Yesterday I decided to chance flying in and out of SFO – there is a runway closed due to construction – and to top it off, there was low visibility. So I felt a little crushed when we finally landed, thinking Ring Mountain might be shrouded in fog. But as I drove towards Marin County, the temperature went up and the sky was blue. I have already seen Calochortus tiburonensis, but it is one of my favorites, so I put it on my list to see again this year.Calochortus tiburonensis – Tiburon Mariposa Lily. Ring Mountain, Marin County – 28 May 2017.
I flew down to San Diego this week to see the lovely Weed’s mariposa lilies blooming at Cowles Mountain. A small wildfire started when I arrived in the late afternoon! I went back the next morning and the trail I wanted to hike was closed because of the fire, but I still found quite a few lilies blooming along the other trails. They were just getting started though so you have plenty of time to see them. I also encountered a really large rattlesnake that resembled a tree branch from a distance and was stretched out across the entire length of the road – it made me laugh – because he was in no hurry to move and I had to get to the airport.
I have a few Calochortus adventures planned over the course of the next couple weeks (seems like the ones I want to to see this year will all be blooming at the same time) plus I have a job interview next week. Wish me luck that I can make this all work. The second photo down is my favorite! Until next time…Calochortus weedii var. weedii – Weed’s mariposa lily. Cowles Mountain, San Diego – 22/23 May 2017.
I flew back to Las Vegas earlier this week and returned to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to see the beautiful Calochortus striatus (or Alkali Mariposa Lily) in bloom. I found the largest population at Ash Spring. This lily is not on Nevada’s Endangered, Threatened, Proposed, and Candidate Species list. Enjoy!This was the only plant I found with yellow glands (above). The others had either pink or peach glands and they were really hairy.Habitat.
I had a feeling I would really miss living in the Rogue Valley once the spring wildflowers started blooming. I don’t know if you’ve been in this position, but I love my job in Portland and the pay is better …but I’d much rather live in Southern Oregon. What to do, what to do. I took this week off from work and visited. Here are the lovely Calochortus tolmiei of the Table Rocks:
This one was pretty in pink.
This one was sooooo cute and hairy! (All photos above are from Upper Table Rock, 24 April 2017.)
The lilies pictured below are from Lower Table Rock (25 April 2017). Prescribed burns were done earlier this year along the lower part of the trail and the lilies were thriving around the burned areas. Now is a great time to go and see them blooming. If you only have time to hike one of the Table Rocks this spring, I would recommend Lower Table Rock but go soon. The floral displays on top will leave you speechless. And as always, I recommend you have a glass of wine and snack at Kriselle after your hike. You’re welcome!
I made it to Las Vegas earlier this week and explored Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I found one of two lilies I was looking for. Calochortus striatus wasn’t blooming yet, so I will try to make it back when they are in bloom. I found several Calochortus flexuous in bloom at Red Spring and at Fossil Canyon (I did hikes at both locations but spent the most time at Fossil Canyon. I also hiked at Ash Spring). I even found a mutant mariposa (see photo below)! Enjoy.
Calochortus flexuous – Straggling mariposa lily. Rock Garden Trail (Fossil Canyon) – Red Rock National Conservation Area, 17 April 2017.
Calochortus flexuous – Straggling mariposa lily. Look closely, it’s a really cool mutant! I found this at Fossil Ridge.
Flora from both locations.
Dicentra cucullaria – Dutchman’s breeches. Starvation Creek State Park, 12 April 2017. This is a great stop off of I-84 for a picnic if you’re passing through.
Erythronium grandiflorum – Glacier lily. Starvation loop hike (trail 441) – Columbia River Gorge, 12 April 2017.
I’m not sure what compelled me to do this hike by myself on a cold and rainy day. I was pretty much in the cloud base the whole time and the Columbia River wasn’t even visible. This hike normally offers some beautiful views of the Gorge, if you can get past the eye sores, i.e. I-84 and large power lines. Sections of the trail didn’t seem entirely safe to cross and I turned back at Cabin Creek. Two positives: I didn’t encounter a single hiker on the trail and I found two flowers that I had never seen before, Glacier lilies and Dutchman’s breeches. And now I’m off to Las Vegas…my flight leaves in a couple hours and I hope to find some lilies at Red Rock tomorrow! Stay tuned.
