June 19, 2013 -
Joe Willis has been out and about
again. His report from yesterday follows.
And by the way, be sure to click on the
photos to see the detail in his pictures -
blooming in the lower parts of Feather River
Canyon around Jarbo Gap and in various spots
between Spring Garden and Blairsden. I
include a close-up of the flower and a view
of the whole bush as it looks from a car at
55 mph - Blazing Star.
Here are some of my latest findings. There
are many species of wildflowers blooming
now, but I'm only sending the ones that are
easy to spot. If you crawl around on hands
and knees you discover whole new worlds and
many more species. The tiny and hidden ones
I tend to write about on my blog,
here are our two prominent lilies, Leopard
Lily and Washington Lily. Very similar size
and shape, but one is orange and the other
is white. Always found in the shade and/or
near running water. I found the Washington
Lily near Lee Summit in a shady place on the
South side of the road. The Leopard Lily was
photographed this morning by Berry Creek
where it emerges from under the railroad
track in the Oakland Camp area.
I'm including a close-up view of Water
Plantain taken in a wet spot along the road
into camp. It'll be hard to find them now
because the county road department came by
with their monstrous weed eater. They wiped
out about 90% of the wildflowers I
photographed last week. Not sure what was
accomplished by that.
Rose Campion is widely domesticated. There's
a nice batch outside Quincy Natural Foods,
and I'm finding them here and there in the
forest. Today's specimen was in a bushy are
near the northern end of Oakland Camp.
Self-heal and Mullein were found along
Tollgate Creek about a half mile upstream
from Oakland Camp,
the Hooker's Evening Primrose is growing out
of a crack in the pavement near the Mailbox
on Main Street outside Dunn's Coffee Shop.
Be sure to check out my recent blog entries
bugs making more bugs. Warning:
June 18, 2013 -
Nellor checked in today with a brief
report on the Rock Creek area. Rock Creek is
just off Bucks Lake Road just out of Quincy.
Here is what's happening out at Rock
Washington Lilies and penny royal are really
starting to show on the upside.
and wild roses, tiger lilies and azaleas
are showing creek side.
June 16, 2013 - Another album of photos
from Joe Willis. (below) He reminds
us at the end of the report to be sure to
check out his blog -
Blackoak Naturalist, for more extensive
are two that I spotted in Feather River
Canyon last Friday. The Gumplant is easily
and safely viewed at several turnouts
between the Pulga Bridge and Jarbo Gap. The
Spicebush, however, is a bit more precarious
in the region of the three tunnels. I
spotted it in two or three places where it
is unsafe to stop. If you're as determined
as I was to get some photos of it, please
find a safe turnout and walk back to the
bush. Even then, be careful walking, maybe
on the river side of the guardrail when
available. It's not just that you don't want
to get hit. You should be mindful of not
spooking the drivers of large trucks and
motor homes. Both of these plants are worth
Today's flowers were all seen along the road
to and through Oakland Camp or along Quincy
Junction Road on the way back.The roadsides
around American Valley have a good variety
of wildflowers blooming, both native and
non-native, but one must keep ahead of the
weed eaters and mowers.
On many occasions throughout each summer I
get attached to the progress of certain
flowers and their insect and spider
companions only to find them victims of
someone else's idea of neatness and order. I
prefer the wild.
The hot spot, for me, that is not subject to
mowing and weed eaters, is the dirt road
that passes beyond Oakland Camp in a
northerly direction, then turns westward on
the way to the Gilson Creek crossing and
beyond for another quarter mile. All but two
of these photos were taken along that
stretch. Only the Butter and Eggs and
Bachelor's Buttons were taken at the side of
Quincy Junction Road. I should explain that
the one I'm calling Butter and Eggs is also
called Toadflax and is not a native plant.
But there is a different flower, already
gone to seed, that is a native and is
locally known as Butter and Eggs or Johnny
Tuck. The former is Linaria vulgaris while
the latter is Orthocarpus erianthus. Most of
the photos in this set will also appear on
my blog but with more extensive commentary.
Butter and Eggs
Also coming soon, for those who can
appreciate the drama that takes place in,
on, and around wildflowers, is a set of
June 14, 2013 - We received a ton
of photos from
Joe Willis yesterday. They're posted
below with identifications. And if any of
you have been curious to see the person who
sends all these great photos and reports,
Joe included a photo of himself with a
gopher snake. Joe's report:
These were taken along the dirt road
bordering the North side of Spanish Creek
between the North end fo Oakland Camp and
the Gilson Creek crossing of that road. It's
a distance of around 3/4 mile and it's
mostly open pine forest with lots of sun
There must be 50 or more species of flowers
blooming and a rapid increase in the variety
of insect and spider visitors. We also
caught a gopher snake and some lizards. I'm
just including the larger blooms that one
can spot while walking fast or driving. If
you crawl around on the ground or walk very
slowly you'll discover many more species.
The photo of me and the gopher snake was
taken by my son Ryan.
St. John's Wort
June 12, 2013 - Received this nice
photo from Barbara Steinberg of
California Travel Insider.
visited Plumas County and the Lake Davis
Recreation Area over the weekend and shared
this beautiful shot of wildflowers with the
lake in the background. Thanks Barbara!
June 8, 2013 - We're so lucky
Joe Willis takes his camera almost
everywhere he goes. His report: I needed to
do an errand in Meadow Valley around noon,
so I brought my camera in hopes of spotting
some new wildflowers blooming along the way.
enough, there was one specimen of Indian
Pink shining like a red beacon and I spotted
it while driving around a bend at 45 mph.
