Plants in a stream corridor can be diverse and abundant.  The water from the stream provides excellent conditions for both land and aquatic plants. In the stream you would find aquatic plants that are adapted to being surrounded by water.  The zone adjacent to the stream, known as the riparian zone, can sustain land plants whose roots can tap the moist soil from the stream.  Along Mission Creek there are very old trees, some oaks may be 300 years old.  In the restored area,  plants were chosen that represent Fremont when the Ohlone Indians roamed this area.

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum

Watercress has deeply divided leaves that lie along the surface of the water bordering slow-moving creeks.  Its showy white flowers grow above the water.  Both the leaves and flowers have a strong peppery flavor and are used in salads, soups, and sandwiches. It was valued by early Californians as a rare source of winter vitamins.  Watercress should not be collected from the wild unless the water in which it grows is free from pollutants and uncontaminated by cattle and sheep. 

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Flat Sedge
Cyperus eragrostis


Flat sedges range in height from .4 – 1 meter, and  tolerates pH between 5 and 9.  It is sometimes referred to as umbrella sedge.  It is found close to the water’s edge because it prefers wet soil. This perennial has greenish-yellow flowers that are clustered in spikelets borne on round heads.  The stems are slightly triangular in cross sections.  It is an invasive native weed.   Flat sedge grows at the edges of  ponds and slow-moving creeks. 

Hardstem Bulrush, Native Tule   
Scirpus acutus
var. occidentalis

The flowers occur in dense spikelets borne at the top of the stem.  The Ohlone Indians bound bundles of tules together to make boats that were used in hunting and fishing along San Francisco Bay.  Air chambers in the hollow stems kept the boats afloat.  Long cylindrical stems range from 1.5 to 2.4 meters tall.  Leaves have slender, v-shaped blades.  Flowers are arranged as spikelets and resemble orange brown scales.  Reproduction is usually from underground stems.

Equisetaceae (Horsetail Family)

Equisetum arvense

Horsetails are ancient, primitive plants that have survived nearly unchanged for three hundred million years. They grow in swampy and moist areas.  They have jointed, ribbed, bright green stems topped by small dark cones that produce tiny spores instead of seeds. Horsetails are sometimes called scouring rushes because they take up silica,  which forms hardened branches which was useful to early inhabits to clean cooking pots.

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