Wildflower Report: March 13, 2010

Adobe lilies at Bear Valley are nearly in full bloom. About three-quarters of the flowers are open. This next week will be the best time to see them. The large populations are on the flat, clay soils adjacent to Bear Creek at the south end of the valley. There are smaller populations scattered nearby in the low hills; those plants are generally smaller and flower a few days earlier.

The adobe lilies are not the earliest flowers. Shining peppergrass is an inconspicuous annual that is abundant and widespread in Bear Valley. Most plants have already set seed and are past flowering. Redmaids are also widespread though not nearly as abundant as pepper-grass. They began flowering earlier than the adobe lilies and will continue to flower into summer. Redmaids are sometimes extremely abundant in agricultural fields on the floodplain soils along the Sacramento River. There are currently fields south of Princeton on Highway 45 and north of Colusa on River Road that look as though they have been planted to redmaids. In Bear Valley the redmaids do not form such pure stands probably in part because the soil is not tilled. Oddly, to me, two of the earliest flowers occur in the cool shade of canyons and north facing slopes. The western buttercup and Henderson's shootingstar are still flowering in the canyons along Bear Valley Road.

Most of the annuals flower later than the adobe lilies, and there are few to be seen now. The earliest tidytips have started to flower at the corral on Bear Valley Road near Highway 20. There are a few California goldfields and California creamcups flowering in the very gravelly roadside soil near the bridge at the south end of Bear Valley.

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Adobe Lilly Adobe Lily Adobe Lily

Adobe lily, Fritillaria pluriflora


Shining peppergrass, Lepidium nitidum (left);
Henderson’s shootingstar, Dodecatheon hendersonii (right)



Redmaids, Calandrinia ciliata


Smooth tidytips, Layia chrysanthemoides


California goldfields, Lasthenia californica


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