It's an unusually bright red that stood out
even though surrounded by many Indian
Paintbrush. The challenge was finding a safe
place to park.
I walked back for a photo I saw other
flowers blooming that were not so obvious
while driving. This included some small
Yarrow. They'll grow much taller before
summer's end. Then I found some very small
Farewell-to-Spring. Several species of
Clarkia are known as Farewell-to-Spring in
different regions, but I'm pretty sure this
one is Clarkia dudleyana which is also known
as Dudley's Clarkia.
were lots of the small wild pea vine known
as Vetch, and I found my first Showy
Milkweed of the season. Only around a third
of the buds on each plant had opened at this
time, so there's lots more blooming ahead.
This plant has a great fragrance, more or
less like fresh peaches, and it plays host
to a wonderful variety of beetles and
spiders as well as some "true bugs."
good example of the latter shown here is the
Spotted Assassin Bug.
June 7, 2013 -
Joe Willis went for what we think must
be his favorite walk in Quincy yesterday,
and sent this report and photos:
A quick walk up Boyle Ravine today
revealed lots of great flowers, despite the
intense heat. I'm actually looking forward
to some thunder showers which are in the
forecast. Meanwhile, here are a few that got
Wild Ginger blooms close to the ground
underneath the rather large over lapping
leaves, so one needs to know where to look.
I've shown where I pushed some leaves aside
with my left hand and got the shot with my
right, then moved in for a close-up. A
really beautiful flower that is mostly
Prince's Pine is blooming and is in the same
family as Manzanita, Madrone, and
Spotted Coralroot are nearing the time for
wilting and development of seed pods, but
there are still a few blooming in the damp,
Blue-eyed Grass, a close relative of Irises,
is blooming near the backside of the water
tanks. It generally does well near small
Boyle Creek in the shade, usually above the
leaves of the Wild Ginger, are some Crimson
Columbine, in the Buttercup family.
there are daisies everywhere. When they're
that abundant, it's hard to single one out
as special, except when there's some insect
drama going on. Here's one with a pair of
attractive green bugs mating. While I was
photographing this, a butterfly and a beetle
made brief visits.
June 5, 2013 - We have an unusual
Joe Willis to start the day today:
usually pay attention mostly to wildflowers
away from town, but this one, in several
yards in downtown Quincy, has gotten the
attention of a couple of real botanists and
me. I took some doing, but I finally
identified it as Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella
damascena. It's not a native, and none
of the people in whose yards I found it knew
what it was.
a nursery person who has this in their
inventory, it's probably a no-brainer, but
to us it was an exotic worthy of our
attention. It's in the Buttercup family,
Ranunculaeae, which was also remarkable.
Doesn't look much like a buttercup.
Here are some photos from my trip to
Butterfly Valley Botanical Area last Sunday.
The first five photos were taken in a
relatively dry area uphill from the popular
bog that features the Pitcher Plant and
Sundew. I went there in search of the
Beargrass based on directions from a friend
who lives in Butterfly Valley.
We found the Beargrass and nearby the
Fleabane Daisy, the Pacific Starflower and
the Wood Violet. The remaining five, along
with the last six, were in and around the bog area.
Here are six more flowers from the bog area
at Butterfly Valley Botanical Area and a
butterfly known as a Comma. It's as pretty
as any flower, so I thought I'd include it.
I had limited time for this outing, but
there were dozens of other species blooming.
Several orchids and other lilies,
Monkeyflowers, Penstemons, and more. Visit
before it gets too hot and dry.
June 4, 2013 -
was kind enough to send two more photos to
add to her report about hiking in the Lakes
first is a photo of the snow plants she
mentioned yesterday. The second looks soooo
inviting! Big Bear Lake - don't you want to
jump in? Please be sure to click on the lake
photo - you'll be happy you did so.
June 3, 2013 -
checked in again, this time from the Lakes
Basin Recreation Area in Eastern Plumas
a lovely afternoon in the Lakes Basin area
near Graeagle yesterday. The flowers are
very early because of very low snowfall but
certainly not at the peak. I saw some Indian
Paintbrush and one of my favorites, a few
snow plants, taking the Round Lake Trail
toward Big Bear Lake.
June 2, 2013 - A new
Joe Willis. This one is about Boyle
Ravine just out of Quincy.
Boyle Ravine and vicinity is getting more interesting every day.
Especially the small, delicate flowers that
are easy to miss on a walk, but are very
intricate when viewed close up.
Lemmon's Catchfly is a case in point. It's a
member of the Pink family which includes
carnations. Can you see the resemblance?
there's the Fringe Cups, a saxifrage growing
in the shade right next to Boyle Creek.
Thimbleberry are in full bloom everywhere in
dense patches, but I thought this "stand
alone" was very photogenic.
Interior Rose is common now in the ravine
and is hosting many insect visitors
including bees of course.
of my favorites along the trail is the
Spotted Coral Root, one of several wild
orchids in our local forests.
Prince's Pine is in the same family as our
Manzanita and Madrone.
