Sunday, July 5, 2015

Swimming on the 4th of July

it was hot.  It was the 4th of July.  So we did what all good patriots do and found a swimming hole.  This hike took us from Toad Lake to Porcupine Lake in the Shasta-Trinity NF, and the flowers were blooming like firecrackers in the high mountain meadows.

Daisies and asters, tiger lilies and corn lilies, a small endemic epilobium and tall bear grass, the meadows were blooming red, white, blue, yellow and orange.

And bookending the meadows were these two pools of cool blue water.

An early, dry summer at Little Shasta Meadows

At the end of June, we took a mid-week overnight to see how the meadows were doing and found things pretty dry.  The camas had already come and gone and one brave mariposa lily was showing its face at the Special Botanical Area.

But what we did find in abundance was downingia.  I identified this earlier as D. insignis, but this is our own Cascade calico flower, D. yina.  Below, it forms a small blue "lake" in the drying mud between FS Rd. 70 and 46N09.

This white hyacinth, Triteleia hyacinthina, was having a good year.  And someone else found this puffball type fungus with an interesting pentagonal honeycomb structure.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tiny flowers with big beauty

We took a Sunday drive up to Little Shasta Meadows Botanical Area on the east side 
and were gifted with Pygmy Lewisia in bloom in the still-wet-sand of the meadow.

Two other tiny flowers: Dwarf Waterleaf, herding her flowers under her wings, like a hen brooding chicks, and the belly-flowered Miner's Lettuce (belly flowers are so small you have to get on your belly to see them!).

It was too early for the beautiful blue Camas lily, but we saw plenty of buttercups and purple larkspur.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Careful observation reveals secret worlds

My husband, in his daily rounds caretaking our lovely white oak and chaparral scrub home, discovered these little beauties coming up in an old roadcut on top of the ridge.  He was baffled at how the entire plant was yellow! And has no leaves!  It's true, because the plant has no chlorophyll--it's parasitic to the roots of neighboring plants.

Orobanche fasciculata, commonly known as Clustered broomrape, is native to California.

Here's another Orobanche, the purple-flowering O. uniflora or Single-flowered broomrape, 
that lives in the lean serpentine soils of China Hill, just to the northeast of Yreka.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Too bad there's no video of the Sandhill Cranes dancing

We took a day drive to Willow Creek Mountain, the source of the Little Shasta River.  Found lots of wildflowers, but got no pictures of the female Sooty Grouse or the courting Sandhill Cranes.

Arrow-leaf balsam root catches some sun.

Showy phlox peeps from the rock.

Three new white flowers for me: a fragrant sweet pea, columnar phacelia 
and I think that last is a Death Camas (lily family)!!!

And then, there's the lovely purple phacelia.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring comes early to Yreka

Yreka's own native endemic phlox, Phlox hirsuta, was found blooming about a month early this year at China Hill, on the northeast side of town.

Other plants flowering on this sunny day before Easter included (from top) poppies and blue gilia, silver rock cress, blue dicks and lomatium.

Showy phlox, Phlox speciosa, also makes a home on China Hill's lean serpentine soils.  Note the notched petals on this one, compared to the Yreka phlox.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Summer's Reflection at Orr Lake

Visiting a rarely-appreciated gem on the east side of Siskiyou: 
Orr Lake, a high desert oasis tucked in a the base of Orr Mountain between 
Goosenest and Mt. Hoffman and with a view to Mt. Shasta to the south.

Fed by overflow from nearby Butte Creek, Orr Lake survives year-to-year on its winter income and yet provides a home for lily pads and fish all summer.