Rambler Reference Guide

Introducing a new and mildly exciting feature… For years I have assiduously learned the myriad plants that festoon my daily perambulations.  With no botanical background whatsoever I have continued to refer to stems as “sticks” and describe leaves as “football shaped”.  I’m finally trying to address my inadequacies and I thought you might want to join me on the journey.  I’ll try not to bore the bejesus out of you.

Fruits come in all shapes and sizes, not always edible.  On our local trails you can find pomes like toyon or berries like chaparral currant. Today we talk about drupes.

A drupe is a fruit with an exocarp (skin), mesocarp (flesh) surrounding and a hard endocarp (shell, pit) which holds the seed.  Lots of drupes you would encounter at the farmer’s market including peaches, cherries, plums, coffee beans, olives, and even coconuts.    See how many you can find on your next hike.

All members of the genus Prunus are drupes:

Prunus ilicifolia – Holly leaf cherry

These ceanothus cousins are both mature in the wild right now and ready for pickin’ (not particularly tasty)

Redberry – Rhamnus crocea

Coffeberry – Rhamnus californica

Trees have drupes too.  Believe it or not walnut isn’t really a nut.

California Bay – Umbellularia californica

California black walnut – Juglans californica

Even though manzanita translates into “little apple” (apples are pomes), it’s a drupe too

Bigberry manzanita – Arctostaphylos glauca

Look closely, blackberry (and raspberry) are actually bunch of tiny drupes all together

Blackberry – Rubus ursinus

Finally, these members of the Cashew family are classified as “drupe-like”, that’s close enough for me.

Rhus ovata – Sugarbush

Poison oak – Toxicodendron diversilobum

Basketbrush – Rhus trilobata

Laurel sumac – Malosma laurina

Enjoy the weekend Ramblerinos.

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This entry was posted in Native Plants, Reference, Resources and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Rambler Reference Guide

  1. ocdreader says:

    I feel smarter already!

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