Last Field Trip- Mt. Tamalpais steepravine

Date: 5/3/18

Location: Mount Tamalpais, Marin County

Longitude/Latitude 37.9235° N, 122.5965° W, elevation 2572 ft.

 Site Description:

Mt. Tamalpais is full of beautiful views of the SF bay area, with a high elevation. It has trails full of oaks, redwoods, and shrub growth. The steepravine part of Mt. Tam was full of serpentine rock formations, large trees, scrubs brush and water flow. Because of the microclimates of Mt. Tam, there is a diverse selection of species found here. In the moister and shaded areas of the hike was a great deal of species, such as the chain fern. Towards the end of the hike we met the coast.

Species Description:

Athyrium filix-femina “Western lady fern”

Pictured above is the Athyrium filix femina, also known as the Western lady fern. It is part of the Woodsiaceae family and is a California native. It is a perennial herb in soil, with a short-creeping rhizome. Leaf is generally tufted, blades 2-pinnate, elliptic, pinnae of equal sides. Leaves are glaborous and easily crushed.  It is often found in woodland areas and near water.

Adiantum aleuticum “Five finger maidenhair”

Pictured above is the Adiantum aleuticum, also known as the Five finger maidenhair. It is part of the Pteridaceae family and is a California native. It is a perennial herb found in soil or rock crevices, and has a noticeably black and plastic-like stem. Blade of leaf is palmate-pinnate (1st division is palmate, the rest are pinnate). It is stalked, in a fan-like manner, generally lobed, toothed. It is usually found in damp, serpentine and shady areas.

Equisetum telmateia “Giant horsetail”

Pictured above is Equisetum telmateia, also known as Giant horsetail. It is part of the Equisetaceae family and is California native. It is a perennial herb, stem erect, internodes along stem with alternating ridges. It is hollow except at nodes. Branches are whorled with alternate leaves. Leaves are scale like, whorled, fused into nodal sheath. It is typically found in wetter areas, especially near streams.


This was our last hike before the final, and it was a very beautiful one! We all managed to climb down the 10 ft. ladder, which ended up being a lot easier than we all thought. You could really feel the microclimates in this area, because you could move just a couple feet and it would change drastically from hot to cold or vice versa. It was definitely a wetter and shader area, and had beautiful streams and waterfalls. We spent time going over species we already knew and adding in some new ones. We were able to take one last class picture together and it was a nice way to end the semester. Before we left, we walked down to where the coast was to hopefully see some whales. Although we didn’t see any, still very beautiful!


Mt. Tamalpais (Upper) Field Trip

Date: 4/26/18

Location: Mount Tamalpais, Marin County

Longitude/Latitude 37.9235° N, 122.5965° W, elevation 2572 ft.

Site Description:

Mt. Tamalpais has beautiful views of the SF bay area, with a high elevation. It has trails full of oaks, redwoods, and shrub growth. It has a good balance of forest areas, chaparral areas and grassland areas. Serpentine rock formations can be found on these trails. Close by is an ampitheater and a small Inn for hikers to enjoy. Species such as the California bay, Madrone, Live oak, and Douglas fir can be found as you climb these trails. Because of the microclimates of Mt. Tam, there is a diverse selection of species found here.

Species Descriptions:

Mimulus guttatus “Yellow monkeyflower”


Pictured above is the Mimulus guttatus, also known as the Yellow monkeyflower. It is a California native, part of the Phrymaceae family. It is an annual to perennial herb. Its stem is erect, and its leaves are small simple, abruptly reduced upwards, opposite nodes, ovate to round. It has a yellow flower, with red dots. Green calyx, five unequal yellow lobes. They are a unique species found in many different areas, this was found just off the trail in a chaparral area of Mt. Tamalpais.

Castilleja foliolosa “Wooly paintbrush”

Pictured above is Castilleja foliolosa, also known as Wooly paintbrush. It is part of the Orobanchaceae family and is a California native. It has a beautiful vibrant color! My favorite of the trip. It is a perennial herb, with simple alternate leaves. It has a spike like inflorescence, with bracts becoming shorter. It has a calyx that is unequally 4-lobed. It has bright orange bract tips. It has 4 stamens and 2 anther sacs. It is typically found in dry, rocky areas and on edges of chaparrals.

