Seeps and Springs

Seeps and Springs Exhibit

A realistic riparian exhibit that features a small waterfall, a moist stream bank, the illusion of pooled water, and water-loving plants. Riparian plants include: California buckeye, California larkspur, California maiden-hair fern, California polypody fern, coffee fern, giant horsetail, poison oak, seep monkey flower, soap plant, and white globe lily. Animal tracks embedded in mud-stained concrete indicate how important bodies of water are to the park’s wilflife. Other animal signs and nature sounds can be heard–such as dripping water and the calls of treefrogs. Visitors are challenged to seek out and identify the denizens of Edgewood’s waterways by the clues left behind in this exhibit.

A reader railing separates the visitor from the diorama and serves as the mount for an interpretive panel that focuses on the significance of water to Edgewood and identifies the species (but not their location) depicted in the diorama. It also contains a key to the animal tracks that can be found in the exhibit. Another panel displays photographs of specific aquatic sites at Edgewood—a seep, spring, vernal pool, freshwater marsh, stream, and waterfall.

In this Exhibit

California buckeye

California buckeye (Aesculus californica) is endemic to California and is the only buckeye species native to the state. At Edgewood it is found growing in wooded areas associated with Coast Live Oak, Madrone, and California Bay Laurel. It is a deciduous member of this largely evergreen community. California buckeye grows and leafs out during the wet winter and early spring and begins dropping its leaves by mid-summer.

California larkspur
California larkspur

California larkspur (Delphinium californicum ssp. californicum is a perennial herb that is endemic to California.
It is found in the central California coast mixed evergreen forest, foothill woodland and chaparral at elevations between 0 and 3280 feet. It mostly grows in non-wetlands, but is occasionally found in wetlands as well. California larkspur can be found in Edgewood along the Live Oak trail and the Sylvan trail.

California maiden-hair fern
California maidenhair fern

California maidenhair fern (Adiantum jordanii) is native to much of California and grows in shaded woodlands under oaks and pines. It is usually found in moist winter spots that dry out in the summer. If this fern dries out, it turns brown and looks dead–if it is noticed at all. It soon responds to the cool and damp of fall by turning green again. California maidenhair fern is found along many of the woodland trails in Edgewood and is particularly lush near the waterfall on the Sylvan trail.

Polypody fern
California polypody fern

California polypody fern (Polypodium californicum) is native to California but can also be found in other parts of western North America. This fern is a creeping perennial that grows in moist rock crevices and is almost always associated with seeps. It can grow in heavy clay, gravel, or just rock. It thrives where it can be kept wet from winter to early spring. As its moisture source dries up, so does the fern. It curls up and goes dormant. California polypody usually grows in part to deep shade of oaks and bays and can be found in Edgewood along many woodland trails. It is most conspicuous growing out of a large rock beside the waterfall on the Sylvan trail.

Coffee fern
Coffee fern

Coffee Fern (Pellaea andromedifolia) is endemic to California and Baja California, and can be found in a variety of habitats: woodland, chaparral, coastal and desert. It grows in both chaparral and woodland habitats in Edgewood Park. Coffee fern can grow up to eighteen inches, with wiry red-brown stems and small oval blue-green leaves. It can easily be seen along the Sylvan trail in both shady and sunny locations.

Giant horsetail
Giant horsetail

Giant horsetail (Equisetum telmateia ssp. braunii) is a member of a family of fern allies. This means that they have life cycles similar to ferns. Giant horsetail sprouts from a series of underground stems. Plant stems are upright and jointed, and the leaves consist of a sheath that encircles the stem above each joint, with 20-30 teeth that are like long hairs. Spores are developed in a cone-like structure on an entirely separate, short-lived leafless stem. Giant horsetail thrives in wet areas, such as seeps and creek banks. At Edgewood, this plant can be seen on the banks of the creek as you head up the road from the parking lot to the Education Center.

Poison oak
Poison oak

Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is a deciduous woody vine or shrub in the sumac family. It is native to California, but commonly found elsewhere in the Western U.S. It is one of the most common plants at Edgewood. Where it is shady, poison oak grows as a vine; in sunnier spots, it grows as a shrub. Both the common and scientific names describe the most striking aspects of the plant: poison refers to the oils that can cause skin dermatitis, and oak to the leaf shape that resembles oak leaves. Small yellow flowers bloom in the spring, and produce clusters of small round grayish-white drupes in the fall. Leaves, flowers and fruit are all toxic to humans.

Seep monkey flower
Seep Monkey Flower

Seep Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus) grows throughout most of California and the Western U.S. It thrives in rich moist soils along seeps, beside streams, swales and meadows. It can grow to between 1 and 3 ft tall, with bright yellow 2 inch blooms that have distinctive red spots inside. Bloom period can extend from January through October. At Edgewood, seep monkey flower can be seen on the lower Clarkia trail and the Edgewood trail in moist spots.

