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!


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