Hydrophyllum capitatum courtesy Tony Frates taken 5/3/03
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Utah Native Plant Society


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Hedysarum boreale courtesy Tony Frates taken 5/3/03

Save the date: March 10, 2015 (the next Utah rare plant meeting at Red Butte Garden)

8th Annual Purge Your Spurge Event (04/11/14)
 
The 8th Annual Purge your Spurge Event will be held at REI on Saturday May 3, 2014. Community weed pulls start at 7:30 am at Grandeur Peak Trailhead, and 8 am at Dimple Dell Park (new this year).
 
More information
November 2013 Sego Lily published (11/10/13)
 
The November 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
March-April 2014 Sego Lily published (04/01/14)
 
The March-April 2014 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
November 2013 Sego Lily published (11/10/13)
 
The November 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
January 2014 Sego Lily published (01/22/14)
 
The January 2014 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
November 2013 Sego Lily published (11/10/13)
 
The November 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
 
UNPS Annual Meeting To Be Held on Saturday November 16, 2013 at UVU (10/24/13)
 
Each year UNPS holds an Annual Members Meeting which has traditionally included three main elements: a "New World Pot Luck" lunch or supper featuring foods native to the Americas (classics include turkey, potatoes, tomatoes, yams, blueberries); a featured speaker who has something important to say about our native plants and UNPS; a brief business meeting at which the members elect a board of directors (BOD) for the following year.
 
In recent years we have cycled among the three population centers of Utah Valley, Salt Lake, and Cache Valley, and it is the Utah Valley chapter's turn to host the 2013 meeting.
 
Our venue is Utah Valley University, room SB 275 in the Science Building (see more and map PDF below).
 
UVU map (printable)
 
The formal meeting will begin at 3 PM with a short UNPS business meeting, followed by a presentation by UVU herbarium curator Jason Alexander entitled “Can digital image vouchers increase the participation of citizen scientists in herbarium research?” After this presentation, there will be a potluck dinner with a New World cuisine theme. Early birds may wish to take part in a session from 1-3 PM on digitizing and mounting plant specimens. The volunteer session will be in room SB277 in the Science Building on the UVU campus, with the formal meeting and potluck next door in SB 275. Visitors on weekends can park for free in any student or faculty parking stall. For this meeting, lots L3 and L14 on the north side of campus and lots L1 and M26 on the south side are the recommended parking areas for this meeting. The pay lots have been converted to a machine pay-per-hour system and are not recommended (the fee is currently $2.00 per hour and free parking validations are unfortunately no longer available).
 
For further information, please call Jason Alexander at 801-863-8606 or conact him by e-mail.
September 2013 Sego Lily published (09/01/13)
 
The September 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
July 2013 Sego Lily published (06/26/13)
 
The July 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
May 2013 Sego Lily published (05/03/13)
 
The May 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
March 2013 Sego Lily published (03/02/13)
 
The March 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
January 2013 Sego Lily published (12/28/12)
 
The January 2013 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
The 2013 UNPS Student Research Scholarship application mentioned in the newsletter has also been posted. Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2013.
Inaugural edition of new UNPS publication (12/27/12)
 
The first edition of a new on-line UNPS research journal, Calochortiana, has been published and includes the Proceedings of the Fifth Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plant Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 2009 (PDF, 12 megs) It includes some 20 research papers and is 238 pages long.
 
More information
September-October 2012 Sego Lily published (11/04/12)
 
The November 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. For more information and pictures of Sphaeralcea gierischii and its habitat in Utah, see:
 
 
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues of the Sego Lily
 
September-October 2012 Sego Lily published (08/22/12)
 
The September 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
Citizen Involvement in the ESA is important and should not be eliminated (08/17/12)
 
Published today in Science magazine, the article Citizen Involvement in the U.S. Endangered Species Act by Berry J. Brosi and Eric G. N. Biber outlines why citizen involvement in the Endangered Species Act and specifically the ability to petition species and litigate if necessary is important, if not critical.
 
The article concludes by saying that, "Calls to streamline the ESA and to rely exclusively on FWS to identify and list species might mean that a significant number of species that deserve legal protection especially those that are politically unpopular because of the potential to obstruct development projects would be left out in the cold."
 
July-August 2012 Sego Lily published (06/21/12)
 
The July 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. For pictures of Paul Zuckerman's display at Red Butte Garden referred to in the lead article, see:
 
 
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues of the Sego Lily
May-June 2012 Sego Lily published (05/06/12)
 
The May 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. Information referred to concerning the upcoming Penstemon festival is also available on the calendar page. Penstemon 2012 Festival poster Wildflower guides referred to in the newsletter will soon be available on the Store page.
 
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March-April 2012 Sego Lily published (02/26/12)
 
The March 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. The 2012 UNPS Student Research Scholarship application mentioned in the newsletter has also been posted. Applications must be submitted by April 1, 2012. The Utah's Opuntias treatment also referred to in the newsletter was posted on March 1, 2012.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues
January-February 2012 Sego Lily published (12/26/11)
 
The first 2012 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues

Woody Plants of Utah: A Field Guide with Identification Keys to Native and Naturalized Trees, Shrubs, Cacti, and Vines available for purchase (10/25/11)
 
Woody Plants of Utah by Renée Van Buren, Janet Cooper, Leila Shultz and Kimball Harper will be available in December and can be ordered now in book form (an October 24, 2011 Access Utah radio interview with Drs. Van Buren and Shultz has just been added to the book's web page). It will also be available as an e-book when published. The book allows a reader to identify plants based on vegetative characteristics.
 
November-December 2011 Sego Lily published (10/24/11)
 
The Nov-Dec newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. This issue features several in-depth articles concerning pioneer botanist Marcus Jones, as well as tributes to Kimball Harper.
 
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Rare plants updated (10/17/11)
 
In part to incorporate updated Bureau of Land Management sensitive plant species list information which changed earlier this year, the rare plants section has been updated.
Kim Harper (1931-2011) (10/8/11)
 
UNPS was very sad to learn earlier this week that Dr. Kimball T. Harper had died on October 2, 2011 at the age of 80. His contribution to the understanding of Utah's plant ecology is difficult to briefly summarize and can really only be best covered in a more detailed article. His contributions to education (and the squadron of scientists that are the result of his encouragement and tutlelage), rare plant related research and advocacy, scientific publications, and support for the work of the Utah Native Plant Society were all immense.
 
A summary of his life and a glimpse into the impact he has had on the lives of others in the field of Utah botany and ecology can be found here.
 
Dr. Harper's passing came on the eve of the release of Woody Plants of Utah that has long been in progress and which he was a co-author along with Renée Van Buren, Janet Cooper and Leila Shultz.
 
Kimball Harper
Dr. Kimball T. Harper (courtesy of Dr. Renée Van Buren, photographer unknown)
 
Kimball Harper
Kim Harper in 1974 (courtesy of Dr. Duane Atwood)
 
Kimball Harper and grandson weeding clay phacelia
Dr. Kim Harper and grandson weeding in Clay Phacelia habitat (courtesy of Elaine York, TNC)
 
 
 
September-October 2011 Sego Lily published (8/29/11)
 
The Sept-Oct newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues
July-August 2011 Sego Lily published (7/13/11)
 
The July-August newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. If you are a Penstemon fan, you will like this issue.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues
Colorado ruling concludes that FWS violated the ESA in handling a petition to list Graham's penstemon (6/9/11)
 

In the United States District Court
For the District of Colorado
Civil Action No. 08-cv-2744-WDM-BNB


Center for Native Ecosystems,
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance,
Utah Native Plant Society, and
Colorado Native Plant Society


v.

