[fosc] Seed walk: Siniwik Loop
kpaulsell at pacbell.net
Fri Sep 1 13:15:49 PDT 2006
Crew: Hilary Powers, Adrienne Bryant, Karen Paulsell
Route: Siniwick Loop, then back on Sanborn Drive
On Thursday morning's hike, we got a taste of fall weather -- instead
of morning fog, we had gusty, changeable winds, some warm and
easterly. So we hiked the Siniwik Loop Trail in a shower of
eucalyptus and bay leaves, with freshly peeled madrones and red
poison oak provided the Bay Area version of "fall color".
We wanted to collect more bits of yerba buena -- but didn't find any
-- and also some divisions of rough-leaved aster (Aster radulinus)
but since I didn't bring a hand spade, we only got a few bits that
were in softer soil. But there's a lot of it along the trail, some
still in bloom with small, few-petaled aster blooms.
Our first big stop on the hike was the sweet little "hot spot" on
Siniwik Loop. It's a sunny, rocky spot above the trail. It's the only
place in the watershed we've seen shooting stars (Dodecatheon
hendersonii), plus there's Frittilaria affinis (checker lily), native
dandelion, goldenrod, coyote mint, coffee fern, imbricate phacelia,
and lots more. I started showing Adrienne and Hilary the difference
between the leaves of yarrow and the California sheepburr (Acaena
pinnatifida) (sheepburr leaves look like coarse yarrow leaves, but
Acaena is in a different plant family, the Rose family) -- and
realized that there were still seeds on the Acaena. So we poked
around and found several more plants with a few seeds each.
Nearby we found several hillside pea (Lathyrus vestitus) plants with
lots of peapods, so we collected several. I have a hard time
remembering difference between vetches and peas, the the 2 most
notable clues when keying them aren't available at fruiting time --
the appearance of the style, and whether the leaves are "folded in
bud" or "rolled in bud". But we only have 2 vetches, and it's not
either of them. And the peapods look exactly like the hillside
peapods we collected a few weeks ago on the Bridgeview Trail -- I
just checked our seed stash to be sure.
We hoped to find seeds for the wood rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) and ground
rose (Rosa spithamea). The rose hips on the first wood rose we came
to were orange, but didn't look fully ripe, so we passed it by. We
did find one ripe Rosa gymnocarpa hip a bit later -- then we found
some on plants I was just sure were ground rose -- very short plants,
in a little mini-thicket. Then, oh dear, more confusion -- we found a
few hips on a plant that looked a bit tall for a ground rose, but had
sepals on 2 out of 3 hips. And Rosa gymnocarpa (gymno = naked, carpa
= seed) doesn't have sepals. So we picked a bit of the plant and
tucked it into the envelope.
I just looked up Barbara Ertter's online key to roses (she did the
Rose-family entries for the Jepson Manual). Looking at the thorns
with a hand lens, I vote for ground rose, based on the look of the
prickles. Ertter's rose page
Sharp-eyed Hilary spotted a ripe seed on one of the big patches of
small false Solomon's seal (Smilacina stellata), and we found a
second one nearby. These plants propagate very well vegetatively, and
seem to produce few seeds, which seem to be quite popular with
predators. So we don't collect many. The only batch we've tried to
propagate did pretty well -- after a long time in stratification, we
got about 20 plants. They're still small --- Lily family plants seem
to be really slow from seed. We'll add the 3 resulting seeds to a few
more we collected this year, and pop them in the fridge.
We checked on the small patch of California tea plants (Rupertia
physodes) -- we never find flowers or seeds, and this was no
exception. There's only two other, much smaller patches we've ever
found, and they've both been whacked by the Fire Dept. fuel
management . The Jepson Manual says that the plants are "sometimes
stoloned", and this patch does look that way, -- so we may be able to
try divisions this winter. Maybe it will oblige us with flowers and
fruit with a little nursery pampering. It's a great small understory
plant for a north-facing slope in a mixed hardwood forest, so we'd
like to propagate them.
We were hoping to collect seeds from the Clarkia rubicunda and to
check on the tiny patch of California pinks -- but found the whole
area had been goat grazed. I guess it's not so bad about the Clarkia
-- they annual grass was really dense this year, and the Clarkia
would have been very hard to find once they finished blooming. But
there's only 7 or 8 California pinks (Silene californica), the only
spot we've found them, and we've never managed to collect seed. This
year they were doing especially great, lots of top growth and
flowers, since we'd dragged in some wood to block the rogue
bicyclists from swooping off-trail across them. Some nice yampah
plants got munched too. Sigh.
Oh well. We walked back up to Sanborn, collected a few gumplant
(Grindelia hirsutula) seeds, and headed home.
Many thanks to Hilary for the yummy homemade ginger cookies.
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