Toyon – Rose Apples

Toyon, in the rose family, carries a name given to it by Native Americans and produces fruit related to apples. Because it ripens and turns bright red around the holidays, its common names are Christmas berry and California Holly. Toyon’s scientific name, Heteromeles arbutifolia, means “different apple.” There’s debate surrounding the plant’s association with the naming of Hollywood. [See link …

Incense Cedar, the Pencil Tree

A burned, sometimes smoldering,  Incense Cedar tree is one of the few places the Cedar Wood Wasp, lays its eggs. This insect is the only living species of its family, making it a ‘living fossil.’ Cedar is commonly used for building and fencing materials. Because the wood is pliable for gripping and resists splintering, it may be best known for its …

Alonzo Delano – Grass Valley Champion & Gold Rush Correspondent

At age 43, after being sick with consumption, Alonzo Delano left his home and loved ones to join the mass of gold-seeking emigrants making the overland journey to California (1849). In Illinois, he sold bank stocks and commodities and lived with his wife and two children; Fred an invalid son of 16 and Harriet, a six-year-old daughter.  After surviving the …

Ghost Pine – Produces Nuts in Harsh Growing Conditions

Pinus Sabiniana is native to California and Oregon and has a variety of names. Habitat Its habitat forms a ring around California’s ‘bathtub’ (central valley). It grows in poor soils, is adapted to hot, dry summers and usually keeps company with Blue and Live Oaks. Common Names & Naming History Common names include; Ghost Pine Gray Pine California Foothill Pine …

California Buckeye – A Stunning Native

First published June 5, 2017   Found nowhere else in the world, Aesculus Californica is a true California Native. In late winter and early spring, the California Buckeye blooms with long strands of sweet smelling flowers. This early blooming season is a unique adaptation of the plant to its environment. Another unique adaptation is when it goes dormant, during the arid summer …

California Oaks – Foundation Habitat Species

First published May 29, 2017 The Oak Woodland Forest ecosystem is prevalent in California. It contains both evergreen (live oaks) and deciduous types of oak trees. Oaks are considered foundation species because of their role in the web of life. Identifying California Oak Trees Acorns – One of the Most Important Protein Sources for Native Americans History: Native American Food Processing   …

Tree Mortality & Falling Hazards

First published December 21, 2017 Dead and dying trees in the Tahoe National Forest and Nevada County is a fact of contemporary life. Being aware of hazards that dead trees cause and hyperconscious of fire starting activities will help keep families and neighbors safer.   From 66 million dead trees in 2010 to 129 million in 2017, the State of California …

Willow – Bends without Breaking

First published June 9, 2017 The Arroyo Willow – Salix lasiolepis – is a native shrub or tree in California and in most Western states. Wetland Habitat Willo is important in riparian (creek and waterway) environments; it provides habitat and food for insects, birds, amphibians and other animals in spring, birds use a cottony substance released by the seeds to build nests …

Invasive Species Choke Natives

First published June 2, 2018 The California Floristic Province is considered a world biodiversity hotspot. It contains a large number of ecosystems that include alpine forest, mixed evergreen forest, riparian forest, sagebrush steppe, coastal sage scrub, redwood forests and more. Currently, only 25% of the original vegetation remains unharmed. Highly populated and a producer of agriculture products for 50% of the country, California …