Dudleya Crassulaceae family

Dudleya is a large genus of about 40 species, many of which are native to California and northern Mexico. Only a handful are common in cultivation and many are on the endangered species list.

At one time Dudleyas were included in the Echecveria genus, which includes the popular garden plant Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ (Hen and Chicks). Like Echeveria, Dudleyas are rosette-forming succulents and are generally silvery green.

However there are distinctions in their flowers. Dudlyea flowers arise near the bottom of the rosettes instead of the center of the rosettes. Most Dudleyas flower in late winter to early spring and the colors range from white and yellow to bright red.

Dudleyas earn their common name of live forever—many living up to 100 years with proper care. They have a wide range, but are typically found in rock outcroppings, cliff faces or steep slopes. Dudleya should be planted at an angle to allow accumulated water to drain from the center of the plant and prevent microbial decay. They are will adapted to the Southern California wet winters and dry summers. Avoid water in the summer. They do well in pots.

This genus is named for William Russell Dudley (1849 - 1911). After Dudley moved to California to accept a position as professor of systematic botany at Stanford University, his research and publishing focused on the diverse flora of California. The study of trees, the evolutionary relations of forms and the problems of geographical distribution were central to his research. Dudley's passion for conifers prompted his involvement in many conservation initiatives for the coast redwood and giant sequoia.

Becoming a Nature Interpreter

Gloria Slosberg, RSABG Nature Interpreter

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden offers its nature interpreters an infinite variety of constant and ever-changing surprise experiences: like seeing and hearing the loud call of a belted kingfisher perched on a tree at Benjamin Pond, or catching sight of a stunning rust color blossom on a spice bush, or observing a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis.

Miracles similar to these are an everyday occurrence in the Garden. They inspire further study as well as sharing with other volunteers and Garden visitors.

Continuing education is a significant part of the nature interpreter's experience: classes, field trips, event orientations, enrichments, self-study, refreshers, ad infinitum. Joy of learning and friendships that evolve from sharing common interests are enhanced by the energetic, inquisitive children who attend our tours.

At a recent refresher walk, our group stopped to observe a sugar bush. Dick Angus recalled my practice tour nine years ago. You may be able to empathize with my first tour anxiety. I identified the sugar bush as a western redbud. No one said a word; we went on. The next tree was a REAL western redbud with heart shaped leaves and rosy pink blossoms. We all laughed! In that moment, Irv Goldhammer, my mentor, gave me an unforgettable learning tool: patience towards self and others.

What keeps me coming back to RSABG? It is all of the above, plus the uniqueness of each child and adult. On a tour with first graders not long ago, all of us were standing under a California sycamore tree examining its leaves. Then I said," Let's look at the trunk". A little boy, without skipping a beat, asked, "Where is the elephant?"

Thank you, Susanna Bixby Bryant for making all this possible!

Matching Gift Challenge Met

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s $75,000 Matching-Gift Challenge is Met with Enthusiasm by Garden Donors

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has come one step closer to its goal of raising $1 million in annual fund donations this year through The Garden Fund, the non-profit’s 2011-12 fundraising campaign. The non-profit organization is celebrating the completion of a $75,000 matching grant which tripled donors’ contributions to The Garden Fund.

Undergrad Reseach Workshop

Undergraduate students have come to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for a plant systematics and evolutionary biology workshop August 11 through 21, 2012.

The workshop offers students a hands-on plant science learning opportunity—from collecting and making plant specimens to DNA extraction to working with the scanning electron microscope to analyzing the data that result from such a project. 

Students have come from colleges and universities in Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Southern California, as well as international students from Namibia and Venezuela. Professors Lucinda McDade and J. Mark Porter are leading the workshops and Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman, CGU doctoral candidate, is serving as the teaching assistant.

The intensive 10-day workshop will focus on the types of research questions and methods used in reconstructing evolutionary relationships in plants. Topics to be covered include: DNA extraction and sequencing methods, scanning electron microscopy, anatomy and morphology, field collection techniques and herbarium curation. Participants will learn to use Internet tools (e.g., GenBank) and software packages to gather, process and analyze phylogenetic data.

The workshop is made possible through funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

RSABG’s oak collection ranked 28th in the world

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has ranked Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s oak collection as 28th largest collection of rare or endangered oaks in the world.

The survey identified 3,796 oak records from 198 institutions in 39 countries. RSABG’s collection of oaks was deemed a significant botanic garden collection by assigning a score for each taxa within the garden’s collection and the number of unique or rare collections.

Read more about BGCI’s global survey of ex situ oak collections at their website.

Seed Processing Manual goes to 2nd printing

The intention of “Processing Seeds of California Native Plants for Conservation, Storage, and Restoration,” by Michael Wall and John Macdonald might be encapsulated with the well-placed quote in the manual’s brief preface.

The editors selected an excerpt from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s 1961 “Seeds, The Yearbook of Agriculture,” that concludes with an apt description of the humble seed’s purpose—“Seeds are containers of embryonic plants, the embryos of a new generation.” 

Native artisan baskets and pottery

The beauty of California lies not only in our remarkable flora, but in its people as well. For the indigenous peoples of the region, native plants often became cultural pillars.

The gift shop at the Garden is now featuring traditional willow and wiregrass baskets and clay pottery hand made by Pai Pai and Kumeyaay Indians tribes in Baja California, Mexico.

RSABG co-hosts 2010 National Children and Youth Garden Symposium

American Horticultural Society’s National Children and Youth Garden Symposium “The Vitality of Gardens: Energizing the Learning Environment.” The three-day event will be held in the heart of downtown Pasadena at The Westin Pasadena on Thursday, July 22 through Saturday, July 24, 2010.

RSABG chosen Best of LA 2010

The Garden was named LA Weekly’s “Best Place to Grow your Own” in the publication’s “Best of L.A. 2010” edition. The private, non-profit botanic garden is dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) also operates two native plant nurseries, one in Claremont and a second in Westwood, Los Angeles.

Jedd Birkner wrote in LA Weekly “See what would actually be growing here without watering before we arrived and started pouring asphalt and laying down PVC. Then go to the adjacent Grow Native Nursery. Buy it. Plant it. Save water. Save L.A.”

An active partner with the California Native Plant Society, RSABG displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants and has several conservation programs, including one of the largest herbariums in the U.S., an extensive seed conservation program and a living collection that includes tens of thousands of plants.

RSABG has been affiliated with The Claremont Colleges since 1951 when the Garden operation was moved to Claremont from Santa Ana. Claremont Graduate University’s Botany Program is based at the Garden.

Read more about the award at LA Weekly’s website.

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

You'll never look at the desert the same way!

The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is a citizen science project of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) funded in part by grants from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Bureau of Land Management.

Teams of botanists and amateur plant detectives venture out into public lands across the state to record rare plant occurrences.

World travelers: RSABG botanists

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden faculty and research scientists are a jet setting crew. Frequently on the go, RSABG botanists travel around the world for field research and to collaborate with fellow researchers. Here's a run down of recent trips by three research scientists.