The San Diego chapter of CNPS was chartered in 1967 with 15 members. By 1972 the chapter had doubled in size and focused on studying and protecting San Diego's unique native plants which were threatened by ever increasing development. After intense debate over the relative merits of the Campo Pea and other unique local taxa to capture the essence of CNPS in San Diego, the showy Matilija Poppy was chosen as our chapter logo.

From the beginning, the chapter has concentrated on a variety of aspects of native plants, from growing them in gardens, to photographing them, to hiking around the county to look for new and rare occurrences. Our goal has always been to promote their preservation through botanical studies and conservation efforts, and educate the public about native plants through programs, plant sales, and exhibits.

Photo credit: Phillip Roullard

Chapter conservation efforts include surveying plant communities, removing exotic plants from natural areas, and reviewing CEQA and other documents for impacts to native vegetation. Scientific data collected during chapter projects is sent to statewide data bases that track occurrence and distribution of rare plants, plant communities, and invasive exotics.

Our monthly meetings include slide shows and lectures related to the flora of San Diego County and beyond. Topics range from the use of native plants in gardens to the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants and habitats.

Over the years our membership has steadily grown to over 800 families and individuals. We mail newsletters to members all over California, in 12 other states, and Canada. Increased appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of our native vegetation has been joined by a recognition of the vital role of natural areas in preserving the quality of life and the delicate balance necessary for a healthy ecosystem.


Banner photo by Chris Hendrickson