Sierra Nevada Pea, a species of Lathyrus
like the larger and more common roadside
Naked Mariposa Lily, Calochortus nudus,
hybridizes with other Mariposa Lilies and
they all are known by several common names
such as Star Tulip, Beaver Tail, Pussy Ears,
etc. You can count on the technical name to
refer to only one type of flower.
for some ecological excitement, I thought I
saw an upside-down butterfly on a Red
Clover. Turns out I did. It was dead and was
having its body fluids drained by a
Goldenrod Crab Spider. I'll be posting more
technical information about all of these on
May 31, 2013 - Wow, is spring ever
going by quickly! Fortunately, we have great
wildflower reporters to keep us in the know
around the county. Today we have
another report from
I took a drive out to Greenhorn Ranch on
Tuesday and drove to Grass Valley on
Wednesday. Here are the highlights of my
wildflower sightings from Quincy to the Gold
Lake Road area combined into one set of
Lupine holding dew drops caught my eye more
than the blossoms and it, along with the
three different colors of Larkspurs, were on
the Greenhorn Ranch road about half way
between Highway 70 and the Ranch office.
was a break in the forest on the right hand
side of the road where a meadow of about a
quarter acre had all these colors of
Larkspur. I wondered if they were cultivars
spread along the roadsides by the highway
department as I've never seen all these
colors in one place in the wild.
the new development going in near the
western end of Chandler Road there are quite
a few flowers blooming that definitely
appear to be cultivars planted by humans as
I've never seen these before the roads were
cut into the hill. The beautiful purple one
I haven't identified.
there were lots of Tidy Tips and
Madia in that same area.
are blooming all around American Valley and
out by Oakland Camp. This particular one
with the insect visiting was photographed by
the eastern end of Chandler Road. The rest
of these were photographed along Gold Lake
Mountain Pride, a Penstemon, was near the
summit and was growing out of cracks in the
rock walls on either side of the road.
Cherry was blooming abundantly on both sides
of the road and was giving off a very strong
and pleasant (to me) aroma.
was Groundsel along both sides of the road
in spots that had more soil. This is in the
sunflower family and resembles some of the
Crimson Columbine was spotted in several wet
areas on the Sierra County end of Gold Lake
Pussy Paws were growing out of the drier
areas of decomposed granite (DG in road crew
language) also on the Sierra County side,
but probably blooming in many places in the
Lakes Basin now.
I also photographed many species along
Highway 49 from Sierra City to Grass Valley,
since they weren't in our immediate area,
I'll feature them on my blog,
blackoaknaturalist, but all of them do
grow in Plumas County except for the
May 29, 2013 -
Nellor from Ada's Place checked in
again today with some great photos.
He writes: What a year so far for wild
flowers. I thought with our lack of snow
this winter and dry spring the flowers would
azaleas are just starting to show at Rock
Creek; and on the hike down there are an
abundance of snow flowers, beaver tail,
tulips, and monument flowers. I have never
seen so many. What a surprise and treat!!
May 27, 2013 -
Joe Willis returns to report on his
trip in the Oakland Camp area:
my way out to Oakland Camp I stopped in the
woods at the top of the hill a mile past the
college and found some nice specimens of
Hartweg's Iris, the most common Iris found
in the woods around here. There was also a
lot of Checker Bloom, Buttercup, and
Cinquefoil that have been featured here
before. The Fritillary seem to be gone for
the season at this altitude.
this same spot I found Mule's Ears, but
they're all over the place now, including
around Oakland Camp. One photo emphasizes
the beauty of the flower and the other shows
the shed skin of a Cicada. Sorry, I can't
help but include insect artifacts that
first flowers I saw when I hiked the South
end of the Keddie Cascades Trail [which
begins near the bridge on the Oakland Camp
Road] was the American Dogwood. They're
abundant along both sides of Spanish Creek.
lots of fully-flowering Deer Brush in this
area, but I was taken by the standout
Ladybug on a cluster of buds. This bush was
mostly in the shade and hadn't begun
camouflaged in the grass near the creek I
saw several patches of Death Camus, a Lily.
the path by the creek there were lots of
different species of wild peas and here I
have included the Sulfur-flowered Pea.
Sticky Cinquefoil are out in abundance and
have appeared in this blog earlier, but I
include this one - you guessed it - because
of the dramatic-looking fly visiting. I
haven't identified the species.
Arnica has been shown here before, but this
one is hosting a real feast of small beetles
of some kind. Unlike in most of my photos,
this time the beetles are definitely
consuming the flower.
my return to the car, I met up with a couple
of Quincy people who were interested in what
I was doing, so I hiked across the bridge
with them and showed them the spot where the
Mountain Lady's Slippers are still blooming
as well as the Spotted Coral Root, both
being wild orchids.
May 26, 2013 - As
promised, here's more of
Joe's report from around the Quincy
Weed is a roadside and sidewalk favorite.
Squeeze the flower head and you'll detect a
strong and pleasing aroma resembling
pineapple. The so-called head is actually a
dense cluster of perhaps hundreds of disc
flowers. The ray flowers, such as the white
petals of daisies, are lacking. It's one of
the peculiarities of the sunflower or aster
family. Some species have both disc and ray
flowers (daisies), some have only ray
flowers, and still others have only disc
I've doubled up on each of the next three
flowers because of the interesting bug
visitors or the need to clarify what the
whole plant looks like as well as a close-up
of the individual flowers.
Ox-eye Daisy, also known as Shasta Daisy
(when you're nearer to Mt. Shasta, I
presume) is in the genus Chrysanthemum. The
first photo shows a visitor known as the
Common Checkered Clerid beetle, one of our
commonest and prettiest beetles now visiting
many different species of flowers around
American Valley. The second daisy photo
shows the Dimorphic Flower Longhorn beetle.
This one is less common, and the one shown
is a female. The male of the species is
entirely black and only about half as big.
two photos of the Bush Monkeyflower were
taken between Storrie and Pulga in the
canyon a few days ago. They're peaking or
just past peaking in most places in the
canyon, but fresher ones may be found at
slightly higher elevations.
the Gumplant, with and without a visitor,
photographed near the Entering Plumas
National Forest sign just East of Jarbo Gap.
