Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mather Field Vernal Pools

Butter-and-eggs (Triphysaria eriantha, Scrophulariaceae)

In the next few months you may see a theme popping up here at E.r.r.a.n.t. This is because I'm taking two classes this quarter on California vegetation, and there are a total of seven field trips scheduled! Most of them are one day trips, but there are two three-day trips as well. So I will be blogging a lot about California vegetation and California plants. I'll be posting about all of the field trips because I'm finally getting to see the state that I live in and I want to share it with you. And of course there's no better way for me to see it than through plants.

Miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor, Fabaceae) and Frying pan poppy (Eschscholzia lobbii, Papaveraceae)

A few weeks ago (4/12) I went to Mather Field with my CA Floristics class to see the vernal pool vegetation. Vernal pools are formed on a hard pan soil that catches water during the winter rainy season and forms seasonal pools (vernal = springtime). Then the water slowly drains during the spring and the pool is bone dry and cracked during the summer dry season. The plants that live in vernal pools have to be able to exist in both flood and drought conditions, and have to deal with increasing salt concentration as the water evaporates and leaves salts behind. Different wildflowers grow in rings around the pool, according to each one's adaptations to the conditions. Very cool.

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