Category Archives: Crystal Cove State Park

Featured Photo: Lovely Invader

Featured Photo: Crystalline Iceplant (Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California)

It’s glittery globes caught my eye as we hiked down a dune trail to Crystal Cove Beach in 2009.  Decidedly not a plant I might find growing by my Midwestern home, I captured its details with a couple of photos for later identification. As I later found out, the crystalline iceplant didn’t exactly belong in California either.  It’s considered an invasive species, better suited to its South African home.  More photos and some background on both Crystal Cove and the iceplant can be found at the links below.

An Unnatural Beauty

Crystal Cove State Park (page 2)

Treasure Found in Crystal Cove

Critters of Crystal Cove: Lined Shore Crab


2 Comments

An Unnatural Beauty

Crystal Ice Plant

ice plant flowerIts sugared foliage stood out amongst the host of plants clinging to the coastal bluffs: red crystalline cresting the tips of green fleshy leaves. Dotted with white thin-petaled blooms and sparkly cherry red globes, this succulent glittered exotically along the trails of Crystal Cove State Park.

We wondered if it was poisonous -or a predator with petals that might enfold a wandering insect much as an anemone gathers in sea life.native plants

With a little research I learned that the crystalline iceplant is indeed a predator -but that its appetite is for non-native habitats where it can out drink endemic species with its exceptional ability to absorb soil moisture. This South African plant is considered an invasive species to southern California’s coastal bluffs, releasing high levels of nitrate that are detrimental to grassland seedlings.

crystalline ice plant

Fast spreading, it reproduces through its fruit and through “segmentation,” meaning that all shoots are capable of taking root. Uprooting the plant is the only sure way to contain it.

Invasive plants, lovely as they may be, are harmful to native environments. It is better that we travel to see them in their own homelands than find them as lingering guests overtaking our gardens and parkland. The iceplant’s leaves and fruit are edible. Perhaps California cuisine should feature this nuisance plant in a few house salads and fresh jams…?

Crystal Cove State Park Map and Visitor Information

Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California3 miles of Pacific coastline with underwater park plus 2300 acres of bluffs and wooded canyons!Hiking, biking (single track mountain & dirt road), fishing, kayaking, surfing, and “tidepooling”!Directions: Just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Easy access via I-5, 405 & 73.Admission: Daily State Park Fee (good at multiple state parks on same day): $10 / Annual Pass: $125Weather Conditions: 949-494-3539Historic District Cottage RentalsPark WebsiteView Crystal Cove in a larger map

6 Comments

Critters of Crystal Cove: Green Sea Anemone

anemone

green sea anemone

Tucked away but hardly nondescript, the green sea anemone waits like a lovely flower.  Its adhesive foot or pedal disc anchors it to rock or coral while its tentacles spread to welcome its prey.  Urchins, fish, crab… any that wander close enough will be stung with a paralyzing neurotoxin and guided into the sea creature’s mouth.

anemone on rock wall

The green sea anemones we spotted in Crystal Cove can be found along North America’s west coast from Alaska to Baja California.  They receive their vibrant coloring from a symbiotic relationship with green algae:  The anemone provides a safe environment for the algae’s photosynthesis; the anemone in turn makes use of the sugar and oxygen that are byproducts of the process.

Crystal Cove State Park Map and Visitor Information

Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California
3 miles of Pacific coastline with underwater park plus 2300 acres of bluffs and wooded canyons!
Hiking, biking (single track mountain & dirt road), fishing, kayaking, surfing, and “tidepooling”!

Directions: Just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Easy access via I-5, 405 & 73.

Admission: Daily State Park Fee (good at multiple state parks on same day): $10 / Annual Pass: $125

Weather Conditions: 949-494-3539

Historic District Cottage Rentals
Park Website

View Crystal Cove in a larger map

10 Comments

Page 1 of 212
View Heather Dugan's profile on LinkedIn Subscribe to me on YouTube
Follow Me on Pinterest