The study and science of plants.

The Essential Tree

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It’s almost impossible to imagine the California landscape without oak woodlands. But this most familiar and prolific habitat faces a number of serious threats, including unchecked suburban development and Sudden Oak Death. Fortunately, many parks in the Bay Area, including those of the East Bay Regional Parks, offer welcome refuge for a variety of oak woodlands.

Oak Woodlands Resources

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To learn more about California’s oaks, contact the following organizations: California Oak Foundation 1212 Broadway, Suite 810 Oakland, CA 94612 510-763-0282 www.californiaoaks.org California oak advocacy and education organization. Online monthly oak report, membership newsletter, oak tree care information, and merchandise. … Read more

Penetrating the Chaparral

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Though it’s the most extensive natural habitat in California, chaparral’s brambly ways discourage human visitors. Still, plenty of wildlife finds sanctuary in its tangled, brushy universe, as do the dormant seeds of wildflowers as they await the inevitable next fire, forceful sculptor of this complex landscape.

Why is manzanita bark so smooth and red?

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What a seemingly simple, but deceptively complex question! Ultimately, perhaps, the least speculative—but not completely satisfactory—answer is that manzanitas inherited this trait from their ancestors. There is compelling evidence that manzanitas (genus Arctostaphylos) are derived from a group of trees, … Read more

Starting with the Oaks

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A winding path through Kathy Welch’s garden leads to an oak grove. Photo by Saxon Holt. Kathy Welch had already begun to consider renovating her yard in the Oakland hills when she made a few discoveries. “I found a trillium … Read more

Claiming the Rubble

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Along the Bay’s eastern shoreline, an odd collection of artists, shorebirds, and plants have made their mark on a little-known former landfill known as the Albany Bulb. Now the Bulb’s unruly landscape finds itself in the midst of the debate over the design of the new Eastshore State Park. But you can still explore and unwind at this decidedly eclectic open space.

Announcing Calflora.Org

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Have you ever wondered where to find free and reliable information about your favorite Bay Area plants? A unique, comprehensive online resource, CalFlora (www.calflora.org), serves as a clearinghouse for botanical information that can be used for education, research, conservation, or … Read more