Mt Tamalpais wildflowers

A collection of wildflowers from Mt Tamalpais State Park:

Clockwise from top left:
Bushy orange monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus)
Lupine (maybe Lupinus bicolor)
Starflower (Lysimachia trientalis latifolia)
Red larkspur (Delphinium nudicaule)
California goldfields (Lasthenia californica)
Mustard (and a blue flower I need to identify)
The monkeyflower and mustard were on a trail leading to the beach in the last post, part of the park area.
All of the other flowers were along the Cataract Trail on the west slopes of Mt Tamalpais. I walked down from a trail head near the top, through meadows filled with lupine and a scattering of poppies. The starflower and red larkspur were in the wooded ravine closer to the waterfalls. I saw many white irises, a large blue-eyed grass, California Poppy, and other species. I missed seeing an orchid, Fairly slipper (Calypso bulbosa). I was in a hurry to get to the waterfalls before the sun filled the ravine, or I would have spent more time with them. I’d read that the area was rich in wildflowers, but I haven’t visited in April before. It was quite a show.

Stony beach

The shore just north of Stinson Beach in Marin County, California:

I got there just after the sun came up, hidden behind hills that are to the right. The beach was in shadow, but the sky was pretty bright, and lacked color, so I converted to black and white. A place I want to go back to – the rocky shoreline is really beautiful, but in accessible in some of the nicest spots. This location had a nice trail leading down from a pull off on Route 1.

Violet abstract

An extreme closeup of a violet:

Violets bloom in great numbers in my yard. With so many at hand, it takes just a few minutes to find colors and contrasts for an abstract image. This was taken at about 4x magnification.

Spring ephemerals

A few spring wildflowers I’ve seen blooming:

The first is a group of hepatica, the two others are bloodroot. By this weekend, the bloodroot should be nearly gone, the petals dropped. I expect bluebells will be blooming, also Dutchmen’s breeches, squirrel corn, and trout lily.

Spring at Shaker Glen

The flow was fast and the water deep after a rain:

I like the bright green of the mosses along the side. The all-green moss image from last week was from a boulder not far from this cascade. Wildflowers are starting now – last week I saw the first bloodroot and hepatica. In my backyard wildflower meadow, the bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are up, but they won’t flower for a while yet.

Among the mosses

Mosses are turning a glorious green and sprouting capsules:

I’ve learned over the years that crocuses are a spring tease – bloodroot, bluebells, and many others are weeks away. Mosses are almost glow with green in the otherwise brown early spring landscape, and as I look closer, I can find moss capsules springing up in groups.


It’s that time of year:

I’ve taken many crocus photographs, it’s a challenge to come up with something different each year. I started with this off-center arrangement of two petals with a petal background – then I looked more closely, and saw the orange crumbs of pollen on the lower petal. This is at approximately 3x magnification.

Mosses and lichens

A miniature landscape of mosses and lichens:

Moss capsules are something I’ve learned to look for in early spring. This scene has haircap moss, the capsule of another moss species, and a mixture of lichens, maybe in the genus Cladonia. The drops are from melting snow, a snow flurry started soon after.

Finding spring

Last weekend I went looking for spring, and I found it. Looking through last year’s files, I saw that this flower, the nonnative ornamental Adonis amurensis, might be flowering along with snowdrops. It was:

There were flocks of snow drops and several patches of Adonis flowering at a local arboretum. No crocuses were flowering yet, they had just emerged. A spring yellow flower to go with last weeks end-of-season sunflowers.


Flowers in a tall stand of Helianthus from last October:

There were two groups of them, like groves of trees, the tallest plants were 8-10 feet high. I’m guessing they are Helianthus maximiliani or Helianthus giganteus. They were a glorious sight at the end of the season, and since they were along a walk I take almost daily, I saw a lot of them. A nice bit of sunshine while it’s still winter here. I’ve held on to this image for a while, but a post at The Task at Hand reminded me of it.