United States Fish & Wildlife Service and
KEN SALAZAR, in his official capacity as
Secretary of United States Department of the Interior


"For the reasons stated I conclude that FWS violated the ESA in withdrawing the proposed rule to list Graham's penstemon by failing to consider the threats in combination, ignoring or disregarding the best available scientific and commercial information, and relying on undetermined or unspecified conservation measures which were not implemented or established to be effective.

Accordingly, Plaintiffs' petition is granted to the following extent. Pursuant to APA, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 706, the December 19, 2006 Final Rule is vacated and the proposed rule is reinstated. The matter is remanded to the FWS for further consideration, with all deliberate speed, of a new Final Rule with respect to whether Graham's penstemon should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act."

Walker D. Miller
U.S. District Judge
June 9, 2011



Penstemon gibbensii denied ESA protection (6/8/11)
 
A species that just barely occurs within Utah's borders in the northeastern portion of the state was today, along with several plant species not occurring in Utah, was denied protection under the Endangered Species.
 
See the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release dated June 8, 2011 entitled "Fremont County Rockcress Designated Candidate for Protection Under the Endangered Species Act; Protection for Gibbens’ Beardtongue, Precocious Milkvetch, Ross’ Bentgrass, and Yellowstone Sand Verbena is Not Warranted".
 
See the Utah Rare Plant Guide for some background information relating to Penstemon gibbensii. P. gibbensii is on the Utah BLM sensitive species list.
 
In response, the following news release was also issued on this date:
 

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: June 8, 2011

Contacts: Nicole Rosmarino, Ph.D., WildEarth Guardians, 303-573-4898 x1163, nrosmarino@wildearthguardians.org

Megan Mueller, Center for Native Ecosystems, 303-546-0214 x6, megan@nativeecosystems.org

Duane Short, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, 307-342-7978, duane@voiceforthewild.org

Tony Frates, Utah Native Plant Society, 801-277-9240, unps@unps.org


Fish and Wildlife Service Decides One of Five Imperiled Plants Warrants Protection Groups Charge that Service Underestimates Need for Safeguards

Washington, DC-June 8. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced that a Wyoming plant, the Fremont County rockcress, warrants protection (listing) under the Endangered Species Act. The Service declined actual protection, citing higher priorities. The agency’s decision comes in response to a July 2007 petition and subsequent lawsuits filed by WildEarth Guardians and a 1975 petition by the Smithsonian. However, the Service rejected protection for four other plants, all found in Wyoming and neighboring states. All have previously been candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. All are ranked critically imperiled by scientists.

“While we’re pleased the Service recognized that the Fremont County rockcress deserves federal protections, we are concerned about the four plants the Service rejected. This agency needs to implement the Endangered Species Act in a more precautionary way,” stated Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “We’re seeing species being rejected for legal safeguards that remain in few places and there face risks.”

The Fremont County rockcress (Boechera (Arabis) pusilla) was first made a candidate for listing in 1983. In 1993, the Service recognized it as declining. But in 2000, the agency removed the species from the candidate list on the basis that its threats had lessened. In tomorrow’s finding, the agency has reinstated this plant to the Endangered Species Act candidate list, recognizing that it has just one population, with a total of only 350 plants, and that this small population is declining.

The Service decided against Endangered Species Act protection for the Yellowstone sand verbena, Ross’ bentgrass, precocious milkvetch, and Gibbens penstemon.

The FWS found that the few known populations of the Gibbens penstemon (Penstemon gibbensii) have been negatively impacted by oil and gas drilling, roads, and trampling by humans and livestock, and have no protection from additional impacts due to these threats in the future. Protecting just three hundred acres from these threats could save this beautiful wildflower from extinction. In spite of these facts, the FWS denied the Gibbens penstemon protection under the Endangered Species Act. 

“The Gibbens penstemon is a lovely purple wildflower that is highly vulnerable to extinction,” said Megan Mueller, Conservation Biologist with Center for Native Ecosystems. “As a consequence of the FWS decision to deny this wildflower the protection it needs, we are now likely to lose this unique and irreplaceable part of our natural heritage.”

Stated Tony Frates of the Utah Native Plant Society, “Penstemon gibbensii is one of only 32 species with a priority status of ‘extremely high’ as ranked by the Utah Native Plant Society’s rare plant committee, and is one of only a handful of species that occurs in Utah designated as such that has no federal protection [under the Endangered Species Act]. Its total range is very small and is threatened by mineral development and off-road vehicle recreation.” The Utah Native Plant Society has not taken a position on the other four species at issue in the Service’s decision but is concerned that the agency is making it increasingly difficult for imperiled plants to obtain Endangered Species Act protections.

The Yellowstone sand verbena (Abronia ammophila) is found only at four locations totaling 1.5 acres, all on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. While the Service designated this species as a candidate in 1993, it dropped this species from the candidate list, along with thousands of other species, in 1996. A Yellowstone National Park botanist recommended in 2002 that this species be listed under the Endangered Species Act. However, despite recognizing perils from trampling, drought, and climate change to this plant, the Service is denying the plant protection in tomorrow’s finding.

Ross’ bentgrass (Agrostis rossiae) occurs only within limited thermal areas in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It has 4 populations, which occupy approximately 12 acres. In tomorrow’s finding, the Service writes that geothermal development could threaten this plant. While it states that the Geothermal Steam Act provides protections for the thermal features in the Park, the Service finds, “This law should protect the species, unless high energy costs, such as occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, encourage development interest that results in changes that weaken these protections.” Current high energy prices should prod protection in the face of this risk. The Smithsonian petitioned for this species to be added to the threatened list in 1975, and the Service designated it a candidate in 1980. The Service also dropped the plant from the candidate list in 1996. In tomorrow’s decision, the agency continues to deny this plant federal listing.

Precocious milkvetch (Astragalus proimanthus) occurs in a limited area around the Henry’s Fork River in Wyoming. It has 3 populations, which collectively inhabit less than 320 acres. The Smithsonian petitioned for this species to be added to the endangered list in 1975, and the Service designated it a candidate in 1980. The Service dropped this species as well from the candidate list in 1996. While the Service recognizes threats from off-road vehicles and energy development, the agency is denying the plant protection in tomorrow’s finding.

Duane Short of Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Wyoming said, “As long as the Fish & Wildlife Service embraces a culture of denied protection, imperiled plants and animals must endure an added unnecessary threat to their survival. And that unnecessary threat is, in fact, unwarranted denial of protection.”

There are now more than 260 species of plants and wildlife that are formal “candidates” awaiting federal listing. Over 80 percent of these species were first recognized as needing federal protection more than a decade ago, including all 5 Wyoming plants. Outside of Hawaii, Salazar has listed only 4 new U.S. species under the Act since taking office. At the current pace, it would take a century to get through the backlog of candidate species in the continental U.S. WildEarth Guardians and the Service have reached an agreement to address the candidate backlog in a timely manner; the approval of which is pending in federal court in DC.

For background information, contact Nicole Rosmarino at nrosmarino@wildearthguardians.org or 505-699-7404.

 
Spurge Purged on May 14, 2011 (text and photos by Tony Frates, 5/14/11)
 
The 5th annual "Purge your Spurge" event was again held at REI at 3285 East 3300 South in Salt Lake City and hosted by the Salt Lake County weed program and the Salt Lake Conservation District, and for the third year also included a low cost native plant sale along with the exchange program involving free native plants for bagged Myrtle spurge.
 
Other sponsors of the event included REI, Utah Native Plant Society, U.S. Forest Service, Bonneville CWMA, and the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
 
Purge Your Spurge 2011
 
Myrtle spurge was listed as a Salt Lake County noxious weed on August 8, 2007. Prior to that time, it was still being sold in the county by local nurseries as it had been since at least the 1950's.
 
