Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Wildflowers on the Watershed

Areas of serpentine soil are currently yielding a profusion of native wildflowers along the Peninsula Watershed ridges.

Serpentine soil is derived from California’s state rock—the greenish metaphoric serpentine rock originating from the earth’s mantle. Serpentine rock outcrops are closely associated with California fault lines. The soil is high in magnesium and iron, but low in calcium, aluminum, and nutrient-rich clay, so that it is thin and inhospitable to many plant types. Its plant communities are typically composed of stubby, low-growing native grasses and small herbaceous plants.

Conversely, serpentine soil attracts a variety of native wildflowers—many of them rare or endangered—that thrive in the extreme conditions so unfavorable to many of their more common or non-native competitors. To check out this year’s serpentine displays on the Peninsula Watershed, join a guided hike or bike ride along the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail.

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