The Chico State Herbarium

Chico State Herbarium presents
All Things Botanically Related (Series)

Alpine Plants: Making it in a Challenging Environment
Alpine Plants…Making it in a Challenging 

Alpine Plants…Making it in a Challenging Environment
by Jim Bishop

September 16, 2021

Join Us on Zoom >>(opens in new window)

Alpine Plants...Life Above the Trees. 

Seemingly delicate, but tough and beautifully-adapted plants grow above the life zones of trees…not an easy environment, always cool, sometimes bitterly cold. Plant leaves might be fairly warm while roots are near freezing. Ultraviolet radiation is intense and unrelenting. The cold air carries little moisture.

How do alpine plants survive where trees cannot, and handle the severe environmental stresses? We’ll consider these questions and others, and we’ll look at the varied microclimatic conditions that shape the habitats for alpine plants, along with physiological adaptations that suit them to this demanding world.

Jim Bishop has long been fascinated by the alpine zone, first as a hiker who knew nearly nothing about it, in the Sierras, Cascades, Rockies, Great Basin, and Alaska. More recently he and his botanist wife Catie have spent many weeks in the alpine environment. They participate in the international GLORIA alpine-survey project, allowing them to spend parts of 18 summers in alpine zones throughout the Sierras, White Mountains, Panamint Mtns. and Snake Range. It is a great learning experience, involving contact with experienced alpine botanists and ecologists. Jim’s studies in plant physiology and Catie’s studies in botany at CSU Chico provided a foundation for building knowledge of alpine plant ecology.

All Things Botanically Related - Past Presentations:

Gardening in Fire Landscapes
Gardening in Fire Landscapes

Gardening in Fire Landscapes
by Adrienne Edwards and
Rachel Schleiger

August 19, 2021

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How can we minimize wildfire risks while optimizing the ecological integrity of wildland areas? Many residents and regulators interpret “defensible wildfire space” to mean that you must clear all vegetation at least 100 feet away from structures. Clearing an area to that extent can actually make your home more vulnerable to wildfires, while also creating virtual “deserts” for pollinators and wildlife. We will explore more nuanced ways to protect your home, and support the natural areas we love. The wildfires we are experiencing are traumatic; but we can use lessons learned to build back safer, and more sustainably.

Check out more previous presentations in the All Things Botanically Related Series >>(opens in new window)

Friends of the Chico State Herbarium Celebrate their 25th Anniversary of supporting the Chico State Herbarium.

The Friends primary mission is to fund the Herbarium curator position by holding workshops throughout the year. The workshops cover diverse topics including technical workshops for agencies, consultants and conservation interests. They also sponsor more hands-on workshops such as botanical illustration and plant dyes. Their spring newsletter, celebrating 25 years of accomplishments, is available to Friends members. Interested in becoming a member of the Friends and supporter of the Herbarium, go to their website (https://www.friendsofthechicostateherbarium.com) and sign up – the price is really reasonable and as a member you get a discount on workshops. And we would be happy to send you a copy of the current newsletter celebrating lots of successes.

California Phenology Thematic Collections Network

Screenshot of CHH2 websiteThe Chico State Herbarium is actively photographing specimens in the collection and linking the images to the collection information for each species. This information is accessible through the California Phenology Thematic Collections Network (www.CCH2.org(opens in new window)). Through a National Science Foundation grant, the Herbarium will be imaging over 30,000 specimens in the collection which will be similar to the one here. Collectively, over 23 different herbaria and collections across California will be located on CCH2. Check out the website!(opens in new window) 

Screenshot of CCH2 Website

Entire specimen Specimen close

The Chico State Herbarium passed another minor milestone by accessioning its 120,000th specimen – see the number 120,000 stamped in the middle of the Herbarium logo on the lower left side of the sheet in the left photograph. This specimen is another fine example of the collecting and specimen mounting of Lowell Ahart – his collection number 21,434 from last summer.

Located in Holt Hall room 129, the Herbarium is the most complete repository of plant specimens from northeastern California. The emphasis is on the northern California flora, and includes a great number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant species. Established with specimens donated by the late Professor Vesta Holt in the 1950's, the herbarium now contains more than 107,000 dried and mounted plant specimens. The majority of samples are flowering plants, conifers, and ferns, but bryophytes, lichens, and especially slime molds, are also well represented. The herbarium is used extensively for identification of sensitive and other plant species by various agencies and individuals. Loans of herbarium specimens are made to any higher academic institutions who request them.

Facilities available to visitors to the herbarium include the use of high-quality dissecting scopes, a compound microscope, an extensive reference library, an internet-connected computer, an internet connection for personal computers, and, with suitable training, access to the collection of specimens.

Users of the herbarium facilities and collection are encouraged to make plant collections during their field excursions and donate them to the herbarium. This is how the collection grows and increases its utility and importance to the whole botanical community.

Herbarium Logo

We can now process book orders from Studies of the Herbarium >>

The Chico State Herbarium is again open to the public!

Fall Semester hours are Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and by appointment.

Visiting the herbarium is by appointment only, by contacting the Curator at ljaneway@csuchico.edu.

Masks are required inside all campus buildings.

Visitors accessing campus facilities must comply with CSU Chico vaccination policy.
Thank you.

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming workshops from Friends of the Herbarium!

Stay tuned for upcoming fall workshop information!

Visit the event calendar(opens in new window) for more info!