At home with serpentine

I often come upon serpentinite in people’s yards, but this home on Perkins Street really used it to advantage—or maybe the owners painted the house to match the stone.


Naturally the notorious poverty of serpentine soils is not a hazard when serpentinite is used decoratively, nor is there any exposure to fibrous dust that might be classified as EPA-labeled asbestos. Are you listening, Gloria Romero?

6 Responses to “At home with serpentine”

  1. pete veilleux Says:

    here’s a pic i took of a serpentinite wall in big sur – near Salmon Creek.
    Beautiful wall of serpentine - near Salmon Creek, Big Sur

  2. Andrew Says:


  3. Kevin Says:

    I don’t have any pictures of it right now, but a good place to see serpentine in its natural setting is along I-280 and Cañada Road in San Mateo county, in the area from around Farm Hill boulevard up to around the junction with CA-92.

    There’s a space near 92 where, in the spring, it is covered with Goldfields flowers, which I understand are one of the few things that like growing in serpentinite soil.

  4. Andrew Says:

    That’s a great area–actually, there’s plenty of serpentinite north of 92 too. Look over the area in Google Maps satellite view and you’ll see lots of blue rock. The best roadcut I’ve found so far is north of Crystal Springs Road on 35, that first straight stretch. Park on the west side, clamber all over the east side.

  5. pete veilleux Says:

    right here in oakland, we have an amazing view of serpentine on redwood rd. most of what you see from redwood rd has been colonized by invasives like pampas grass, but if you swing over to crestmont, you can glimpse the largest living populations of a couple of very rare and endangered native species – presidio clarkia, most beautiful jewelflower, along w/ locally unusual plants like squirreltail grass, yerba santa, lotus species, etc… unfortunately, despite this, development still is going on there.

  6. Linda L Says:

    There is a serpentine section at the UC Botanical Garden on Centennial Drive in Berkeley (between the football stadium and Lawrence Hall of Science). They brought in serpentine rocks, soil, and plants. Nice. This is part of the California section of the garden, which displays a number of different California ecosystems. Good family outing.

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