Wildflower Report: April 17, 2010
Highway 20, Salt Creek Canyon, Bear Valley Road, Bear Valley

Highway 20, Salt Creek Canyon

Canyon dudleya has started to flower. Look for it on rock faces in the canyons around the county. California bee plant, an unusually large perennial herb with small flowers, is flowering in shaded areas with deep soils.

Canyon dudleya, Dudleya cymosa (left); California bee plant, Scrophularia californica (right)

Bear Valley Road

Two native dandelions, the large California dandelion and the smaller annual mountain dandelion, are flowering with the tidy tips and goldfields on Bear Valley Road. A third, wooly dandelion, grows on harsh sites often with chia. It is flowering on raveling shale slopes. These native dandelions share the flower structure and familiar seed head architecture of the common lawn weed, but they are not in the same genus. Seep monkey flower is very common about springs and seeps; it is widespread but confined to these moist, low energy habitats. It is flowering now on seeps on the slopes above the road. Just south of Bear Valley, the road passes through a gentler topography. The vegetation is oak woodland and annual grassland. Common lomatium and purple sanicle are two perennials from the carrot family that grow in these habitats. Blow wives, in the sunflower family, is one of the later flowering annuals of spring.

Smooth tidy tips, Layia chrysanthemoides, and California dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora, California goldfields, Lasthenia californica

 

Annual mountain dandelion, Agoseris heterophylla (left); Seep monkey flower, Mimulus guttatus (right)

 

Wooly dandelion, Malacothrix floccifera (left); Chia, Salvia columbariae (right)

 

Common lomatium, Lomatium utriculatum (left); Purple sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida (right)

 

Blow wives, Achyrachaena mollis

Bear Valley

There is a bright patch of common tidy tips and popcorn flower in a drying clay pool at the south end of Bear Valley. The adobe lilies now have well developed seed capsules. Death camas is flowering in abundance on the wetter soils along the west side of the road. Star tulip, blue eyed grass and sour clover have just started to flower in the wet meadows. The flowers in Bear Valley form distinct patterns. Soils and hydrology are strong influences. On the east side of Bear Creek gravelly soils of the alluvial fans cut through the more widespread clay soils. The alluvial fans are typically slightly higher than the surrounding areas. The brightest flower displays are on the coarser, drier alluvial fan soils. In places there are distinct bands of color at the transition from wet clay soils to drier gravelly soils. These can be seen even from the top of Walker Ridge two miles to the west.

Common tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, and popcorn flower, Plagiobothrys sp (left); Adobe lily, Fritillaria pluriflora (right)

 

Death camas, Zigadensu fremontii (left); Large-flowered star tulip, Calochortus uniflorus (right)

 

Sacramento valley buttercup, Ranunculus canus

 

Bird’s eye gilia, Gillia tricolor, bicolored lupine, Lupinus bicolor, purple owl’s clover, Castilleja exserta , creamcups, Platystemon californicus, common tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, and California goldfields, Lasthenia californica

 

Blue eyed grass, Sisyrinchium hellum (left); Sour clover, Trifolium fucatum (right)

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