Mitchell Canyon, 2009

For the past few years I've been going to Mitchell Canyon in the spring to look for wildflowers. It's a fantastic spot: you get a wonderful variety of woodland and grassland flowers as you hike up along the stream, and as you get higher you start getting scrub species, and at the top along the Eagle Peak trail you get a bunch of odd, semi-alpine species. Fun stuff.

This year I think I was a little earlier than usual. No Mt. Diablo fairy lanterns blooming, no pipestem (and sadly no Orobanche), but so many other wonderful things were out in force. I think the highlight of the day for me was the Mt. Diablo jewelflower, a tiny, scrappy little flower found only on Mt. Diablo. I'd seen it a few years back, but this time I found lots of them. Very cool.

Weather was overcast, occasionally rainy, and real windy. Forecast for Sunday was t-storms (which have not come to pass, damn you wunderground), so I figured clouds were better than getting zapped. Still, some weather made it feel like an adventure.

I might head back in a few weeks to see some of the later stuff. So many things to see there.

Posted by kueda kueda, March 22, 2009 10:25 PM

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Mount Diablo Jewelflower (Streptanthus hispidus)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 2009

Description

Another plant I was very much hoping to see, and this time I saw it in profusion! There were many tiny plants growing at select points along the higher parts of the Eagle Peak trail, pretty much up until Eagle Peak itself. All no more than 10 cm high, growing on gravelly slopes.

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 03:15 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Checker Lily (Fritillaria affinis)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 01:47 PM PDT

Description

I was really hoping to find Mission bells today, but after passing the spot where I'd seen them before, I figured it was a wash. Put down my bag, grabbed my water bottle, and of course, right next to the backpack, were a couple Mission bells. Hard to see and not exactly easy to photograph either.

Photos / Sounds

What

Nomad Bees (Genus Nomada)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:57 PM PDT

Description

A cold, cold bee sucks sweets from a fiddle. Perhaps 8 - 10 Earth milimeters long.

ID provided by
terraincognita96 on Flickr.

Photos / Sounds

What

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:50 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Royal Larkspur (Delphinium variegatum)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:44 PM PDT

Description

It's an evocative flower.

Photos / Sounds

What

Buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:48 PM PDT

Description

Blooming everywhere, coating hillsides.

Photos / Sounds

What

Checker Lily (Fritillaria affinis)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:05 PM PDT

Description

Despite the large and somewhat gaudy flowers, this plant is kind of hard to see. However, I think the tall, erect stem and leaves are pretty distinctive. Must remember to look for them and not the flower.

Photos / Sounds

What

Purple Owl's-Clover (Castilleja exserta)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:26 PM PDT

Description

Only just starting to come out.

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Star Lily (Toxicoscordion fremontii)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 01:55 PM PDT

Description

This looked a little different from the other star lilies I've seen, so I was kind of hoping it was Death Camas, but no luck. I think Fremont's star lily probably just looks a little scraggly on mt D.

Photos / Sounds

What

Menzies' Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:24 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Dicks (Dipterostemon capitatus)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 01:23 PM PDT

Description

Never seen a white one before.

Photos / Sounds

What

Oak-loving Elfin Saddle (Helvella dryophila)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:20 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Pacific Pea (Lathyrus vestitus)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 22, 2009 02:44 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Henderson's Shooting Star (Primula hendersonii)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 01:10 PM PDT

Description

Some flowers I just can't help re-capturing.

Photos / Sounds

What

Checker Lily (Fritillaria affinis)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 04:39 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Stork's-Bills (Genus Erodium)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:40 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Black Sage (Salvia mellifera)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 04:18 PM PDT

Description

I thought black sage bloomed way later. Maybe that's why I always miss it...

Photos / Sounds

What

Popcornflowers (Genus Plagiobothrys)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:39 PM PDT

Description

Blooming pretty much everywhere.

Photos / Sounds

What

Paintbrushes (Genus Castilleja)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 04:13 PM PDT

Description

...I need to learn them.

Photos / Sounds

What

Distant Phacelia (Phacelia distans)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:36 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Hoptree (Ptelea crenulata)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 04:08 PM PDT

Description

I thought this plant was poison oak for the longest time, until the good folk of Flickr set me straight. It's actually Western hoptree, and it's just starting to leaf out and bloom on Mt. D. One thing I learned this year was that it smells wonderful! A sweet and surprising fragrance. Between that and the Ceanothus blooming everywhere, it was a very fragrant hike (despite the wind).

Photos / Sounds

What

Bluewitch Nightshade (Solanum umbelliferum)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:28 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Miniature Lupine (Lupinus bicolor)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 12:23 PM PDT

Description

There are too many lupines. One day I will learn some, I swear.

Photos / Sounds

What

Warrior's Plume (Pedicularis densiflora)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 03:59 PM PDT

Description

Proposed name change. Indian warrior was still blooming abundantly at higher elevations in scrubby areas, under chamise, next to soap plant.

Photos / Sounds

What

Pacific Hound's Tongue (Adelinia grande)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 02:07 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Larkspur (Delphinium nudicaule)

Observer

kueda

Date

March 21, 2009 03:18 PM PDT

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