Yesterday D. and I went to see Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve north of us in Redwood City.
Edgewood Preserve is unique because of its geology. It is located on a big mass of rock called serpentine, found throughout the Bay Area, which produces nutrient-poor soils. A lot of plants will die in serpentine soils, and others will grow poorly and be stunted. But a few native plants are adapted to it and actually thrive. Most of them are rare or endagered because of habitat loss and environmental toxins. Edgewood is a beautiful park devoted to preserving this habitat and these species, many of which are wildflowers that put on breath-taking displays of blossoms throughout the spring.
There are also threatened or endagered butterfly species found there; some are found nowhere else. In 2002, the Preserve's population of bay checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas editha bayensis) was only one caterpillar -- down from 5,000 butterflies in previous years. Since then it has increased to 1,000 caterpillars and 12 adult butterflies.
We saw lots of butterflies on our walk, which led us from chaparral into grasslands into oak woodlands and back. Here's pics of other stuff we saw.
Grasslands along the Edgewood Trail.
Yellow flowers. We see these in almost every park and preserve we've been to and we aren't sure what they are. I think they might be a species of monkeyflower.
One of the many lovely wildflowers in the park.
This flower is called Clarkia. It was everywhere throughout the grasslands.
Here are Mariposa Lilies, yellow and clay.
A view of the East Bay Hills from the ridge in the park.
Part of the Edgewood Trail. Grassland and chaparral.
So many beautiful flowers at every step along the trails.
A dry, grassy hillside. At first I thought the greenish areas were native perennial grasses, but a closer inspection showed them to be invasive non-native plants. Scientists discovered that nitrogen-rich ammonia from the catalytic converters of cars on adjacent Highway I-280 has fertilized the nutrient-poor serpentine soil allowing nonnative Italian ryegrass and invasive thisles to crowd out native plants. The preserve has an on-going volunteer weed-eradication program.
Serpentine Loop Trail as it goes from the grasslands into the oak woodland.
Lichen grows profusely in the oak woodland habitat.
We were just a day or two too early to see these beauties in bloom.
Ferns love the damp, shady woodlands.
Serpentine Loop Trail. Where the grassland, chaparral and oak woodland habitats converge.
Poison oak with last year's berries on it. It's really a beautiful plant. Just don't touch it.
This lizard is almost perfectly camouflaged against the tree trunk.
A cat prowling the Sylvan Trail.
The bees had a field day among the blackberries.
Bracket fungi in the oak woodland.
In a couple of months these little plums will be ripe.