June 2016

Coastal California Poppy – Eschscholzia californica var. maritima

robertpoppies2016 ​I ​Madonnari street painting festival – Robert Bernstein – click on image for original.

This past spring More Mesa provided an amazing wildflower show, especially given the severe drought we are experiencing. And when one thinks of wildflowers, one species in particular often comes to mind.  It is the epitome of wildflowers to many Californians and our state flower, the California poppy, Eschscholzia californica. So popular and attractive is the species that numerous cultivated varieties of it now exist, some even developed by the famous horticulturist Luther Burbank.  Its beauty and popularity has led to its widespread introduction around the country and the world; in some areas it has become an invasive species.

The genus is something of a tongue twister, named in honor of J.F. Eschscholtz, the surgeon and entomologist on a Russian exploration ship that visited the California coast in 1816.  But as difficult as many people find the genus of Eschscholzia to pronounce, it seems that getting to know the local coastal poppy has even been harder.

The more diversity a given region has in terms of its micro-climates, soils, and other variables, the greater the likelihood that there are organisms with unique genetic constitutions, that is genotypes, of the native plants that occur there. The Santa Barbara region is rich with such micro-climates and diversity, and those place-specific genotypes are exactly what UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) restoration staff seek out for use in campus restoration projects.  No, not any plant will do! Unfortunately, obtaining local material is not as simple as placing an order.

To obtain poppy plants for restoration project, CCBER staff ideally tries to collect from within those watersheds that flow into the Devereux and Goleta sloughs.  More broadly, they limit collection to within about 10 miles of campus along the coast, and to within a few hundred feet of elevation above sea level.  Anything within that general distance from UCSB’s natural areas is considered a local genotype. The coastal variety on More Mesa exactly fits the bill!

  • For the text above, we are indebted to CCBER Field Notes on the Coastal California Poppy. To read more about this poppy variety click here.
  • And for the photograph above, we give many thanks to Robert Bernstein, who captured the image of a recent I Madonnari chalk painting also honoring our Coastal Californian Poppy.
lynnpoppyCoastal California Poppy – More Mesa Bluffs

Notes on the California Poppy species, subspecies / genotypes.

  • The Jepson Manual recognizes no subspecies of Eschscholzia californica (link).
  • CalFlora recognizes one subspecies (link): Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana, the Desert California Poppy.
  • The PLANTS database (link) recognizes three subspecies of Eschscholzia californica:
    • Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica, found along the coast from the San Francisco Peninsula north. They are perennial and somewhat prostrate, with yellow flowers.
    • Coastal California Poppy Eschscholzia californica var. maritima, found along the coast from Monterey south to San Miguel Island. They are perennial, long-lived, glaucous, short in stature, prostrate growth with yellow flowers and orange centers.
    • Desert California Poppy Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana, found in the Sonoran Desert.
  • Other species of Eschscholzia. The first two names are also links to maps of the distribution in California. Eschscholzia caespitosa can be identified as having no “collar” under the flower head.
    • Eschscholzia caespitosa (large poppy bank on Figueroa Mountain)
    • Eschscholzia californica (Figueroa Mountain)
    • Eschscholzia glyptosperma
    • Eschscholzia hypecoides
    • Eschscholzia lemmonii
    • Eschscholzia lemmonii subsp. kernensis
    • Eschscholzia lemmonii subsp. lemmonii
    • Eschscholzia lobbii
    • Eschscholzia minutiflora
    • Eschscholzia parishii
    • Eschscholzia ramosa
    • Eschscholzia rhombipetala

December 2012

It was a busy and high profile year for More Mesa.  As is our custom, below are the highlights for the year 2012.

  • Development Proposal for More Mesa Note: As far as MMPC is aware, the sale of More Mesa to a Saudi developer in late 2012 seems to have marked an end to the attempts of the Hawk team to develop More Mesa.  Therefore all material related to this potential development has been removed from the MMPC web site.
  • Oak Group Exhibition
    A much heralded Oak Group exhibit was held at the Faulkner Gallery during the month of October. At the opening reception, on October 5th, almost 200 guests, both lovers of art, and lovers of More Mesa, came together to enjoy the ninety-two paintings on exhibit.  We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the artists who participated, as well as to those volunteers who helped to make the opening reception a stellar event.
  • Winter Birds
    Our winter bird visitors have arrived.  This year, we already have at least one male Northern Harrier, one female Harrier, and two juveniles as well.  And, not seen since 2007, we have an extremely visible and active Short-eared Owl!

