Letter: CLT holding Francis Beach restoration Saturday


By on Wed, October 22, 2008

Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis,): female plant releasing seeds.

The Coastside Land Trust will hold our monthly Francis Beach restoration event this coming Saturday, October 25, 12:30 to 3 pm. We’ll identify native and invasive plants, discuss the strategies for fall seed dispersal, and selectively remove invasive plants to help our natives thrive.

Look for coyote cotton on the Coastside

Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilulari) covers our coastal hillsides and terraces. This time of year—late fall—female coyote bushes release their seeds. Each seed is attached to a white, feathery ball of filament so light in weight that it is very easily blown by the wind. Large mats of these seeds can be seen around the base of the bushes or where the wind has blown them into drifts.

Late fall is the time of year when the majority of our native plant species release their seeds. The first rain has come, and with the next rain the seeds will begin their journey to sprouting and growing roots through the cool winter months in preparation for the warmer spring days, when we will see them emerge from the ground as seedlings.

Many of our native plants are annuals, which means they survive only one year; others are perennials and live for many years. Because of the one-year life cycle of the annuals they are more vulnerable to seasonal drought and predation. Some annuals have developed a strategy to keep their seeds from sprouting the first year, just in case that year is a bad year for success. This multi-year strategy creates what we call the "seed bank," meaning that even if there are not seedlings of a species this year, they can emerge in subsequent years.

Please join us. Check in at the Francis State Beach kiosk at Kelly and the Pacific Ocean, and proceed north on the maintenance road to the maintenance sheds. Our properties are on the east side of the maintenance road. Refreshments, good humor and appreciation are provided for all ages and abilities.

Jo Chamberlain