Cirsium occidentale “Western thistle”

Pictured above is Cirsium occidentale, also known as Western thistle. It is part of the Asteraceae family and is a California native. It is part of the artichoke family, and you can tell from its spikey appearance. It has an erect, branched stem. It has grey basal and proximal cauline leaves, pinnately lobed. It has one inflorescence head in loose to tight clusters, need-like, with a network of cobweb hairs. Its flower is a dark purple, narrowly cylindrical.



We left for Mt. Tamalpais from school around 12:45 pm. When we got there the weather was very warm, and I quickly realized that the turtleneck I wore was a terrible idea. The site had beautiful views and there were many plants there that we had reviewed throughout the course. It was nice to review the things we knew, while also finding some new finds. A random guy on the trail gave our class a bit of a history lesson and some rates on the Inn there, while some classmates were playing with horseshoes. $50 for a bed is all I remember.


Field Trip to Ring Mountain

Date: 4/19/2018

Location: Ring Mountain, Tiburon– Latitude/Longitude 37.9099° N, 122.4858° W, Elevation 604 ft.

Site Description:

Ring Mountain is full of grassy slopes, large rock structures and serpentine soil. It is a small preserve close to a residential area, but offers a diverse amount of wildflowers. When you first enter, the hills climb upward and then split off into different trails. The trail ranged from dry and flat, rocky, to muddy. California bay trees, live and coast oaks, q-tips, and a plethora of tidy tips were prevalent. Near the top, beautiful views of the bay area can be seen.

Species Description:

Carduus pycnocephalus
“Italian thistle”

Pictured above is the Carduus pycnocephalus, also known as the Italian thistle. It is part of the Asteraceae family and is a non-native species. It is an annual, biennial herb and has an erect stem. It has a simple, alternate, basal and cauline leaf. It has narrow, spiny dentations and is pinnately lobed. It is quite spikey, and does hurt to touch. Its inflorescence has about 2 heads per cluster, is sessile and short peduncled. The flower is bisexual and has a purple corolla. It has a short anther base, and short linear lobes. It is typically found in roadsides, pastures and disturbed areas.

Achillea millefolium

Pictured above is Achillea millefolium, also known as Yarrow. It is part of the Asteraceae family and is a California native. Perennial herb, with umbel like shape, but not coming from one point. Its inflorescence many small white flowers in flat topped clusters. It has feather like dissected leaves, almost fern like. The leaves are pinnately dissected, basal and cauline, and alternate. They are generally found near the coast.


Linum bienne

Pictured above is the Linum bienne, also known as Flax. It is part of the Linaceae family and is a not a California native. It is an annual, perennial herb. Its leaves are alternate, sessile, glaborous. Leaves are hard to see because they are pressed against stem. The flower has 5 free petals with purple lines pointed towards the center and green sepals. It is typically found in temperate areas.


We left school around 12:45 pm to Ring Mountain in Tiburon. The weather was in the low 70’s/ high 60’s, slightly windy. The area we were hiking was near a very nice neighborhood and we were able to overlook some amazing houses. As we hiked further up the trail, views of the bay area could be seen all around, including a shot of San Quentin prison. It was a beautiful hike with lots of species we had previously seen before. I realized how many species we knew of at this point in the class and it was amazing how much ground we had covered in the course.

Field Trip to Carson Falls

Date: 4/12/18

Location: Carson Falls, Bolinas CA  Latitude: 37.963486 Longitude: –122.624888. elevation: 880 Ft.

Site Description:

Just north of Mount Tamalpais, Carson Falls has a rugged, serpentine terrain and a balance of chaparral and grassland areas. The areas with more tree cover have an increased incline, with a great deal of serpentine soil and scrub brush. Native species such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus were present. There was a heavy presence of oak trees, manzanitas, and maples. Towards the end of the hike is a beautiful waterfall and the terrain gets more slippery from the high serpentine presence. A great deal of poison oak present.


