Plant of the Month

Monardella sinuata var. nigrescens (wavy-leaved monardella) Photo by Vernon Smith
Monardella
by Doreen Smith
Navarretia bakeri (Baker’s navarretia) Photo by Vernon Smith
Navarretia
by Doreen Smith
Cerastrium viride (field chickweed) Photo by Doreen Smith
Native Cerastium Species
by Doreen Smith
Trifolium  grayi Photo by Vernon Smith
Two Marin Trifoliums
by Doreen Smith
Trillum chloropetalum at Walker Creek. Photo by Doreen Smith
Trillium chloropetalum, giant trillium
by Doreen Smith

Marin has Trillum chloropetalum plants with the petal-color being either green, brown, pink or red-purple.
On the immediate coast of Point Reyes, for example on Tomales Point and on the Marin Headlands at Wolfback Ridge, petals can be shorter than those of inland populations.

 

Calystegia purpurata ssp. purpurata Photo by Doreen Smith
Marin County's western morning-glories, Calystegia purpurata and Calystegia occidentalis
by Doreen Smith

Plants of the month include Calystegia purpurata and Calystegia occidentalis, two western morning-glory species. Already I have seen Calystegia purpurata flowering on a chain-link fence by the northbound San Rafael Highway 101 exit. Mostly the flowers of this species are white with purple lines, fading to pink, but some plants have pink flowers from the begining and fade almost red-purple. This gives the reason for the Latin specific epithet.

Rosa californica "fruit" Photo by Vernon Smith
"Rosa californica"
by Doreen Smith

Rosa californica is the most common wild rose in Marin and probably in California, but many old so-called occurrences
have been found by recent taxonomic experts to be other species or hybrids.

The shrubs have pink flowers and, when fruiting, red “hips,” which are commonly thought of as the fruits. Botanically speaking, however, the real fruits are hairy and seed-like, and they are contained in the urn-like fleshy red structures.

Petunia parviflora Doreen Smith
New Plants for Marin Flora
by Doreen Smith

Just because Marin Flora was recently revised (in 2007) doesn't mean that new species of plants cannot be discovered, possibly by any of you. The drying shores of Stafford Lake reservoir, west of Novato, have offered unusual-for-Marin flowers even in late summer and fall.

Solidago elongata, Vernon Smith
Marsh goldenrod, (Solidago elongata)  –  and other similar goldenrods
by Doreen Smith

"In the drying marshes of Pt. Reyes, such as along the western parts of the Abbotts Lagoon trail, marsh goldenrod, Solidago elongata, is often abundant in early September. It is often seen flowering in showy yellow masses. The inflorescences are much larger than those of the other two true goldenrods of Marin County, Solidago spathulata and Soldago velutina ssp. californica.

Chorizanthe valida Vernon Smith
Chorizanthe valida  (Sonoma spineflower)
by Doreen Smith

This is one of the rarest plants in the world now found as a natural population only on Point Reyes National Seashore. There is some doubt that the original type specimen really came from Sonoma County and it is possibly a Marin endemic. Sonoma botanists need to check for it near Duncan's Mills to refute this statement!