In Muir Woods outside San Francisco, visitors often spend their time looking skyward-- up at some of the tallest trees in the world, coast redwoods. However, my young daughter, perhaps because she is closer to the ground and attuned to lucky things, quickly found the tiny redwood sorrel carpet underneath. She thought they were lucky clovers, so she looked for an exceptional plant with four leaves. Typically, the sorrel has three heart-shaped leaves arranged in a clover shape.
This lovely carpet of tiny flowers manages to survive even in the deep shade of the foggy, evergreen forest. The sorrel intermixes with swordfern and horsetails, primitive and ominous-looking, weapon-like plants.
The sorrel plants prefer shade so much that on the rare occasion when full sunlight strikes them directly, they close like an umbrella, the heart shaped leaves kept close against the stem.
Away from the forest, after further research, I have read that the sorrel folds its leaves so quickly under direct sunlight that it is possible to see this process. I now hope to return to the redwood forest on a sunnier day. I have also read that the underside of the leaves is purplish. I was so enchanted with the view of the whole sorrel field that I did not think to look that closely. This observation will be part of my next redwood sorrel quest.
|Home||Wildlife Viewing||Tidepools||Ocean Animal Database|