They should be blooming in American Valley
May 25, 2013 - More of Joe Willis'
Here are my promised photos from Quincy area
roadsides taken over the past week.
are several flowers blooming that were once
called Brodiaea and in the lily family. The
most spectacular-looking one, to me, is now
known as Wild Hyacinth and is no longer
Brodiaea but is Dichelostemma. I
photographed these between the North end of
Oakland Camp and Gilson Creek, in the same
area as my last set of photos blogged here.
plant known by my Maidu friend as Indian
Licorice is definitely a member of the
carrot family, Apiaceae, but I can't pin
down its scientific name. We have lots of
carrot family plants around here with
clusters of small white flowers and
pinnately compound leaves. That includes
Brewer's Angelica, Cow Parsnip, Fennel, and
the Poison Hemlock. Some edible, many
fragrant, and some deadly. Don't mess around
unless you're an expert or accompanied by
Yellow Salsify, also known as Goat's Beard
and Oyster Plant, is in the Aster or
Sunflower family. Blooming on roadsides all
around Quincy, and this morning I saw quite
a few on the Keddie Cascades Trail. One of
my favorites for the variety of insects and
spiders it attracts, including great herds
of aphids guarded by ant "cowboys." Details
of that story will be on
my blog before day's end.
Bachelor's Buttons bloom in many colors,
blue being the most common. I've also seen
white, purple, and mottled. It's a pretty
flower and there are many cultivated
varieties. I get a kick out of knowing it's
in the same genus, Centaurea, as the
Clover is one of many roadside clovers
variously known as forage or invasive weeds.
Sometimes it's found in dense mats for
hundreds of yards along the sides of roads
and in unplowed fields.
a plant that's usually always dismissed as
an uninteresting weed is the English
Plantain. I find the close-up view,
especially in low light, to be an attractive
photo subject. Break one of its long leaves
with parallel veins and you'll discover the
feel of lengthwise rubber bands. My pet
rabbits used to love plantain. [Seven more
in my next post]
May 23, 2013 -
Joe Willis continues:
Here are a few more flowers seen blooming
between Oakland Camp and Gilson Creek last
Friday. New species are coming into bloom in
rapid succession, so I'll probably go out
there again next Saturday. Meanwhile, I also
have to report on a drive around American
Valley and a drive down Feather River Canyon
Farewell-to-Spring, of which I've only seen
one bloom, is in the Genus Clarkia as is the
Diamond Clarkia. I also saw only one of
those. There should be more of both blooming
soon along Tollgate Creek.
very tiny Spanish Clover is almost
impossible to spot unless you know it exists
and know where to look. If you don't mind
crawling around on the ground, you'll be
rewarded by a very pretty little pea-like
flower. It is in the same family as peas,
found one patch of Yarrow blooming near the
corral at the entrance to Oakland Camp, and
it had a Longhorn Beetle visiting.
the Sierra Wild Rose are blooming here and
there by most of the creeks at the Quincy
elevation. I found this one along the road
between the bridge over Spanish Creek and
the camp entrance.
Next report will be Quincy roadsides.
May 23, 2013 - As promised, here
is more of Joe's report:
Here's the second installment of my
report from last Friday's outing beyond
Oakland Camp. The most prominent color
against the brown leaves and pine needles on
the ground is the yellow of the daisy-like
flower known as Arnica.
shown a whole plant as seen from a distance
of 10 feet or so outside my car window and a
close-up of the blooms. A more complete
report on my blog,
blackoaknaturalist, includes additional
views with some beautiful insect visitors.
Yerba Santa plants look rather scrawny
compared to the ones I saw down the canyon a
few days later, but the individual blooms
are pretty. The leaves make a good and
Milkweed time, and the first species to
bloom is the Heart-leaf or Purple Milkweed.
Here I show a view of a whole plant from a
distance of 10 feet or so as well as a
couple of close-ups of the beautiful and
are more views of this one on my blog as
well as shots of other kinds of milkweeds
that are just starting to bloom.
the Blue Gilia has tight clusters of tiny
blue to white blossoms on top of tall, naked
stems. Groups of them rising above the
surrounding grasses are quite dramatic
looking. There are a few other species of
flowers blooming among them, and I'll send
those along with my next report.
May 18, 2013 -
Joe Willis continues:
heard from a friend that the Mountain Lady
Slippers were blooming in a fairly remote
area on Taylor Creek, so I thought I'd check
the place I first discovered them several
summers ago on the road into Oakland Camp. I
really didn't expect to see them blooming,
but I was pleasantly surprised. There were a
dozen or more plants in a small area about
50 feet off the road. Several were bearing
more than one blossom.
this same dark, shady spot under huge
Douglas-firs, there was also lost of False
Solomon's Seal. Right at the road's edge
there was lots of Western Dog Violet. These
are small plants and difficult to spot when
the surrounding wild grasses and Mugwort get
tall. It's the only violet around here I
know of that's actually violet. Well, maybe
blue. Most other species are yellow and one
local species is white.
the road a piece where there' less shade, I
found lots of Sticky Cinquefoil. This is a
common and very hardy roadside wildflower
around the Quincy area.
Mugwort, a close relative of Sagebrush, was
not yet blooming, but even when it is the
flowers are so small they go unnoticed. To
make it more attractive, I managed to get
some photos of Skippers resting on it. This
is an insect that is not quite a butterfly
and not quite a moth, but an intermediate
common roadside flower in the sunny and dry
areas is the Rose Clover. This non-native
often grows in extensive patches for
hundreds of yards along roadsides.
