Biol 103 - Native Plants and Wildflowers

Spring 2013



Canyon Live Oak
          Russian Ridge


Native Plants and Wildflowers

This is a general education natural history class designed to encourage students to become more interested and more knowledgeable about the natural world around us. One of the principle objectives that I have for this class is to teach the students the skills (and the patience required) to identify plants for themselves.  I spent 4 years working as a resident naturalist and guide in the Amazonian Rainforest. Initially the biodiversity and complexity of the rainforest plants was overwhelming. However, by spending a lot of time out in the forest, and by repeatedly looking at the same unknown mysterious plants, and with a little help from the native Quichua guides, I began to recognize and be able to name some of the plants we commonly saw. Once I had a few names it became easier to see the similarities and differences in what had been an impenetrable wall of greenness. Along with the names I learned their indigenous uses, fibrous bark was used to build shelters, or to haul dugout canoes, red sap used to treat cuts, leaves used to weave baskets, black dye used as warpaint. The more I learned the more I wanted to now. This is what I want you to be able to do at the end of the class; not to know everything about the plants of California, but to want to know more than you do.

Campus Species Inventory Fall 2013

Handouts to Download
Lecture Syllabus
Lab Syllabus
How to Write Field Reports
Field Trip Preparation Information
Plant Database March 15
Plant Database Instructions
Midterm 1 Study Guide
Midterm 2 Study Guide
Extra Credit Instructions
Project Noah Fieldtrip Plants
Project Noah Campus Species Inventory
Final Study Guide
Cumulative Portion of Final
Final Grades

View Thomson_California_Plants_Spring_2013_Field in a larger map
Field Trip Information
Google Map of Field Locations
Copy of Lab 1 Campus Naturewalk
Copy of Lab 2 Vegetative Characteristics
Lab 3 Fieldtrip to Sawyer Camp Trail
Copy of Lab 4 Floral Structures
Copy of Lab 5 Classification and How to Use Keys
Copy of Lab 6 Fruit Lab
Lab 7 Fieldtrip to Palo Alto Baylands
Lab 8 Fieldtrip to Edgewood County Park - Oaks and Ethnobotany
Lab 9 Fieldtrip to El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve 
Lab 10 Fieldtrip to Clarkia Trail - Edgewood County Park- Chaparral and Grassland Vegetation
 Lab 11 Fieldtrip to Hidden Canyon Park - City of Belmont Parks
Lab 12 Fieldtrip to Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve - Practice for Field Final
Lab 13 Fieldtrip to El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve - Chaparral
Lab 14 Fieldtrip to Pescadero State Beach
Field Final Instructions


Botany and Plant Biology Textbook Companion Websites
These offer a wide range of materials including animations, essays, flashcards, and weblinks organized by chapter. The organization follows the chapter layout in the different textbook editions.

Introductory Botany: Plants, People, and the Environment - Linda Berg

Plant Biology - Thomas L. Rost, Michael G. Barbour, C. Ralph Stocking, Terence M. Murphy
Biology of Plants - Raven

Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology, Fourth Edition by James D. Mauseth.               

Introductory Plant Biology Stern

Plant Internet Resources
Bio - Alive Animations on Plant Anatomy and Physiology
Introduction to the Plantae - UC Berkeley
Plants and Civilization - UCLA Prof Arthur C. Gibson
Waynes Word - Palomar College
Natural Perspective: The Plant Kingdom
The Food Museum
Know - A portal with links to a wide array of Plant Websites
Jepson Online Interchange- Searchable Database of California Plants
Natural Resources Database
Botanical Society of America Online Image Collection
Guide to Reference and Information Sources in Plant Biology: Web Resources Index
NatureServe Explorer: An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Weeds Gone Wild: ALien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas
California Invasive Plant Council
Calphotos - Searchable Database of Plant Images
California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants

Study Skills
Education Corner - Study Skills Checklist - examples of methods to memorize lists

Lecture Outlines pdf
Study Questions doc
Each handout includes both the slides and Study Questions that accompany each lecture. You should download these and take them to each lecture.
Introduction to Course
Lectures 2 and 3 Vegetative Characteristics
Vegetative Characteristics
Lectures  4 and 5 Floral Characteristics and Fruit
Floral Characteristics
Lecture 6  and 7 California Floristic Province
Ornduff Ch 1 Floristic Province
Lecture 8 Plant Taxonomy and Scientific Names
Ornduff Ch 1 Scientific Names
Lecture 9 Major Groups of Plants
Major Groups of Plants
Lecture 10 Light and Photosynthesis
Lecture 11 Climate of California
Ornduff Ch 2

Lecture 12 Geology of California
Ornduff Ch 2 Geology
Lectures 13 and 14 Soil Properties and Plant Growth Ornduff Ch 3 Soil
Lecture 15 Physical Factors Affecting Plants
Ornduff Ch 3 Physical factors
Lecture 16. Fire Ecology
Fire Ecology
Lecture 17. Pollination and Seed Dispersal  Ornduff Ch 3

Lecture 18. Plant Defenses
Ornduff Ch 3
Plant Defenses
Lecture 19. California Vegetation Types
Ornduff Ch 5
Lecture 20 Ecological Succession Ornduff Ch 3
Lecture 21 Introduction to Ethnobotan Ethnobotany
Lecture 22 Uses of California Native Plants Uses of Native Plants
Lecture 23 Rarity and Endemism
Rarity and Endemism
Lecture 24 Introduced Species
Ornduff Ch 10
 Introduced Species

Lecture 25 Conservation
Ornduff Ch 10
Lecture 26 Coastal Plant Vegetation
Ornduff Ch 6 Coastal
Lecture 27 Conifer Vegetation Types
Ornduff Ch 6 Conifers
Lecture 28 Redwoods
Ornduff Ch 6 Redwoods
Lecture 29. Scrub Vegetation Types
Ornduff Ch 6 Scrub
Lecture 30 Chaparral
Ornduff Ch 6 Chaparral
Lecture 31 Montane Vegetation
Ornduff Ch 6 Montane