Plants and Fungi

From majestic 300-foot redwoods to the luscious black witch’s butter mushroom, the San Francisco Bay Area is alive with plants and fungi. Yet many of these rooted natives are threatened by the twin forces of development and invasive species, making their survival particularly critical for the food web.

Latest from Plants and Fungi

Some Wildflowers Take Advantage of Drought

April 03, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Yes, it's been a dry year. But that's not entirely a bad thing for annual natives like wildflowers, which are finding a rare opportunity to restore their seed banks.

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Mount Diablo’s Chamise, Researcher Shows, Likes It Hot

March 20, 2014 by Joan Hamilton

A Berkeley researcher is using chamise seeds collected from Mount Diablo this fall to explore the plant's response to fire.

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Poaching Redwood Burl Affects Tree’s Reproduction

March 12, 2014 by Alison Hawkes

Redwood trees rely on burl growth, more than they do seeds, to repopulate the species.

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Creating a Drought-Resilient Garden with California Natives

February 27, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Over five years ago, Nalani and Anna Heath-Delaney, ditched their water guzzling lawn and planted a colorful and diverse native plant garden. They have since saved water, provided habitat for local species and created a native plant sanctuary. With the current drought, now is the perfect time to consider transitioning your garden and "going native."

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How Are Wildflowers Coping with the Drought?

February 13, 2014 by Sue Rosenthal

It’s tough to be a plant when there’s no water! Rainfall is one of the most critical—and most unpredictable—of all the factors that affect wildflower bloom. So how are they coping?

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For the Love of Seaweed

February 13, 2014 by Beth Slatkin

Josie Iselin’s passion for discovering natural treasures along the shore started young, and later evolved into her life’s work: turning ...

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A Botanist, a Bay Area Island and a Big Surprise

January 28, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

In the mid 90s, botanist Mike Wood was contracted by the U.S. Navy to undertake a rare plant survey of Yerba Buena Island as the military prepared to leave the base. At the time he didn't think the island would be of much botanical interest. But two decades later, he's still going back.

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The Versatile Bulb: The Many Uses of Soaproot

January 13, 2014 by Sue Rosenthal

Food seems an unusual use for a plant called soaproot. In fact, food is just one of many traditional California Indian uses for the plant, some apparently contradictory. Soap, food, glue, medicine, poison, and more — all from a hairy, fist-size underground bulb.

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Before the Annual Fungus Fair, It’s All About Finding the Right Mushroom

December 23, 2013 by Emily Moskal

Served in French dishes under the alias pom pom du blanc, lion’s mane has a texture and taste resembling lobster or shrimp. Chris Schoenstein, a lifelong enthusiast and member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, has only seen one 2 or 3 times. But that, if you’re a mushroom hunter, is the hook that keeps you coming back to an event like the Wunderlich Foray.

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Critical Habitat Identified for Franciscan Manzanita

December 20, 2013 by Eric Simons

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has declared 230 acres of San Francisco critical habitat for the Franciscan manzanita, the oft-discussed rare shrub famous for its dramatic rediscovery and the relocation of a sole survivor in 2009.

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