Please send us your wildflower viewing reports and photos.
Hello, and welcome to the Plumas County "Bloom Blog" and waterfalls viewing page! Our goal is to keep wildflower/waterfall enthusiasts informed about where specific wildflowers and waterfalls can be found from February through July. Please send us your own sightings and photos! And don't forget the species identification, if you know it!
August 1, 2011
Signing off for the Season!
What a great year for wildflowers! Because of the long, snowy winter, the snow melt provided the flowers with lots of water to grow and thrive in. There were some pretty spectacular waterfalls too, due to the abundance of water. A few wildflowers are still blooming, but they won't be around for long with the hot weather we have been having. Thank you to everyone who took the time to seek out the wildflowers and waterfalls. Your beautiful photos and wonderful stories helped make the Bloom Blog colorful, interesting and educational. We are already looking forward to next year!
Now that this blog has wrapped up, you can still find out about what's happening all around the county by checking out the "Plumas Buzz" on our website's home page.
Charlene Bruge and her husband just stopped in at the Visitors Center here at the airport in Quincy, and gave us a great report on their visit to the Butterfly Valley Botanical Area today and found lots of flowers to enjoy. They would like to encourage people to remember how fragile the area is, and to please be careful not to trample any of the unusual and fragile plants found in this area.
Charlene says "the Pitcher Plants are still in full bloom in some shaded areas on the opposite side of the road from the big meadow area. It's definitely worthwhile looking around there a bit. There's clear sign of someone trampling pitchers there, so please enjoy and photograph from dry ground! Some of the outstanding flowers found on or near the road include corral root, leopard lily, cobra lily (pitcher plant) Washington lily, rein orchid, bog asphodel, corn lily, checker bloom, and Labrador tea. The flower abundance gets better, though variety decreases a little as you head down into the meadows of Butterfly Valley. Bog asphodel and a similar white flower are abundant in the meadow, but the pitcher plant flowers are done flowering in this sunnier location. While wandering through the meadow, be sure to watch carefully underfoot for the smaller sundew and flytrap carnivorous plants which grow among the sedges in the wet areas. We also saw leopard lily, corn lily, brodiaea, swamp or sierra onion, etc. There are lots of butterflies too, which are difficult to photograph once the day starts warming up. Best to visit early for cooperative butterflies."
July 16, 2011
Bill Obernesser sent us three more wonderful photos that he took in the Lakes Basin Area, which we wanted to share with you. Take a look at this spectacular photo of Jamison Creek on the left.
Keep an eye out for all the beautiful wildflowers in the area, like the Western Azalea (left).
Here is a photo of Jamison Creek (right). See the report below dated July 11, 2011 if you would like to see more pictures of other waterfalls that Bill has taken.
The waterfalls are absolutely amazing right now, as well as all the varieties of wildflowers. This is truly a beautiful location.
We encourage you to make the time to take a trip up to this area, everything looks just like a picture postcard! Take along your camera or video recorder to capture some shots of your own, and then show your friends and families what they are missing!
July 18, 2011
Usually, the Bloom Blog would be winding down by now, but Joe Willis reports that Spring is still happening in the high country. Here are photos from his hike on Saturday, July 16.
On the Mill Creek Trail and Bucks Creek Loop (both at Bucks Lake 17 miles west of Quincy), leopard Lilies (right) are just beginning to bloom.
Monkshood hasn't bloomed yet, and there are still patches of snow.
The Fringed Pinesap (left) is like an albino Snow Plant - same family, similar shape.
The Marsh Marigold (a type of buttercup) was on the Bucks Creek Loop and Spring is just beginning there. Joe says maybe that trail will skip summer.
Marsh Marigold Corn Lilly Camas Lilly
Mountain Pride Penstemon
July 15, 2011
Wildflower Report from Twenty Mile House
Check out "Our Wildflower Adventure in Plumas County", written by the owners, Karen Steele and Kevin Gage of Twenty Mile House, accompanied by photos they have taken of all the gorgeous flowers discovered all over their property.
Twenty Mile House has quite a history. It was originally an 1854 stage-coach stop which ran on a dirt road (just wide enough for the stage-coach and horses that pulled it) along the steep mountainside, looking directly down at the Middle Fork of the Feather River below.
There are some great stories about the drivers and their passengers. One of our favorites is about a businessman who was very anxious to get to his destination and kept imploring the driver to "go faster, faster" so that he could get to a meeting on time. After hearing that request a few times, the driver (who was very familiar with the roads and had driven his team over that route many, many times) decided to accommodate his annoying passenger and whipped the horses who took off in a full gallop along that narrow little road until they arrived in town at the stage-coach stop. The story goes that when the driver opened the coach door, the businessman was as white as a ghost and shaking so badly he could not utter a single word! Reminds us of that old saying "Be careful what you wish for...."
