A Grand Wildflower Day Out

On Monday (April 12) us meeses had a wonderful day trip, and we thought you might like to come along for the ride. We love seeing California native plants not only in our gardens, but also in their wild places. So we drove up to see the wildflowers near Mariposa, close to Yosemite National Park. A long way but an easy drive -- and meadows of wildflowers, actual meadows!

For any Bay Area or other local readers, the display should be good for a week or two more, I hear. Our route to heaven was as follows - beginning with 680 north:
680 > 580 > 205 > I-5 north 120 > 99 onto 140 at Merced.

I can identify only some of what we saw, such as tidy tips (shown above) gold fields, baby blue eyes, various kinds of brodaiea. And lupins (or as we say in the U.S. lupines) galore, large and small.

>>> (April 24) Thanks commentators - I have updated the entry to add the IDs you provided!

It was great fun. We met and greeted one fellow enthusiast also having great fun, along a particularly stunning swathe of lupines, which were raising their blue and white plumes along a cliff right beside the road. Lupines were the keynote of the day - you could see the tiny blue and white Lupinus bicolor sprinkled through the meadows of mostly yellow and white flowers too - like this:

In and around some farm fields, we saw a lot of baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii) , a flower that grows widely in our area too:

This shrub of creamy ceanothus-like blossoms is a mystery to us. It was all over the place:

Maybe one of our kind readers could help ID this shrub? Here's a closer view:

>>> THANKS Chuck b -- who identified it as Ceanothus cuneatus, Buck Brush.

Also sprinkled in the meadows was Triteleia hyacinthina - white brodiaea - I think. In the lily family:

Nearby was this very interesting placard providing local history information about California gold rush days:

And a lovely bit of drystone wall work, just doing some utilitarian job near a farmer's field:

OK back to the flowers --

Closer in you see more detail:

And more detail... Like this brodeia (I think it is - and we see something similar along our lanes here, but I couldn't quite ID it):

>>> Thanks, Michelle - They are in fact Dichelostemma capitatum - Blue Dicks.

And this - Triteleia ixiodes, prettyface. Town mouse told me she read that the lines help the bees to zoom in on the pollen and nectar. The little Lupinus bicolor, bicolored lupine is next to it:

And more detail...

Cute! ... Ah, yes, it was lovely in the meadows not far from the road..

There were lovely outcroppings of interesting rock:

And we found a nice spot for a picnic lunch...

We drove down a side road at random and came to a different kind of area, possibly with vernal pools. Which Tmouse told me are pools that are only wet in spring time, and host unusual flora. This area looked a bit more scraggy:

And I don't know what the little yellow flowers are (photo is a bit overexposed):

I assume they are native and not weedy, since you generally see weeds in various habitats and we only saw this one here.

>>> Thanks queerbychoice - I agree that they are Triphysaria eriantha, "butter and eggs."

Lovely manzanita there too, but my photos were not so great. Maybe TMouse got some pics.

And now - like the conclusion of a fireworks display - on to the lupines!

You can understand why so many California natives in the garden need lean conditions when you see where they grow!

According to the friendly enthusiast who was photographing along the same stretch, the white ones are Lupinus densiflorus and the blue and white are Lupinus Benthamii (also known as spider lupine).

I overexposed many pictures unfortunately - I hope Tmouse (who doesn't have the luxury of a day off today as I do) can fill in the blanks in a later post. Now - off to see what's blooming in the garden!


And a grand tour for the rest of us--thank you!
steph said…
Thanks for the tour!

I'm pretty sure your white ceanothus really is a white ceanothus. They're up at Edgewood Park in San Mateo County, too.

And you might want to consider Castilleja rubicundula (or one of its subspecies) as those little yellow flowers just before the Gang o' Lupines. :-)

Glad you had a wonderful outing!
Michelle said…
Thanks for the wildflower walk! I've really been enjoying the local show, it's nice to see them from another area. Could the brodeia actually be a Dichelostemma (Blue Dicks)? I've got a lot of that growing in my area.
Gail said…
It was a wonderful walk...I know you were thrilled to see your favorite natives growing in the wild! I was, too! gail
Anonymous said…
The little yellow flowers are indeed native. They are the native "butter and eggs" (Triphysaria eriantha), or some closely related variation of it. It's also closely related to Indian paintbrush.
Country Mouse said…
Ah, I believe you're correct, Steph - Tmouse said as much but I had never seen a ceanothus with such smooth rounded leaves - google image search shows me many similar ones.

Googling your other thought - I find this one is a match: Castilleja rubicundula ssp. lithospermoides
Cream Sacs. Thanks

Michelle - I looked up blue dicks and that looks like what it is indeed. Later I'll update the blog so it's accurate and more informative.

Thanks all - glad you enjoyed the trip!
Country Mouse said…
Ah, Triphysaria eriantha - that's what those little ones are for sure. Thanks, QBC! Steph - I saw a picture of Castilleja rubicundula whose flowers looked just like - but the images of Triphysaria eriantha look more like the whole plant.
Oh, yes, I love botanical road trips so thanks for inviting me along! (and I didn't even have to book a flight.) I love native plants and it's so interesting seeing them for different parts of the world. I do grow baby blue eyes but didn't realize it was native to your area. The tidy tips are simply stunning as is the pretty face! Looks like you had a grand day out indeed (do do do do do do do do... that's the Wallace and Gromit theme!)
donna said…
I'm a little short on time this evening, but decided I'd make time to go along on your wildflower outing to Mariposa and I'm thrilled that I did. My goodness, that was a perfect day from start to finish. I want to enjoy a picnic lunch in that very spot!
Country Mouse said…
Well I'm so glad you did, Donna! - Turns out we had quite a lot of friendly company on that lunch, in the virtual world :o)

And Monica - I'm happy you got the allusion to Wallace and Gromit -

If you are reading this and don't know what we're talking about - rent some half-hour episodes and you'll understand. Wonderful comedy in a very British vein, and incredible claymation.
chuck b. said…
That's Ceanothus cuneatus if you haven't figured it out. Lovely show!