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.