Bear Valley Road

Bear Valley Road is a dirt road that cuts through two private farmlands (Bear Valley Ranch and Payne Ranch, totaling 12,893-acre) in Colusa County, California. It is known for mass displays of CA native wildflowers, geophytes being amongst them. It the site for bulb enthusiasts visit to see mass blooming of Fritillaria pluriflora. The area is protected under the American Land Conservancy and the Rangeland Trust. Through mutually beneficial farming practices to ranchers, native plants and their enthusiasts, cattle grazing is rotated through different sections of the farmland, allowing for regeneration of the flowers. The valley is one of the last major remnant of the expanse of miles of wildflowers that once covered the Great Central Valley written in text by John Muir. It represents the northern population of plants near the Sacramento area. A plant list is provided by the Sacramento branch of the California Native Plant Society.

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Allium fimbriatum var. purdyi is restricted to serpentine soil in the inner North Coast ranges (Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Napa counties). Flowers are white to pale lavender with darker midveins. Photos below taken by Mary Sue Ittner of plants blooming April 2005 and April 2016.

Allium fimbriatum var. purdyi, Bear Valley, Mary Sue IttnerAllium fimbriatum var. purdyi, Bear Valley, Mary Sue IttnerAllium fimbriatum var. purdyi, Bear Valley, Mary Sue Ittner

Allium serra blooming April 2005 in Bear Valley in Colusa County, California. Photo by Mary Sue Ittner.

Allium serra, Bear Valley, Mary Sue Ittner

Calochortus amabilis photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner April 2016.

Calochortus amabilis, Bear Valley Road, Bob RutemoellerCalochortus amabilis, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus amabilis, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

Calochortus luteus photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner April 2016 showing some of the variation you see in wild populations.

Calochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Bob RutemoellerCalochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus luteus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

Calochortus superbus photos taken by Mary Sue Ittner April 2016. These plants plus the Calochortus luteus photos above may actually be hybrids between Calochortus superbus and Calochortus luteus as those two species can hybridize and they were both blooming at the same time. The difference between an inverted v and a crescent shaped gland can be very subtle.

Calochortus superbus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerCalochortus superbus, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

Calochortus uniflorus photos were taken by Nhu Nguyen. At the right time, these flowers bloom by the thousands producing a nice display.

Calochortus uniflorus, Bear Valley Road, Nhu NguyenCalochortus uniflorus, Bear Valley Road, Nhu NguyenCalochortus uniflorus, Bear Valley Road, Nhu NguyenCalochortus uniflorus, Bear Valley Road, Nhu NguyenCalochortus uniflorus, Bear Valley Road, Nhu Nguyen

Delphinium hesperium subsp. pallescens known as the pale flowered western larkspur is found in oak woodland and eastern slope coast ranges of California from 20 to 1000 m. Photos from Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of plants growing in the grassy bank above the road with Calochortus luteus May 2016.

Delphinium hesperium ssp. pallescens, Bear Valley Road, Bob RutemoellerDelphinium hesperium ssp. pallescens, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerDelphinium hesperium ssp. pallescens, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

Delphinium variegatum the photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner where this species was growing in the grass, under trees, and with wildflowers (Owl's clover).

Delphinium variegatum, Mary Sue IttnerDelphinium variegatum, Mary Sue IttnerDelphinium variegatum, Mary Sue Ittner

Dichelostemma volubile photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner late April 2016. Plants were growing along the bank next to the road.

Dichelostemma volubile, Bear Valley Road, Bob RutemoellerDichelostemma volubile, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue IttnerDichelostemma volubile, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

Fritillaria pluriflora Photos 1-2 from Bob Werra shows a white form he saw in Bear Valley, California, an area where this species blooms some years in mass in March. Photos 3-6 were taken by Mary Gerritsen, March 2008.

Fritillaria pluriflora, Bob WerraFritillaria pluriflora, Bob WerraFritillaria pluriflora, Mary GerritsenFritillaria pluriflora, Mary GerritsenFritillaria pluriflora, Mary GerritsenFritillaria pluriflora, Mary Gerritsen

Toxicoscordion fremontii (Torrey) Rydberg (syn. Zigadenus fremontii) photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen in Bear Valley, Colusa Co., CA in late April, 2010.

Toxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu NguyenToxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu NguyenToxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu NguyenToxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu NguyenToxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu NguyenToxicoscordion fremontii, Bear Valley, Nhu Nguyen

Triteleia laxa photos below were taken by Mary Sue Ittner in 2005 and 2016.

Triteleia laxa, Bear Valley, Mary Sue IttnerTriteleia laxa, Bear Valley, Mary Sue IttnerTriteleia laxa, Bear Valley Road, Mary Sue Ittner

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Page last modified on June 10, 2016, at 12:42 PM