Walks on the Wild Side, Fall-Winter, 2008-9

November 19, 2008
Marshall Canyon
3. Fall colors from members of the Anacardiaceae (Cashew or Sumac) family with two sets of look-alikes
Red leaves

Poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum in Marshall Canyon in November. Photo by Graham.

Both poison oak and skunkbush are abundant in Marshall Canyon providing beautiful red leaves in the fall. The middle of the three leaflets on poison oak has a long leaf stalk while that on skunkbush does not, it is wedge-shaped. See the next photo.

Skunkbush, Rhus trilobata. Photo from Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness.

Only very locally have I heard this called basketbush. I knew it as squawbush used by the Indians for baskets, but that term is now regarded as "a seldom used historical name, derogatory". Other names are skunkbush sumac, fragrant sumac, three-leaf sumac. What does the skunk think?

Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis. Click on the photos for more information.

We saw these brilliant, colorful trees along Esperanza Drive on the way to the trailhead. Look at the leaves and fruit. See how similar they are to those on the Brazilian pepper tree in the next photo.

Pink Berries

Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolia.

"Good morning, Joe Torre. It is a crazy age we live in, with banks failing and governments flailing. Maybe that's why I've found baseball so comforting this summer and now fall. Baseball, and Pieter Severynen's Tree of the Week, which remind us of the things that last long after the teaser rates expire." Tree of the Week: Brazilian pepper tree, LA Times, October 11, 2008

You can eat the seeds known as pink peppercorns or make wreaths from the pink berries and eucalyptus leaves.

Peruvian pepper, California mission pepper, Schinus molle. Click on the photo for more information.

The leaf on the Peruvian pepper has finer leaflets and more of them than the Brazilian pepper. Notice, too, that the leaflets are both opposite and alternate on the same leaf. The sacred gardens of Mission San Luis Rey contain the state's oldest pepper tree which was started from a seed.

What we saw:


1. Three Black and White Birds; their sounds, their silhouettes

2. Three Eucalypts and their bark

3. Fall colors from members of the Anacardiaceae family with two sets of look-alikes

Tail End

original pages created November 19, 2008
text on this page is Copyright © 2008-2021 Jane Strong
images on this page attributed to Graham are Copyright © 2008-2021 Graham Bothwell

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