July 14, 2011
Lake Wilderness is in bloom!
The high country is really blooming now. Joe Willis said some trails are still covered with snow, so there's more "spring" to come. The flower to the left is an inside view of a Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily. The pretty purple flower to the right is Spreading Phlox.
Joe has been leading Nature Hikes daily, and he says that he is finding lots to entertain the kids from the city and help them appreciate our biodiversity.
Parsley Fern, on the left is also abundant in the area.
Mountain Pride, on the right is also a type of Penstemon.
The Hot Rock Penstemon (on the left) and Steer's Head (far right) are not often seen, so they were a treat .
At the Quincy elevation, Joe's favorite blooming "bug magnets" are the daisies and Showy Milkweed, which are still looking good and are attracting a wide variety of beautiful bugs.
July 13, 2011
We just received a wonderful photo of Frazier Falls in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area (off of the Gold Lake Forest Highway near Graeagle) from Tom Winter. The falls still have an amazing amount of water cascading down the mountainside, and there are some breathtaking views!
The staff at the Visitors Bureau are always curious as to who comes to visit us, so we asked him if he would mind telling us a little bit about himself and that we wanted to give him credit for the photo he took.
would be honored to receive credit for the image of
Frazier Falls! I am a Nature/Landscape
photographer from Santa Rosa. We've
been coming to the Graeagle area for almost
15 years, staying at Clio's River Edge RV Park. Here's
the recent image I took.
Thanks for all your hard work!"
He said that
look through the images he has taken in the past
week or so, and send some more pics to share with
We will be looking forward to
seeing more of your photos Tom, and we're happy that
you enjoy coming up to relax and enjoy the beauty of
July 11, 2011
Bill Obernesser was in the Lakes Basin
Area (off of the Gold Lake Forest Hwy.,
that is accessible from either Hwy. 89 in Graeagle
or from Hwy. 49 at Bassett's Station) and sent
us some spectacular pictures of some of the
waterfalls and wildflowers in that area.
Jamison Falls (right) just north of Grass Lake and south of Plumas-Eureka State Park.
Jamison Creek (left)
Fern Falls (right) The overlook trail is just a short tenth of a mile hike from Gold Lake Highway Road. Just south of turnoff to Graeagle Lodge.
East Fork Graeagle Creek above Fern Falls
There are also some interesting wildflowers in the area. The one below left is called Pretty Face (tritellia-ixiodes).
The delicate yellow flower on the right is a Fawn Lilly (erythronium).
Looks like there are lots of great reasons to take a drive up to the Lakes Basin area. Especially with all of the beautiful waterfalls flowing right now, and don't forget to look for those wildflowers, too!
July 3, 2011
Here are photos of currently blooming wildflowers taken by local area "wizard of all things floral", naturalist Joe Willis, (mostly taken in the Oakland Camp vicinity, near Quincy) but common all around American Valley near shade or moisture, and sometimes out in the open (e. g., daisies). Ox-eye Daisy at left. Diamond Clarkia right.
There are several photos of species that are new to our blog that you can now seek out too, thanks to Joe!
The variety of colors is stunning. You can find flowers in just about every color you can imagine. Just look at the beautiful purpley-blue Western Dog Violet below left. Imagine being in the areas that he describes above where you can see all of the flowers pictured here.
It's the perfect time to come up to take a walk or a hike to view the wildflowers. You can really relax and enjoy the scenery and the weather is great. You may also see some of the 314 species of birds that we have in Plumas County as well.
Showy Milkweed on the right.
Pack a picnic lunch, bring a blanket to sit on and find a peaceful, quiet spot to stop and take in the natural beauty all around you.
Meadow Lotus left
Crimson Columbine right
The flower in the photo below with the spider and butterfly is Spreading Dogbane which is blooming all over the place at this time.
June 27, 2011
Greenville wildflower reporter (and adventurous photographer) Jeff Titcomb, decided to go exploring with Bink Huddleston, so they took a drive on Sunday in beautiful Indian Valley.
Jeff convinced Bink that they should go to Taylor Lake, left (from Taylorsville off the north arm, and then take Forest Service road 27N10 east), and of course driving there in a Lincoln Town Car (right) made him scoff and doubt that it could be done. What, no Jeep or truck? Bink thought he must be crazy! He did, however, relent and off they drove up Beardsley Grade towards Taylor Lake (Jeff did have to clear some rocks from the road that they couldn't navigate around and couldn't drive over in the Lincoln).
