Chico Pt. 1 – National Forest Arboretum and Seed Orchard

Sorry no Washington state yet, I saw my pics from a trip to Chico were next in line. However, this gem of a city in the north sacramento valley is an excellent place or a day trip or a weekend getaway.

The road up to Chico is very picturesque in the late summer, this is golden California rice, used in most sushi in the U.S.

My first stop was the site of one of the state’s first plant breeding and research centers that is now part of the National Forest system

The forest service grows trees for seed to re-populate logged and burned forests in the local area to maintain genetic diversity and growth conditions. This is an old part of the orchard on the way in with Afghan pines planted after the soviet war to help re-forest the country; it still provides seeds for that country

There were some small garden spaces on the way in with native flowers

Like this hardy hibiscus

And pokeberries (very poisonous)

They are such vibrantly colored!

I can’t remember what pines are in this part of the orchard, but this canal was built in the early 1900’s to supply the nursery

Still provides water, such as for these fir trees. The orchard produces half the state’s doug firs and ponderosa pines

These new plantings are incense cedar, a rarely planted tree

You can tell the species by the flat chevron (v-shaped) leaves

A very old valley oak

Very majestic, but the canopy shot above this was ruined with sun glare

Kinda like this one, but the start of the arboretum and its eucalypt collection

There were several different kinds, but not all have signs anymore

They have gotten very big since the 20’s or 30’s when planted

This is the chicken-of-the-woods fungus, named after its taste and texture. Don’t eat these growing off a eucalyptus, they absorb some stomach churning toxins

These native walnuts are smaller, and very, very hard to open, but way delicious

This one seemed to be a cross between a pine and a eucalyptus

A better view of the bark and leaves

But it is indeed a pine

Lovely pacific dogwood with leaves ready for fall and fruits from summer ready (not edible either)

I hadn’t heard of oracle oaks before

I haven’t seen this type of maple so large, about ten times bigger than any planted in the last 20 years (when they became a popular landscaping and street tree)

There was even a bamboo grove

Such fun pics

This building was from the depression era government works projects

It used to house public services and back in the day research, but now is just office space

They had old research specimens around, like this olive tree

Some aggressive grapes climbing the hedgerow

But they were good grapes

As you can see I tried one, they had seeds though

A persimmon tree

Pistachio trees were introduced in 1917 from persia here. They used this grove to see which varieties would do well here

And this is the one they came up with, and which is the mother of all modern pistachio trees in California, the second largest producer in the world

This tree was seriously massive, most of the ones you see on farms are the size of the branch in the center! It is likely the mother tree from the 1920’s, but I could not find the mother kiwi tree from 1934

See you hopefully sooner next time

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