Garber Park is a 13-acre City of Oakland woodland park located behind the Claremont Hotel. The mile long Loop Trail takes us through a forest of oaks, Bay Laurel, Big Leaf Maples and California Buckeyes to the 1920's era stone Fireplace Plaza. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Giant Vetch, Garber's April Flower
Giant Vetch [Vicia gigantea]--native to California and thriving in Garber Park--is our "Flower of the Month" for April.
Although it is a perennial herb, recognizable at all times by its foliage, this month the showy red blossoms of Giant Vetch command the attention of even casual passers by and distinguish it from the several other vetches (both native and exotic) that grow in the East Bay.
In Garber Park, about midway on the loop trail, a large community of Giant Vetch shares "Horsetail Meadow" with the ancientEquisetum (interestingly also called Giant Horsetail) that cover the slope by the springs. As you approach the meadow you might think that you are viewing a Horsetail monoculture. Look closer and you will see hundreds of Giant Vetch blossoms. In about a month, this robust community will provide a good harvest of native seed.
Giant Vetch may be found at other locations on the East Bay ridge and beyond, including Chabot, Beaconsfield, Clayton Ranch, El Cerrito, San Pablo Ridge, Las Trampas, Point Richmond, and Tilden/Wildcat. The large community in Garber is one of many wildland treasures in our Park.