Species Description:

Maianthemum stellatum
“Starry false lily of the valley”

Pictured above is Mainthemum stellatum also known as the “Starry false lily of the valley.” It is a California native that is part of the Ruscaceae family. It is a perrenial herb, with an erect, glabrous stem. Its leaves are alternate, elliptic, glabrous. Its inflorescence is racem with little white flower. Perianth parts 4 or 6 in 2 petal like whorls. It is typically found in moist, woodland, temperate areas. We found this one towards the end of our hike on our way back in a more wooded area.


Iris douglasiana
“Douglas iris”

Pictured above is the Iris douglasiana, also known as the “Douglas iris.” It is a California native part of the Iridaceae family. It is a perennial herb, with an erect, rounded stem. Its leaves are general basal, sword shaped. Inflorescence has complicated parts of 3 flowers. Bisexual, radial, with sepals generally wider than petals. Petals are erect and stamens are free, ovary inferior. It is generally found in temperate, grassland areas.

Calystegia purpurata
“Smooth western morning glory”

Pictured above is the Calystegia purpurata, also known as the “Smooth western morning glory.” It is a California native that is part of the Convolvulaceae. It is a bisexual, perennial herb with a climbing stem. Its leaves are triangular, lobes spreading, alternate (v-shaped). The flower has a glabrous , bell shaped white corolla, one ovary chamber, 1 style, 2 stigmas, 5 stamens. It is typically found in temperate climates.


This was a beautiful and scenic hike. We left school around 12:45 pm, and the temperature was in the high 60’s and a bit windy. When we arrived the weather was actually nice and sunny. The hike was difficult at some points, but it was so beautiful that it was definitely worth it! The waterfall was definitely the best part of the hike and the pictures do not do it justice. This hike we spent time discussing new species and reviewing some of the old.




Field Trip to Edgewood Park

Date: 4/5/18

Location: Edgewood Park, Redwood city: 37.4732° N, 122.2782° W, elevation 225 t0 800 ft.

Site Description:

Edgewood park is located in the San Francisco peninsula with great views of the bay. It is a serpentine grassland and chaparral area with an abundance of live oaks, rolling hills, blossoming flowers and a noticeably large amount of poison oak. There is a great deal of shrub growth and the hiking area can be described as an easy to hike and well maintained trail. There is a great balance of wooded/shaded moist areas and open sunny areas.

Species Descriptions:

Wyethia angustifolia
“Narrow leaved mule ears”

Pictured above is the species Wyethia angustifolia, also known as Narrow leaved mule ears. This plant is part of the Asteraceae family and is a California native. It is a perennial herb, with a generally erect and hairy stem. It has basal and cauline leaves, alternate, oblanceolate and hairy leaves. It is bisexual and bilateral It has one large inflorescence, ray flower is yellow with fused corolla. Anthers are yellow, brown and petals have a leaf-like linear look to them. They are typically found in grassland areas, and this one was found in the hilly/open areas of Edgewood park, closer to the freeway.

Delphinium variegatum
“Royal Larkspur”

Pictured above is the Delphinium variegatum which is known as the “Royal larkspur.” It is part of the Ranunculaceae family, and is a California native. It is a perennial herb, with an erect, generally unbranched stem with a hairy base. Its leaves are simple, basal and cauline, petioled, and palmately lobed. Its flowers are bilateral with 5 sepals, and 4 spreading petals. Uppermost sepal has nectar secreting spurs enclosed. The petals are generally dark blue and hairy. They are toxic and found in northern temperate areas.

Layia platyglossa
“Tidy tips”

Pictured above is Layia platyglossa, which is also known as Tidy Tips. It is part of the Asteraceae family and is a California native. It is an annual, and it has a generally ascending to erect stem, with its leaves being opposite or basal rosette, cauline being opposite, sessile. The disk flower is yellow with a white outline. They are very common in northern California, and they typically begin to flower in February, so we were able to see them just in time.


We left school at 12:45 and headed to Edgewood Park. It was a little bit over-cast when we left, weather in the low 60’s. I had been to Edgewood park before because I had previously attended a college just an exit over called Cañada college, so I was familiar with the area. It’s a pretty easy hike, not too rigorous and has a nice view over-looking the bay area. On our trip we spend a lot of time going over smaller species and spent time looking at them very closely. These ones can be particularly hard to identify because they are so small, so it gave us some practice.


