed on Oregon’s state noxious weed list. Hine also explained, “Gardeners might be surprised at the flowers and seeds that are readily available for sale that are considered invasive or noxious. For instance, the wildflower most commonly observed as part of the mixes was the popular bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus), germinating in beautiful hues of pink and blue from three-quarters of the packets tested. Bachelor’s button might be fine if kept confined to one’s own yard but it’s invasive — that is it outcompetes other plants — when it gets into native grasslands and prairies.”

Bachelor buttons easily escape gardens and invade nearby native plant communities.

This problem is not limited to large corporate seed companies; unfortunately, even smaller seed companies that espouse organic and non-GMO ethics include non-native or invasive plant seeds in their “wildflower” seed mixes. Take a look, there’s not many native species included in these lists:

Territorial Seed Company’s “Northwest Wildflower Mix”: Five-Spot, Siberian wallflower, Scarlet flax, California poppy, Lance leaved coreopsis, Yellow lupine, Blue flax, Russell lupine, Chinese houses, Baby blue-eyes, Corn poppy, Shasta daisy, Bird’s eyes, Dwarf godetia, Clarkia, Globe gilia, Mountain phlox, Tall white sweet alyssum, Black-eyed susan

Peaceful Valley’s “Regional Northwest Wildflower Mix”: Aquilegia vulgaris, Centaurea cyanus, Cheiranthus allionii, Chrysanthemum Maximum, Clarkia amoena Semi-Dwarf Single Mix, Clarkia unguiculata, Collinsia heterophylla, Coreopsis lanceolota, Eschscholzia californica, Gilia capitata, Gilia tricolor, Layia platyglossa, Linum grandiflorum rubrum, Linum perenne, Lupinus densiflorus, Lupinus polyphyllus Russell Strain Mix, Lupinus succulentus, Nemophila menziesii, Papaver rhoeas, Phacelia campanularia, Rudbeckia hirta.

Eden Brother’s “Pacific Northwest Wildflower Seed Mix”: Gypsophila elegans, Centaurea cyanus, Nemophila menziesii, Clarkia amoena, Digitalis purpurea, hacelia campanularia, Collinsia heterophylla, Papaver rhoeas, Coreopsis lanceolata, Cosmos bipinnatus, Eschscholzia califorica, Gaillardia aristata, Rudbeckia hirta, Lupinus perennis, Lupinus polyphyllus, Cooreopsis tinctoria, Cheirianthus allionii, Linum usitatissimum, Linum grandiflorum rubrum, Phlox drummondii, Cosmos sulphureus, Rudbeckia gloriosa

Sustainable Seed Company’s “Northwest Wildflower Mix”: Baby Blue-Eyes, Bird’s Eyes, Black-Eyed Susan, Blue Flax, California Poppy, Chinese Houses, Clarkia, Dwarf Godetia, Corn Poppy, Five-Spot, Globe Gilia, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis, Mountain Phlox, Russell Lupine, Scarlet Flax, Shasta Daisy, Siberian Wallflower, Sweet Alyssum, Tidy Tips and Yellow Lupine.

Seed Savers Exchange’s “Flower, Bird and Butterfly Mix” doesn’t list the species that are in this flower mix, but the photo that accompanies it depicts bachelor buttons as being part of the mix.

When you buy seeds from Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds you can be rest assured that 100% of the species in our inventory are native to the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains, valleys, grasslands, woodlands, rock outcrops, or forests. Our seeds are wildcrafted from genetically diverse stock that is regionally adapted and beneficial for the local wildlife and pollinators that have evolved and adapted with them. Healthy, intact ecosystems depend on thriving native plant communities!

More resources:

California Invasive Species List

Oregon Noxious Weed List

California Invasive Species Council

The Oregon Invasive Species Council 

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A true wildflower meadow in the Siskiyou Mountains