As in past years, participants (carefully and with gloves and goggles) removed as much spurge from their yards (and, with permission, from neighboring yards) and then received some free native plants (and along with non-spurge pullers, were able to purchase a nice variety of Utah native plants at very low cost) upon presenting their also carefully bagged catch. This year, a special simultaneous event was also held: a spurge pull in coordination with Salt Lake County in the nearby Grandeur Peak access open space which contains some significant Myrtle spurge (and Dalmatian toadflax) infestations. Over 30 individuals volunteered for the pull including Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon. The volunteers received vouchers for free native plants at the REI plant sale.
 
Volunteer spurge pull 2011
Volunteers remove spurge in the Grandeur Peak trailhead area
 
Volunteer spurge pull 2011
One of many volunteers carefully removes Euphorbia myrsinites
 
Bag of spurge removed from natural area 2011
Bags of spurge removed from the nearby natural space in the Grandeur Peak trailhead access area.
 
Bags of spurge exchanged 2011
Bags of spurge in a SL County noxious weed trailer received for disposal as a result of the general exchange.
 
Spurge exchange and plant sale 2011
Native plant sale as part of the Purge Your Spurge event. New and experienced native plant gardeners welcome!
 
Invasive Euphorbia myrsinites (myrtle or donkey-tail spurge)
Myrtle spurge 4/10/09 Tony Frates
This species of spurge is an escapee from residential plantings and seems to thrive in almost any foothills habitat. It literally takes areas away from natural/native species already highly stressed by urban sprawl and other invasive species.

Myrtle spurge 4/10/09 Tony Frates
Pollinators such as this European honey bee (Apis mellifera) are highly attracted to the non-native myrtle spurge, a Wasatch Front invasive species. In addition to having been designated a noxious weed in Salt Lake County, it is a state noxious weed in Colorado. Myrtle or donkey-tail spurge should not be planted in Utah and because its seeds are easily spread far and wide from residential plantings, it should be carefully replaced in residential landscaping as well as eradicated where found in open spaces.

Myrtle spurge 3/27/10 on sheer rock face Tony Frates
Euphorbia myrsinites seems happy in a multitude of habitats whether under oak, in open grassy areas and even sheer cliff faces. It therefore appears to be a potential threat to anything growing along the foothills of the Wasatch Front as well as into adjoining canyons. It has for example now become well-established in lower Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County, Utah. Salt Lake County is not the only place where it is a problem. There are also significant infestations in Utah, Davis, Summit, and southern Weber Cos. and escapees have been reported in Cache, Iron and Uintah Cos.
 
See also UWCA's myrtle spurge brochure as well as their other publications. Another invasive spurge in our area is Leafy spurge, Euphorbia esula.
May-June 2011 Sego Lily published (4/25/11)
 
The May-June newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues
March-April 2011 Sego Lily published (2/22/11)
 
The March-April newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
Access all of the latest and prior issues
Maguire's daisy to be delisted effective Feb. 18, 2011 (1/19/11)
 
Erigeron maguirei will soon no longer be a federally listed species under the Endangered Species Act.
 
The reason for the delisting is due to the fact that the species has been found to be more abundant than originally thought as a result of extensive multi-year surveys that included other, non-listed species. Originally listed as endangered in 1995 and reclassified in 1996 to threatened due to a taxonomic change that technically increased it numbers, only about 5,000 plants were known as of 1998. Further surveys steadily increased both the number of plants (to over an estimated 160,000) as well as led to the discovery of additional occurrences in its restricted range. The species will be monitored for another ten years, and will still be considered a globally rare plant species.
 
More information:
Federal Register notice
Deseret News article by Amy Joi O'Donoghue
FWS Press Release 1/18/11
Central Utah Navajo Sandstone Endemics Conservation Agreement
Gasco DEIS comment period extended (11/20/10)
 
The comment period was extended from Nov. 15 to Dec. 30 because of problems with air quality data in the previously published draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
 
Under the proposed alternative, almost 1500 new wells are projected to be placed into service between now and 2026 accompanied by 325 miles of new roads.
 
Gasco Energy Uinta Basin Natural Gas Development Project
 
The UNPS conservation committee submitted comments in connection with the Gasco DEIS on 11/20/10 expressing a wide number of concerns particularly in connection with various federally listed plant species that occur in the project area.
 
November-December 2010 Sego Lily published (10/25/10)
 
The November-December newsletter which features an article on the flora of Rainbow Bridge National Monument has been published and is now available for public access.
 
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New species of Frasera from the Uinta Basin (10/18/10)
 
A recently discovered species from Utah's Uinta Basin has been named and published in the Western North American Naturalist. Full article citation:
 
Newberry, C., and S. Goodrich. 2010. A new species of Frasera (Gentianaceae) from Uinta Basin, Utah. Western North American Naturalist, 70(3): 415-417.
September-October 2010 Sego Lily published (8/25/10)
 
The September-October newsletter has been published and is now available for public access.
 
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July-August 2010 Sego Lily published (6/30/10)
 
The July-August newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. In this issue: read about The Scarlet Flowered Species of Echinocereus in Utah, an outline of the species of Echinocereus in Utah and other articles and news items.
 
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Penstemon festival cancelled: nothing yet in bloom (5/26/10)
 
Unlike Memorial Day weekend of one year ago when many species of Penstemon were at their peak, Merrill Johnson of Great Basin Natives this year reports quite the opposite and has regrettably cancelled this year's planned Penstemon festival.
 
"We have had such a cold spring that the wild flowers are two to three weeks behind," said Johnson. "Last year they were blooming profusely on Memorial Day. This year there is not a bloom to be seen."
 
While there are exceptions, reports of an unusually late season have been common in 2010 in most parts of the state. Along the central Wasatch Front, plants are also at least two to three weeks late similar to many other areas both in northern and southern Utah.
 
Despite the fact that worldwide April of 2010 was the warmest on record (since 1880 - see Global Temperatures Hit New April High), in Utah we have experienced cool temperatures and record precipitation. The cool spring culminated in a snowstorm that reached valley levels in Salt Lake County on May 24, 2010 which set a record for the latest date measurable snow has fallen at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
 
Judge Delays Ruling On Rare Wildflower (5/20/10)
 
Paul Day of CBS4 in Denver reports on yet another delay in the 30-year old struggle to obtain federal protection for the endangered Penstemon grahamii
 
CBS4 footage dated May 19, 2010 includes brief clips of interviews with Meg Parish of Earthjustice and Erin Robertson of CNE.
 
More information
San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society Forms (4/25/10)
 
The San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society, a part of the San Juan Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, has recently formed. Formerly part of the the Southwest Chapter of the Colorado Native Plant Society, the group has organized a series of field trips and educational programs in the Four Corners area. UNPS members and members of the public are invited to participate in these activites.
 
More information
May-June 2010 Sego Lily published (4/21/10)
 
The May-June newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. In this issue: catch Viola beckwithii fever, learn about how a beetle is impacting Sclerocactus, recent Forest Service sensitive species changes and how they affect Utah, and latest news and activities.
 
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March-April 2010 Sego Lily published (2/25/10)
 
The March-April 2010 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. Read about Utah's Mojave Desert Flora and much more.
 
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9th Red Butte-UNPS Utah Rare Plant Task Force Conference Planned (1/21/10)
 
Red Butte Garden and the Utah Native Plant Society are pleased to announce that the 9th annual co-sponsored rare plant task force will again take place in early March on the University of Utah campus
 
More information
 
Fremont Chapter publishes 2010 Celebrate the Wild calendar (12/20/09)
 
The Fremont Chapter 2010 calendar is ready to order just in time for holiday giving.
 
Fremont 2010 Calendar cover page
 
The goal of producing the calendar is to promote and support native plants and waterwise gardening throughout the Intermountain West.
 
The Celebrate the Wild Calendar is a unique gift that the waterwise gardener and native plant enthusiast will enjoy all year long. The price is the same as last year, $10.00 each, or $8.00 for 10 or more (plus shipping $1.75 for each calendar).
 