San Bruno State Park Field Trip!

Date: 3/22/18

Location: San Bruno, CA , 37.6969° N, 122.4338° W, elevation 1314 ft.

Site Description:

San Bruno State Park is picturesque with a view of the SF bay area. The area is mostly bedrock and contains diverse micro-environments of coastal scrub and grassland communities. Species such as the Pacific manzanita, Montara manzanita, San Bruno Mountain Manzanita and the Franciscan wallflower are abundant here.


Species Descriptions:


Sanicula arctopoides “Yellow mats”

Pictured above is the species Sanicula arctopoides, also known as “Yellow mats.” They are part of the Apiaceae family and are a California native. It is a perennial to annual herb, with simple, generally alternate, palmately dissected leaves that are coarsely toothed. Stem is generally spreading to erect. Peduncle inflorescence with yellow bisexual flowers. Calyx lobes fused proximal to middle, yellow corolla. Typically found in temperate climates, coastal areas and headlands.

Erysimum franciscanum “Franciscan wallflower”

Pictured above is the species Erysimum franciscanum, which is the “Franciscan wallflower.” It is part of the Brassicaceae family and is a rare California native. It is a subshrub and has a weedy leaf like look with woody stem. It has a basal rosette, dentated, entire, oblanceolate leaves. It has free white petals, and the flowers form a tube that become free at the end. Six stamens, 4 long and 2 short. Typically found in Mediterranean climates, serpentine soils and coastal scrub areas.

Lobularia maritima “Sweet asylum”

Pictured above is Lobularia maritima, which is also known as “Sweet asylum.” This is apart of the Brassicaceae family and is an invasive species. It is annual, perennial herb, with simple/alternate leaves. It is entire, not lobed at base. Flowers are bisexual, radial, with 4 sepals and 4 petals. They are generally white or purple. 6 stamen, 4 long and 2 short. Stem is erect and branched from base. These flowers are typically found in disturbed areas.


This was one of my favorite field trips because we got to go to InnOut after. We first went up higher in the trails to go over some plants and review before our field quiz. We spent a great deal of time looking at plants that we had seen before and adding in a handful that were new. It was definitely helpful to note which ones would be on the quiz, and it helped me to see which plants I knew and which ones I had a hard time with. We briefly scouted plants in a more grassy area near the bottom of the park. After our hard work, we went to In n out and got to feast as a class!

Field Trip to Mt. Tamalpais (Ridgecrest)

Field Trip to Mt. Tamalpais (Ridgecrest)

Date: 3/8/18

Location: Marin County, Latitude / Longitude: 37.912633,-122.608628, Elevation‎: ‎782 m

Site Description:

Mt. Tamalpais is in a beautiful location and had amazing views of the Marin coast. The area where we did our hike had parts that were wooded and wet, and other areas that were open and hilly. Because of the current season, there was not an abundance of flowering species. There was a great deal of gymnosperm trees, evergreens.  There was a creek that ran through the hike with plant life growing all around it. There were many species that we had seen before such as oaks, redwoods and ferns. There was small evidence of orchidaceae growing.


Species Descriptions:

“Mosquito Bill” Primula herndersonii

Pictured above is Primula herndersonii also known as the Mosquito bill. It is part of the Primulaceae family and is a California native. It is typically found in shady, wet areas. It is a perennial herb with a simple, elliptic, narrow leaf with almost no venation. The leaves have a glaborous, rubbery feel. Its petals are reflexed with a basal rosette. It has a dark face and a little stigma that looks like a mosquito. The corolla is funnel shaped, with prominently exerted anthers and ovary superior.

“Fairy Slipper” Calypso bulbosa

Pictured above is the Calypso bulbosa, which is also known as the Fairy slipper. It is part of the Orchidaceae family and is a California native. It is a perennial herb, with a basal, petioled ovate leaf. The flower has free sepals, generally a pink, with purple outside petals. It has a pouch like lip, hairy at the mouth. The base is red spotted. This can be classified as a bisexual, bilateral flower, with an ovary inferior. They are usually found in a shaded conifer forest. This flower was found towards the beginning of our hike in a wetter area near the creek.


