Easter Hike at Edgewood

Easter Sunday morning started gray and windy, and the forecast was for rain. But we decided the wildflower season was too short to stay home, so we took the short drive to Edgewood County Park.

Right away, I was delighted to see wildflowers along the path. Close-up, they revealed themselves as Lasthenia californica (goldfields). A small flower in the sunflower family, goldfields really does paint the hills golden.

Walking on, we came across the first Mimulus aurantiacus (sticky monkeyflower) to the left of the path. 

Soon after, the first true serpentine flowers, more goldfields, Layia platyglossa (tidy tips) and Delphinium (larkspur).  I'm always amazed that such a stunning, deep blue flower can be found in the wild. Unfortunately, they are impossible to grow in the garden, but that makes it all the more exciting to see them in the wild.

We then went under the freeway underpass and started on the Serpentine trail. Serpentine soil, is, according to Wikipedia, "...derived from ultramafic bedrock give rise to unusual and sparse associations of edaphic (and often endemic) plants that are tolerant of extreme soil conditions, including:
  • low calcium:magnesium ratio
  • lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus and
  • high concentrations of the heavy metals (more common in ultramafic rocks"
The serpentine rocks often have a greenish color and slightly soapy feeling. Here's a picture.

In most areas of California, the European annual grasses that came over with the settlers and their livestock have outcompeted the native wildflowers. The grasses have some trouble in areas with serpentine soil, and the wildflowers manage to keep a tenuous hold.

Even at Edgwood, some areas are green, not golden in spring. But more wildflowers survive than in many other areas. 

We admired Lupinus albifrons (silver bush lupine). 

Here a close-up of a smaller plant. 

We enjoyed Wyethia angustifolia (mule's ear).

And we found the first small shooting star (probably dodecatheon clevlandii). 

Then it started to rain, and I only turned on the camera for a few more pictures. But I couldn't resist the bright yellow, which was probably from Mimulus guttatus (seep monkey flower). Because Edgewood is such a fragile habitat, I resisted the temptation to stray off the path and find out what was blooming there in the middle of the meadow.

And one final closeup of Delphinium, before we headed home for a well-deserved cup of tea. 

Anyone in the area might enjoy the guided wildflower walks the Friends of Edgewood will be holding for several more weeks.


Chandramouli S said…
This post shows the beauty of countryside! The plants and flowers are free, getting the fresh air, kissed by wind! Unlike the polluted city air from which the flowers turn their faces away!
Wonderful photos!
Very nice! We also went out on a wildflower hike on Easter. We went to Mount Diablo, and got SOAKED. But we had a great time!
Country Mouse said…
Just lovely! Wow! I need to get out to see the wildflowers! Unfortunate work crunch right in the middle of wildflower season - Easter I was at my desk most of the time, and not working on the blog either :-( Thanks, Town Mouse, for keeping the pot boiling till I have a brain back to complete a few posts I've been pottering with lately. I'd like to get to Henry Coe this year - a fairly nearby park I've never actually visited.
Love those sticky monkeyflowers and had no idea lupines could be bushy. So interesting.
Christine said…
Gorgeous! I've never come across a Delphinium before. So glad you braved the rain!
What a lovely hike. It was good to see more mature specimens of the silver bush lupine. I saw a lot available at the SF Flower & Garden show, but wasn't sure how it would look when mature. Looks like our sticky monkey-flower is about a week or two behind the ones you found, but we should have a profusion of bloom soon. I can't wait! Oh, and I like the new header graphic too!
Lynne said…
The land looks lovely and very green! Somehow, I've come to think of California as dry and brown (bad press?). And the names for the wildflowers are endearing - sticky monkeyflowers! Great photos.
Byddi said…
I used to weed in Edgewood. The people who volunteer there are absolutely AMAZING! I arrived in California from Ireland knowing no-one and nothing about the native species. They were so friendly and fantastic educators. They have such passion for the place. Edgewood is a flageship for native habitat preservation. Sadly, I moved further south and feel that a 2hr round trip defeats the purpose of being environmentally friendly! I enjoyed your beautiful photos - they made me quite nostalgic....perhaps I can find an excuse to make it up the Peninsula again soon...
Worth getting wet, I think! We've had some patches of goldfields in bloom down here but this season has been cool and plant schedules a tad behind schedule.

As as far as L. albifrons--That's an especially spectacular lupine!