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

Traditional and Modern Methods of Acorn Preparation

December 05, 2013 by Emily Moskal

Bay Area oaks are prolific, but acorn use has diminished within the last 200 years. With the help of modern kitchenware you can rediscover the art of acorn preparation and its rich history grounded in Native American traditions.

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Restoring Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

December 02, 2013 by Alessandra Bergamin

Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge has been shaped by industry and development leaving its three endemic and endangered species clinging to their habitat. But in a recent partnership between the Port of Stockton and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dredged sand from the San Joaquin River will be offloaded at the refuge to aid with large-scale dune restoration.

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How Can You Tell a True Turkey Tail from an Imposter?

November 28, 2013 by Alessandra Bergamin

Bracket fungi, named for their shelf-like structure, can often be seen fanned out of decaying wood. But how can you tell if what you're looking at is a true turkey tail or, an imposter?

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Bay Researchers Fight Uphill Battle with Invasive Cordgrass

November 21, 2013 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

Three years ago, managers at the Invasive Spartina Project thought they’d be almost out of a job by now. But while the ruthless and hybridizing cordgrass hasn't spread any more, it hasn't been eradicated either and this final push to eliminate it, will be the hardest.

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Looking for Lichens in Knowland Park

November 04, 2013 by Alessandra Bergamin

Oakland's Knowland Park boasts unparalleled views of the San Leandro Bay, gnarled coast live oak trees and stands of rare, maritime chaparral. But within this large landscape, one of nature's smallest communities is flourishing—lichen.

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On the Hunt—Searching For Rare Plants in the Delta

October 19, 2013 by Alessandra Bergamin

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the lifeblood of the central valley. But this somewhat landscaped environment is also home to some of California's rare plant populations, and on a kayak trip down Sycamore Slough, a group of volunteers is on the hunt to find them.

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Signs of the Season: Old Man’s Beard, Lichens that Live on Air

October 14, 2013 by Ron Sullivan

Lichens of any sort aren’t plants. Lichens are not so much a taxonomic category as a way of life; as lichenologist Trevor Goward put it, “Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture.”

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Redwoods normally buck fires, except when Sudden Oak Death is around

September 24, 2013 by Alessandra Bergamin

Researchers find that redwood forests suffering from Sudden Oak Death burn with greater intensity.

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Should I kill invasive trees with herbicides?

September 13, 2013 by Lech Naumovich

An Oakland resident wants to know how to kill off invasive trees from her garden.

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Santa Cruz cypress delisted as endangered species

September 02, 2013 by Alison Hawkes

Another success of the Endangered Species Act. The Santa Cruz cypress, a small evergreen, is doing well thanks to protections.

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