I dragged Wyatt and Ella up the hillside to see flowers only their mom and maybe 10 other people care about. But they're gonna learn about these flowers if I have my way!!
Mush children!! MUSH!!
Let's forget the fact that we were trespassing on private property and I helped my kids climb over a barb-wire fence to get out here. But in the name of BOTANY and my being an intrepid botanist, this place needed to be inspected. (I knew what was going to be blooming up here as I had done a survey a few years ago on this land for work).
As you can see, the views from up here are awful.
This fuchsia-colored annual is called most beautiful jewel-flower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. peramoenus) and it's a rare plant species native to California. As this pretty flower grows on stems that reach three feet, I did not harm it to get this photo. I was really happy to see it live and in person this year, since it's declining in the San Francisco bay area due to the development of the native serpentine grasslands where it grows. This habitat has a special soil type which supports native plant species, or rather the soil type here tends to exclude the non-native species thus natives persist.
My children share my sadness at the invasion of the non-native grass species . . . well maybe not. But you might say they only object a little bit to the forced botanizing. I am such a slave driver. . .
These Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla) made me crazy happy since they are so bright and beautiful. My kids are really getting used to their mom hopping up and down every time she finds a native plant in bloom. By the time they are teen's I think they'll be all, "Yeah, that's my Mom again. She get's a little strange in the spring. Just ignore her. . . "
This yellow beast was the mystery plant for the day. I had no clue what it was. That is strange for me as I like to think I know most stuff in our region. But obviously I am wrong.
Wyatt found time for reflection in this outcropping of common monkey flower (Mimulus guttatus). These annual forbs grow from seeps emerging off hillsides and make me smile with their sunny warm faces.
At the base of the rocky outcrops lies a plenitude of native grasses and annual broadleafs. The flowers and grass blooms provide me with a delicate composition to photograph.
Now I would like you to meet Santa Clara County dudleya (Dudleya multicaulis) above. This perennial succulent is Federally endangered and very little of the habitat in which it occurs remains. This dudleya grows only from rock crevices and is found no where else in the world but Santa Clara County. It's one of our famous endemic plant species.
This red flowered beauty is called California figwort (Scrophularia californica). It's a tall perennial species that reaches six feet in height. It's common throughout grassland and woodland habitats in our area. I still appreciate the bright red flowers that are unmistakable for any thing else.
Here's the close up for those who are interested.
From this rocky outcrop above there was so much happening that I was going into botanical shock right in front of the kids. They almost called 911 when I went into hysterics over the little pink-colored onion flower. It was gorgeous, and although I had never seen this species in person before, I immediately knew what it was from previous studies I had done in the region.
Allium falcifolium or sickle leaf onion was a lovely sight on our treasure hunt for flowers and a fitting end to another great outing. It's amazing what you can find in your own back yard when you really try.
Stay cool folks. Hope your summer is going swimmingly!