Sunday, November 7, 2010

East Bay Fall, Redwood Park

So reminded by Christine's post over at Idora Design, I decided to go for a hike yesterday to look for California bay, or laurel, fruits.  I had read about eating them in Flavors of Home and was quite curious.  I know there are a lot of laurel trees on the laurel trail in Berkeley's Tilden Park, a really beautiful section in fact, but I got a late start and it's not very convenient for me to get to from Oakland.  That and traffic on the 24 made me take a last minute turn towards Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland hills.  And I'm really glad I did.

I parked at the Skyline Gate Staging Area and then preceded to go left on the West Ridge trail.  The area near the gate has been worked on quite assiduously by habitat restoration volunteers and the efforts really show.  There were tons of different natives peaking up all along that first part of the trail, and several cages around some planted natives as well.  This is a different area of the park than where I volunteered.

Here there were a lot of honeysuckle and some snowberries.

There were California fuchsia doing their thing, and hazelnuts getting ready to do theirs.
And this has already done its thing.  Anybody know what this is?
The most impressive were the madrones.  All the tallest trees were fruiting.  I'd never seen, or at least never noticed, this before.  Really beautiful.

I turned left off again and took the Tres Sendas trail to the French which looped me back to the West Ridge trail.  Not very far at all, a little more than 2 miles, but I think I took 2 hours to do it because I kept stopping.  There was even our Bay Area Fall colors on display.  Like this poison oak.
Or perhaps more impressive, this big leaf maple.
So what about the laurel, or bay, fruits?  Well I did in fact find some, but for that you'll have to wait till my next post.


  1. Aaaugh, the suspense! I love the kinds of hikes that happen unexpectedly- adventure always follows. Thanks for the mention!

  2. You know it's funny, we have a LOT of California Bay Laurel here, but I have honestly never noticed the fruits. I do see the blooms in the spring, but I'm going to have to pay closer attention next time I'm scrabbling around the property.

    As for your mystery plant, it looks like a plant my grandmother used to grow for dried flower arrangements, called 'Money Plant', or 'Honesty'. Lunaria annua:

    and here:

    I don't think it should have been there, as it's native to Europe. After the seeds are set, you peel away the seed coats to reveal the silvery disks that are desired for dried flower arranging. It's pretty, just not native. Interesting find though, I haven't seen it in years!

  3. I think Curbstone is right, it's a Money Plant. They were popular a while back along with straw flowers.

    I have lots of Toyon near me and it is fun to see all the red berries on the hillsides!