CRAFTON HILLS OPEN SPACE CONSERVANCY

From its inception in 1989 and incorporation in 1992, the Crafton Hills Open Space Conservancy (CHOSC) has protected and preserved the natural open space of the Crafton Hills.  We strive to protect in perpetuity the natural environment of the area for its significant watershed, ecological, recreation, and aesthetic values.

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Poppies blooming

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The Crafton Hills and Yucaipa Blvd. in 1911.  Only the hills look (almost) the same today.  CHOSC endeavors to keep them that way.

Cuscuta californica, AKA California dodder or chaparral dodder. The live plant is bright orange in the foreground, and behind it you can see dead tendrils from last year. Dodder is a parasitic vine that takes nutrients from its host, in this case a sage, via a structure that penetrates the host’s tissue. Dodder is entirely dependent on its host plant, since it’s incapable of photosynthesis — if a seedling can’t make its way to a host within a week or so of sprouting, it will die. The right photo shows the dodder tendrils enveloping the sage.

Dodder has also been used to make dye here and in Mexico. It has medicinal uses, too. From the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy’s web pages on native plants: “Dodder growing on buckwheat used by Kumeyaay as a cure for black widow spider bites.” How cool is that?!  And a friend told me she’s always heard it called “witch’s hair”.

 

Dodder photos and text contributed by Luisa Serrano