Thursday, March 26, 2015, 7:30 p.m.: Vascular flora of the Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills, with Naomi Fraga: The Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills in Los Angeles County, California, are a 21 km (13 mi) long mountainous region that encompasses approximately 14,646 ha (36,192 acres) surrounded by the greater Los Angeles area. Urbanization from the greater Los Angeles area has encroached upon these mountains over the years. Despite the mountains’ proximity to high population densities, recent botanical collections from the range are sparse. The goal of our study was to compile historic and recent botanical collections from the range to document the flora of the Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills. We first compiled information on plant diversity of the study area from literature reviews, internet searches, and local herbaria. We then performed botanical surveys in the Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills to document vascular plant taxa with herbarium vouchers, develop an annotated checklist, describe plant communities, and document fire-following species for the region. We identified fire-following species from three burn areas in the study area one to five years later. In this presentation I will present the results of our study, including information on rare plants and non-native species.
Naomi Fraga serves as Conservation Botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden where she provides leadership for the Conservation Program and directs the field studies program. In this capacity she works closely with Federal, State, and local agencies to provide information that is needed for ground management including baseline botanical surveys, monitoring, and developing conservation strategies and management guides for plant species. Her research interests include plant geography, conservation biology, pollination biology, and rarity in endemism. Naomi is past president of Southern California Botanists and currently serves as Program chair for the CNPS San Gabriel Mountain Chapter. Naomi is completing her PhD in Botany (February 2015) at Claremont Graduate University and holds a M.S. in Botany from Claremont Graduate University and a B.S. in Botany and Biology from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.