8. Eucalyptus Grove
Retrace your steps up the path, turn left on the
bicycle path, and cross the wooden footbridge into the Eucalyptus
Grove. In 1882, this grove of Tasmanian blue gums (Eucalyptus
globulus) was planted as a windbreak for the old cinder running
track. It is the
of hardwood trees in North America
and the tallest stand of this type of eucalyptus in the world.
Why is there a lack of
in the grove? Do eucalyptus
take up the soil water that other plants need? Does the canopy
create shady conditions too dark for other plants? Is it because
they have compounds in their leaves that prevent other plants
from growing (allelopathy)? Or is it from people trampling the
Eucalyptus were introduced to California; they have
few natural herbivores, such as the koala bear, here. As a result,
they look much healthier than in their native Australia.
Notice how the eucalyptus trees shed their
bark. By regularly doing this, the trees also shed bark-burrowing
insects that cause disease.
Wander through the grove and find the confluence
of the South and North Forks of Strawberry Creek that combine
to form the main branch of the stream. Follow the North Fork upstream.
Where does it go? It disappears into a
The sickle shaped leaves
of the bluegum eucalyptus