Ahart Herbarium

Ahart Herbarium presents
All Things Botanically Related (Series)

Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania
Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania

Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania

by Barbara Wilson
Carex Working Group

Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania is a unique group that is relatively specialized. They are attractive, diverse, succulent wildflowers endemic to California plus Oregon. They have confused botanists for decades. A recent investigation has helped clarify the diversity by redefining some species and describing new ones. However, mysteries remain. How was the work done? What were the results? What other mysteries remain? 

Barbara Wilson is a member of the Carex Working Group, which works on diverse plant groups like sedges, grasses, willows, and now Sedum. She got her doctorate in 1999 at Oregon State University for research into fescue (grass) taxonomy. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with her wife Mary Vance, who enjoys the NorCalBot conferences and hopes they start meeting in person again. She's very active on iNaturalist, as sedgequeen.

Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania
Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania
Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania
Stonecrops of Sedum section Gormania

All Things Botanically Related - Past Presentations:

Whiskeytown Lake
Vernal Pools

Whiskeytown: A Goldmine of Botanical Treasures

by Chris McCarron

Thursday, April 27, 2023

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The Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is located on the southwestern edge of Shasta CNPS's border. This National Park is uniquely situated at the southeastern edge of the Klamath Range, adjacent to the intersection of the North Coast Range Interior and the Cascade Range Foothill bioregions (as denoted by The Jepson Manual). The elevation gradient within the park extends from 900ft, below Whiskeytown Dam, to 6200ft on the summit of Shasta Bally. As a result, the park has a diversity of vegetation types, species found at the edge of their range, and disjunct taxa from neighboring bioregions.

In 2018, 97% of the park was burned during the Carr Fire, opening up over 42,000 acres of land that was previously heavily vegetated. Beginning in 2021, the National Park Service partnered with the Great Basin Institute, hiring a crew to survey the PG&E infrastructure within the park for botanical resources. The following year, the Great Basin Institute hired an additional crew to survey fuel treatment areas within the park. Over 2023, a third Great Basin Institute crew will be tasked with surveying the park, building on what has been discovered over the past two years.

Significant discoveries have been made in the park during these surveys that deserve to be shared and celebrated with the botanical community. Chris McCarron has been the crew leader for all three years and will be presenting some of the key findings and discoveries made during these surveys, along with future plans for botanical work in the park. All are encouraged to attend this talk, as you will almost certainly be excited by the work being done to explore this unique and underappreciated corner of the state.

Whiskeytown Lake

Chris McCarron has been leading a Great Basin Institute crew since 2021 at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area to survey for rare, invasive, and unrecorded taxa in the park. Prior to that, he attended the University of California Berkeley for his undergraduate degree and worked at the University and Jepson Herbaria along with the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden. At the moment, he has been focusing his work on elaborating on what has been discovered during his time at Whiskeytown over the past few years.

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

California Phenology Thematic Collections Network

Screenshot of CHH2 websiteAhart 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

Ahart Herbarium passed another minor milestone by accessioning over 125,000 specimens – 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.

Photo Contest Winner
The Friends of the Ahart Herbarium are once again sponsoring a Native Plant Photo Contest. Contest runs through May 31, 2023. For more details and how to submit your photo, please check out Events on the Friends website.

Friends of the Ahart Herbarium Workshops!

Butterflies of Butte County and Their Larval Host Plants
by Dr. Don Miller
Thursday, June 1, 2023 (plus optional follow-up field trip June 2)
Holt Hall Room 129
Registration information here >> (PDF)

Butterflies are among the most charismatic and easily identified pollinating insects. California has a rich and distinctive butterfly fauna with about 250 species, 115 of which have been recorded in Butte County. Besides serving as pollinators, the vast majority of butterflies are herbivorous in their larval stages. This workshop provides an introduction to some of the butterfly species found in Butte County, with a special emphasis on their relationships with larval host plants. The dietary breadth of caterpillars varies broadly, ranging from specialists such as the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), whose local populations feed solely on Aristolochia californica, to generalists such as the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), whose larvae consume the foliage of more than 300 plant species from at least seven families.

Save the Date!
Introduction to the Willows of California (Salicaceae)

by John Bair
Saturday, June 24, 2023

California is home to over one quarter of the estimated 120 willow species growing in North America. Cottonwoods and willows are the most common riparian hardwood species in California and yet many of us have little idea of how to tell them apart. Species identification is often neglected because willows are thought to frequently hybridize, which is further compounded by only having vegetative material during field visits when we think we need flowers to make a positive identification. The workshop will focus on the leaf, stem, and other vegetative growth characteristics that are useful in making identification while also emphasizing the regional distributions of the different species. The goal of the workshop is to provide a broad overview of willows, highlight vegetative characteristics used in the identification keys in The Jepson Manual (second edition) and familiarize participants with the six most common willows in California.

Check back soon for more info!

View the Friends of the Herbarium Calendar >>(opens in new window)

Herbarium Logo

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

Ahart Herbarium is again open to the public!

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.

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