As always … thank you all for your wonderful support, and for loving this very special place. Our warmest holiday wishes.

October 2012

Oak Group Exhibit
The much heralded Oak Group exhibit at the Faulkner Gallery opened with a gala reception on October 5th. Almost 200 guests, both lovers of art, and lovers of More Mesa, came together to enjoy the ninety-two paintings on exhibit.  Many of these are scenes of our beautiful More Mesa and surrounding areas.  Works by nearly all of the 23 artists in the Oak Group, as well as four guest artists are being exhibited. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the painters who participated, as well as to those volunteers who helped to make the opening reception a stellar event.  We also would like to gratefully acknowledge wine donations from Arnoldi’s Café, the Buttonwood Winery, the Gainey Winery and Kim and Tammy Hughes.  As well, our thanks go out to the Chocolate Gallery, Costco, Lazy Acres, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, Vons and Whole Foods for food donations.

We encourage all who were unable to attend the opening, to visit the Faulkner any time during the month of October. We hope you will also consider acquiring one of these lovely works to remind you of the wonderful open spaces in our beautiful Santa Barbara area. Further, and most especially, we trust these images will remind you of More Mesa, and the need to preserve all of it forever!  And, on a more pragmatic note, remember that half of the purchase price of any art will be donated to the More Mesa Preservation Coalition.

Art Show Wine

Art Show - 1

September 2012

Our mission remains, as always, to preserve More Mesa, in its entirety.  Toward this end we have been extremely busy, in several areas, during the past month.

Supporter Base: First, we have been actively engaged in expanding our base of supporters.  For example, we mailed more than 10,000 postcards to communities surrounding More Mesa.  The purpose of these mailings was twofold: to let our neighbors know of the existence, and work, of the More Mesa Preservation Coalition, and to raise awareness of the potential for development on More Mesa.  Response was very gratifying.

Fund Raising: Second, we have gone into an active fund raising mode. This decision represents a significant change for MMPC. During the past twelve years we have functioned with minimal funds, all from unsolicited donations. However, we now believe there may be much more interest in selling the property than there has been in the past. Therefore, we need financial resources for many additional activities: to support our legal team (Environmental Defense Center), for mailings, and to participate in any acquisition fund raising. To accelerate fund raising we have implemented a “Donate” button on the web site and are actively soliciting funds as well.

Oak Group:  Also in the area of fund raising, and as reported in our February and April News, the month-long October exhibition of Oak Group paintings of More Mesa is fast approaching.  It will be held at the Faulkner Gallery of the Main Library. The opening, on Friday night, October 5th (5:30-7:30 PM), features a gala reception to be hosted by the More Mesa Preservation Coalition.  All those on our supporter list will be receiving an invitation, by mail, in the next few weeks.  Even if you cannot make the opening on the 5th, stop by any day in October to view the paintings.  Part of the proceeds of this exhibition will go to benefit MMPC.

We will need help setting up for the reception on the afternoon of the 5th, and at the reception itself.  Please let us know if you can give us an hour or more of your time. It will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!

Current Development Proposal: Note: As far as MMPC is aware, the sale of More Mesa to a Saudi developer in late 2012 seems to have marked an end to the attempts of the Hawk team to develop More Mesa.  Therefore all material related to this potential development has been removed from the MMPC web site.

art show

April 2012


We reported in our February News, that the OAK Group will feature More Mesa in their month-long exhibition at the Faulkner Gallery, this coming October.

As a prelude to this well-known gallery showing, the neighbors of the More Mesa Shorescommunity have joined together to host an all-day fund raising event on May 20th.  Most appropriately, it will be held in the backyards of several families living on the west side of More Mesa.  The “Preserve More Mesa 2012” event will feature art and science exhibits by students of local schools, clubs, organizations and local artists, both individuals and groups, all contributing their talents to support community grass roots efforts to preserve More Mesa.

The exhibits and art work featured at the May 20th event will be the result of another ongoing endeavor of the More Mesa Shores neighborhood; one aimed at engaging students, clubs and other youth organizations in the preservation of More Mesa.  Various groups participating have been provided with ideas for science and art projects, as well as information about visiting More Mesa County Open Space.  The topics suggested have been structured to help youngsters understand, and appreciate, all the natural resources; habitats, plants, wildlife etc. that exist in this wonderful open space.

More Mesa County Open Space Activities
students horse
Student tour in the Mitigation Riparian area Horse training adjacent to Atascadero Creek