Wildflower Report, April 24, 2010
Highway 20: Salt Creek Canyon, Oak Woodlands, Botanical Management Area

 

Scroll all the way down to see the photos and descriptions:

 

Highway 20, Salt Creek Canyon

The long flowering perennials of Salt Creek Canyon, wooly sunflower, foothill penstemon, Indian paintbrush, canyon dudleya, make it a colorful route through most of spring. Another, Venus thistle, has started to bloom. Although it has the form of some of the common weedy thistles, it is a native that easily distinguished by its grayish color and red flowers. California figwort is a beautiful plant, but not so obvious. Although it is a big plant, it grows in the shade and its flowers are small.

California figwort, Scrophularia californica (left); Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (right)

 

Venus thistle, Cirsium occidentale (left); Foothill penstemon, Pentstemon heterophylus: (right)

 

Highway 20, Oak Woodlands

Past the Salt Creek Canyon, Highway 20 crosses the south end of Antelope Valley and then passes through oak woodlands before reaching Bear Creek. The flowers are not as striking as in the canyons or the wet grasslands. There are patches of jeweled onion and pale western larkspur that stand out. Yarrow is just starting to flower. Blow wives is common, but not obvious from a distance. It has seed heads that are more evident than the flowers. Micropus is very common and very undistinguished. It is a small plant with light, fuzzy inflorescences. Slender tarweed is bright, but small. The yellow-flowered foothill lomatium has started to form seed pods.

Jeweled onion, Allium serra (left); Blow wives, Achyrachaena mollis (right)

 

Pale western larkspur, Delphinium hesperium ssp pallescens (left); Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (right)

 

Slender tarweed, Madia gracilis (left); Foothill lomatium, Lomatium utriculatum (right)

 

Micropus, Micropus californicus

Highway 20, Botanical Management Area and Bear Creek Ranch

The Highway 20 roadside just beyond Bear Creek is a Caltrans Botanical Management Area. To the south of the road is Bear Creek Ranch, a part of the BLM’s Cache Creek Natural Area. The low areas just west of Bear Creek have many of the same flowers that occur in Bear Valley. There is a spectacular stand of sour clover on a slope as the road begins to climb. It is on serpentine soil.

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

Smooth tidy tips, Layia chrysanthemoides, California dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora, California goldfields, Lasthenia californica, and common tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, in swale; California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, on knoll

California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, California dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora, and bird’s eye gilia, Gilia tricolor

Small-flowered stalked popcorn flower, Plagiobothrys stipitatus var micranthus

Sour clover, Trifolium fucatum

Chinese houses, Collinsia heterophylla

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