They arrived on top where the road splits to the Lucky S Mine and took some beautiful pictures of the snow plants (right), lupines, yellow sunflower looking plants (left) and all were covered in bumble bees and cedar bees.
Success! The Lincoln made it all the way to Taylor Lake and Jeff says it was really rocky there. The Forest Service has eliminated the bridge that allows you to drive around the little spillway at the lake side, so going any further was not possible.
He summed up the day by saying “The lake is so pretty and the huge rock mountain that makes up the far wall of the lake is so breathtaking. We really got a sense of it being like a European mountain lake in the Alps. The lookout on the rocky top is awesome."
Lupines at left
Waterfalls and valley views at sunset, what a great day to be out in Plumas County!
June 23, 2011
We just received another nice
email from Susan. We had asked her a
little about where she was from and she responded
with the following:
June 23, 2011
As promised, here is the brand new report that we received from Joe Willis this morning. In the vicinity of Oakland Camp (near Quincy), there are three streams emptying into Spanish Creek and the local habitats around them vary a lot. By one creek, a species of flower may be blooming while it doesn't even have buds yet at the next creek.
If you check along the roadsides from Berry Creek to Tollgate Creek to Gilson Creek (in the Oakland Camp area), you'll find these blooming by one or the other. Also, most flowers now are hosting a great variety of interesting bugs. Note the Goldenrod Crab Spider (white phase) on the yarrow at right.
The wild onion (the white bulb in front on the bottom right side of photo below) with a Scarlet Gilia in the background, was found within the camp near where Tollgate Creek passes by.
Be on the lookout for the Crimson Columbine (below) as well. The color is just gorgeous.
AND, lots of Leopard Lilies are getting ready to bloom in the area.
June 23, 2011
We wanted to share the following email we received this morning from Susan from the Bay area, who has been following our blog and went out to see some of the wildflowers at Oakland Camp per Joe Willis's report on June 15th (see below).
"Many thanks to Joe, et al for
the reports on the Mountain Lady Slippers
near the Oakland Camp. I have never seen so
many of them. We're returning there on Sunday to see
Thanks to Joe for the great info and photos as always, and also a big thank you to Susan for sending us the nice email about your experience at Oakland Camp. We are so glad that you were able to go out and actually see some of the wonderful places and flowers Joe has been reporting about.
Stay tuned Susan, we just received another email from Joe, which we will be posting this morning!
June 21, 2011
The Pitcher Plants are in bloom!
Here are a few awesome photos Joe Willis took from Butterfly Valley (5 miles north of the Visitors Bureau in Quincy) this past weekend.
For more photos and more extended commentary, check out his blog at www.blackoaknaturalist.com for the past few days of reports.
Note the picture of the California Pitcher Plant at right and Pitcher Plant leaves on the left. There are 5 species of insectivorous plants (including the Pitcher Plant) at this beautiful location.
You can also find the following interesting species below at Butterfly Valley.
Hartwig's Iris below
Beavertail Grass left
Western Labrador Tea at right
June 16, 2011
Wow, Joe Willis is one dedicated wildflower reporter! We had two email reports along with photos waiting for us from Joe when we came in this morning; one sent at 6:34 am and the other at 6:51 am! That old adage must be true "the early photographer gets the best photos".
He reports that there are some great spots at the Greenville Y, about 20 minutes north of Quincy (both upstream and downstream from the bridge). Pretty picture Joe took of an Orchard Morning Glory (at right). The large rocky area immediately north of the bridge, is a favorite, but watch your footing. Joe says he is part “Mountain Goat” and is used to navigating some of the more difficult terrain to get to the flowers, and advises you to be cautious when you are out exploring. The Stream Orchid (left) is beautiful, but particularly tricky to view.
Joe had just sent us a report and photos about the paved road to Oakland Camp (near Quincy). Specifically, he says that the best places to spot wildflowers are the last mile or so from the popular swimming hole and narrow bridge, and all the way to the camp gate. Park and walk and you'll find some real wonders. You can find Mountain Lady Slippers, Western Dog Violet, False Solomon's Seal, Spotted Coral Root, Showy Phlox, Scarlet Columbine, Purple Milkweed (at right), Red and Blue Delphiniums (larkspurs), Mule's Ears and many more. Some of the flowery shrubs have bloomed, too. Buck Brush, Deer Brush, Silk Tassel Bush, Nine-bark, Stickseed (below left) Manzanita and Bitter Cherry. Blue Elderberry are close to blooming.
