The “Preying” Mantis

Praying mantis

The Praying Mantis is common along Putah Creek. They get their name from their folded front legs that look like they are praying, but that is deceptive because those praying legs are the deadliest part of this voracious predator.

Oak Galls

Oak galls

In the late summer and fall you’re likely to see spherical and other oddly shaped growths clustered on the branches of oak trees. They aren’t fruits, or even seeds; these are galls.

Going Ballistic- Ballistochory


Ballistochory describes a form of dispersal where seeds are forcefully ejected. Many of our native plant species use this form of explosive mode of dispersal by sending the seeds several feet away from the plant sometimes with an audible pop.

The Wind and the Wings- Anemochory

Maple seed

Anemochory is defined as wind-aided seed dispersal. It seems that tapping the wind as a source of energy is not new new idea. In fact, with a few modifications, many plants have found the wind provides a valuable service for both pollination and seed dispersal.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)


Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow or milfoil is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. It can be common in a variety of soil types, both wet and dry, along roadsides, meadows, forests, fields and coastal areas.

Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii)

Datura wrightii

Jimson Weed or Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) is a fairly common herbaceous perennial plant in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Datura can be found from Mexico, throughout most of the Southwestern United States and up into the upper reaches of Northern California where it grows alongside roads, ditches, and sandy washes from 1,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation.

Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)

Narrowleaf milkweed

Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) is a flowering perennial herb that is found throughout the Western United States. It grows up to 1 meter tall, and has deep green leaves that can be whorled around the vertical stems.

Sticky Monkey-Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

The bush monkey-flower or sticky monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), recently changed to (Diplacus aurantiacus), is a flowering perennial shrub that is native mostly to California but edges north just into southwestern Oregon and south slightly into Baja, Mexico.

California Pipevine (Aristolochia californica)

With over 500 species worldwide, California’s native version of the Pipevine (Aristolochia californica) could be of interest to you. It can be found in diverse habitats on almost every continent where it can be an evergreen or a deciduous vine or even an herbaceous perennial.