Eight Habitats


Southern Willow Riparian Scrub is the major plant community within the 18 acres consisting of:

  • Coastal Sage Scrub
  • Willow Riparian
  • Fresh Water emergent wetland
  • Open water

The trees in this grove are Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia). These trees were planted when Shipley Nature Center was started about 40 years ago. During our restoration period the grove was enlarged and now you will see many Coast Live Oaks as you walk along the trail toward the Redwood Forest.

Coast Live Oaks are evergreen. New leaves form and the old ones fall off so the tree is never without leaves. In spring, blossoms are formed which look like clusters of small tassels, when they are pollinated they form acorns. In autumn, the acorns drop to the ground to provide food for our resident squirrels, and to provide seedlings to replenish the grove. The Native Americans who lived in the regions where these trees grew used acorns as staples for their diet.

Look up in the canopy. The crowns of the trees form a broad shade cover. Notice the structure of the trees, a gray super structure of gnarled limbs and branches which make the trees quite distinctive

At present, you will see two large Oaks lying on their side with a portion of their roots exposed. These trees fell at different times a few years apart. Wind and our high water table were factors. New growth is present in both trees, a testament to the will to survive, and as an example of how a forest changes over time. Coast Live Oaks commonly live more than 250 years.

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