He recommends having the John Muir "Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada" (right) to use as a guide, which is available at the Plumas County Museum (530) 283-6320.
If you take the road beyond Oakland Camp (it has turned to dirt now) and park as soon as you see Spanish Creek on your left, there's a wonderful mile or so of dirt road between the creek and the railroad track that abounds with wildflowers.
Toward the end of this walk, Gilson Creek cascades down from Mt. Hough and crosses the dirt road. This is a special spot for wildflowers, butterflies and other pollinating insects, and birds. Huge Alder trees attract the birds.
Along his walk yesterday he also saw lots of Blue Gilia, Purple Milkweed, Farewell-to-Spring (left), Sulfur-flowered Pea, Checker Bloom, and many others.
June 15, 2011
Joe Willis says that his favorite half-mile of pavement is the stretch between the bridge over Spanish Creek and the entrance to Oakland Camp (near Quincy). Lots of new things blooming and this is just a sampling. Not much traffic, so this is a great place to stop and be distracted by all of the flowers.
The Mountain Lady Slippers (at left) are spectacular, they just about a 100 yards past the bridge on the right.
The violets (below left) are more difficult to spot, but worth it. Daisies (right) and Monkeyflower (below right) are blooming in many other places around American Valley (Quincy area) and most places along Highways 70 and 89 out of town in both directions.
With the warm, sunny weather, blue sky and the many colors of the flowers, you can get some absolutely beautiful photos of your own.
Joe wishes everyone happy flower hunting, and says don’t forget to bring your camera.
June 8, 2011
Salsify, AKA Oyster Plant (at left), among other names, is now blooming everywhere at roadsides from below 3,000 all the way up to Portola and Lakes Basin.
The Cinquefoil pictured here (below right) is
one of several common species in this area.
It's in the rose family which is apparent if you
look closely at the flowers.
Some of these flowers remain closed when it's cold and/or rainy, but some open quickly at every opportunity. Joe says it is fun to pick a favorite spot and view flowers daily, and at different times of day to see how they respond to conditions.
Wild Mustard (below right), which occurs as several different species around here, is closely related to the various wild radishes which are already blooming and the wall flower which may be blooming at lower elevations, but not here yet.
The good news is that summer has finally arrived in Plumas County.
Perfect weather to get outside and enjoy all of these beautiful flowers
June 5, 2011
Joe Willis took a drive out toward Oakland Camp (near Quincy off of Chandler road) on Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain. He said he didn't expect much in the way of photography, but wanted to check on whether the bridge was under water again. According to Joe " I started seeing blooms, so I got out and tried my best to keep the camera dry while checking on my favorite spot for viewing Mountain Lady Slippers (at right)".
"There were lots getting ready to bloom. I can hardly wait. In the vicinity there was a wildflower bonanza: Western Dog Violet, (left) the only violet one around here."
"I found False Solomon's
Spotted Coral Root, which is also an orchid
like the lady slipper, and Checkerbloom -
quite abundant on the roadside on the way to the
Joe said that the gray sky actually was better lighting for photography than bright!
Spotted Coral Root False Solomon's Seal Checkerbloom
June 1, 2011
Here's what is happening at Rock Creek (off of Bucks Lake road 6 miles west of Quincy up Slate Creek road) according to our adventurous photographer Mike Nellor of Quincy.
Take a look at the beautiful photo of Pink Star Onion with Spanish Peak in the background (at left).
He says he loves the Shorthorns (right) and says "they look like a chicken without a head or maybe even a fiddle".
Thank you Mike for sending your
great photos with such a variety of flowers for all
of us to enjoy!
May 31, 2011
He’s on the move again! Joe Willis says he stopped at one of his favorite hot spots today, on the grade just above Indian Falls, going north, and got photos of Purple Milkweed (at right), Wild Hyacinth (below left), and Deer Brush. He saw fresh stems and leaves of quite a few other species that will be blooming over the next few weeks.
Lots of these are on a small cliff on the west side of the road and there is no safe parking nearby. Joe recommends the turnout just north of the Indian Falls parking area, then walk carefully, inside the guard rail, until you spot the flowers. Or, wait until they are blooming somewhere else. (photo of Deer Brush at right)
What Joe is calling Wild Hyacinth here was known for years as Brodiaea, and still is by many old timers. But, it's no longer in the genus Brodiaea. It's a Dichelostemma.
The Bachelor's Button (right), Centaurea sp., is in the same genus as Star Thistle! Joe photographed it among other weeds along a roadside in Quincy. Soon it will be abundant everywhere at this elevation.
Once again, he took a great photo that he just had to include - too cute! He found this little Pacific Chorus Frog , Pseudacris regilla (left), in his front yard.
