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October 24, 2016


Dear Skyliners,


With the good rains so far (and more this week) tons of seedlings are now sprouting.  I was out today and took some close-ups, so here's a chance to learn several of them.  


But first, regular workdays this week: Wednesday at 4 pm and Sunday at 9:30. Please let me know if you can make it.


On to seedlings:


Here are two shots of Chia (Salvia columbariae) seedlings.  These are taken along Grizzly Peak Blvd, on volcanic scree.  If you could bore a tunnel directly west from our "Nine Grass Bend" on Skyline Trail, horizontal under the AT&T tower, this would be the spot you'd come out. This slope faces west, towards the Bay.  I have been weeding this patch for two seasons, trying to increase their numbers.  When I started, there were about a dozen plants in this spot.  Now, almost all weeds are gone and just look at the germination!!  


First shot is of a patch about 2' by 2'; you can see the dead stalks in the middle, and hundreds of seedlings all around. They are almost pure Chia; a few others, too, like clover, I think:

And here's a close up; aren't their seed leaves really an unusual shape; kind of like blunt arrowheads? On the left is a spent seedhead.  Chia seeds were a very important, nutritious food for native peoples.

Here's Purple Clarkia (C. purpurea), also on the same volcanic scree.  Notice how different these are from Chia: 

(The big one near the dime is an Italian Thistle.)


Lastly, here's Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata); isn't it interesting how they start life as little thin threads:

It will be very interesting to watch these clumps and see their fate.  How many will get eaten by the sparrows for greens?  How many will be eaten by little creepy-crawlers?  Will they get buried by a gopher mound or a soil slide? How many will make it to flower?  Nature's strategy is success through overwhelming numbers.


To close, here's a shot of the sunset over Mt Tam last Wednesday, as we were coming back over Barberry Peak.  Wednesdays are very special as we work into twilight, and experience that magical time of day.

Thanks to Paula and Susan for the photos (I could only use one).


Happy Trails everyone,



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