Field Trip #3

On March 2nd, we decided to explore San Pedro Valley Park and hike up to nearly the top of Montara Mountain. San Pedro Valley Park is located near Pacifica, and it was about a 40 minute car ride from the University of San Francisco. The drive was scenic as we got to see the beautiful beaches along the coast. During this hike, there were some California plant species that we had previously learned about from our previous excursions. Professor Paul asked us to recall the names of these species, which made the hike more engaging.

Although the hike was a bit challenging as it was mainly uphill, the views overlooking Pacifica were absolutely breath-taking and made the effort worthwhile. Below are the plant species that I thought was memorable on the hike.

  • Taxon: Trillium Sessile
  • Taxon Common Name: Toadshade
  • Parent Taxon: Liliaceae
  • Description:
    • Ecology: Common. Edges of redwood or mixed-evergreen forest, coastal shrub, chaparral, moist canyon slopes, ravine banks. Elevation: < 2000 m. Leaf: usually have 3, green, often mottled sessile, oval, rounded. Flower: are erect, sessile; petals three; base occasionally purple

  • Taxon: Trillium Albidum
  • Taxon Common Name: Giant White Wakerobin
  • Parent Taxon: Liliaceae
  • Description:
    • Ecology: Common. Edges of redwood or mixed-evergreen forest, coastal shrub, chaparral, moist canyon slopes, ravine banks. Elevation: < 2000 m. Leaf: very big (7–20 cm), sessile, rounded to obtuse at the tip, mottled(brown or green spotted). Flower: sessile; petals erect to ascending, oblanceolate to obovate, white to pink, base occasionally purple

  • Taxon: Solanum Umbelliferum Calflora
  • Taxon Common Name:Bluewitch nightshade
  • Parent Taxon: Solanaceae
  • Description:
    • Ecology: Shrub-land, mixed-evergreen forest, woodland. Elevation: < 1600 m. Habit: Perennial herb to subshrub. Leaf: generally entire, elliptic to obovate. Flower: lavender to blue-purple, simple leaves, attached petals, 5 petals. Inflorescence: +- umbel-like, forked or not



Field Trip #2

Hey guys! For the 2nd field trip (02/23/2023), we went on an adventure to the Battery-to-Buffs trail at the Presidio, San Francisco. We took a look at more unique California Plant species (esp. Poison Oak), that thrive in the area. The commute was only a 12 minute car drive from the University of San Francisco. However, on this day the weather was quite unpredictable as it started hailing for the first 10 minutes! As we hiked further up the trail, the weather began to clear up, and the stunning views made it worth the effort. Below are some pictures of the hike as well as some plant species that caught my attention!








Taxon Name: Toxicodendron diversilobum

Taxon Common Name: Poison Oak

Parent Taxon: Anacardiaceae


Habit: Vine or shrub. Ecology: Canyons, slopes, chaparral, coastal shrub, oak woodland.Stem: gray- to red-brown. Leaf: reddish leaves; compound leaf w/ 3 leaves; leathery. Fruit: spheric; glabrous, pink. Flower: sepals green; petals > sepals, generally ovate, yellow- to white-green








Taxon Name: Oemleria Cerasiformis

Taxon Common Name: Osoberry

Parent Taxon: Rosaceae


Habit: Shrub, small tree. Ecology: Canyons, lowland wet to dry open woodland, chaparral, coast to shaded conifer forest.Leaf: simple, deciduous, elliptic to narrow-obovate, leathery, margins generally entire. Inflorescence: pendent (petals facing down), tightly bunched/very dense

Taxon Name: Eschscholzia californica Cham.

Taxon Common Name: California Poppy

Parent Taxon: Papaveraceae


Habit: Annual (or perennial herb from heavy taproot), erect or spreading. Ecology: Grassy,Open Areas. Leaf: segments obtuse or acute, simple leaf that is highly dissected. Flower: bud erect, acute to long pointed, glabrous;  petals (4) orange or yellow, bases are generally orange




Field Trip #1

Hello readers! On February 16th, 2023 our Botany Class took a field trip to Laurel Dell in Mt. Tamalpais State Park, and I am excited to share my experience with you. We hiked along the Cataract Creek Trail and observed a variety of plant species in their natural habitat. I will show some species that stood out to me on this hike.

Taxon Name: Scoliopus

Taxon Common Name: Fetid adderstongue

Parent Taxon: Liliaceae


Ecology: Moist, shady redwood forest. Stem: short. Leaf: 2-3 basal, mottled, oblong-shaped, parallel venation. Inflorescence: umbel. Flower: monocot, heavily lined purple or dark brown, ill-scented (defense against predators)

Taxon Name: Polystichum minitum

Taxon Common Name: Sword Fern

Parent Taxon: Dryopteridaceae


Ecology: found near/under redwood trees. Leaf: generally 50-120, pinnate, elliptic, alternative segments w/ alternative serrations on each segment. Sporangia: located on the bottom of each segment, linear (lines of 2 sori on each segment), brown

Taxon Name: Woodwardia fimbriata

Taxon Common Name: Chain Fern

Parent Taxon: Blechnaceae


Ecology: located near streams & streams. Leaf: evergreen, wide at base, each segment is lobed. Sporangia: have elongated sori located underneath each lobed segment.





Welcome to Botany at USF

Welcome to my blog about my Botany class with Professor Paul at the University of San Francisco! My name is Heather Miller and I am thrilled to be taking a Botany class that will take me on a journey through the diverse plant species of California. I am excited to see the variety of plant life in each of visited locations and learn about their unique characteristics.

I have found plants to be endlessly fascinating and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of the different species that call California home. I hope that this blog will serve as a record of my experiences throughout this semester and will allow me to share my newfound knowledge with others who are interested in the natural world.

So, come along with me as I explore the Botany of San Francisco!