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Neighborhood Fennel and Olive Trees

Through our new virtual programming series, Nature in your Neighborhood, we challenged volunteers to go out into their neighborhoods or backyards to see what plants sparked their interest. Whether plants are native or non native, we can all appreciate a connection to nature and the curiosity that it can spark!

By: Amber Ceja

FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare)

Found: Vallejo, CA

Fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves and is part of the carrot family. This plant is native to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized all over the world.

Fennel can be consumed! It has a mild

anise/licorice flavor and is often used in salads or pesto. Fennel can also be used medicinally to treat various intestinal issues.

I moved to Vallejo from Southern California in the early summer of 2020, right at the time of the Fennel growing season. Upon arriving, I noticed wild fennel growing all over the neighborhood! It is one of my favorite things about living in Vallejo.

OLIVE (Olea europaea)

Found: Vallejo, CA

The “European olive” is a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the Mediterranean Basin, and also found in the Arabian Peninsula and Southern Asia. The tree will grow to be about 20 to 30 feet tall and produce a small, fleshy fruit containing a hard, single seed. When the fruit is ripe, it becomes a dark, purple black color.

The olive fruit and its oil are key ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine and used all over the world.

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so I live in Reno Nevada now, but I'm from Vallejo California and grew up there. I've been trying to tell people since at least 2007 that there is wild fennel growing all over the place. I had been told REPEATEDLY that I was wrong, that Vallejo is not Italy. now, I've also seen wild mint, olive trees, sweet pea (i think), and mustard growing wild around Vallejo. so, a little bit of background- when I was a toddler, I guess my grandmother used to let me put in a plants that I was interested in in my mouth (unless they were poisonous, of course). but she said any plant that I was interested in- most especially, roses- if I…

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oh and I also thought I should mention, i just noticed the name of your website is sutrostewards... I now live on sutro Street in Reno Nevada.

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