with Ted Kipping
Monday, September 17, 2018
From the southwest US into Mesoamerica, there are scores of mountain ranges rising so far above the surrounding terrain that they have become “Sky Islands”, places of special and isolated ecosystems cut off from the others except for birds. Many of these mountains have had up to 1600 species of plants found often on no other mountain. Being so close to either the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, these mountains are bathed in humid, maritime air masses. As the heat of the day rapidly drops in the higher elevations, that moisture condenses into heavy fogs. The trees foresting these mountains capture this water which condenses further and falls like rain. This is what sustains these special forests and their amazingly diverse understory plants.
Dr. Dennis Breedlove of the California Academy of Sciences spent nearly thirty years under the fog and stars of southern Mexico. Recognizing the similarity between the cloud forests of Mexico and the dynamic of fog in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was very generous with many plants of horticultural merit, which he gave to SFBG as well as UCBG. Dennis decided to guide a group of keen botanists for two weeks into these mountains. Travel with us free of “Turista”, potholes and mountain bandits to get a vicarious sense of these special places.
Ted Kipping joined the California Horticultural Society in 1968 and became both a Life Member and a council member in 1977. Although he is interested in the whole spectrum of natural history and especially ALL plants, it is the BIG ones which have helped pay off his mortgage through his tree care company Tree Shapers. He has tried to incorporate as many cloud forest plants into his diverse garden as insanely possible.