Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre wildland park owned by the City of Oakland located behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon. Garber Park is home to significant stands of big-leaf maple, California buckeyes and regenerating coast live oak woodland and forest. 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.