The Red Larkspur which first appeared in
this blog a couple of weeks ago, is now
abundant, especially in shady areas.
beginning to appear in many places is the
Orchard Morning Glory, known by people who
don't like it as Bindweed.
drove past Oakland Camp, and when I got to
the stretch of road that heads West toward
Gilson Creek, I was excited to find just one
specimen of Diamond Clarkia. This is in the
same genus as Farewell-to-Spring which I
found a little later on and will appear in
Part 2 of this report.
It's already looking very dry in the
forests, but if you walk around and look
carefully, there are actually quite a few
species of wildflowers blooming. I just hope
we get a few more rains before summer gets
May 17, 2013 -
Here's Joe's report for today so far. Stay
tuned for more to come........
my first blooming Scotch Broom of the season
this week. It is by the college turnoff, not
a safe place to park. I just posted a story,
an editorial really, about the Scotch Broom
on my blog,
blackoaknaturalist. It's a non-native
species that in many areas it is considered
invasive. I happen to like the plant. It has
a great fragrance, more or less like
peaches, and when it goes to seed, the black
pods, when dry, explode with a loud crack
and send the seeds flying quite a distance.
on a trip to Reno yesterday I saw lots of
Birdcage Evening Primrose blooming on the
South side of the highway between Vinton and
I had a great walk yesterday in the area
North of Oakland Camp toward Gilson Creek.
Got lots of photos which I'll send later
today. The most exciting of which are the
Mountain Lady Slipper. This is the earliest
I've ever seen them blooming. Scary omen for
a dry summer.
May 15, 2013 -
Joe Willis sent along some good
advice today. He writes: To enjoy
this. Bring a portable chair or pillow and
plan on staying a while. You will find
daisies play host to an incredible variety
of flying and crawling insects, spiders, and
birds. When you see a butterfly land on a
daisy, it is usually futile to approach it
quickly with your camera or sketchbook. It's
best, when you see insect activity in the
vicinity of daisies, to sit still, maybe
just a few feet away from a patch of daisies
and wait. Interesting things will happen. If
nothing happens on or around a daisy, things
will happen in your mind. It'll be
This photo was taken yesterday in the field
on Golden Eagle Avenue just below the
Courthouse Annex building.
May 13, 2013 -
checked in again with this note and photo:
came up the Feather River Canyon yesterday
after a very nice Mother's Day in San
Francisco with my daughter and was glad to
see the ongoing monkey flower show. Starts
at about Belden and continues down the
canyon until Yankee Hill. Amazing how they
can bloom out of the rocks. May not last too
May 11, 2013 - OK
all you Bloom Blog followers, here's the
last installment from
this past week:
to bloom in many places along the roadsides,
the California Waterleaf was the last bloom
I saw as I left Old Highway and headed
toward the Greenville Y. I include here a
view of the whole plant and a close-up of
the flowers. Sometimes these get blueish or
purple, but mostly white.
next stop was at the foot of Butterfly
Valley Road where Butterfly Creek cascades
along side it. Here's a view from the creek
bed looking upstream. Many young leaves of
Umbrella Plant are seen at the edge of the
pool. Slightly downstream from the pool were
a few still in bloom. Still commonly known
as Indian Rhubarb, it is a Saxifrage, and
the name is changing in more and more field
guides to Umbrella Plant.
I got to my favorite stopping place just
north of the Y, I was greeted by a group of
Western Fence Lizards, AKA Bluebellies, in
courtship mode. They were playing chase,
nipping at each other, doing pushups, and
possibly trying to defend their territory
from me! This one was so absorbed in his
courtship rites that he let me get up really
close and continued to do pushups.
moved on anyway, and found the Serviceberry
Bushes in full bloom. They are in the Rose
family as is the Sticky Cinquefoil which was
growing out of cracks in the rocks.
I got further down into the small canyon
formed for sedimentary rocks turned
vertical, I found lots of Lupine blooming as
well as a few plants that had already gone
There were a few Elegant Rock Cress still
blooming, but wilting fast and not very
On the way home I stopped by a dogwood tree
just south of the new Spanish Creek Bridge.
There's a relatively safe turnout at this
spot and I'll bet this is one of the most
photographed dogwoods in the county.
close-up of a blossom is actually quite a
few individual flowers in the central
cluster. The large white things most people
call petals are actually bracts. It's built
more or less like a Sunflower.
May 10, 2013 - True to his word,
Joe Willis sent along another report with
some great wildflower shots. This is the
second of three parts - be sure to check
back for the rest of Joe's report!
Here are six more flowers blooming along Old
Highway. All the photos in this report were
taken along the last 1/4 mile of Old Highway
before the turnoff to Keddie Cascades Trail.
False Solomon's Seal were growing on a steep
slope above the road. I liked how they were
lined up along the crest as if to attack, so
I took one panoramic shot. I then scrambled
up the slope to get a close-up of the
with the Arrowleaf Balsamroot. One distant
shot of the whole plant, showing the
arrow-shaped leaves, and one close-up of the
flower (which is actually a cluster of
several hundred flowers).
Wallflower and Sierra Stonecrop were growing
among the rocks above the road while the
Starflower were growing on flat ground with
more soil. They're hard to spot as they
blend in with lots of other greenery and
small white flowers. More to come. This is a
very rich area when it comes to wildflowers.
May 9, 2013 Another report to post
Joe Willis submitted this report and
beautiful photos. (We found a new favorite -
check out the Woodland Star!)