Any profits from the sale of the calendar will be used to further the chapter's goals to educate the public about the use of native plants in landscaping, and native plant appreciation generally.
 
To order, send a check or money order payable to Fremont Chapter UNPS and mail to:
 
Janet Nielson
PO Box 104
Elsinore, UT 84724
 
For questions or more information, e-mail Janet at e-mail or call 435-527-4866.
January-February 2010 Sego Lily published (12/19/09)
 
The January-February 2010 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. Happy holidays!
 
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November-December 2009 Sego Lily published (11/01/09)
 
The November-December 2009 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. This issue focuses on Utah rare plants. UNPS 2009 Utah rare plant list in XLS format (referred to in Nov-Dec 2009 issue).
 
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Shultz Artemisia monograph published (10/29/09)
 
This monograph by Dr. Leila M. Shultz covers the genus Artemisia in western North America, and was published on Oct. 19, 2009.
 
More information
Sclerocactus taxonomy clarified (9/15/09)
 
The Fish & Wildlife Service as of September 15, 2009 now officially recognizes that Sclerocactus glaucus comprises three separate entities with S. glaucus occurring solely in Colorado, and S. brevispinus and S. wetlandicus occurring solely in Utah in the Uinta Basin.
 
Cactus expert Dorde Woodruff's response today:

I have to say, I can hardly believe this day has finally come. As a student of the genus, I have been saying since 1980 (though I was not working in botany at the time) that Sclerocactus glaucus is not in Utah. Thanks to all the botanists like Heil, Porter, England (who first described S. brevispinus), Ulloa, Sinclair, and others whose many days of careful work has sorted out these species.

 
As a result of this change, there are now 25 federally listed native plant species that occur in Utah.
 
Taxonomic Change of Sclerocactus glaucus to Three Separate Species
13 rare species undergoing review (9/14/09)
 
This carefully researched article by Deseret News environmental reporter Amy Joi O'Donoghue discusses some Utah native plant and animal species that the Fish & Wildlife Service will be reviewing over the next year to determine whether they are warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
 
Article
Graphic referenced in article
 
More information:
Utah Rare Plant Guide
Astragalus anserinus becomes a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (9/10/09)
 
The Goose Creek milkvetch has become a candidate species as a result of positive 12-month finding relating to a petition to list. It was previously identified as a Utah BLM sensitive species. The finding concluded that listing of the species was warranted but precluded due to other higher priority FWS actions thereby becoming a candidate species subject to follow-up review. Candidate species have no actual protection afforded to them under the Act but do receive a somewhat elevated amount of concern as a result of the policies of some agencies. No private property owner restrictions are created as a result of candidate nor listing designations for plant species. Candidate designation in fact provides landowners with opportunities to take proactive measures and makes other programs available (see the ESA Candidate Conservation link below).
 
More information:
Federal Register document
FWS ECOS profile for Goose Creek milkvetch
Utah Rare Plant Guide
ESA Candidate Conservation
New Susan Meyer native plant landscaping book published (4/22/09)
 
Landscaping on the New Frontier: Waterwise Design for the Intermountain West by Susan E. Meyer, Roger K. Kjelgren, Darrel G. Morrison and William A. Varga with drawings by Bettina Schultz is now available from Utah State University Press.
 
This book was supported in part by the Utah Valley Chapter of the Utah Native Plant Society.
 
Dr. Susan Meyer is a past chair of the Utah Native Plant Society, our former horticulture chair and previously honored by UNPS with an award in October of 2007. Bitsy Schultz has designed several of our logos and produced our coloring book.
 
Susan and Bitsy are also lifetime members of UNPS.
 
Dalmatian toadflax now on state weed list (4/13/09)
 
Previously designated as a Salt Lake county noxious weed in early August of 2007, Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) is now designated as a state noxious weed in the state of Utah.
 
Along with myrtle spurge and cheatgrass, Dalmatian toadflax is literally taking over the foothills along the Wasatch Front and has spread into higher elevation areas. It often grows directly within other plants as well as in the open in many different environments effectively displacing other species. It can be effectively hand pulled particularly in the spring.

" . . . it is the duty of every property owner to control and prevent the spread of noxious weeds on any land in his possession, or under his control . . . "

Rule R68-9. Utah Noxious Weed Act (Utah Administrative Code)



Are wildflower mixes OK? As a "green" wedding favor? (4/7/09)
 
While UNPS has not formulated a specific policy on this issue, we urge great caution. The purchase/use of most commercially available wildflower mixes is probably a bad idea. Giving wildflower seeds as a wedding favor is likely not a terribly green idea as is being touted by the wedding industry (it is a nice sentiment but ignores a basic understanding of ecology and the disastrous impacts of invasive species).
 
Please review these and other links before using a wildflower mix or distributing "wildflower" seeds in any fashion:
 
Wildflower seed mixes include some wicked bloomers (University of Washington News April 2002)
Look Out for Prickly Paterson's Curse in Wildflower Seeds Mixes (Utah State University Extension, November, 2007)
Wildflower mixes may included unwanted surprises (Oregon State University Extensive Service)
Guidelines for the Purchase and Use of Wildflower Seed Mixes (Alberta Native Plant Council, June 2006

Best management practices for the oil and gas development in the Intermountain West (3/29/09)
 
A new free web site is available at http://www.oilandgasbmps.org which provides information that will aid and guide the responsible development of oil and gas in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Included is a database of best management practices currently in use, required and/or recommended
 
The new web site is a result of the efforts of the Natural Resouces Law Center (University of Colorado at Boulder) and partners.

TNC's Elaine York Receives Award (3/23/09)
 
On March 19, 2009 during the 5th Southwest Rare Plant Conference hosted by UNPS on the University of Utah campus, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife presented Elaine York (West Desert Regional Director for The Nature Conservancy in Utah) with one of their 2008 Recovery Champion awards.
 
Elaine has worked tirelessly on behalf of numerous rare plant species in Utah, most notably the Holmgren milkvetch and the Dwarf bearclaw poppy (see Washington County's Endangered Plants for more information).
 
FWS Mountain-Prairie Region press release
FWS nomination of Elaine York by Larry Crist providing more background information

 
Purge Your Spurge 2009 and SL Conservation District Native Plant Sale: May 9, 2009 (3/23/09)
 
Salt Lake County Weed Program Press Release (3/21/09):

PURGE YOUR SPURGE! MYRTLE SPURGE/NATIVE PLANT EXCHANGE May 9, 2009 from 10am-3pm. This May, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to purge your spurge and rid your garden of myrtle spurge (or as some call it donkey tail spurge) and receive free Utah native plants in exchange! Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) is a highly invasive garden plant that is rapidly spreading in our foothills and canyons. Recently listed as a noxious weed in Salt Lake County, this non-native species out-competes native vegetation by forming large dense infestations that decrease plant diversity and wildlife habitat. Join the Bonneville CWMA and its’ partners at REI in Salt Lake City as we work to protect our canyons by preventing the spread of myrtle spurge in our foothills. On May 9, 2009 bring your bagged myrtle spurge to REI at 3285 East 3300 South, where volunteers will be on hand to take your plants and in exchange give you 1 of 2 plant mixes containing 5 Utah native plants. Choose from 2 plant communities: full sun and part shade. Each mix contains a variety of outstanding Utah natives, carefully selected for similar water, soil, and exposure needs. In addition, receive a planting guide and learn about noxious and invasive species in Salt Lake and what you can do to help prevent their spread. For more information contact Salt Lake County Weed Program staff at 801-468-2861 or on the web at www.weeds.slco.org.

