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GUIDED WALKS THIS SATURDAY! Join us on May 18 for Spring Field Day featuring an array of guided walks, tutorials on how to use iNaturalist, and info tables featuring our leading local ecological organizations. Learn more and register for walks...


Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

"Plants" in our Marine Zone

The Gardens extends into the Pacific Ocean, look to see what's out there!

The coast of northern California is one of the richest marine environments in the world with what is called a high energy inter-tidal ecosystem. Cold, nutrient rich water from deep canyons off the coast is brought to the surface by north-westerly winds in spring. This rich soup powers the growth of seaweed and its associated ecology.

There are annual and perennial seaweeds visible from our coastal bluff. A number of them are edible and highly nutritious. One of the most visible is the sea palm (Postelsia palmaeformis). It looks like a small, rubbery palm tree. Although it is illegal to harvest sea palm for recreational use, it is an important part of the commercial harvest of edible seaweed.

Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana ) can also be seen growing in large masses off the coast. The large 'forests' of kelp create a rich habitat for a great diversity of sea life.

Don't forget to look for the California gray whale in December through April. December to early February the California gray whales migrate south. Beginning in February you may see whales migrating back to Alaska with their newborn babies by their sides.