Date: April 25, 2019
Location: Mount Tamalpais Middle Peak to Pantoll 37.924659, -122.596728
Habitats seen: serpentine rocky outcrops, forests, grassy hills
Weather: sunny, hot
This hike, we walked down the top half of Mount Tamalpais, and it was a warm and sunny day, making it difficult on those steep inclines. We saw quite a few new plants, which was surprising, but it shouldn’t have been. There are so many different plants in existence. We also saw a bunch of organisms that weren’t plants! We had a little side lesson about acorn woodpeckers, who peck holes in dead trees and put acorns in them. We also saw some puffball mushrooms, which release their spores into the air when they are physically disturbed. Something super cool that happened was that we saw a ton of adorable lizards and one huge snake, all of which were able to escape our attempts to interact with them. Reptiles are so fun.
There were a couple of mystery plants that we were supposed to guess for extra credit. I honestly am having a hard time with them, but it couldn’t hurt to make a guess.
Mystery Plant #1: My guess is Githopsis specularioides, Common bluecup
Mystery Plant #2: My guess is Viola pedunculata, California golden violet
Whipplea modesta – Modesty
This herbaceous plant grows matlike on the ground. The leaves are simple and opposite. The small white flowers grow in dense cyme or raceme inflorescences.
Cirsium occidentale – Cobweb thistle, Western thistle
This biennial herbaceous plant can grow pretty tall, with light grayish-green leaves, and when flowering, has bright pink aster flowers. Thistles have spikes all over, including on the leaves. This species is covered in cobweb-like hairs, giving it its name.
Allium falcifolium – Sickle leaf onion
This herbaceous plant has thin long leaves, like a sickle. The flowers are bright pink, all bunched in an inflorescence. They are small and have six petals. These plants grow in rocky serpentine soils.