Purge Your Spurge 2009 flyer

 
Fremont Chapter To Offer Plant ID Workshop (2/6/09, by Melinda Greenwood)
 
The Fremont Chapter of the Utah Native Plant Society will host a Beginners Plant Identification Workshop on Thursday, February 19, at 7 p.m. Plan to meet at the Utah State University Extension conference room, County Administration Building, 250 North Main in Richfield, Utah.
 
Yearly, residents and visitors of South Central Utah enjoy the gorgeous seasonal flushes of local wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses on our public lands. They often desire to know the established common and botanical names of each.
 
July 2008 East Fork Sevier meadow by Maria Ulloa
Wildflowers in full display at a high elevation meadow in South Central Utah
Photograph by Maria Ulloa, BLM Botanist
 
Former Snow College sciences Instructor, Melinda Greenwood, presently a botanist with the Chicago Botanic Garden, and working out of the Bureau of Land Management’s Richfield Office, will present this workshop on plant identification. Information on flowering times, locations, legal accessing, interesting plant facts, and live and preserved plant study specimens will be available. This workshop is free to the public. Contact 435-896-1518 for more information.

Cedar City area UNPS chapter formed (2/6/09)
 
UNPS has a new Cedar City Chapter thanks to the efforts of Winnie Washburn and member UNPS residents in the Cedar City area. UNPS members in Iron County will now have a new opportunity to participate in a local chapter.
 
Press release (2/8/09)
Fremont Chapter publishes 2009 Celebrate the Wild calendar (1/28/09)
 
The Fremont Chapter has published a full color calendar featuring native plants each month of which is accompanied by informative sidebars. An example of the March 2009 top/bottom pages is contained below.
 
March 2009 calendar - top
March 2009 calendar - bottom
 
The calendar is of particular interest to gardeners and landscapers since it provides ideas and information about native plant horticulture and use.
 
Cost of the calendar is $10.00 plus shipping (usually $1.50).
 
Any profits from the sale of the calendar will be used to further the chapter's goals to educate the public about the use of native plants in landscaping, and native plant appreciation generally.
 
The calendar is available for mailing from J.B. Nielson, Box 104, Elsinore, UT 84724. Send her an e-mail for more information.

UNPS newsletter 1978 through 2007 digital compilations available (12/23/08)
 
In celebration of our 30th year, electronic copies of every UNPS newsletter ever produced is now available from our Newsletters section or directly here. We are grateful for the efforts of primarily Dr. William Gray and Bill Nelsen who completed this arduous task. The paper newsletter collections of Keith and Kathy Wallentine, Tony Frates and Duane Atwood were used to produce the digitized versions. In comments about the archive Bill Gray stated: "My aim was to produce something that recreated as much as possible the appearance of a clean original paper version, minus the accumulated scuffs, annotations, creases and stains of 30 years. Some of those stains were undoubtedly coffee, but I suspect that some of them may have been tears during especially bad times for threatened plants." Bill also acknowledged assistance from Walt Fertig, Ann Kelsey and Patricia Holmgren. In all, over 1800 pages were scanned.

January-February 2009 Sego Lily published (12/21/08)
 
The January-February 2009 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. Read the lead article by Doug Reynolds entitled "Datura and Hawkmoths: An Intoxicating Relationship." Click here to access all of the latest and prior issues.

Penstemon grahamii listing petition pursued (12/16/08, updated 12/19/08)
 
Citizens Demand Accountability for Illegal Endangered Species Decision: Interior Dept. Ignored Science in Denying Protections for Graham’s Penstemon - see full news release below
 
For more information, see UNPS profile in advocacy: Penstemon grahamii
 
Also see the list of the top ten U.S. species in need of protection in which Graham's penstemon received an honorable mention released on this same date by the Endangered Species Coalition
 
And listen to the 12/19/08 radio interview with CNE's Erin Robertson by KGNU in Boulder, Colorado: KGNU Interview on Denial of Protections for Graham's Penstemon
 

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: December 16, 2008

Contacts:
Erin Robertson, Staff Biologist, Center for Native Ecosystems, Denver (303) 546-0214
Dr. Leila Shultz, Professor Emeritus, Utah State University, Logan (435) 232-2989
Dr. Vincent Tepedino, Professor Emeritus, Utah State University, Logan (435) 797-2559
Tony Frates, Utah Native Plant Society, Salt Lake City (801) 277-9240
Sarada Krishnan, Colorado Native Plant Society, Denver (720) 353-1260

Citizens Demand Accountability for Illegal Endangered Species Decision
Interior Dept. Ignored Science in Denying Protections for Graham's Penstemon


Salt Lake City - Today citizens in Utah and Colorado asked the courts to overturn the Interior Department's decision to deny Endangered Species Act protection to a wildflower threatened by oil and gas drilling, tar sands development, and oil shale mining. In January 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (an arm of the Interior Department) proposed to add Graham's penstemon to the endangered species list. But instead of finalizing protections, in December 2006 the Service suddenly reversed course and claimed that threats were no longer present.

"I fully support Endangered Species Act protection for Graham's penstemon," said Dr. Leila Shultz, Professor Emeritus of Wildland Resources at Utah State University in Logan. "The proposal to protect the penstemon should never have been withdrawn." Dr. Shultz served as one of the official peer reviewers of the Service's proposal to protect the penstemon, and helped discover many of the known populations in the late 1970s. "When I went back to the penstemon's habitat this fall, I couldn't believe how many new roads were in there," she added.

Graham's penstemon is a strikingly beautiful wildflower in the snapdragon family that only occurs on oil shale outcrops in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado. The penstemon was first considered for Endangered Species Act protection in 1975, when the Smithsonian drafted the first list of plants to be protected under the Act. After nearly 30 years without action, and with drilling threats mounting, conservation groups formally petitioned the Service to protect the penstemon in 2002.

"Graham's penstemon is the polar bear of the Uinta Basin," said Tony Frates with the Utah Native Plant Society. "With oil and gas drilling, oil shale mining, and tar sands extraction all ramping up in its habitat, this wildflower urgently needs the protections of the Endangered Species Act."

In January 2006 the Service determined that the penstemon needed to be protected. However, by the end of the same year, the Service abruptly reversed course and claimed that threats had disappeared.

The Bureau of Land Management (also within the Interior Department) vigorously opposed Endangered Species Act protection. The Service's decision to deny protections stated, "we have relied heavily on BLM's comments" (71 Fed. Reg. 76026 (Dec. 19, 2006)). Although the Service admitted that 88% of the penstemon's populations were in areas where active oil and gas exploration was taking place, and that all three of the formal scientific reviewers of the proposal to protect the penstemon agreed that protection was necessary, the Service claimed that the BLM's comments had reassured them that the penstemon would be safe from harm.

However, the BLM's comments were vague and did not commit to new conservation actions for the penstemon: "While we cannot describe what the specific conservation measures will be, because they are yet to be developed, they will incorporate effective conservation measures for [Graham's penstemon] and other species" (p. 6 of BLM's formal response to the Service on the January 2006 listing proposal).

"The claim that new scientific information underpinned the decision to withdraw listing of Graham's penstemon as Threatened is inaccurate," stated Dr. Vincent Tepedino, retired government scientist and Adjunct Professor at Utah State University. "No such evidence exists." For several years Dr. Tepedino attempted to investigate the penstemon's pollination biology and its dependence on pollinators, but was thwarted by the paucity of blooming plants.

The citizens bringing today's lawsuit were forced to sue the BLM under the Freedom of Information Act earlier to obtain documents that revealed that the authors of the BLM's comments were known as the "Penstemon 'No Listing' Team" and the "penstemon strike team". The BLM developed a "Strategy for Avoiding a Listing of Penstemon" and deliberately downplayed the possibility of oil and gas drilling in the penstemon's habitat. This was a challenge; one of the authors emailed other members of the team saying, "I'm at a loss in how to address the fact that the entire area may be blanketed by oil and gas proposals."

