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Summer Treasure Hunt for Mysteries Right Under Your Feet
Need a summer project that can last from the time wild flowers first sprout until they seed in the fall? Try a local "Treasure Hunt" to identify the local plants in your back yard, your neighborhood, or your community.
That's no small challenge! We overlook common "weeds" and "groundcover" and bushes and trees, in our search for exotic blossoms and magnificent sculptural specimens. But when you look closely at a native plant, get to know it by name, understand its role in your bio- culture, you awaken a new appreciation to the wonder under your feet.
And occasionally, a mysterious treasure can be found. Here's the documentation for how one treasure hunter shared her special find with fellow nature lovers:
"On the coastal bluffs at the edge of the Montara Mountain sea terrace, we found one very rare and special member: Linanthus croceus.
Linanthus croceus has not been seen since it was identified decades ago by Alice Eastwood on Point San Pedro at the south end of Pacifica.
This small population, the only one known to exist, was discovered in 1998 by Half Moon Bay Botanist Toni Corelli. Over the past year, Robyn Battaglia completed the analysis and confirmation of its identity as part of her thesis work at San Francisco State University."
What can YOU do?
You can document the native plants in your own yard...put up a Web page...share the info with your local Garden Club...and many more creative journeys.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden:
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden takes a different tact...they have combined research efforts of many to create an extensive research contribution to the world of botanic knowledge.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers an online resource for a "Summer Treasure Hunt" for all adventurers in the New York vicinity. New York City is home to 2,750 (or thereabouts) native plant species.
Is that enough of a challenge?
The organization's web site offers a treasure trove of information, photos, maps and research links online. For instance...try:
The New York metropolitan region has a very diverse natural landscape that includes beaches, dunes, pine barrens, oak forests, lakes, streams, swamps, bogs and cliffs.
These serve as habitat for approximately 2750 plant species. It's difficult to know the identity of every plant in an area with so much diversity.
This site offers a methodology to help you learn to identify the woody plants in the region.
At this time BBG scientists are concentrating on woody plants... so you can start your treasure hunt with "just" the woody plants in the region.
I looked up one example of a plant...by leaf shape...and I was pleased to find that both Non-Technical information and Technical information was given. That balance makes for a resource usable and inviting to people over a wide range of interests and botanical knowledge.
Common names Field identification Food uses Poisonous properties Student projectsTechnical
So if you live in the New York region...or just want to flex your muscles with online research. Go for it!
And write a family member about your experience of a "Seasonal Treasure Hunt". It's a priceless gift.
I hope you take a nature break...and discover a treasure beneath your feet!
For more articles about California NatureCalifornia Beach Communities
Common Native Plants of Southern California Uplands
Natural Los Angeles Resources
Common Native Wildlife of Southern California
Common Native Birds of Southern California
Attracting California birds with native plants
Los Angeles Urban Forest
There's a Park Near You in Los Angeles
News about the SoCal Environment
Least Terns Preserve on the LA Beach
Visiting California Beach Communities - An Overview
Los Angeles Area Nature Link List