Pickerelweed  Pontederia cordata



Pickerelweed is a perennial  aquatic plant, native to the east coast of United States.  It can reach about 1 meter tall.  The light green stems and leaves emerge annually from a thick pad of fibrous roots. The leaves are highly variable in shape and size, from oval to lance-like.  The leaves vary in size from 4 to 25 cm long and 1 to 15 cm wide.  Their leaf veins are orientated in a parallel arrangement starting at the base.

The compound, violet to blue flowers emerge from an erect spike from May to October.


Water Smartweed, Pink flowered knotweed Polygonum coccineum


This perennial reproduces by seed and by long creeping rhizomes.  Smartweed blooms from May to November with a characteristic pink flower on a 7 cm spike.  The leaf is lanceolate.  The leaf color  is green with red pattern near the base.  The  leaf size ranges from 4 to 14 cm.  This aquatic plant is dormant in the winter.   


  Saltbush  Atriplex patula


This annual plant has, broadly triangular leaves.  It has small greenish flowers without petals that blooms June to November. The arrow-shaped leaves help identify this salt-tolerant plant.  It is common along the San Francisco Bay’s edge. It sheds salt through it's leaves and the crystals can be seen on the underside of the leaves.  Because these plants are in a fresh water environment, you will not find any salt on the underside. 

Saltgrass Distichlis spicata



This native grass  is stiff,  with branching wiry, gray-green leaves. It is a salt tolerant plant that thrives in fresh water conditions. In salty areas you can see salt on the underside of the leaves.  It blooms from April to July producing light purple edge flowers.



Mugwort  Artemisia douglasiana


Mugwort is a meter tall  perennial, with a distinctive odor that is found along the  stream banks.   It blooms from June to October .  Leaves are long with grayish green color. The common name of "mugwort" comes from a European species used as a condiment (seasoning). The name is derived from the old English name for plant "wort" and a container "mug." The European herb may have been used as a flavoring in a beverage consumed from a mug.


Blue Pennyroyal  Mentha pulegium



This perennial herb is native to Europe and has been introduced in the wild.  It is known in the past as an abortant.   It is a low-lying plant with small oval or elliptical leaves.  Its flowers are purple to blue and occur in clusters beginning half way up the stem. 




American Nightshade  
Solanum americanum


 The flowers are white to blue with yellow centers and 5 petals sometimes bent back.  The tomato-like leaves are triangular, and gently lobed.  The ripe fruit is a small, shiny black berry. The immature fruit is green.  The plant is poisonous to humans.  It blooms from February to October.


Marsh Baccharis    Baccharis douglasii


This plant is a shrub that can tolerate brackish water. Small white flowers are borne in tight clusters on the crown.  Baccharis  belongs to the aster family.   


Poison Hemlock  Conium maculatum


Poison Hemlock is a perennial herb, 1-2 meters tall.  The stems are smooth and hollow with a characteristic red mottling. Leaves are compound, lacy, and alternate.  The small white flowers borne in compound umbels at the top of the stalk.  The taproot is small and white with a disagreeable smell.  All plant parts are poisonous.  The seeds contain the most poison;  The poison is a piperidine alkaloid.  Socrates is reputed to have been killed by being forced to drink the juice of this plant.



 Wild Radish  Raphnus sativus


The Wild Radish belongs to the  mustard family.  Its flowers has four purple, white, or rose colored petals in the shape of a "cross."  The pods have a peppery taste and may be added to a salad.


California Poppy
Eschscholzia californica


An upright, compact perennial flower that is drought tolerant.  The flowers are a brilliant orange and cup-shaped about  4 cm in diameter.  The flower is borne individually on long stalks.  The California Poppy prefers full sun in light to sandy soils, so found on the outskirts of Stivers Lagoon.  It is the California State flower.  


Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis 


Bindweed is a creeping perennial introduced from Europe.  It is a member of the morning-glory family.  Its vine-like stems trail on the ground or twine on stems of other plants. The leaves are arrow-shaped with sharp-pointed or rounded basal lobes.  The funnel-shaped white to light pink flowers are 2.5 cm across.  There are two small bracts 2.5 cm below the  flower


Alkali Mallow  Malvella leprosa



Alkali Mallow is a low growing perennial.  It is about 4 cm tall, with deep, creeping roots. In disturbed places, the Mallow grows in groups.  The fan-shaped leaves are covered with whitish hairs.  The tube-like cream to pale apricot colored flowers are solitary or borne in small clusters.



Bull Thistle  Cirsuim sp.


Bull Thistle has stiff-hairy stems that can grow as high as 2 meters.  It has conspicuous prickly-winged stems.    Flower head has bract-like leaves below.  It was introduced from Eurasia.


 Coyote Brush  Baccharis pilularis


Coyote Brush is an evergreen shrub ranging from .3- 1.5 meters tall.  It blooms from August to September.  Male (pollen bearing) and female (seed bearing) plants can be determined by their flowers. The males have cream colored flowers, the females have white ones. The female bushes look quite fuzzy in the fall when their seeds are ready to be blown away upon the winds.  Early Californians referred to it as “fuzzy-wuzzy.”


Rosilla  Helenium puberulum



Rosilla favors damp areas along trails.  The long, narrow leaves form winds along the stems.  It blooms from May to November.  Its flowers consist of a fringe of  tiny yellow petal below a dense, dark-brown done-like head. 




Galls are common on the leaves of willows.  Galls  are swollen masses of plant tissue caused by the reaction of the plant to deposition of eggs of wasps or flies. Other disturbances like bites can also cause this type of reaction.  The plant has a chemical reaction causing the gall to look swollen.  Different galls can be identified by their size, shape, and color..