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Tucson (flying standby to TUS this time of year was serious a gamble – I got lucky and made my flights, but I nearly bit off all my nails waiting for a seat to come home)! I first explored Catalina State Park and then Saguaro National Park (West). Catalina State Park is a gem! The brightly colored wildflowers put on a great show in the desert Southwest. Enjoy.
Calochortus kennedyi – Desert mariposa lily. Catalina State Park, AZ – 09 April 2017. Aren’t they lovely?
Calochortus ambiguus – Doubting mariposa lily. Catalina State Park, AZ – 09 April 2017. This was a surprise find! It appeared to be all by its lonesome, but was on top of a steep hill. I wasn’t about to look over the side.
Flora of Catalina State Park near Tucson, AZ – 09 April 2017.
Saguaro National Park (West) – Hugh Norris trail, 10 April 2017. The Saguaro cacti bloom from late-May through July, but the flowers last for less than a day and the bloom starts in the middle of the night!
There are several spring wildflowers in bloom right now along the Rogue River trail (and vicinity), but once I find lilies in bloom, my love for them takes over and I have a hard time focusing on their nearby companions. I’m really sorry. So once I again, I am featuring mostly lilies… Fritillaria recurva – Red Bells. Rogue Rover trail, 03 April 2017. There is a beautiful patch of Red Bells along this trail that I like to say hello to every year.
I cannot tell the difference between Erythronium citrinum and E. oregonum; both are found in SW Oregon. What we can all agree on is that they are fawn lilies and I personally can’t get enough of them. I found these beauties growing near the Rainie Falls trail, along Galice Road, 03 April 2017.
Prosartes smithii – Smith’s fairybell. Found off of Galice Rd, 03 April 2017.
The larkspur -pictured above- were growing near Delphinium nudicaule (or red larkspur). I didn’t get a decent image of the red flowers, but I found a couple of plants that had salmon-colored flowers. Anyone know what species it is? I’m not sure what the purple variety is either…
That’s the Rogue River to the left! Have a great week everyone and I’ll be back next week with more lily pictures.
Last night I texted a friend and asked if she’d like to take a scenic drive out to Catherine Creek, “on the Washington side of the Gorge,” to see the early spring wildflowers. If you’re interested, the Native Plant Society of Oregon has a field trip there this Fri, March 31st.
Fritillaria pudica – Yellow Bells. Catherine Creek (Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Washington), 27 March 2017. One of my favorite lilies!
Olsynium douglasii – Grass Widows. Catherine Creek (Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Washington), 27 March 2017. I have never seen so many grass widows in one location.
Be sure to stop in Hood River, OR for lunch. The smoked salmon chowder with a glass of red wine at the Big Horse Brew Pub was delicious (you’re welcome). The toll bridge over the Columbia River costs a dollar in each direction. Happy Spring!
I made a spontaneous decision a few days ago to fly to Palm Springs and check out the desert flora. I finished my shift at work, ran through security, and made it to the gate just as the flight was boarding. The Pacific NW can’t seem to kick winter and I was craving some sun and blue sky. I also wanted to see desert lilies (Hesperocallis undulata) and the dreamy ghost flowers (Mohavea confertiflora). Don’t be disappointed, but I didn’t make the drive to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I instead went to the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument and the Desert Lily Sanctuary.
Mohavea confertiflora – Ghost Flower. 06 March 2017.
Hesperocallis undulata – Desert Lily. Desert Lily Sanctuary, 06 March 2017. This flower is actually in the Agavaceae family. I also learned that Hesperocallis means “Western beauty.” Here are some other desert beauties that I found:
I also see there are some Calochortus observations already being posted in iNaturalist! I’m so excited! Flight loads through the end of March are heavy due to spring break but I’m still hoping I can make a couple more trips. I want to see Fritillaria liliacea in San Francisco. Until next time…