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.

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