TEJON RANCH, KERN AND LOS ANGELES COUNTIES JUNE 2014
PAGE ONE

Photographs by Michael Charters




The Tejon Ranch is a place I have wanted to visit for many years, but being private property has not been very accessible to the public. It is the largest contiguous piece of private property remaining in California. Recently, at least in part because of an agreement that has been reached between the ranch and environmental groups, and also due in no small measure to the work of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, public access albeit under controlled conditions is increasingly being assured. Those who have opposed the development plans of the ranch should be gratified that a large percentage of the 270,000 acres are going to be conserved, that the Pacific Crest Trail is going to be reconfigured across the ranch, and that there are going to be opportunities for members of the public to explore parts of the ranch on regular guided hikes. The ranch itself sprawls across the Tehachapi Mountains bordering on Interstate 5 with the San Joaquin Valley to the north and the Antelope Valley to the south. Because of the difficulty of accessing the ranch in the past, it has been essentially a floristic black hole, but over the past several years that has begun to change with significant survey work having been done. This area forms a nexus of four bioregions, the Central Valley, the southern Sierras, the Mojave Desert and the Transverse Range, and contains a substantial elevational range permitting the growth of a wide variety of species. In the clear skies above the ranch cruise California condors in abundance and I was especially excited to see them. I missed out on a Tejon Ranch lower elevation Jepson workshop last year, so I was very pleased to be able to join the higher elevation workshop this year led by my friend Neal Kramer and local authority Maynard Moe from CSU Bakersfield. We were joined by the Conservancy's Conservation Science Director Dr. Mike White and Public Access Coordinator Scot Pipkin, and it was a priviledge to share their expertise and knowledge about the ranch. The symbol ^ next to the common name indicates a taxon that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip, * is for a non-native taxon, and ~ is for an uncertain identification.

I want to emphasize that the Tejon Ranch is private property, and that anyone seeking to visit there should respect that and should do it under the auspices of the Conservancy's public access program. The relationship between ranch, Conservancy and the public is still in the process of being worked out, and it would be regrettable if anyone jeopardized that by trying to enter the ranch without proper authority. Click here for the Conservancy's website.


   
Elegant clarkia
Clarkia unguiculata
Onagraceae
[unguiculata = furnished with a claw]


 
Chia
Salvia columbariae
Lamiaceae


 
 
 
Pink spineflower
Chorizanthe membranacea
Polygonaceae
 
 



   
Speckled clarkia
Clarkia cylindrica ssp. clavicarpa
Onagraceae



 
 
Heermann's tarplant
Holocarpha heermannii
Asteraceae
[for physician/naturalist Adolphus Lewis Heermann, 1827-1865]
 
 



 
Miniature lupine
Lupinus bicolor
Fabaceae



 
Purple clarkia (white form)
Clarkia purpurea
Onagraceae
 
 
Tansy-leaved phacelia
Phacelia tanacetifolia
Boraginaceae

 
 
Wand buckwheat ^
Eriogonum roseum
Polygonaceae
 


 
Red spot clarkia ^
Clarkia speciosa ssp. polyantha
Onagraceae



   
Venus thistle, Red thistle
Cirsium occidentale var. venustum
Asteraceae
 
The photographer
[Steve Matson in background]


   
Chinese houses
Collinsia heterophylla
Plantaginaceae
 
California thistle
Cirsium occidentale var. californicum
Asteraceae


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Copyright © 2014 by Michael L. Charters.
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Comments and/or questions may be addressed to: mmlcharters[at]gmail.com.