Valentine’s Day Bounty

Happy Valentine’s Day!

McLaren Park's Flowered Grassland and Forest

McLaren Park’s Flowered Grassland and Forest

We hope you have a chance today to join the birds and the bees in experiencing the natural beauty and bounty created in San Francisco over hundreds of years.

The birds and flowers come early to San Francisco parks and offer spectacular Valentine flowers for people and wildlife alike.  Now is one of the best times in parks like McLaren, Glen Canyon, and Lake Merced – all alive with the chatter of birds in forests and open woodlands planted over the past 150 years.  Even the air is more crisp and alive with the smell  of early springtime’s green grasses and trees.  You can easily find large white eucalyptus blooms – a favorite of nectar loving bees and hummingbirds.  With some luck you’ll see squirrels gobbling up the green Monterey pine cones or birds enjoying the red berries of the cotoneasters.

The grasslands are lush green with the wild oat grasses growing rapidly, a legacy brought several hundreds of years ago by the Spanish ranchers.  The first yellow wave of mustard, buttercups, and dandelions have arrived along with the pink and white wild radish that paints the grassland just like when the Spaniards ran cattle here.  Also adding to this naturalized, non-native bounty are a few native plants like the beautiful blue blossoms, California blackberries, and California poppies.

California Poppy
While enjoying your walk you might spot these San Francisco beauties:


Blue Gum Eucalyptus – non-native
Monterey Cypress – non-SF native
Monterey Pines – non-SF native

Blue Blossom – native
California blackberries – native
Cotoneasters – non-native
Silver Wattle – non-native

Black Mustard – non-native
California Poppy – native
Oxalis (buttercups/sourgrass) – non-native
Dandelion  – non-native
Wild oat grass – non-native
Wild radish – non-native

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2 Responses to Valentine’s Day Bounty

  1. Tony Holiday says:

    Beautiful pix! Thanks for sharing. Reminds me to visit McLaren soon. I always enjoy the yellow oxalis this time of year — dots the hillsides with color. And yet I hear the native plant people talk so vehemently about killing it off.

  2. Dee S. says:

    Thank you for this wonderful,educational email. I will save it because I learned so much from it! Brilliant to provide photos.

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