Stay posted, you never know what kinds of amazing creatures Joe will find next!
May 29, 2011
Here are some recent photos of pretty dogwoods from Round Valley Lake (off of Hwy. 89 in Greenville), sent to us from Jeff Titcomb .
The dogwoods are all in bloom and have that "off-white velvety look" to them according to Jeff.
He also gave us a great tip and said
to head out to Antelope Lake (turn right off
Hwy. 89 at the Taylorsville "T") because there
are many photo ops on the way out to
the lake and around the lake. It's really beautiful
May 21, 2011
Friday and Saturday were great wildflower days. Joe Willis was out and about and took over 100 photos! These are just a sample of the ones we wanted to share with you. The Woodland Star (right) was photographed on Old Highway near the Keddie Cascades Trail turnoff. The Woodland Star is a close relative of the Umbrella Plant (see Joe's blog from May 10th).
The Madia (left) was taken just north of the Greenville Y, and the rest were taken at Oakland Camp (near Quincy off of Chandler road) today.
There are lots of new ones blooming by the camp like the pink Checker Bloom below, and the Scarlet Fritillary on the right.
He suggests that you try the trails and dirt roads on either side of Spanish Creek by the camp as well to see what you might discover.
Joe also took this photo of the moth below. He often finds interesting species of insects while he is taking photos.
He says "it was too beautiful to resist. This one goes by lots of different names, including Redwood Moth. Scientifically, it's Hyalophora euryalis, and it likes Manzanita and Buck Brush, among other habitats".
We have to admit that it is beautiful, too. Look at the amazing patterns on the wings. Mother Nature gave it the perfect colors to blend in among the trees and bushes in the wooded areas.
May 18, 2011
Joe Willis tells us that there are lots of new flowers on display in the vicinity of Oakland Camp, (near Quincy) as well as in the camp. The hillside above the road into camp has large patches of Arrow-leaf Balsamroot (at right). They are not to be confused with Mule's Ears, which is not yet blooming, although the oval-shaped leaves are up.
Buckbrush (left) are on the way out to the
camp, including along Chandler Road.
They are lush, and you can see why they are called
California Lilacs (even thought they are not
Joe's already on the move looking for more nice shots to share with us. Stay tuned to see what he finds next!
May 18, 2011
If you read Jeff Titcomb's blog from May 13
below, you will remember that he spent part of the
day at the Heart K Ranch (directions to the
ranch in his blog). You won't believe the
photos he sent us.
How about this, a heart shaped cloud! He said it was AMAZING the way these clouds came together at one break in the storm.
Sounds like Jeff has a special connection with "someone or something" that wanted to share his love of the Heart K and produced this spectacular formation for all to see!
Was the cloud just a coincidence? We think that it must be a sign that you should make plans to go visit and experience the beauty of the ranch yourself soon.
May 17, 2011
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail
will keep Joe Willis from venturing out to
take photos of the wildflowers he sends to share
with us. Joe said it was pouring rain on Tuesday,
but he managed to get a couple of pictures through
the window of his car and a couple more while
walking around shielding his camera with his
The forecast is for sunny weather beginning this Sunday the 22nd all the way through the end of May (although there is a slight chance of thunderstorms on Saturday, the 21st). Summer is on the way!
May 13, 2011
Who says Friday the thirteenth is unlucky? Jeff Titcomb from Greenville certainly didn’t think so and says he was lucky to spend part of his day taking pictures in Indian Valley, enjoying apple blossoms galore, and appreciating the majesty of the old red barn on the Heart K Ranch (property owned and managed by the Feather River Land Trust).
The Heart K Ranch is approximately 15 miles from the intersection of Hwy. 89 and A22 (aka the Taylorsville T). Follow A22 about 5 miles to Taylorsville then bear right on Genesee road for about 9 miles. The Heart K will be on the left (look for the big red barn).
Next he headed out to Round Valley Lake where big rain clouds were hanging low in the sky and made for some dramatic pictures of waterfalls (Round Valley Lake is off of Hwy. 89, 3 miles above Greenville). The lake is full and overflowing the small spillway at the dam, with water cascading along the creek and canyon towards Greenville.
The falls are quite spectacular as they wind their way down the old road towards town. Jeff highly recommends that you come and experience the beauty of Round Valley!
In his own words he describes the area as “peaceful, serene, and very picturesque".
Plumas County is at it's best and most beautiful when it's springtime in the Sierra mountains!
May 12, 2011
The Beckwourth-Genesee road is open and Jim Wilcox took these shots of Manzanita which are in bloom now. Looks like a great reason to hop in the car and take a drive out that way to see them up close and personal!
