Fordyce Grinnell & Charles Richter in 1917: San Gabriel Mountains, LA County, California
Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek, President
Los Angeles, California 90293
ŠApril 12, 2014
Robert "Roy" van de Hoek Los Angeles, California
April 14, 2014
During the month of August in 1917, Fordyce Grinnell and Charles Richter explored the natural history of the San Gabriel Mountains. Within only a few weeks, the results were published in LORQUINIA (Volume 2, Number 2, page 13: September 1917). Presented below is the article that Fordyce Grinnell wrote regarding native plants found during their trip together which includes acknowledgement of Charles Richter. The article reports on three native plants but also discusses the association of oaks and a conifer known as Pseudotsuga macrocarpa (Big Cone Spruce). In a subsequent article, Fordyce Grinnell reports upon the ecology of a large bird known as the Nutcracker which is in the crow-jay family related to eating nuts of an oak-related shrub called chinquapin on the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains. Charles Richter is mentioned again in the opening sentence of that article.
NEW PLANT RECORDS F. Grinnell, Jr. Los Angeles, California September, 1917
Monardella macrantha Gray.-This plant was discovered in fair abundance in aspect of not more than twenty-five feet along the trail near Sturtevant's Camp, in the upper Big Santa Anita Canyon. The plants were on a north-facing slope of the Upper Sonoran, with many Big Cone Spruces and Golden Oak forming quite a forest. They were especially attractive on account of their deep red corollas. As Hall has pointed out, this group is very plastic and varies to a great extent according to environment. My specimens were identified by Dr. A. Davidson, to whom the specimens have been presented. Others will be deposited with Geo. L. Moxley, Stanford University, The California Academy of Sciences, and the Lorquin Club Herbarium.
It has previously been recorded from the San Pedro Martir mountains in Lower California north to the San Bernardino mountains, and many years ago it was collected in the Santa Lucia mountains of Monterey county by Vasey. This is the first record from the San Gabriel mountains. Charles Richter and the writer made the discovery on the regular Club field trip, August 12th, 1917.
Zauschneria viscosa Moxley.-Charles Richter and the writer collected this in flower on the ridge between Mt. Wilson and Mt. San Gabriel on July 29th, 1917. Specimens were shown to Dr. Davidson, who considers it a good species. The viscous or slimy leaves and their ovate shape are marked characteristics. The various forms of Zauschneria are xerophytic and have ad[a]pted different ways of protection.
Calochortus invenustus var. montanus Parish.-Determined by Dr. Davidson. This was very common on Barley Flats, July 9th, 1917. The only species of Calochortus noted there.
Robert "Roy" van de Hoek Los Angeles, California April 12, 2014
Fordyce Grinnell Jr. was 30 years old in 1913 when he founded the Lorquin Natural History Club of Los Angeles as an organization for teen-aged boys with an interest in the natural history of Los Angeles. In 1916, Charles Richter joined the Club as a teenager. A year after joining the Club in 1917, Charles Richter became the secretary of the Club. Soon, his mother and sister joined the Club as new members. Charles Richter only wrote one article for the Club magazine called LORQUINIA, however he attended all the monthly meetings and many field trips. Charles Richter listed his natural history interest in the Club as astronomy and botany. Charles Richter would go on to do studies at universities and become a professor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology. He developed a measurement scale for the intensity of earthquakes which would become known as the Richter Scale. The early interest in nature of a teenager that was mentored by Fordyce Grinnell with their mutual interest in native plants of Los Angeles County would eventually lead Charles Richter to become an important scientist in California and the world.