Welcome to Santa Cruz County CNPS
The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit organization of amateurs
and professionals with a common interest in California's native plants. CNPS seek to increase
understanding and appreciation of California's native plants and to preserve them in their natural
habitat through scientific activities, education, and conservation.
The chapter meets every other month on the second Monday of the month at the
University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum Horticulture Building, located at 1156 High Street. Directions can be found
The chapter welcomes all-from the botanists and defenders of the environment to the casual nature lover.
Contact any Board Member to find out about the organization. Attend a meeting-you will learn something new!
California Native Plant Society - Santa Cruz County Chapter
P. O. Box 1622
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
In Memoriam: Fred McPherson
Environmental Educator Hopelessly in Love with Nature
It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Fred McPherson founding member of our chapter, past president, and CNPS Fellow.
Literally and figuratively, Fred McPherson was a force of, and for, nature in the San Lorenzo Valley as well as the Santa Cruz Mountains bioregion. He was a friend, teacher, advisor, and mentor to so many people of all ages. Fred was at home in a high school or college classroom, boardroom, on the radio or in a video, behind a camera, and most of all outside. He recorded his observations in an extensive collection of natural history journals and passed that skill on to anyone who asked. His early passion for learning turned into a passion to educate others and to advocate for the conservation of our natural areas. Willingness to share his knowledge and experience, while enthusiastically listening to people of all ages and backgrounds was one of his most endearing qualities.
Click on these additional resources to find out more about Fred McPherson's life and work.
Fred and Roberta McPherson's Youtube video channel.
BeProvided Conservation Radio - Marcia Sivek's and Grey Hayes' interview of Fred, September 2017
Levity Zone - Bruce Damer's interview of Fred, July 2018
Santa Cruz Mountains Bioregional Council
UC Santa Cruz Society for Conservation Biology: Santa Cruz Chapter
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is home to Fred's natural history accounts of plants, and animals, Natural History of the Santa Cruz Mountains Reader, and Photographs of HCRSP, especially Poison Oak
Fred contributed chapters for the first and third editions of the Hip Santa Cruz book series, edited by Ralph Abraham. All three books are listed below.
Hip Santa Cruz: First-Person Accounts of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz, California in the 1960s. 2016. Ralph H. Abraham Editor. ISBN 9781944037383. First person accounts from the pioneers of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz in the 1960s, including: Pat Bisconti, Rick Gladstone, Max Hartstein, Peter Demma, Bob Hall, Fred McPherson, Paul Lee, Judy Hill, Leon Tabory, Joe Lysowski, Ralph Abraham, and Rivkah Barmore.
Click to see book launch celebration video
Hip Santa Cruz 2: More First-Person Accounts of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz, California. 2017. Ralph H. Abraham Editor. ISBN 9781944037871. First person accounts from pioneers of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz in the 1960s and 1970s, including: Doug Hansen, Pat Miller, Lee Quarnstrom, Lex van Zyl, Stanley D. Stephens, Raven Lang, Jodi Frediani, Rosalie Allen Taylor, Estelle Fein, Gerd Stern, Fritjof Capra, T. Mike Walker, Ralph H. Abraham, Glenn Allen Howard, John Livingston, Ray Gwyn, and Kate Bowland.
Hip Santa Cruz 3: First-Person Accounts of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. 2018. Ralph H. Abraham Editor. ISBN 1948796503. First-person accounts from pioneers of the Hip Culture of Santa Cruz in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including: Rick Gladstone, Kate Bowland, Paul Lee, Fred McPherson, Don Monkerud, Ed Penniman, and T. Mike Walker.
November 7, 1947 – June 6, 2017
It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Randy Morgan, founding member of our chapter, past president, and CNPS Fellow.
Many people have fond memories of Randy, and we are sharing some of them here. Also, see our July August 2017 Newsletter for more information.
The Randall Morgan Collections and Santa Cruz Natural History Initiative was developed in consultation with Morgan himself in spring 2017. The Initiative aims to honor, preserve, and build upon the legacy of Morgan's own projects and collections.
Randy requested that those who wanted to honor his memory do so in the form of a donation to this initiative. Our chapter board voted to donate $1,000. We encourage CNPS members to donate, and match our contribution.
To contribute online go to the Norris Center web site, find the "Support the Randall Morgan Collections" paragraph and click the "Make a donation online" link. This will take you to online donation form, prefilled with the designation "Morgan Insect Collection."
To contribute by check: Make your check out to UCSC Foundation and in the memo section add Randall Morgan Initiative.
Send your check to:
Ken Norris Center for Natural History
UCSC ENVS 1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
A Sprinkling of Randy Morgan's Major Achievements
(in his own words)
Fellow of the California Native Plant Society; founding member and past president of Santa Cruz County chapter.
Research associate, Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History (SCCMNH) (and employed as taxidermist for SCCMNH ca. 1962-1970).
Publication of An Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Santa Cruz County (2005).
Discovered many previously unknown or unrecognized plant and insect species, nearly all in California (e.g. Ohlone tiger beetle, Sandhills robberfly, Lockheed manzanita, Scotts Valley polygonum, several rein-orchids, and many clover species). Also re-discovered several species thought to be extinct (Antioch flowerwasp, glabrous popcorn-flower, Scotts Valley spineflower).
Documented the native flora of Santa Cruz County with a collection of 5,000-plus herbarium voucher specimens, along with plant lists for several hundred local sites.
Specialist in Trifolium (clover) systematics. Principal world authority on the subject essentially by default.
Documented the insect fauna of Santa Cruz County with a systematic collection of about 80,000 specimens, 1989-1999 (currently housed at UCSC Museum of Natural History Collections).
Active in conservation efforts since at least 1980, including advocacy for local endangered species and ecosystems. Worked for public and scientific recognition for a number of important and highly threatened local centers of endemism (i.e. biological "hotspots") which had been all but unknown at the time, in particular the Zayante sandhills, Scotts Valley grasslands, and Soda Lake. Instrumental in public acquisition of several parks and preserves including South Ridge, Quail Hollow Park, Westside Greenbelt, Glenwood Grasslands, etc. Education regarding invasive species. Advocacy for observation-based rather than dogma-based ecological practices.
The Santa Cruz County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is proud to announce the publication of the Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Santa Cruz County, California, by Dylan Neubauer.
Dylan is a botanist who lives in Santa Cruz County.
Presented in an easy-to-use format, this comprehensive update of the 2005 edition summarizes the latest information on the 1594 vascular plant taxa currently known to occur in Santa Cruz County.
The 166-page, spiral-bound, 5.5 x 8 in. book includes:
- Botanical artwork by Tim Hyland
- Maps by Ben Pease-including a new color map of the County showing public lands & Sandhills
- Detailed instructions on how to use the Checklist
- An expanded introduction discussing the County's botanical history as well as its botanical "hotspots" and special areas
- A list of all local taxa arranged alphabetically by family using the latest nomenclature from The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition & the Jepson eFlora.
- Locality information for listed & "locally rare" taxa
- Appendices treating legal rarity status, endemics, extirpated taxa, undescribed taxa, the most invasive non-natives, and more
- An expanded, 64-page "Notes" section, including tips for identifying difficult taxa, taxonomic issues, habitat information for rare taxa, and more
- An Index to local plant families & genera with new names cross-referenced to superseded names from the first edition of The Jepson Manual
Click here for Santa Cruz County Checklist errata.
Price: $15.00 + tax/copy.
The book is available at Book Shop Santa Cruz, Norrie's gift shop at the UCSC Arboretum, Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History and Native Revival Nursery in Aptos.
Also, you can purchase copies from Cindy Hudson, email Cindy at