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Trees

Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)

1. A Young Western Hemlock (Center) Along the Main Stem of the Gualala

Family PINACEAE Sometimes the most interesting thing about a species of tree is where it occurs or, more precisely, where its occurrence ends. Such is the case with western hemlock, which reaches the southernmost limit of its 2000-mile range from north in Alaska to right here in the Gualala River watershed. Populations living at the end of a species’ range …

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California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)

1. Buckeye Tree in Bloom Along the Wheatfield Fork

Family SAPINDACEAE Life Cycle In the merry month of May the California Buckeye puts on its most magnificent display with candle-like white spires of flowers that fill the air with fragrance and make the trees impossible to miss even when they are tucked away in creek drainages and canyons and the edge of chaparral—their preferred habitats. [Photo: 1].   Like …

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California’s towering redwoods face uncertain future, report says

Gualala River Redwood Park, photo by Bob Rutemoeller

by Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat, May 1, 2018 [excerpt:] . . . At Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve near Guerneville, the 308-foot Colonel Armstrong tree stands so tall that earthbound admirers can’t see the behemoth’s uppermost 100 feet. But it and the other old-growth redwoods of equal majesty are essentially relics, comprising a mere 7 percent of the 1.6 …

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Red Alder (Alnus rubra)

1. Mature Red Alders in Full Foliage

Red Alder, Pacific Coast Alder, Oregon Alder, Western Alder (Alnus rubra) Family BETULACEAE The red alder is one of two species of alder common to the Gualala River watershed’s riparian corridors. [Photo: 1] It occurs in the western portion where it grows along the lower reaches of the river and its tributaries. Further east in the higher elevations, red alder …

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White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

1a. White Alders Growing Along Buckeye Creek in the Soda Springs Reserve

Like the closely related red alder, white alder is a species that grows along the riparian corridor and shares many of its adaptations to streamside conditions. [Photo: 1a, 1b]     In general it occurs more inland from the coast and in more upland areas than the red alder whose occurrence tapers off farther east in the watershed. According to …

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California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)

1. Magnificent Bay Tree on Tin Barn Road

California Bay Laurel, Bay, Pepperwood, Oregon Myrtle, California Olive, Spice Tree, Headache Tree (Umbellularia californica) Family LAURACEAE February is an excellent time to see flowering California Bay Laurel, though it can bloom as early as November and well on into spring. One of the more commonly occurring trees throughout the Gualala River watershed [Photo 1.], this evergreen hardwood species has …

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Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

1. Coast Redwood Reaching for the Light

genus  Sequoia, family Cupressaceae (cypress) An Unparalleled Species The most iconic tree species in our region is the Coast Redwood. [Photo 1.] Its presence in the Gualala River watershed is deeply historic, it is a species central to the ecology and economy here, and it is perhaps the most remarkable tree species on earth. Redwoods are the tallest beings on …

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Introduction: Native Trees of the Gualala River Watershed

Gualala River riparian forest

INTRODUCTION TO A NEW MONTHLY FEATURE: NATIVE TREES OF THE GUALALA RIVER WATERSHED January, 2018 Trees are the predominant terrestrial feature of the Gualala River watershed. They account for the largest biomass in the watershed and cover a third of its nearly 300 square miles. How we think about them–their beauty, their importance to the natural systems of the planet, …

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