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.




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