Mar 18, 2010

Wildflower Soul

Today was something like my ideal day. I biked to the Bay to map sensitive plants, hit two other parks, and spent the rest of the afternoon tending my garden with my cats. If you don't live in the Bay Area, then maybe you're not having painfully beautiful weather. Today it was 70 degrees, sunny, and surprisingly still for March. It's been like this for days, and though I wear a hat, I'm sunburned.

I finished the invasive species mapping just in time to help with sensitive plant monitoring. It's a nice transition after months of tracking the diversity-destroying success of SF's worst weeds. I met Randy and Licia at India Basin, a shoreline park in southeast SF. We were looking for Sueda californica, a saltmarsh shrub that I've never met. We didn't find the darn thing at India Basin so I've still never seen it.

I'm definitely a plant freak but like most nature nerds I've also got a bit of a vernal high, which is potentitiated by stellar weather. Vernal high makes every flower exciting. Even tiny, less-than-showy flowers, like Saxifraga californica, our afternoon species. We found this little Saxifrage at Palou-Phelps and Billy Goat Hill, where we counted any inflorescence and took GPS points. I shared my familiarity with the GPS and Licia and Randy shared their bountiful knowledge of the flora. I love the details that Licia points out, which led me to search for S. californica pictures online so I could see how many stamens the flower has. I found an amazing Flickr page for flora pictures. Check out Saxifraga  and others here.

Though I take crappy plant pictures, here's a sampling of wildflowers you can see in SF and on Angel Island, with locations. Click the pix for larger view. If you use GoogleEarth, I can email you a KML with placemarks of flower details for several SF parks (Bernal, Bayview, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon, etc). Or follow this link to Google Maps. A real wildflower walk is better than a virtual wildflower walk. So go outside.

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon clevelandii, purple) and desert parsely (Lomatium caruifolium)
Photo at Bernal Hill, northwest slope, middle path. Bounty of shooting stars at Bernal right now!!!
Lomatium flowering in most grassland parks, particularly in wetter areas or on slopes.

Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora) at Bernal.
Flowering in grassland parks. Prettiest at Twin Peaks where the shades of pink can get very dark.
Also nicely showing at Mount Davidson and Bayview.

Star Lily (Zigadenus fremontii) at Angel Island. Were also on Bernal but have already gone there.
Amazing show at Angel Island two springs post fire.

Mission Bells (Fritillaria affinis) at Angel Island.
Also looking lovely at Bayview Hill, north slope above the Mesa.

Douglas Iris (Iris douglasii) at Angel Island.
Also starting at Bernal (East Quarry), Twin Peaks (north stairs of north peak), Bayview (just east of radio tower)

?Varied color? Lupine (Lupinus variicolor) Definitely a lupine, though I'm not positive it's variicolor.
Photo at Bernal. Also up at Bayview, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon, most other grasslands.

Footsteps of Spring (Sanicula arctopoides). First native wildflower to bloom. Going fast.
Pic at Bernal, also up at Bayview and Glen Canyon. Note the annual lupine (Lupinus nanus?) growing between the Footsteps' leaves!

Tomcat clover (Trifolium willdenovi) at Bernal. Cropping up in other grasslands slowly.

Goldfields (Lasthenia californica) Top is close up of the yellow flowers in bottom pic. Also Cal poppies in bottom.
Goldfields are in wetter areas of grasslands. Hard to miss if they're around. Bayview has the best assortment inside the radio tower.

Johnny Jump Up or Cal Golden Viola (Viola pedunculata) Larval food plant of the endangered Callipe Silverspot butterfly!
At Bernal, northwest slope. Bayview on south slope or rock outcrop on west grassland. Glen Canyon grassland. Castro Duncan Natural Area, too

Shooting star (Dodecatheon clevelandii) and Johnny Jump Up behind. Note the fruit of the shooting stars in the foreground: This one will be gone soon so see it asap. Bernal Hill. Small population at Billy Goat Hill. Already gone at Bayview.

How cool is this peachy colored Cal poppy (Eschscholzia californica)? Individual is about 20 meters up from Folsom entrance of Bernal on the north slope.

Cal Poppy (Escholzia californica) You can't miss them. Accented by Nasella pulchra, purple needle grass.
I believe this is also Nasella pulchra. I love flowering grasses! Wind pollination is so cool!

 Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)  Cal buttercup (Ranunculus californica) and checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora) on Bernal. You can catch most of these around the city at the mo'. Buttercups on their way out.

Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) on Bernal by Ellsworth steps. Nice spot for bunch grasses and wildflowers.


Beth! said...

I'm glad that there are also native plant lovers in SoCal - they found the flower with my family's namesake thriving in a protected (but threatened by development!) wetland in LA. Long live the Orcutt's yellow pincushion!,0,985272.story

rachel kesel said...

I can't believe you can get through that entire article w/o ever finding a scientific name. Chaenactis glabriuscula var. orcuttiana, btw. If you ever get a critter, it think Orcuttiana is a fabulous name.
Cute flower. Nice to see that the seed bank was holding this smart asteraceae, poised to take advantage of the bare ground produced by the project. It's an annual, so it seems to me that they could take measures to finish the project and retain the species at the site. Leaving the heavily disturbed site mid construction would inevitably lead to massive invasion, bye bye pincushion.
viva C. glabriuscula var orcuttiana!