Photos and Post by Mike Palladini, Land Trust Stewardship Program Manager

As the Land Trust stewardship team continues its efforts to restore serpentine prairie on our Missimer Preserve, this spring’s outstanding wildflower displays provided yet another reminder of why this work is well worth the effort!

The Preserve’s serpentine plant communities have long been regarded as a botanical gem of Napa County and the Bay Region, but they had been highly degraded by barbed goatgrass and other invasive species before the restoration began. The restoration – which included prescribed burning conducted with the help of CalFire – has dramatically reduced the density of invasive species, and the prairie is once again dominated by native wildflowers.

In addition to stunning wildflower displays, the native plant diversity in the restoration area has been impressive. Professional botanist Jake Ruygt has now documented 223 native plant species in just 60 acres of prairie. These include several rare species that are found only on serpentine soils in our area and nowhere else on the planet!


C. densiflora, A. heterophylla, L. californica


A. heterophylla, D. variegatum, L. californica


Before restoration began, the meadow was dominated by introduced, invasive grasses including barbed goatgrass and medusahead.


CAL FIRE firefighters ignite prescribed burn in serpentine prairie on LTNC’s Missimer Preserve.


This photo series shows the prairie’s transition from invasive grass domination (top photo), to post-burn (middle photo), to native wildflower resurrection after winter rains (bottom and right photos).



The area to the left of the fence on neighboring property has not been treated, and is dominated by barbed goatgrass. The area to the right of fence lies within the Missimer restoration area, and is dominated by native forbs (wildflowers).