Plants of Stone Lakes NWR
Welcome to the Plant ID page. Some of the plants at Blue Heron Trails will soon be identified by the Friends with signs which are illustrated with beautiful paintings by our long time Refuge volunteer, Linnea Fronce. We hope to add more in the future.
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term (per- + -ennial, "through the years") is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term “perennial” is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, that grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials or perennial herbs.
All grasses are fleshy plants with hollow stems. The stems are closed at intervals, called “nodes.” Parallel veined leaves appear alternately on opposite sides of the stem. Grasses are the most abundant and widespread plants in California. Grasses cover almost 1/3 of the land area of the earth! Cereals such as wheat, oats, barley, corn and rice are all grasses.
Sedges are grass like in appearance, but have solid rather than hollow stems and unlike grasses, the base of each leaf completely enclosed the stem. Stems are usually triangular. They grow in moist or wet areas. Two common sedges are Santa Barbara Sedge and the Common Tule.
Rushes grow in wet or moist places in clumps usually 2-4 feet tall. Stems are round and unjointed and may be hollow or pity. Thought rushes may look like grass, as easy distinction to observe is the joints in grass stems and the lack of joints in rush stems.
“Sedges have edges, rushes are round, and grasses have joints and leaves all around” is a useful memory jogger.