You can get to Beckwourth-Genesee road by taking Hwy. 70 east out of Portola heading towards Reno. The road will be on your left just past the town of Beckwourth and before Nervino airport.
You can email us at infoatplumascounty.org and we will post the name once we have confirmed what it is.
May 10, 2011
Mike Nellor of Quincy just sent us a great variety of photos from a recent outing at Rock Creek (off of Bucks Lake road 6 miles west of Quincy up Slate Creek road).
He says that Dogwoods (at left),
The Shooters (left) are in full bloom now and Mules Ear are just starting with good color.
The bright red Snow Flowers (below) are
poking up and purple clumps of Phlox (right)
are showing up as well!
May 10, 2011
Umbrella Plants have arrived and are making their Spring appearance! Joe Willis sent us these beautiful photos of this unusual species. These are blooming at the mouth of a little creek that flows into Indian Creek about a half mile north of the Keddie Wye on Hwy. 89. Please be aware it’s not a safe place to stop and park, so you will need go to the nearest turnout and walk carefully back. The blooms are on the left as you go north, just before Dog Rock.
A treat in both Spring and Fall (when they turn flaming red and orange) we will see these huge clusters of blooming flowers for a few weeks, then they will wilt and go to seed, to be followed by the emergence of the huge, umbrella-like leaves which provide valued shade to aquatic denizens all summer long
Think about how much fun it would be to plan a trip to see them in full flower right now, and then come back again in October to see them burst into fall color!
May 7, 2011
Wow! More great photos from Kathy and Mas Kobashi as promised! Just take a look at this beautiful Red Larkspur they found at Oakland Camp.
You can reach Oakland Camp from either Chandler road going north a couple of miles on Hwy. 89 from Quincy (look for a small white street sign for Chandler on the right). You can also get there by taking Quincy Junction road (from the stoplight at Safeway in Quincy) and driving about 7 miles where it comes to a T at Chandler road).
Spanish Creek (at right) is located at Oakland Camp. It's a very popular spot, and will be a great place to go swimming and cool off this summer.
As you travel south along the Feather River Canyon and get close to the town of Oroville, you will see flowers like this Western Wallflower on the left. You will find the Wallflower and bright pink Wild Sweet Peas along with the yellow Monkeyflowers below on either side of the road.
What great colors, they really stand out against the dark green conifers!
May 6, 2011
The Lupines have arrived, and you can find them at an elevation of 3,000 feet now! They've been out for a while in the lower Feather River Canyon, but now they are blooming at Joe Willis’s favorite spot by the Greenville Wye (25 miles north of Quincy on Hwy.89). He told us that they are about to bloom in both directions on the roadsides leading toward Quincy and Greenville. Joe estimates that it will be another couple of weeks before they show up in the town of Portola (about 35 miles east from Quincy on Hwy. 70). (photo of Lupines right)
The other beauty of note at the Greenville Wye and along the same roadsides toward Quincy and Greenville is the Big Leaf Maple (at left). Its hanging clusters of flowers are quite spectacular when viewed up close.
While Joe was driving in Blairsden (near Graeagle at Hwy’s 70 and 89) yesterday at dusk, he noticed Mahala Mat is now blooming. It wasn’t exactly great lighting for a photo, and he promised he will send more pictures of these interesting species to us, but we thought his photo of the bee on the Mahala Mat below was really cool. This beautiful ground cover was formerly known as Squaw Carpet. Now, it is Mahala Mat and its more southerly cousin is Fresno Mat. They are both species of Ceanothus, which genus includes the well known Buck Brush, Deer Brush, Whitethorn and Indian Tobacco.
May 5, 2011
Our first bloom bloggers from the bay area, Kathy Kobashi and her husband Mas sent us these great pictures after venturing out around the county this past week. This photo on the left is of Indian Creek Falls, south of Greenville in Indian Valley on Hwy. 89.
The Sandhill Crane below right, was spotted in a meadow in Crescent Mills, approximately halfway between Greenville and Indian Falls off of Hwy. 89. If you are lucky you may see one or more in flight. They stretch their legs out directly behind them and have a distinctly unique call which will make you smile.
The Harlequin Lupin (below left) is a beautiful pastel flower which they found at Rock Creek, located just south of the town of Belden on Hwy. 70 heading towards Oroville in the Feather River Canyon.
The flower to the right was also found along Hwy. 70 in the Feather River Canyon. It's called a Mountain Pennyroyal and is a deep purple-blue in color. You can't miss seeing them because of the formation of their petals.
