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Aloe is a kind of plant called a succulent, which means it stores water in its leaves.  It does this because it is a desert plant.  Aloe is common in Central and South America but is used in North America as a decorative plant.  In addition, it is a medicinal plant; the sap in the leaves helps treat burns!

Wild mustard was brought by missionary priests from Portugal in the 1500's to North America.  They brought it both for use in cooking and because it was part of the story of Jesus that they told (like an illustration).  It spread everywhere.  Some people are now finding ways of making fuel out of it!

Topaeoloum majus  This plant is edible and you can eat it in salads by putting in the flowers and the smaller leave.  It was brought to the United States in the 1800's from Europe.  It spreads very fast over the ground.  It was first discovered by Carl Linneaus.  One fun fact is that the seeds look like little brains!

There are many kinds of dandelions on our campus.  Most of them are not native species to this area.  They spread with seeds that float on the air (it's fun to make this happen...).  Some are close to the ground and others are tall.  They have long leaves and bright yellow flowers (their name means "lion's mane").  People sometimes eat their leaves in salads and some use the plant in traditional medicines.

Morning Glory
The morning glory grows on long vines that grow very quickly.  This type tends to escape from gardens and spread through many areas (often crowding out other plants for space).  They are called morning glories because the flowers open as the sun rises.  They come in many colors: blue, purple, white, pink.  A fun fact about them is the ancient Maya and Aztec used the plant in the process of making rubber from a special kind of tree sap!
Horsetail Fern
The horsetail fern is green and the stem is in sections.  It is sometimes called a "scouring rush" because it was used in some places to scrub things while people were cleaning.  Horsetail ferns have been growing in rainforests like the local redwoods since the time of the dinosaurs!  It is native to California, but is usually found in the forest, and needs shade, which is probably the ferns in the sun by our parking lot weren't doing very well when we checked, but the ones in the shade were very tall.
Apple Tree - type unknown
No one on campus is sure what type of apple tree this is!  All we know is that someone planted it and that is probably at least 10 years old. (and the apples are delicious...)  Most apple tree varieties came here with immigrants from Eastern Europe.
California Poppy
The California Poppy is native to the area but not to the RHMS campus.  This type is usually in the hills and on the side of roads.  Its seeds are scattered when the pods pop open, sending tiny seeds flying through the air to many places.  Every April in Caifornia, it is Poppy Day!  A version of this plant is the state flower.