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 those listed below. Animal tracks embedded in mud-stained concrete indicate how important bodies of water are to the park’s wildlife. 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 (Aesculus californica) is the state’s only native buckeye species. At Edgewood it grows in woodlands associated with coast live oak, Pacific madrone, and California bay. A deciduous member of this largely evergreen community, California buckeye grows and leafs out during the winter and early spring and begins dropping its leaves by mid-summer (summer deciduous). Look for its cream-colored flower candles in spring, and in summer, the large fig-shaped fruit with the “buck’s eye” peeking out.

California larkspur

California larkspur (Delphinium californicum ssp. californicum) is a tall perennial herb that is endemic to California. Found in the central California coast, it grows in mixed evergreen forests, foothill woodlands, and chaparral. Look for its large leaves and cream-colored flowers in spring along the Edgewood trail, Sylvan trail, and Live Oak trail.

California maiden-hair 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 (Polypodium californicum) is native to California and grows 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 thrives where it can stay moist from winter to early spring. As its moisture source dries up, so does the fern. California polypody usually grows in shade under oaks and California bays. Look for it in Edgewood along woodland trails and on the large mossy boulder beside the waterfall on the Sylvan trail.

Coffee fern

Coffee fern (Pellaea andromedifolia) is endemic to California and Baja California, and grows in woodland, chaparral, coastal, and desert habitats. In Edgewood, it grows in chaparral and woodlands. Coffee fern has wiry red-brown stems and small oval blue-green leaves. Look for it on the banks of the Sylvan trail, especially where you find a mix of sun and shade.

Giant horsetail

Giant horsetail (Equisetum telmateia ssp. braunii) is a member of a family of fern allies, and their life cycles are similar to ferns. Giant horsetail sprouts from a series of underground stems, and its above ground stems are upright and jointed. The leaves consist of a sheath that encircles the stem above each joint, with 20-30 teeth that are like long hairs. Spores develop 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, look for it on the banks of the creek beside the Education Center.

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. Where it is shady, poison oak grows as a vine; in sunnier spots, it grows as a shrub. Both the common and scientific name 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 cream-colored flowers bloom in the spring and produce clusters of small, round, grayish-white fruits in the fall. Poison oak provides food and habitat for many Edgewood animals. Watch for it — but don’t touch — along woodland trails.

Seep monkey flower
Seep Monkeyflower

Seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata) grows throughout most of California and the Western U.S. It thrives in rich moist soils in seeps, along streams, and in swales and meadows. This plant can grow up to 3 ft. and has bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers with distinctive red spots. It can bloom from January through October. At Edgewood, look for it in moist spots on the lower Clarkia trail and the Edgewood trail.

Soap plant

Soap plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum) starts growing early in the year by sending out a set of long, wavy, grass-like leaves, which often lie almost flat on the ground. By late spring, this bulb plant has sent up a stalk that can reach up to 8 ft. Pollinated by large bees and moths, the white flowers open only late in the day and look like delicate purple-veined lilies, nodding on their stalks. Soap plant grows almost everywhere in Edgewood – in the grasslands, chaparral, and woodlands.

White globe lily

White 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. First, a one- to two-foot long strap-like leaf grows along the ground. Next, a stalk may appear with nodding flower buds. As the weather warms, the buds open and the first leaves often wither. Over one-inch long, the delicate, pale flowers hang lantern-like on the stems. The petals are so strongly arched that the tips often cross, forming the lantern shape. Look for white globe lily in the woodlands along the Sylvan trail and Edgewood 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 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.