Kathy and Mas have taken lots of wonderful photos to share with everyone, and these are only just a few of them.
Take a look at our county map to give you some perspective as to where the towns and places we have been writing about are located, and keep checking this blog and prepare to be amazed at the colors and varieties of wildflowers to be found here in Plumas County!
May 2, 2011
Did you know that the Grape Hyacinth (which is not a real hyacinth) is planted in many gardens around here, but it has also become established in the wild across the entire continent according to Joe Willis. This photo (at right) was taken in the woods near Keddie Cascades (about 7 miles north of Quincy), possibly a remnant of an old ranch that is no longer there.
The miniature Miner's Lettuce (below left) has very tiny flowers that most folks don't get close enough to notice. This species seldom gets more than 6" tall with circular leaves around 1" across. The more common species in the lower canyon and lower foothills can get over a foot tall and the circular leaves up to 3 or 4 inches in diameter.
The yellow tulip below was the only flower blooming in the fallow field just north of the Quincy High School ball field (along Quincy Junction road). Joe sent this photo (along with the other two) and titled it appropriately “The Orphaned Tulip”.
The weather has been sunny and in the low 70's, a perfect time to come on up and take a leisurely drive or do a little hiking while you explore and enjoy the great outdoors.
April 29, 2011
The photos below were taken on the side of Stampfli Lane near Highway 89 (just about a 30 minute drive north of Quincy) by Jeff Titcomb of Greenville in Indian Valley.
He reported that the day was cloudy and trying to rain, but it held off until evening when the clouds broke and the sun shone through and created a thick double rainbow. It lasted such a short time and the clouds came back so quickly, Jeff says he missed the chance to get a picture of the rainbow.
It was a really windy day and the meadow is wet with running water. The birds are very busy getting ready to raise their young there.
Springtime in the mountains is truly something to behold! We couldn't agree more. Just look at the vibrant colors of the wildflowers and that beautiful meadow.
How about getting some of your friends or family together, packing up a delicious picnic lunch and going out on an adventure of your own to see what kind of flowers you can discover!
April 24, 2011
A new species, the Spring Gold (Lomatium utricululatum) was discovered this past weekend by our detective of all things flora and fauna, Joe Willis. It was first spotted on La Porte Road (there will be a sign for La Porte road on the right just as you are leaving east Quincy on Hwy. 70) between the Middle Fork of the Feather River and Nelson Creek as you make your way up the road. There, in a little meadow still holding some snow, the plants were too small for certain ID (by the way, there was a marmot grazing in that meadow, but he was too quick for Joe to photograph). The Spring Golds on La Porte Road should be pretty showy in another week. It is a very delicate and intriguing plant, a member of the carrot family.
That same afternoon, there were more near the beginning of the Keddie Cascades Trail, 5.1 miles north of the Visitors Center in Quincy. In that location, they were much further developed and easy to identify.
April 22, 2011
Daffodils, while not exactly wild flowers, are in full bloom in Indian Valley according to Jeff Titcomb of Greenville (who sent us these photos). So many of these beautiful flowers are planted everywhere in the valley, and are really doing well in this sometimes rainy, sometimes snowy, and sometimes sunny weather. Jeff said "the cumulus clouds floating in the sky yesterday, almost refusing to move, contrasted wonderfully against a bright blue sky!"
Because we have had such a great snowy winter in Plumas
County this year, there is an abundance of water due
to the snow melting, and it seems to have helped create an entire landscape with hundreds of shades
of green. Jeff says he guesses that this is the
reason they call it Greenville!
Add the pretty yellow daffodils and you have some gorgeous scenery to look at courtesy of Mother Nature.
April 21, 2011
Violet season is upon us, but not yet peaked. Most people think of violets as being purple -- but actually they come in many colors!
Two local species of yellow violets are out. Joe Willis sent a photo of the Wood Violet, Viola lobata, last week (April 13, below). Today, he sends the Pine Violet, Viola pinetorum, of which he saw his first two specimens yesterday along North Mill Creek Road . Many patches of woods, such as along Chandler Road and along the Feather River College Nature Trail, in Quincy are sporting lots of the Wood Violet, but not many Pine Violets are blooming yet. Soon there will be a white one, McCloskey's Violet, Viola mccloskeyi, and the blue Western Dog Violet, Viola adunca, added to the mix.
Kind of reminds us of that old folk song: Sweet violets ... sweeter than the roses....covered all over from head to toe -- covered all over with sweet violets....