I took a short drive yesterday from Quincy
to the Greenville Y via Old Highway and
found lots of wildflowers blooming. The
recent combinations of rain and sun have
really launched Bloom Blog season in a big
way. This is the first of two reports on
Scarlet Fritillary were in the woods on the
right hand side at the top of the hill just
out of Quincy past the college. The hill
might have a name, but I don't know what it
is. I'm sure the Fritillary are blooming in
many other comparable places such as around
Oakland Camp, out on La Porte Road, and
towards Spring Garden.
All the others in this batch were found
along the sides of Old Highway from the
turnoff 4 miles north of Quincy to the
hairpin turn by the Keddie Cascades Trail
turnoff. In most cases, while driving at a
snail's pace, I would spot only one colorful
bloom then get out to photograph it. Only on
foot would I discover the many others. There
are a few spots I visit every spring and
familiarity with them makes it easier to
spot the blooms.
Some people want to drive faster, so be
careful out there that you're not
May 9, 2013
Received a nice bloom report from
are in full bloom in the mountains behind
Quincy. Take Coburn to the end and enter the
Quincy Community Service District property.
Nice dirt road with lots of maples leafing
out, interspersed with dogwood and lots of
evergreens. Nice thunderstorms this week
with much appreciated rain made the walk
May 8, 2013
Mike Nellor, from
Place in Quincy, took the short
drive to Snake Lake yesterday and sent this
note and photos:
surprises from Snake Lake today! The
dogwoods are blooming as well as the native
May 7, 2013
So nice to hear from our friend Richard
McCutcheon this morning. He always sends the
nicest shots from the Taylorsville/Indian
Valley area. He sent along these photos and
in the high country the wild flowers are
pretty. Lots of Yellow Bells, not all triple
like this one.
wild Violets and yellow flowers all over the
May 5, 2013
Received this note from Joe Willis:
lucky on a walk down Boyle Street this
morning. I got within a foot of a Two-tailed
Swallowtail butterfly just as it landed on a
Lilac bush. I don't usually submit photos of
domesticated flowers, but the butterfly was
too much to resist. I'm putting it on
my blog under the title Complementary
May 3, 2013
Joe Willis was out and about Quincy
and sent this report:
took a short hike up Boyle Ravine today and
was delighted to find the Lemmon's Wild
Ginger blooming. I've included several
photos of it here to show not only the
beauty of the blossom but also the fact that
it grows out of the base of the leaf stems
and is hidden by the large, heart-shaped
blooming was the Stream Violet, Viola
glabella, one of several species of yellow
violets that grow around here.
the Oregon-grape is looking healthy not only
in yards around town but in the forest.
There are many other species of wildflowers
in Boyle Ravine that are almost ready to
bloom, including the Scarlet Fritillary, the
Leopard Lily, and False Solomon's Seal. TIny
flowers already blooming include Bedstraw
and Blue-eyed Mary.
May 1, 2013
we are on the first day of May. It seems as
though April flew by - the weather has been
beautiful - just right to take your camera
and explore not only along the highways, but
off-road too - to find some of the wonderful
wildflowers shown on this page.
Today's report from
Joe Willis is informative, as usual.
Be sure to click on any photo to see more
Went to Oakland Camp and beyond on Sunday
in search of Scarlet Fritillary. Actually,
to see anything interesting and check on the
status of spring.
I didn't expect was to come across the much
less common Fritillary known as Brown Bells.
Both species are of the genus Fritillaria.
The Scarlet Fritillary is Fritillaria
recurva and the Brown Bells is Fritillaria
micrantha. To make matters more confusing,
Fritillary is also the name of a category of
only photo of the Scarlet Fritillary was one
that hasn't opened yet. But today, driving
near Greenville, I saw a few blooming. But I
didn't have my camera with me.
common confusion is that between Mule's
Ears, of which there are several species,
and Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Both are in the
sunflower family and sport large, yellow
flowers. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot,
Balsamorhiza sagittata, is pictured here and
is in full bloom in lots of places between
3,000 and 4,000 feet.
few Mule's Ears are out, but they generally
bloom a little later and I haven't yet
photographed them this year. I include two
views here, one far enough back to show the
arrow-shaped leaves, and the close up to
show off my first Goldenrod Crab Spider of
the season. The Mule's Ears, in case you
think you're seeing some, have elongated
oval leaves that make me think of a football
stretched to twice its normal length.
Tapered at both ends.
last photos today are almost bloomed Purple
Milkweed, Asclepias cordifolia. AS the
species name suggests, it is also known as
Heart-leaved Milkweed. Of the five species
of milkweed I've seen around Quincy, this
one is always the first to bloom, and
they're about ready. Next will be the
Narrowleaf Milkweed, then the others. By
mid-May I should be able to find all five
April 30, 2013
We received a whole photo album from Mike
Place) yesterday. We'll just show them
to you. Mike says these are all from Rock
Creek - up Bucks Lake Road out of Quincy, or
Oakland Camp - just east of Quincy. Thanks
Pink Star Onion
April 30, 2013
this page is called wildflowers and
waterfalls, we thought you'd enjoy this shot
of Jackass Creek Falls in the Feather River
Canyon. Provided by Emily of
Emily's Garden in Quincy.
April 29, 2013
Another report from our intrepid
I took a little excursion around Oakland
Camp to see how spring was progressing and
it felt like August! Very hot and dry and
got me jittery about the coming fire season.
