Use this sonnet to learn more about Pinus radiata, the Monterey pine. Monterey pines are considered an invasive species these days in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but their (metaphorical) roots on the San Francisco Peninsula go pretty deep—before it was a peninsula!
A strange story, these California trees
starts with a land now found far out to sea—
west of the famous San Andreas fault,
an ancient block of granite and basalt.
Salinia just sank beneath the waves,
whole ecosystems taken to their graves.
The trees are remnants of this vanished land,
though still endangered in their native stands.
These conifers have cones that burst in heat
(a trait botanists call serotiny).
These strange, old pines do not stand ramrod straight,
they swoop and knot just like the Golden Gate.
Most popular for lumber, all agree—
they are one of our favorite Christmas trees.
Every year at BioBlitz, National Geographic and the U.S. National Park Service rally to get people young and old to explore the wild spaces around them during a whirlwind 24-hour search to identify every species they can find. This post was created for our 2014 event in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.