Plant Communities – Episode 2 – Foothill Woodland
Originally authored by Richard Hanes and Chet Blackburn
Foothill Woodlands habitat is found between the Valley Grasslands and the Lower Confier Forest habitats. Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii) is the most common foothill tree and has the characteristic white bark of the deciduous “white oak” group. It is commonly associated with the blue-green-needled Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana) and Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni). The stately Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) mostly occurs on low, fairly moist grassland sites, such as near the town of Penn Valley. The understories of the open stands of oaks consist largely of grasses and forbs typical of the grassland habitat, along with such shrubs as Buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus), Whiteleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida), Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversifolibum), and coffeeberries (Frangula). Some of the more common wildflowers are Indian Pink (Silene laciniata), Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), brodiaeas (Triteleia, Dichelostemma, Brodiaea), larkspurs (Delphinium), mustards (Brassica), shooting stars (Dodecatheon), lupines (Lupinus), mariposa lilies (Calochortus), and irises (Iris).