Let's all do some rain dances. These weather
conditions are definitely altering the
found the open area of small pines a half
mile beyond Oakland Camp to have an
abundance of Showy Phlox, Phlox speciosa. I
probably took a couple dozen photos of them.
Really beautiful. When I got home I looked
in my archives and found that in recent
years the Phlox have been peaking in this
area in mid-May. And here we are in
early bloomer, but not so startling, I found
just two Checker Bloom, Sidalcea glaucescens.
A friend from near Chico posted Checker
Bloom on his blog and they looked quite
different. A little internet research showed
that there are quite a few different species
of Sidalcea that are commonly known as
Checker Blooms and the common name is
spelled several different ways as well.
that's not confusing enough, check out this
Buttercup. Very large flowers for a
Buttercup, and they're growing in a wet area
near Quincy High School. It's Ranunculus sp.
To excuse my laziness in naming the species,
I quote from the Audubon Society Field Guide
to Wildflowers of the Western Region: "There
are many buttercups, most with shiny, yellow
petals; most are difficult to distinguish
from one another."
April 26, 2013
promised, here's the rest of Joe's report:
Elegant Rock Cress, Arabis sparsiflora, is
an early-blooming member of the mustard
family, Brassicaceae, and is now abundant in
the rocky crevices around the Greenville Y.
It's being frequently visited by a category
of butterflies known as Whites. For photos
that include the insect, check out my blog
member of the mustard family is the
Stout-beaked Toothwort, Cardamine
pachystigma. I love these wild names. This
one is growing here and there along the Old
Highway toward the Keddie Cascades Trail and
at the base of cliffs by the Butterfly
Valley Road where it takes off Highway 70.
It's a close relative of the better-known
Milkmaids, but I haven't seen any of those
yet this year.
at the Greenville Y is lots of blooming
Bitterbrush, Purshia tridentata, a member of
the rose family. On close inspection, the
three-pronged leaves look just like those of
a back-lit photo of the common Lupine,
Lupinus sp. There are many blue Lupines, and
I've been too lazy to learn all the species.
I love opening this website and seeing my
photo of a couple years ago of a bee
hovering in front of a Lupine at Table
April 26, 2013
Joe Willis has been busy again.
He has saved up several photos and sent them
along with his report:
most interesting find this week has been the
Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Veronica
serpyllifoia, that's popping up in lots of
well-watered lawns, so long as they aren't
constantly mowed real low. My first sighting
was at Feather River College. This is a
close relative of the better-known American
Brooklime, Veronica americana. They're in
the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae, also
known as the Snapdragon family.
starting to bloom this week around Quincy is
the Pineapple Weed, Matricaria
matricarioides, in the Family Asteraceae,
along with Dandelions. It's a non-native.
a two-for-one deal - Grape Hyacinth and
Dandelion in the same photo. These are both
non-native beauties that are well-adjusted
to the USA, surviving the most idiotic
herbicide wars that manage to bother
children and fish more than the target
flowers. The Grape Hyacinth, now known to
botanists as Muscari sp. (there are several
species of Muscari), history, originally
named Hyacinthus by Mr. Linnaeus. It was
originally placed in the lily family, but is
now in the Asparagaceae. My favorite
non-native is the Common Dandelion,
Taraxacum officinale, in the Family
Asteraceae. Most field guides call them
"aliens." I think they make good neighbors.
tiny Spring Whitlow Grass is easily
overlooked unless you find a dense patch
such as this one in my lawn. It's Draba
verna, a member of the mustard family,
Filaree, also known as Storksbill, among
other names, is in the genus Erodium. There
are many species, both native and
non-native. I think this one is most likely
Erodium cicutarium. It's a close relative of
is another photo of Blue-eyed Mary,
Collinsia torreyi, in the figwort family.
They are blooming profusely now in shady
places, especially in lawns that aren't too
There is much more to Joe's report - to
be continued later today!!
April 20, 2013
Karen Kleven, we have the first
sightings of monkey flowers in the Feather
River Canyon. Karen sent this photo and
monkey flowers after Scooters toward Quincy
but only for a few miles. Quite beautiful
against the rocks but a bit tricky to park
and take a good look. Should be coming out
throughout the rocky ledges of the canyon in
the next few weeks. Lupine still nice and
some Indian Paint Brush lower down.
April 19, 2013
Joe Willis has been out and about
again. He reports: I went on a hike with a
friend yesterday to take pictures of tree
trunks, stumps, and branches with
interesting bark or other features of
artistic potential. Mostly walked the
cleared power line that crosses the road to
Snake Lake that leaves Highway 70 about a
mile north of town. Couldn't help but be
side-tracked by blooming wildflowers and
insects, which my usual goal on hikes of
this sort. Here are a few of my findings.
was a large patch of Henderson's Shooting
Star, which are usually purple. However, I
found one stalk bearing only white flowers.
I'm assuming it was a local mutant rather
than a different species, although there are
couple of species of white Shooting Stars
found at Table Mountain and in the lower
was exciting to find my first Death Camas of
California Buttercups have been blooming for
several weeks now, but this one appealed to
me because of the bug on it, a reminder that
a flower is part of a community and
shouldn't be seen only in isolation from its
Oregon Grape is blooming in many places
around town where it is a part of the
landscaping, but also in the forests.
Fleabane, a kind of miniature daisy, is
blooming in the courthouse lawn. They grow
fast and will come back quickly after each
mowing which is what I like best about them.
They supposedly keep fleas away if
incorporated into pets' collars. Seems they
also keep elephants away. Haven't seen any
around here lately. Elephant Bane?
April 13, 2013
After a few rather cool wet days -
typical spring weather - Joe Willis sent
along a new report with lots of photos.