"Luckily there is an easy fix here," said Sarada Krishnan with the Colorado Native Plant Society. "The Service should reinstate and finalize the original protective proposal."

The Endangered Species Act requires that endangered species listing decisions be based solely on the best available science. Yesterday the Interior Department's Inspector General released an investigative report uncovering political interference in 13 other endangered species decisions. He concluded, "action is necessary to restore the integrity of the ESA program, and the morale and reputation of the FWS in the eyes of the public and of Congress."

"Every day more evidence of Interior Department corruption emerges," said Erin Robertson, Senior Staff Biologist for Center for Native Ecosystems in Denver. "With the Bush administration in charge, this little wildflower didn't stand a chance against the drilling and oil shale industries. Now it will finally get its day in court."

Today the national Endangered Species Coalition also released a report titled "Without a Net: Top Ten Wildlife, Fish and Plants Most in Need of Endangered Species Protection", and included Graham's penstemon as an honorable mention.

Today's lawsuit was filed by Center for Native Ecosystems, Utah Native Plant Society, Colorado Native Plant Society, and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. The groups are represented by Earthjustice in Denver.

BLM updates manual for first time since 2001 (12/15/08)
 

On December 15, 2008, the BLM announced changes to its 6840 Manual for Management of Special Status Species which had previously not been updated since 2001. The manual provides guidance to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act and in connection with its special status species program which includes "sensitive" plant species.

 
Sphaeralcea gierischii becomes a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (12/11/08)
 
As a result of the work of the Arizona field office of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Utah has for the first time in many years a new Endangered Species Act candidate plant species: Gierisch's globemallow.
 
Sphaeralcea gierischii Washingon County, Utah 4/30/05 by Tony Frates
Sphaeralcea gierischii
 
Only recognized as a species since 2002 when it was named by Drs. Duane Atwood and Stanley Welsh (in memory of Ralph K. Gierisch, BLM St. George biologist, who also made the first collection in 1978), Gierisch's globemallow occurs over a very small area of perhaps ten square miles in extreme southwestern Utah (Washington County) and in the Arizona Strip in adjacent Mohave County. Only one population occurs in Utah; the total number of acres occupied by all populations is estimated to be less than 60 acres. The species is restricted to gypsum or limestone soils primarily on the Harrisburg Member of the Kaibab Formation. Threats include gypsum mining and off road/recreational vehicles.
 
Sphaeralcea gierischii Washingon County, Utah 4/30/05 by Tony Frates
Sphaeralcea gierischii
 
Four of Utah's candidate plant species were dropped by the Fish & Wildlife Service between 2006 and 2007. Utah's only other candidate species currently is Penstemon scariousus var. albifluvis (White River Penstemon). Candidate species are species that the Service has sufficient information to proceed with listing but is precluded from doing so by other higher priority activites. By publishing a species for candidate status, it is then hoped that collaborative action will be taken in conjunction with federal programs that then become available to avoid having to list the species. So while it affords no additional legal protection, candidate status confers real benefits to an imperiled species. In this case, because Gierisch's globemallow was not previously on the BLM sensitive species list (despite prior UNPS recommendations that it be added), the publication of this species as a federal candidate means that it is now a de facto BLM sensitive species in Utah.
 
No plant species that occurs in Utah has been newly listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2001. While species have been proposed for delisting, no new plant species have been voluntarily listed under the Bush administration. Currently there are 24 federally listed plant species that occur in Utah.
 
More information
Federal Register Candidate Notice of Review published December 10, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune article Rare Utah plant on endangered candidate list by Tom Wharton published 12/11/08
US Fish & Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie Region
UNPS rare plants page
Utah Rare Plant Guide (hosted by UNPS)
 
Where was Salt Lake County's monsoon in 2008? (12/5/08 by Tony Frates)
 
In reflecting on the extended and beautiful fall we had this year, some of us are wondering what happened to our August monsoon along the central Wasatch Front. The Salt Lake area normally experiences what some refer to as a "desert monsoon" (of typically lesser intensity than what occurs in arid areas in the southern half of the state; these are primarily short periods of wind pattern changes that in the western U.S. tend to bring additional moisture). This generally occurs in August and leads to a daily afternoon/early evening pattern consisting of dark clouds and thunderstorm type activity, somewhat cooler temperatures, some amount of increased precipitation and higher levels of humidity for a period of a week to ten days or longer. In 2008 this never happened.
 
Long-time resident Salt Lake valley resident and UNPS member Dorde Woodruff notes that in some 50 plus years of living here, this is the first summer she can remember when the summer monsoon never came. Some northern locations received some spotty rain. But, "where I live there was none for two months" said Dorde, who particularly noticed it while trying to maintain a vegetable garden.
 
The Salt Lake area does not normally receive the kind of extreme weather that produces anything like the catastrophic weather that often occurs during monsoons experienced in other parts of the world. But, our highly publicized downtown Salt Lake City tornado occurred in August (of 1999).
 
A November 12, 2008 USA Today article Shrinking Great Salt Lake finally easing up (by AP writer Mike Stark) concludes that the shrinking of the lake has stopped, despite acknowledging that the temperatures through the fall of 2008 have placed the lake at its near lowest level (currently the lake is at 4,194 feet, the lowest recorded was 4,191 feet in 1963; the lake has been at about the 4,200 foot level for the last 10,000 years).
 
The National Weather Service reports that the Salt Lake area had the fifth warmest July ever recorded this year, with only three days of thunderstorm activity (normal is seven), and with record high minimums on July 4 and July 26 (both of 77 degrees). In August, until the last day of the month, NWS categorizes the weather as "hot and dry" and we experienced only three days of thunderstorm activity (eight days is normal). On August 1 we set a record high maximum of 103 degrees; on August 24 we set a record high maximum of 99 followed on the 25th by a record high minimum of 72. In September our weather was described as "warm and very dry" with two days of thunderstorms (four is normal). Ski resorts have delayed their openings as November was also very dry with some areas receiving no precipitation.
 
Local weather reports have mentioned how dry it was but not that a seasonal weather pattern was completely missed. Why was there no desert monsoon this year along the central Wasatch Front, and what impact did it have on the local native plants (and therefore wildlife)?
 
More information
National Weather Service Western Region Headquarters
Utah's Tornadoes & Waterspouts - 1847 to the Present
Botany connection: see the entry relating to the May 27, 1941 twister near Woods Cross. Legendary University of Utah botanist Dr. Walter Cottam was apparently collecting plants for a botany class in the Mueller Park area and ended up taking what are reported as possibly the first published photographs of a Utah twister. May is a less likely monthly than August, but a more recent small tornado that occurred in Salt Lake County happened in the Holladay/Cottonwall Mall area on May 25, 2000.
Monsoon in Wikipedia
 
Thousand year old hybrid oak trees are a remnant of a past era (11/17/08, updated 11/30/08)
 
Naturally occurring rare oak hybrids along the Central Wasatch Front provoke thought and respect
 
See also these related posts by Dr. William Gray on his Wasatch Wildflower Walks site:
Hybrid Oak, Dry Creek 11/15/08
Hybrid Oak, George's Hollow 11/20/08

An odd sight for late November in northern Utah (11/22/08, updated 11/29/08)
 
Astragalus utahensis (Utah milkvetch, lady's slipper or Utah ladyslipper) was in flower November 22, 2008 in Salt Lake County (4,500 ft. elevation, lower Dimple Dell Regional Park). Normally this species blooms as early as late March and finishes flowering in May or at the latest by early June in our area and is not usually known to bloom again here (although legume expert Rupert Barneby in Vol. 3B of the Intermountain Flora indicates that the species sometimes blooms again in late August to September). Late season warm temperatures are confusing the local flora. Note the white, furry, decaying pods (fruits) from flowers of likely well over six months ago.
 