“Turkey pea” Sanicula tuberosa

Pictured above is the Sanicula tuberosa, also known as the Turkey Pea. It is part of the Apiaceae family, and is a California native. It is typically found in the understory of a forest and in chaparrals. It is a perennial herb, scapose stem with glabrous, dissected leaves. The leaves are basal, cauline, 1-2 pinnate, generally alternating. Petiole base generally sheathing stem. It has an umbel inflorescence with tiny yellow, bisexual flowers.


We left school around 12:45 pm and while it was freezing in San Francisco, it turned out to be a very nice weather in Marin county. We got lucky, it had just freshly rained so we did not have to hike while it was pouring. The area was muddy from the rain and it did make it a little difficult to scout the area. There were areas that were rocky, which was the hardest part of the hike. Because there was not a great deal of plants flowering, we did not stop as much as we normally do to examine plant life. We did however discuss and review some of the species that we already knew to prepare for our field quiz.

Field Trip to San Pedro Valley

Date: 3/1/18

Location: San Pedro Valley, Pacifica 37.5779° N, 122.4757° W, elevation 2388 ft.

Site Description:

Upon arrival, there is open space and picnic benches. We started off on Plaskon Nature Trail which takes us to Hazelnut trail. Immediately into the trail we are surrounded by Eucalyptus trees and just off the trail is a creek. There was a thick amount of vegetation and as we continued our hike there was a great amount of native plants to observe. The trail went uphill, winding all the way up to Montara Mountain trail. There were great views, and native species such as the Madrone and bracken fern, and we also were able to see invasive species such as the Andean pampas grass.

Species Descriptions:

Giant white wakerobin
(Trillium albidum)

Pictured above is Trillium albidum, which is also known as the Giant white wakerobin. It is a California native that is part of the Melanthiaceae family. It is a monocot, perennial herb with sessile leaves that are obtuse and the leaves have a light spotting to them which is hard to see in this image. They are alternate, whorled leaves. The flower is also sessile, with its sepals spreading. The petals are white and erect. It has 6 purple stamens and no stalk. It is mostly found in coastal scrub, chaparral and moist areas. This was found just as we entered the trail, alongside other species such as the  Giant wakerobin and Wakerobin.


Brittle leaf manzanita
(Arctostaphylos crustaceae)

Brittle leaf manzanita
(Arctostaphylos crustacea)

Pictured above is Arctostaphylos crustacea, also known as Brittle leaf manzanita. It is a California native and is part of the Ericaceae family. It is a perennial tree, and one of its most distinct characteristics is its smooth, peeling bark. It has simple, cauline, alternate, opposite with an ovate shape. You can see long hairs on the leaves and near the base. The flowers are urn-shaped, radial and also hairy. It has 5 sepals and 5 pink petals. This was found midway through our hike, with Madrone plants near by.

Blue witch
(Solanum umbelliferum)

Pictured above is Solanum umbelliferum, also known as Blue witch. It is a California native and is a perennial herb. Its leaves are generally simple, alternate, elliptic. The flower is bisexual with calyx lobes. Its corolla is radial with a lavender color, 5 stamens, and an ovary superior. It has spots at the base of the flower. It is usually found in shrub land, or in woodland areas. This was found midway through the trail surrounding other California natives


We left for San Pedro Valley in Pacifica from San Francisco around 1:00 pm. It took us about a half hour to get to the trail. It was quite windy and cold, and towards the end of our hike it began to rain pretty good. There was a great Eucalyptus, Madrone and Redwood presence through the trail, and the remnants of the peeling bark could be seen everywhere. The beginning of the trip, we came across a creek, and you could really see all the species that thrive in a moist environment. Once we got to the top of the Montara trail, we had a nice view of Pacifica, but cloudiness and rain made it hard to really get a good glimpse. Towards the end of the hike, we got stuck waiting for the rain to stop and decided to tough it out and finish the hike in the rain.