Soap plant
Soap Plant

Soap plant or Amole (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) is a bulb (1 to 4 inches in diameter), which starts its growth early in the year by sending out several long, basal grasslike leaves (usually with wavy margins) which lie almost flat on the ground. In June, the plant begins to send up a stalk that can reach from two to five feet in height. Moth-pollinated, the white flowers open only late in the day, and look like delicate lilies or orchids with purple veins, nodding on their stalks. Soap plant grows in the grasslands, the chaparral, and the forested areas of Edgewood. A good spot for viewing it up close is near the Sunset entrance.

White globe lily
White Globe Lily

Globe Lily or Fairy Lantern (Calochortus albus) is a member of the Lily Family and is endemic to California. The plant leafs out each spring from a bulb. At first, a one- to two-foot long strap-like basal leaf grows along the ground. Then, a flower stalk appears with its upper grass-like leaves and nodding flower buds. As the weather warms, the buds open and the delicate flowers appear, usually from April to June at Edgewood. The leaves often wither by the time the flowers bloom. The flowers, each over one inch long, hang lantern-like on the stems. They have satiny petals fringed with hairs along the edges. The petals are so strongly arched that the tips often cross each other, forming the lantern shape. Globe lily can be seen on the Sylvan trail.

Dusky-footed Woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes) have made numerous homes in Edgewood Park. An example woodrat den is shown in this exhibit. These small nocturnal creatures are native to oak woodlands and chaparral throughout the Coast Ranges, from Central California into Oregon. They have brown-gray fur, a white chest, and sooty-gray tops on their feet and sometimes face. The tail is about equal to their 8–10-inch body length and lightly haired—not as naked, long and tapered as Rattus sp., such as the black rat. Since Dusky-footed woodrats are nocturnal, they are rarely seen; however, their dens are much in evidence in the oak woodlands.

Animal Tracks

Black-tail deer print
Black-tailed Deer

Black-tailed deer or blacktail deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) are the subspecies of blacktails native to the Bay Area. They normally inhabit a 100-mile-wide band of woodlands and chaparral-covered coastal mountains extending inland from the Pacific Ocean, from the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia south to Santa Barbara in Southern California.

These animals have tails that are black on top and white underneath. The color of their coat changes with the season, from a generally reddish-brown in summer to grayish in winter. Their weight usually varies, although the larger bucks may be over 140 pounds. Males are easily distinguished by the antlers that they grow in the Spring. Black-tailed deer are frequently seen at Edgewood–browsing along the tree lines or out in the meadows.


Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are twice the size of a domestic housecat. This cat is orange-brown in summer and grayish in winter. It has black spots and bars on long legs and rear. Its underparts and inside of legs are white, its ears have a distinct tuft at the top, and the back side of the ears is black. Bobcats have a wide, flat face with black lines radiating onto a facial ruff. This animal has a notably short, “bobbed”, tail. A bobcat may be spotted in the meadows at Edgewood, stalking prey.

Coyote prints

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a medium-sized member of the dog family. Coyotes have pointed, yellowish ears, a slender pointed muzzle and a bushy, rather short tail with a black tip. Their overall color can vary from very pale to very dark, but most are yellowish gray with whitish or buff throats and underparts. There are no color variations between the sexes, but the males are usually larger. Coyotes usually weigh from 18 to 30 pounds but a male can reach 48 pounds. (23″ to 26″ at the shoulder, 41″ to 52″ in length without the tail.) A small German shepherd is comparable in height to the coyote but coyotes weigh far less. Coyotes can be active at any time during the day, but are most active at sunset and in the early morning. They can be seen in the grasslands at Edgewood.

Mountain lion print
Mountain Lion

Mountain lions (Puma concolor) are also known as cougars, pumas, panthers, among other names. They are solitary and reclusive animals and are consequently rarely seen. In appearance, they have a tawny, grey-brown or red-brown coat–sometimes with a lighter chest and chin. Mountain lions have a very long tail, with a dark tail tip. Their head is round with erect ears. The back of their ears is dark. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs. In height, they are 2-3 ft. at shoulders and their length ranges from 5-9 ft. nose to tail. Males can weigh from 115-220 lbs, females can range from 64-141 lbs. Mountain lion sightings have been reported at Edgewood.

Raccoon prints

The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a mostly nocturnal, compact, medium-sized mammal having a black facial mask outlined in white, a pointed muzzle, erect ears and a bushy, ringed tail. Among mammals, raccoons are very variable in size and weight depending on habitat. In length, head and body ranges from 16-28 in., tail length is usually around 10 in., and weight varies from 8-20 lbs. The name raccoon is derived from the Native American languages Powhatan and Algonquin meaning “one who rubs, scrubs and washes with its hands”. There seems to be some debate as to why raccoons wash their food, but it is clear that sources of water are very important to their eating habits.