 
Astragalus utahensis in flower on 11/22/08 at Dimple Dell by Tony Frates
Astragalus utahensis, Copyright 2008 Tony Frates
 
 
Dr. William "Bill" Gray reports that on November 29, 2008 he observed the same thing on the slopes above City Creek in the Ensign Peak area. Here again Astragalus utahensis (despite several consecutive days of quite cold weather since the 22nd) was found in bloom. He did not observe any damage caused by frost, and many green leaves.
 
 
Astragalus utahensis in flower on 11/29/08 at City Creek by Bill Gray
Astragalus utahensis, Copyright 2008 William Gray
 
 
Other solitary native plants he observed that were in bloom included Machaeranthera canescens, Eriogonum brevicaule, Gutierrezia sarothrae, and Haplopappus rydbergii.
 
Other native plant blooms observed here in the last week include Erigeron divergens (Dimple Dell, City Creek area, foothills south of Red Butte Garden, Olympus Hills Park), and Aster ascendens. While it is unusually late in the year for these other species to be blooming, they commonly bloom late into the fall every year (unlike Astragalus utahensis).
 
It has been an amazing fall along the central Wasatch Front.
 
Here is what Utah milkvetch looks like when it is flowering in the spring:
 
Astragalus utahensis 4/30/08 SL County by Tony Frates
Astragalus utahensis, Copyright 2008 Tony Frates
Dick Hildreth Speaks at 30th Anniversary Meeting (11/8/08)
 
At our annual meeting on November 7, 2008 in Salt Lake City, a new board was elected (the names of those new board members are listed below). Inasmuch as this was also our 30th anniversary, we were very pleased that co-founder Richard "Dick" Hildreth (who now lives in Arizona) was in attendance and he also spoke and participated in discussions concerning the early history of UNPS based on a presentation that first state president Dr. Duane Atwood made at a rare plant conference in March of 2008. Duane could not attend due to family illness, but we used his outline as a guide and did our best to recreate that earlier presentation, and members in the audience helped to fill in the gaps.
 
A number of members from Ogden, Logan, Richfield, Orem/Provo, Park City and other areas surrounding Salt Lake attended the meeting and a small army of members helped to organize and perform various tasks in conjunction with the event, including co-presidents Dr. William "Bill" Gray and Bill King, both of whom also spoke at the meeting, and Salt Lake Chapter President, Kipp Lee.
 
We were also honored by the presence of Intermountain Flora authors Drs. Noel Holmgren and Patricia Holmgren. Noel's father, the late Dr. Arthur "Art" Holmgren was a participant in the earliest UNPS organizational meeting in 1978 and served on the first UNPS board of directors along with Richard Hildreth (the first chairperson), Duane Atwood, Mike Alder, Walter Miller, Dr. Irving "Bill" McNulty, Dr. Elizabeth Neese, Richard Page, Ed Schlatterer, Bob Thompson and Dr. Stanley Welsh
 
Co-president Gray announced the completion of a large project to digitally archive the first 30 years of Utah Native Plant Society newsletters (called the Sego Lily for most, but not all, of the period from late 1978 thru the end of 2007), a project which he spearheaded. A DVD containining the archive was made available for free to all attending members; the DVD will soon be made available for purchase for a small fee primarily to cover production and mailing costs.
 
Tony Frates was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
 
2009 board members:
 
Walt Fertig
Robert Fitts
Susan Fitts
Bill Gray
Marie Griffiths
Celeste Kennard
Bill King
Kipp Lee
Margaret Malm
Larry Meyer
Therese Meyer
Jiff Mitchell
Ty Harrison
Charlene Homan
Leila Shultz
Dave Wallace
Mindy Wheeler
Maggie Wolf
Loreen Woolstenhulme
November-December 2008 Sego Lily published (Special 30th Anniversary Issue) (10/29/08)
 
The November-December 2008 newsletter has been published and is now available for public access. Click here to access all of the latest and prior issues.

New and Updated Flora ID DVD Products Available (9/24/08)
 
In addition to the Utah flora DVD key from Flora ID Northwest (which now has twice as many images as prior versions), the Nevada key along with two new regional keys, the Great Basin (which includes Utah and Nevada) and the Rocky Mountain Region, are now also available.
 
More information
 

Fremont Chapter Hosts October 4, 2008 event (9/22/08)
 
 

Another legendary Utah botanist lost: Dr. Elizabeth J. Neese, 1934-2008 (8/26/08 by Tony Frates)
 
Botanist Elizabeth Neese died at her California home in El Cerrito on August 10, 2008 at the age of 73.
 
Liz worked on the floras of Utah, Nevada and California. She was a co-author of the Uinta Basin Flora published in 1986. She rediscovered and discovered a number of plant species in Utah and was the author/co-author of numerous others. One of her most famous rediscoveries was Astragalus desereticus in 1981; the "Deseret" milkvetch, which occurs in central Utah and prior to Liz's discovery was thought to be possibly extinct, is now a federally listed species. An example of a species that Liz discovered in 1982 (and later named by Dr. Stanley Welsh and her) was Hymenoxys lapidicola, endemic to Uintah County and also rare. With Frank J. Smith, she named Gilia tenuis, the Mussentuchit gilia, in 1989. Plants named in her honor that also relate to Neese discoveries include Lepidium montanum var. neeseae and Astragalus desperatus var. neeseae (synonymized with Astragalus equisolensis, the "Horseshoe" milkvetch, formerly a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act and which she and Dr. Welsh found in May of 1979 and that they named A. equisolensis in 1981). More recently named taxa recognizing Elizabeth include Astragalus megacarpus var. neeseae (named in 2003, known only from Mesa County, Colorado) and Physaria neeseae (named in 2008 from the Henry Mtns). And from the hanging gardens of southeastern Utah, Welsh & Neese named the alcove rock-daisy, Perityle specuicola, in 1983.
 
More Uinta Basin taxa on which Liz left her mark include Penstemon flowersii (which she and Susan M. White discovered and that she and Welsh named in 1983, and which was named posthumously in honor of the University of Utah's moss/lichen specialist, Dr. Seville Flowers), Yucca harrimaniae var. sterilis (new variety which she and again Welsh named in 1985, now regarded by Welsh & Higgins as Yucca sterilis), and Penstemon duchesnensis (which Liz raised to the species level in 1986, based on the prior name of P. dolius var. duchesnensis N. Holmgren).
 
Liz was part of a small group of botanists who met in September of 1978 which led to the formation of the Utah Native Plant Society, and she was one of our first state officers and served on our very first UNPS board of directors. With Kaye Thorne, she was the co-editor of the UNPS newsletter in 1981, and she served as the state president in 1983. She remained actively involved in UNPS throughout the 1980's leading UNPS flower walks in Albion Basin and serving as one of our experts at UNPS Unidentified Flowering Object meetings held in Salt Lake City.
 
Over 10,000 Neese specimens (most of which are from Utah) are on file at the S.L. Welsh Herbarium in Provo, Utah. For the past 20 years, Liz lived in California and participated in California Native Plant Society events, and was a research affiliate at The Jepson Herbarium (University of California, Berkeley).
 
For more information about the Horseshoe milkvetch as well as Elizabeth Neese, see the September-October 2008 Sego Lily.
 

UNPS Annual Meeting To Be Held on Friday, November 7, 2008 (8/22/08)
 
Each year UNPS holds an Annual Members Meeting which has traditionally included three main elements: a "New World Pot Luck" lunch or supper featuring foods native to the Americas (classics include turkey, potatoes, tomatoes, yams, blueberries); a featured speaker who has something important to say about our native plants and UNPS; a brief business meeting at which the members elect a board of directors (BOD) for the following year.
 
