Western thistle – Upper Mt. Tam

Date: April 26, 2018

Location: Upper Mount Tamalpais State Park 


Latitude: 37.9235° N, Longitude: 122.5965° W, Elevation: 2,572 ft.


Site Description: Mount Tamalpais, located in Marin County, is a site known to provide for great hikes and camping sites. Additionally, Mount Tamalpais have many hillside habitats and serpentine soils as well. Mount Tampalpais adjoins the Golden Gate National Recreation Area as well as several Marin County Open Space Preserves, providing for nearly 40 miles of continuously publicly accessible open space.


Species description: The western thistle, also known as cirsium occidentale in the asteraceae family, is a biennial with thorn-like appressed spikes/hairs on the area of the flower. The leaves are thick and generally erect with a green to light blue color. The leaves are also simple, opposite, and pinnate with parallel venation. The flowers are bisexual and lavender to white with radial corolla.

Narrative: On the way to upper Mt. Tam, I got quite car sick, as we were going pretty high up a windy road. However, once we got there and I was able to get some fresh air, I really enjoyed the scenery with the nice clear and sunny weather. We also passed by West Point Inn where Prof Paul said there were pancakes, so I could not stop thinking about strawberry pancakes the rest of the trip. Mmmm…

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