Yellow Pine Violet
April 19, 2011
It looks like Joe Willis’ spring wildflower forecast is materializing - one or two new flowers blooming every day for a rapid-fire sequence.
on Lee Road (off of Quincy Junction Road in
Quincy) where he found Miner's Lettuce and
Chickweed recently, he also found a dozen
freshly bloomed Henbit Dead-nettle (photo
below left), Lamium amplexicaule. This is a
member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and is
a native of Eurasia and northern Africa, but
thoroughly naturalized across the USA. Lots of
herbal/medicinal uses are claimed.
While he was out wandering about he found a patch of these bright yellow flowers on the side of Lee Road about 1/4 mile east of Mill Creek Road (accessible from either Lee Road or Hwy. 70 heading east out of Quincy, turning left at the stoplight onto Mill Creek Road). It's Butter and Eggs, (at right) or Triphysaria eriantha. AKA Johnny Tuck, it's a member of the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae. It was once grouped with the figworts, Scrophulariaceae, the family of the monkey flowers.
Joe says the flower season is gaining momentum!
April 18, 2011
Joe Willis found two new species blooming over the weekend at Oakland Camp (just outside of Quincy.) As is unusual for Joe, one of them has him stumped!
The beautiful little Blue-eyed Mary is only about 1/4" across, but worth bending over for a closer look. It's in the same family of the soon-to-arrive monkey flowers. They're appearing on the flat, sandy soils close to the rivers. I've often found them around the raft-launching place by the Greenville Y (intersection of Hwy. 89 and 70 west of Quincy.)
The little pink one is only about 1/8" across, and maybe that's why I can't find it in any of my field guides. It looks like it could be a gilia, but I'm not sure. Is there a botanist out there who recognizes it? Similar habitat as Blue-eyed Mary. They also grow in my dirt driveway…
Has anyone else been out looking for blooms yet elsewhere in Plumas County? If so, please send us your reports!
April 15, 2011
Our intrepid bloom blogger Joe Willis on it! First off, he’s figured out the species that confused him on a previous outing (at right.) It’s Toothwort, Stout-beaked Toothwort, Cardamine pachystigma, in the mustard family, which he discovered on the northern section of Old Highway, just a few hundred yards from the turnoff to the Keddie Cascades trail head off Hwy. 70 west of Quincy. Says Joe, “Interesting how many in the mustard family are early bloomers this year.”
Here’s are more of yesterday's finds from Joe:
A close cousin to that species is the California Milk Maids, Cardamine californica (at left). The Milkmaids were along the dirt road into the trail head.
The Henderson's Shooting Star, Dodecatheon hendersonii, (right) just sprung to life on a sharp turn roughly at the half-way point along the Old Highway. These were not blooming last weekend, but now they are plentiful at this spot.
Along the road into the Cascades trail head, the early leaves of the Red Larkspur, Delphinium nudicaule,at left, are abundant and they will be blooming in another week or so. I managed to photograph this one in full bud - could even bloom tomorrow or Saturday.
April 13, 2011
These are growing around Oakland Camp and along Chandler Road outside of Quincy, according to Joe Willis, and therefore, in lots of places around 3,000 - 3,500 feet. The photo at the right is of a Wood Violet and below left are some bright yellow Buttercups.
Joe said he also saw early leaves of lots of others that should bloom real soon such as the Shooting Star, Red Larkspur, several other violets, and Cinquefoil.
Manzanita (below) also growing around the Oakland Camp and Chandler Road areas.
April 12, 2011
Lots of snow this winter means it's a late start for wildflower reports! But Joe Willis of Quincy -- our wildflower guru -- has been waiting patiently and sent us this report. Willis is a zoologist who belatedly discovered wildflowers and now considers himself a classic naturalist, interested in all natural history. He'll be updating this report with photos soon!
I saw my first truly wild flowers of the season about a week ago. Elegant Rock Cress, a pretty pinkish-purple member of the mustard family down by the Greenville Y, at the intersection of Hwys. 70 and 89 north of Quincy.
An amazing example of synchronicity! On my way to work in Greenville, I stopped by Oakland Camp (outside of Quincy) on an errand and, of course, I was on the lookout for wildflowers. At first, I was seeing only the new leaves of a number of species that I figured would be blooming in another 2 weeks, and I was thinking about writing you with that prediction. Then, as I drove the western half of Chandler Road, I started seeing blooming buttercups. I got out with the camera and took a closer look and began to see blooming violets.
As for predictions. I think this will be a great season for wildflowers, but will start off rather fast, making up for lost time due to snow, and will be back on a normal schedule by mid-June. In other words, what would normally happen from March 1 through today will happen over the next two or three weeks.
Here's a link to Joe's own blog: