Wildflower Report: April 18, 2010
Brim Road to Walker Ridge

Brim Road

Brim Road climbs from Bear Valley to Walker Ridge. A field of common tidy tips is flowering at the base of the ridge. The road crosses an unnamed channel about a half mile up the slope. The woody vegetation here is particularly rich. Amongst the rocks and clearings are Indian paintbrush, golden globe lily, annual mountain dandelion and red larkspur. Chaparral clematis, a vine climbing on the trees and shrubs, has large white flowers with yellow centers. California snowbell, a shrub with large white flowers has not yet bloomed. The small white plectritis is flowering on the thin soils of the hillslope. Much of Walker Ridge is serpentine, a geology that has a strong influence on vegetation. Some plants such as foothill pine, toyon, yerba santa and chamise grow on the serpentine of the ridge and on the sedimentary rocks to the east of Bear Valley, but there are also plants that don’t grow on the serpentine and plants that only grow on the serpentine. The blue oak does not grow on serpentine, but the endemic leather oak does. Big manzanita, a common plant of the foothills, is absent, but viscid manzanita, which does not grow in the foothills, is common on the serpentine. McNab and Seargent cypress grow only on the serpentine. Buckbrush, a widespread species of ceanothus, grows both in the foothills and on serpentine. Along Brim Road it grows adjacent to the serpentine endemic Jepson ceanothus. Whiskerbrush, ground iris, and wavy leaf soap plant are not restricted to serpentine, but scytheleaf onion and Hoover’s lomatium are.

 

Scroll all the way down to see the photos, and description of Walker Ridge:


Common tidy tips, Layia platyglossa

 

Indian paintbrush, Castilleja applegatei, and golden globe lily, Calochortus amabilis

 

Golden globe lily, Calochortus amabilis (left); Annual mountain dandelion, Agoseris heterophylla (right)

 

White plectritus, Plectritis macrocera (left); Red larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule (right)

 

Ground iris, Iris macrosiphon (left); Chaparral clematis, Clematis lasiantha (right)

 

Wavy leaf soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum (left); Whiskerbrush, Leptosiphon (Linanathus) ciliates (right)

 

Scytheleaf onion, Allium falcifolium (left); Hoover’s Lomatium, Lomatium hooveri (right)

 

Buck brush, Ceanothus cuneatus (left); Jepson ceanothus, Ceanothus jepsonii (right)

Walker Ridge

From Walker Ridge there is a view across Bear Valley and the foothills to the Sacramento Valley and the Sutter Buttes. Along the ridge top Cascade onion, little spring beauty and bitter root are growing on sparsely vegetated serpentine gravels. A fire burned on the south end of Walker Ridge in June 2008. Hillsides of chamise skeletons have tufts of new growth sprouting from the base. Little spring beauty and narrow leaved miner’s lettuce form dense patches of groundcover in this regenerating shrubland. Cypress does not resprout. Yerba santa is the most common plant beneath the skeletons, but there are small cypress seedlings as well. Eventually they will shade out the yerba santa.


Cascade onion, Allim cratericola

 

Little spring beauty, Claytonia exigua (left); Bitter root, Lewisia sp (right)

 

Narrow leaved miner’s lettuce, Claytonia parviflora

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