Marin Headlands

Date: 3/28/2019

Location: Morning Sun Trail across the Golden Gate Bridge

Coordinates: 37.8530779, -122.4935196

Site-Description. Primarily coastal shrubs. Many familiar species seen, as this is the location of our first field quiz of the semester. The bottom of the trail had a few Arroyo Willows (Salix lasiolepis) and some trees which appeared to be from the Pineaceae family. Almost immediately with the change in upward direction of the trail, the plant-life quickly changed from sparse forest to primarily coast shrubs. There we many beautiful flowers in bloom, with many reds, yellows, and purples covering the hillside.

Species we saw:
These California goldfields (Lasthenia californica) took over a majority of the space on the top of their hill. Their beautiful head-like inflorescences mark them as members of the Asteraceae family. It is an annual herb native to California and is found is almost every ecoregion of California aside from desert regions and east of the major California mountain range. Their bracts form a light green cup around the base of the flower while the flowers themselves appear to be a beautiful bright highlighter-yellow. Its hairy stems and leaves have a weedy/grasslike appearance.

This plant is known as the Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii). This flower, which I originally believed to be in the Malvaceae family, is actually a member of the Boraginaceae family. It is native flowering herb that occurs annually. The flower has a cup-like shape with pure white petals that have gorgeous blue markings on the inner petals. Their leaves are opposite-to-alternate and have deep lobes around their margin which are similar in shape to maple leaves.

This yellow flower with petals that look like a dancer’s skirt is known as the Yellow Monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata) which is in the family Phrymaceae. Its petals appear to be fused near the base of the flower, while its petals are asymmetrically whorled-there is a strange occurrence of orange dotting in the cup of the flower that is fairly ciliate. The flowers appear in a raceme inflorescence. Their leaves and serrated margins that almost look sharp to the touch. Their venation is strong, similar to the sticky-monkey flower, where some raised veins are present on the ventral side of the leaf.  This species is generally found either near water or in very moist soils.

Other Species:

(uploading soon!)

Summary: This trail had many species that we have familiarized ourselves with through the semester. There was, but not limited to, Coyote Brush, California Poppies, Lupins, Miner’s Lettuce, and other coastal species. The trail led up a pretty tall hill and the ecology throughout was fairly consistent, with the bottom being mostly sparse forest, the middle being coast shrub, and the near-top being a mix of many flowers and some coastal shrub. This hike also included an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge and some really beautiful flowers that created awesome splashed of color along the mountain-side.


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