Italian thistle – Ring Mountain

Date: April 19th, 2018


Location: Ring Mountain, Latitude: 37.9099° N, Longitude: 122.4858° W, Elevation: 605 ft.


Site description: Ring Mountain is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate, and has been preserved from development when it was purchased by the Nature Conservancy. The soils on the ridge are heavily laced with mineral serpentine, which allows for a number of rare species to be found such as the Tiburon Mariposa Lily.


Species description:The Italian thistle, also known as carduus pycnocephalus in the asteraceae family is an annual with glabrous or slightly wooly stem. The leaves are cauline +- tomentose and the basal leaves are 10-15 cm in size. There is generally a head-like inflorescence with 2-5 per cluster. The flowers are sessile and pink to purple.


Narrative: When we arrived at Ring Mountain, I was confused as to why Professor Paul wanted us to park in the middle of an extremely rich neighborhood. It was not until we passed a couple of mansions up to the top of the hill that I was able to see where we would really be looking for plants. The weather was very sunny with some wind, so ideally this would have been a beautiful day with a beautiful view. However, I had an evolution exam later that day and decided against taking my allergy medicine which always makes me drowsy, which was a terrible idea since I had the worst reaction against Ring Mountain out of all the field trips we have been on! My nose was running like water and by the end of the hike, my eyes looked like I had been crying for hours (because I had). Ultimately, when I got back to campus to get ready for my exam, my allergies were so bad that I had to take some medicine.

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