Friday, March 31, 2006

semaphore grass, Pleuropogon californicus
May-June, Native annual

The more common of the three semaphore grasses in California, it extends inland to the foothills of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Growing in a vernal pond near Sand Hill Road, this location is an excellent example how special habitats provide refuge for native plants. California semaphore grass, California oat grass (Danthonia californica), and California meadow barley (Hordeum brachyantherum) grow in and around the pond stratified by tolerance for standing water. All are normally in bloom by early May. Juncus phaeocephalus and Carex subbracteata are also present. California oat grass occupies the outer drier area around the depression and grades rather sharply to annual grassland dominated by Avena barbata and Bromus hordeaceus, though Nassella pulchra is sometimes a conspicuous member of the drier habitat.