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The Four-Season Field Guide to Poison Oak

Poison Oak

“Leaves of three, let it be. If it’s hairy, it’s a berry. If it’s shiny, watch your hiney.” That famous rhyme can help you pick out poison oak—for part of the year. But, because Toxicodendron diversilobum is deciduous, what about the other seasons?

To identify poison oak all year-round, just remember... more >>


April 2013 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

Early Spring Wildflowers: A Viewer’s Guide

Milk Maids

View images of each species at the bottom of this page.

If you’re like me, you choose to live in the beautiful Bay Area to avoid those long terrible winters that would require us to look at seed catalogs just to see some green. While the East is still buried under... more >>


March 2013 | Leave a comment

Our Romantic Plant of the Season

Wild strawberry

If your loved one takes you out to a nice restaurant this Valentine’s Day and you still have room for dessert, most likely you will see chocolate-covered strawberries on the menu. As you bite into one of nature’s most delectable fruits, you may take some time to ponder the plant... more >>


February 2013 | Leave a comment

Family Dinner: Holiday Foods' Park Relatives

Turkey and chicks

At your next holiday feast, impress friends and family with some fresh knowledge. Read on to learn the origins of popular holiday foods and discover their closest relatives, found in our parks. Please don’t forage for these items (quite a few are inedible)—but fill your plate with some food for... more >>


December 2012 | Leave a comment

Holly-daze: A Case of Mistaken Identity

Toyon berries

Did Christmas come early this year? Well, if you are out hiking in our parks this month it may seem like it.

Heteromeles arbutifolia—otherwise known as Christmas berry or toyon—is in full glory right now. With its brilliant display of bright red berries and leathery serrated leafs, it can often get... more >>


December 2012 | Leave a comment

Critical Mast: The Boom and Bust of Acorns

Oak woodland

Oak trees stand huge in our landscapes. At Oakwood Valley I walk under the unofficially named “Grandmother Tree.” If you have walked in the valley you know what I’m talking about. Oak trees are the foundation of the ecosystem they are found in, providing food and shelter for many species.... more >>


December 2012 | Leave a comment

Ready for a Record-Breaking Planting Season!

Volunteer at work

Volunteers have played a vital role in the entire cycle of nurturing our native plants—seed collecting, seed cleaning, seed sowing, composting, pot washing, transplanting and, now, outplanting across the parks at restoration sites.

Much of this activity has centered in our six park nurseries, located in Marin, San Francisco, and San... more >>


December 2012 | Leave a comment

Back from the Brink of Extinction

Alligator Lizard

As you may know the assumed to be extinct Franciscan manzanita (or “Francie,” as staff in the park have come to call the original plant), was rediscovered during the Doyle Drive work. CalTrans relocated all 20,000 pounds of the plant in January... more >>


November 2012 | 2 Comments | Leave a comment

The Importance of So Much Little White Fluff

The Importance of So Much Little White Fluff

Sometimes it seems like San Francisco summer finally arrives in September/October. It seems the endless bank of fog finally lifts and the sun shines down upon us all—making Baker Beach a popular destination.

If you find yourself strolling down the sand ladder to enjoy some time on the beach, look out... more >>


October 2012 | Leave a comment

Help Name a Shady New Building

09 Help Name a Shady New Building

The Presidio Native Plant Nursery—one of six nurseries in the Golden Gate National Parks—will soon open a long-awaited structure: a new 72’ by 110’ shadehouse!

A shadehouse is a structure used to house tender plants coming out of a greenhouse, as a way to harden them off and get them ready... more >>


September 2012 | 1 Comments | Leave a comment

 

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