Field Journal Entry #11 Protected: Mt. Tam Part 2: Steep Ravine

Mt.Tam Steep Ravine, Rocky Point Rd

Coordinates: 37.9235° N, 122.5965° W

We visited Mt.Tamalpais again, and this time we hiked down to the point of Steep Ravine Canyon along the coast offering shady forest and a section of redwood forest. We could see the beautiful views of Stinson Beach and the Steep Ravine cabins. The cool thing about the coast is that if you’re lucky you can also see the whales!! The open spaces were full of water availability that many plants who are successful in the moist environment were successful there unlike last time when we were at the serpentine grasslands. During the hike we could see a diverse plant species including oaks, California bays, redwoods, ferns and more!

Viola sempervirens

Viola sempervirens, also known as Redwood Violet, is a native perennial species. The first thing I noticed was that the leaves are enormous! They were bigger than the flower which is kind of unique. The leaves are simple and evergreen; basal1-5 per caudex, petiole 2-16cm, the ovate to round blade is 1-4.5cm, 2-3.9cm wide. The inflorescence is axillary, and 5-10cm penduncle. The flowers are sepals lanceolate, often purple-streaked or spotted and not ciliate. The petals are lemon-yellow, lower 3 veined brown-purple, lateral 2 beared with cylindric hairs, lowest 8-17mm. They are usually found in shady areas in coastal forest in elevations between 5-1400m. The flowering time is around January through July.

Aquilegia formosa 

Aquilegia formosa, also known as Columbine, is a native perennial herb that is a part of Iridaceae family. The first thing I noticed was that very vibrant red color and unique petal shape at the tips. That vibrant red color of flowers attract hummingbirds for pollination. The habit is glabrous, glaucous at least proximally. The elaves are basa, lower cauline generally 2-ternate, and petioles are between 5-30cm, leaflets 7-45mm with upper cauline generally simple to deeply 3-lobed. The sepals are about 10-20mm, tip is about 1.5-4mm wide, and stamens about 10-18mm. They can be easily found in streambanks, seeps, moist places, chaparral, oak woodland, mixed evergreen or confifer forests. They usually live in elevation less than 3300m and its flowering time is around April until September.

Trientalis latifolia

Trientalis latifolia, also known as Western Star flower is a native perennial herb that is part of Primulaceae family. It can easily found in shaded and moist area and it grows pretty short compared to other species. The stem is erect, about 5-30cm. The leaves are whorl near stem tip, blade is ovate to obovate, about 25-90mm. The flowers are in parts of 5 or 7, and calyx lobes 5-7mm, corolla 8-15mm wide, generally pink to rose, stamens 5-7mm. The sepals are more or less free and are persistent. They usually live in shaded places especially woodland in elevation less than 1400m. The flowering time is around April to July.

Narrative: This field trip was the last one before the field final! I was a bit disappointed at first because we were going to Mt.Tam again, but the habitat was very different compared to last one. Unlike last one when we found many species living in the serpentine soil, this time we get to see a lot of species that thrive in a shaded and moist area. The giant redwood forests made me feel such a small person, and I got to appreciate the motherland nature around us. The hike was more fun and adventurous especially the ladder we climbed down during the hike!! I felt like we were the Indiana Jones! After we survived from the jungle, we got to see the beautiful Stinson beach and the cabin along the coast. We were unlucky that we didn’t get to see the whales but next time I will!

Additional Photos!

Adenocaulon bicolor, part of Asteraceae

Myosotis latifolia, part of Boraginaceae

Athyrium filix-femina part of Woodsiaceae family

Ageratina adenophora, part of Asteraceae

Field Journal Entry #10 Mt.Tamalpais

Mt. Tamalpais, CA
Coordinates: 37 °54’267 N 122 °29’40″W

Mt.Tamalpais is a peak in Marin County, California, often considered symbolic of Marin County. There were beautiful views and plant species on the way drive up. It was the highest place we’d been this semester. The place was full of coastal scrub, grassland, redwood forests and interestingly serpentine soil. There were some species living in the rocky serpentine output. For example, Claytonia exiqua is one of the special species that can thrive in that harsh environment. This species might not do well in other environment such as clay soil compared to other species. The mountain also provide home for many wildlife animals such as lizards, birds, and snakes.

Leptosiphon parviflorus

Leptosiphon parviflorus is a annual plant that is part of Polemoniaceae. The stem range from 4 to 40cm and the narrowly obovate to linear leaves consists of lobes 2-19mm. The inflorescence is head, and the flowers are closing at night. The flower is densely hairy, glandular, membrane obscure. The tube is 11-46mm, elliptic to oblanceolate, thread-like and colors of pink, white, or yellow. It mostly lives in open or wooded areas about less than 1200m elevation. The flowering time is between March to June.

Whipplea modesta

Whipplea modesta, also known as modesty, is a part of family Hydrangeaceae. It is a native plant that is perennial herb. The ovate to elliptic leaves are persistent, blade about 1.5-4cm, 1-3cm wide, coarsely strigose, and ascending upper surface hairs. The inflorescence is cyme or raceme, and have flowers about 4-12. The flower is about 4-6mm wide, and consists of 4-6 narrowly oblong sepals about 1.5-2mm, obovate white petals about 4-6. It has terminal stigma and doesn’t have any smell. It mostly lives in coastal scrub, chaparral, forest, or open areas about 45 to 1525m elevation. The flowering time is in between March to July.

Ceanothus cuneatus

Ceanothus cuneatus, also known as Buckbrush, is a native flowering shrub that is part of the Rhamnaceae family. It is every common in California and known for its evergreen leaves that is opposite and sessile. The stem is generally ascending to spreading, twigs generally gray to brown. The leaves are some occasionally clustered, blade elliptic, oblanceolate, or obovate. The flower is generally white or light blue. It lives in sandy to rocky flats, slopes and ridges about less than 2133m elevation. The flowering time is in between February to May.

Mysterious Plants!

Githopsis specularioides, Common bluecup

Viola pedunculata, California golden violet

Narrative: We left the campus around 1pm and the weather was cloudy, and chilly. I thought it would not be a good day for hiking, but surprisingly when we arrive at the peak of the mountain, it became extremely hot and dry. I thought I would not need a water but it was a big mistake. I was so dehydrated until we found the water fountain. We started walking from the serpentine output where some special plants thrive in such a harsh environment. However they would not survive in other places since their competitive ability is really poor compared to other plants. We could see the downtown at the peak and realized how all the clouds are clustered under to city while we have beautiful sunshine up here at the mountain. The hike is overall great, not too difficult. The most interesting thing was I got to see the plants that live in serpentine soil in person and the snakes!!

Additional photos

Allium falcifolium – Sickle leaf onion

Wyethia angustifolia, part of Asteraceae

Allium falcifolium, sickle leaf onion, part of Amaryllidaceae

Phacelia distans, part of Boraginaceae