These are all from the Feather River College
campus in Quincy. Joe writes:
There are lots of new flowers blooming, and,
in my usual manner, I'm mostly interested in
the tiny things that are often overlooked.
Kind of an ambassador for the small. So,
here are a few of my latest sightings, one
with a questionable identification. But, as
I've said before, I need to uphold my
reputation of NOT being a botanist. I just
like seeing and learning.
need for detailed botanical notes here
except to say I have such a fixed notion of
olives, the color olive drab, and the look
of a grove of olive trees, that when I
discovered that both lilacs and forsythia
(two photos here) are in the olive family it
causes a kind of cognitive dissonance.
My other note is that what I've tentatively
identified as Meadow Foam, I am absolutely
unsure of. I just found it to be very tiny
and beautiful, and when I sat down in the
woods to eat my sandwich, there it was!
Maybe a real botanist will be kind enough to
identify it for us. (Note: Joe contacted us
to say he now has the correct names for what
he referred to as Meadow Foam - they are
actually Meadow Nemophila or Littlefoot
April 6, 2013
Joe Willis was kind enough to send
another report with photos. We love Joe's
reports; seems like we always learn
are some wildflowers I saw yesterday for the
first time this season. The Johnny Tuck
caught my eye as a large patch of yellow on
the side of Main Street in East Quincy near
Abernathy Lane. This flower is known as
Butter and Eggs in some areas, but that name
has been used for several other species, so
I favor Johnny Tuck. For some lore about
names relating to this flower and some its
relatives, see my recent blog posts at
Pine Violet, Viola pinetorum, and Mahala
Mat, as well as lots of Shooting Star, are
blooming on the road by Plumas Rural
Services that heads up toward the
communication towers on Radio Hill. In your
you may discover several other species of
Viola that go by the name Pine Violet. The
Mahala Mat, a ground cover, is a Ceanothus.
That genus includes the familiar Deer Brush
and Buck Brush.
a newly-arrived Lupine that a found among
the patches of Johnny Tuck. You've already
receive reports of Lupines blooming in the
lower canyon. I want to say a word for
Lupines that haven't yet bloomed. This one,
whose species I can't identify until it gets
bigger and blooms, I call Dewey Lupine in
the morning and Hairy Lupine in the
afternoon. This one can thrive in relatively
dry soil by capturing dew in the mornings
and utilizing the hairy leaves to prevent
loss of moisture. The spines of cactus are
an extreme version of this latter
April 6, 2013
Kleven sent these nice photos from her
trip down the Feather River Canyon
was heading down the canyon to Table
Mountain and found several redbud in full
bloom on both sides if Pulga. Also at the
lower end of the canyon she saw some nice
large lupine plants.
went on to say: Table Mountain was quite
nice as usual but I think it was at its peak
a week ago or so. But for me it was worth
the drive because it's like being inside an
impressionistic painting and I found an
easier way to get down to the waterfall -
not much water this year but still cool.
April 5, 2013
Joe Willis checked in with his first
2013 wildflower report: Here are seven early
blooms, all found around the 3,500-foot
elevation in and around Quincy. Any one of
these can be the first species to bloom in a
first ones I noticed were the Spring Whitlow
Grass, Draba verna, which have already gone
to seed and started a second generation for
the season in some areas. This tiny beauty
is in the mustard family, Brassicaceae. I
supply the scientific names because many of
these are known by several different
"common" names. If you browse the scientific
name, you can find out a lot about each
plant including its various aliases.
second one of these to get my attention is
the California Buttercup, Ranunculus
californicus, in the Family Ramnunculaceae.
I found these first two on south-facing
slopes around Oakland Camp a couple of weeks
ago. Now they're springing up in lots of
places at this elevation.
Violet, Viola sheltonii, a yellow violet
(don't you love oxymorons?) is the first
wild violet to bloom around here. It is also
known as the Fan Violet, among other names.
The problem is names like Fan Violet are
sometimes applied to two or more different
species. Don't worry about always getting
the names right. Better to concentrate on
enjoying their beauty.
tiny Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia torreyi, was
also found around Oakland Camp initially,
but is now blooming here and there around
FRC, the Keddie Cascades Trail, and in the
Feather River Canyon. Very tiny. You have to
walk around quite a bit while bent over in
order to spot them. Once you've spotted one,
you tend to notice them more easily from
then on. This one has been in the Snapdragon
family, Scrophuariaceae, for a long time,
but some botanists have put it in other
families. I'll leave that subject alone for
recently I spotted Henderson's Shooting
Star, Dodecatheon hendersonii, and
Three-tooth Horkelia, Horkelia tridentata,
on Old Highway on my way to the trailhead of
Keddie Cascades Trail.
last, the Henbit Dead Nettle, Lamium
amplexicaule, is a mint with no odor, at
least none that I can detect. I'm sure some
bugs can. It's springing up at roasides all
around Quincy, including some of the planted
flower beds in town. It's pretty, so people
don't usually treat it like a weed and get
out the herbicides. I wish they had as much
respect for Dandelions.
So, perhaps too many words, but, as you can
tell, I get excited at this time of year. If
you'd like more information, please visit my
April 4, 2013
received our first report of the year from
Nellor yesterday. He sent these two
photos taken on the hillside above Spanish
creek at Devils Elbow, which is just off
Bucks Lake Rd across from Slate Creek Rd
about three miles west of Quincy. Mike said
these were his first glimpse of Gooseberries
and Red Larkspur. As usual, please click on the
images to see them full-size.