In recent years we have cycled among the three population centers of Utah Valley, Salt Lake, and Cache Valley, and it is the Salt Lake chapter's turn to host the 2008 meeting. This being our 30th anniversary we hope that as many people as possible will make a special effort to attend: we will do our best to arrange 'home stay' accomodation for anyone traveling from out of the area.
 
Our venue is the Sugarhouse Garden Center, 1602 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City (see driving instructions and map below) which has good meeting rooms and a large kitchen for heating and preparing food. Arrive any time from 5:30 pm, to socialize and help get things setup. We expect to start eating between 6:15 and 6:30. Our speaker for this special occasion will be Dr. Duane Atwood: Duane was one of the founding members of UNPS and its first president. Over the years he has made many contributions to our understanding of Utah's plants and to work on their behalf. Earlier this year, at the Utah Rare Plant Conference, he gave a retrospective talk on the early years of UNPS and was presented with our Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding work.
 
Driving instructions (see map below): from north or south, take the eastbound I-80 exit from I-15, and exit again at 1300 East (about 2 miles). Proceed north by Sugarhouse Park, turn right on 2100 South. The Garden Center is located in the extreme northeast corner of the park, with its own parking lot (not accessible from Sugarhouse Park).
 
Sugarhouse map
 
For more details or questions, please e-mail or call Bill Gray cyberflora@xmission.com (801-532-3486)

Imperiled Penstemon grahamii surveyed by TNC volunteers in May 2008 (7/5/08)
 
Graham's Penstemon: Mapping a Precarious Future

Oil and gas development is already beginning to impact areas where the Penstemon is found. In an effort to plan for and mitigate further degradation, a group of Conservancy staff, partners and volunteers took critical action by searching for and recording the location of a rare bloom found nowhere else on Earth.

"With the increased interest in oil shale, it is important to map the plant's habitat in advance," said Joan Degiorgio, Northern Mountains Regional Director for the Utah Chapter. "This will help energy development companies avoid these areas and guarantee the future of the Penstemon."


 
UNPS to host 5th Southwest Rare Plant Conference (6/20/08)
 
The Utah Native Plant Society will be hosting the next Southwest Rare Plant Conference (which will incorporate the annual Utah Rare Plant Task Force Conference). The event entitled Changing Landscapes in the Southwest will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah on the University of Utah campus from March 16 through 20, 2009. Topics will range from rare plant issues (Southwest region as well as Utah) plant community and ecological restoration, climate change issues and others. Format will include posters, presentations and breakout sessions. There will be a published proceedings from this conference. Dr. Noel Holmgren will be our keynote speaker
 
This promises to be a great networking and informational event with leading ecologists and botanists from both public agencies and private industry of the region! Please join us.
 
More information and on-line registration
 
Event sponsors include: Red Butte Garden, The Nature Conservancy, Utah Botanical Center and others to be announced.

Utah Botanists in the News (4/24/08)
 
The legacy of legendary Utah botanist Walter Cottam (1894-1988) lives on.

SL Tribune 4/23/08 article entitled Tremendous Legacy

UNPS honored Dr. Cottam on May 4, 1979 (photo credit: Duane Atwood).

Remembering USU botanist Dr. Richard J. Shaw (1923-2008)

Dr. Shaw died on April 21, 2008. His wife Ida Marion Shaw died on February 23, 2008.

Dr. Shaw wrote a number of plant guides (both technical and general) including Utah Wildflowers: A Field Guide To Northern And Central Mountains And Valleys, Wildflowers of the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, Vascular Plants of Northern Utah, Plants of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Plants of Waterton-Glacier National Parks, and the Northern Rockies. He was an accomplished photographer, filling his books with excellent photos and leaving a large collection of slides at the Intermountain Herbarium. He was Professor Emeritus, Emeritus Director of the Intermountain Herbarium and sponsor of the Richard J. and Marion A. Shaw Endowed Scholarship at Utah State University. See also Utah Tributes.

UNPS Cache members enjoyed Dr. Shaw's evening "wildflower walks" near Green Canyon (click here for photo) and he was the featured speaker at the 2003 UNPS Annual Meeting of the Members held in Logan, Utah.

 
UNPS recognizes Duane Atwood with Lifetime Achievement Award (4/21/08)


Duane Atwood receives award on 3/4/08, picture by Tony Frates
Dr. N. Duane Atwood receives lifetime achievement awards
On March 4, 2008 at the annual rare plant task force meeting in Salt Lake City, the Utah Native Plant Society presented Dr. N. Duane Atwood with a lifetime achievement award. The presentation was made following Duane's keynote speech relating to the early history of UNPS and the future of systemic botany in Utah.

In September of 1978 Duane was part of a small group of botanists that led to the founding of UNPS later that year and became the first president of UNPS serving in that capacity for several years (and continuing on as a board member for many years). But his contributions only begin there.

Read more. (UNPS Honors Duane Atwood, May-June 2008 Sego Lily, p.6)

December 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of UNPS.




Atwood plaque, picture by Tony Frates
Click for larger view
Woad Runner Pulls in May 2008 (4/23/08)
 
Help rid Utah of this noxious weed. One of the May 17, 2008 pulls is specifically sponsored by UNPS.
More information

What's blooming in Zion National Park 2008? (4/12/08)
 
For the eighth consecutive year, UNPS is sponsoring ZNP blooming reports written by Margaret Malm. As in the past updates will be posted more or less weekly throughout April and May.
 
Zion National Park What's Up and Blooming
PURGE YOUR SPURGE! MYRTLE SPURGE/NATIVE PLANT EXCHANGE on April 26, 2008 (3/31/08)
 
Salt Lake County Weed Program Press Release (3/21/08):

This April, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to purge your spurge and rid your garden of myrtle spurge (or as some call it donkey tail spurge) and receive free Utah native plants in exchange! Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) is a highly invasive garden plant that is rapidly spreading in our foothills and canyons. Recently listed as a noxious weed in Salt Lake County, this non-native species out-competes native vegetation by forming large dense infestations that decrease plant diversity and wildlife habitat. Join the Bonneville CWMA and its partners at REI in Salt Lake City as we work to protect our canyons by preventing the spread of myrtle spurge in our foothills. On April 26th, 2008 bring your bagged myrtle spurge to REI at 3285 East 3300 South, where volunteers will be on hand to take your plants and in exchange give you 1 of 3 plant mixes containing 5 Utah native plants. Choose from 3 plant communities: Full sun/ buckwheat mix, full sun/ penstemon mix, and part shade/ columbine mix. Each mix contains a variety of outstanding Utah natives, carefully selected for similar water, soil, and exposure needs. In addition, receive a planting guide and learn about noxious and invasive species in Salt Lake and what you can do to help prevent their spread. For more information contact Salt Lake County Weed Program staff at 801-468-2861 or on the web at www.weeds.slco.org.

 
More information: Purge Your Spurge! flyer

New What's Up Wildflower Hotline Site (3/26/08)
 
A new web site dedicated dedicated to helping you find things in bloom in Utah (and particularly along the Wasatch Front) is now available. It will contain notes, photos and maps of what's happening with our native plants and is authored by UNPS co-president and Cyberflora CD creator, Dr. William Gray.
 
What's Up

Updated Digital Atlas of Utah Plants (3/4/08)
 
The updated Digital Atlas of Utah Plants is available at http://earth.gis.usu.edu/plants/index.html. The atlas is an invaluable reference work spearheaded by Dr. Leila Shultz and represents an update to the printed volume (and prior on-line electronic equivalent of the printed volume). Checklists are available by ecoregion. Since the 1988 atlas, some 500 name changes have occurred. The common name, growth habit, duration and nativity has been provided for each species. Also included are some 400 rare and newly described taxa based on over 6,000 new collection sites. Synonyms are in brown italics and rare plants are shown in red letters.
At the foundation of life: native plants