California bulbs in Central California 3

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 25 May 2005 22:27:12 PDT

This is my third installment about our trip to see California flowers in 
April. I'm a bit slow getting this done as it all takes a bit of time and I 
have been very busy. We spent one day driving a 48 miles loop in Santa 
Barbara County to see the wild flowers at Figueroa Mountain. There was a 
whole host of plant communities we saw that day including chaparral, 
coastal sage, grassland and woodland. We stopped many times to look at 
plants so it took us all day. We had fierce wind, a little rain, sunshine 
and dark clouds so we experienced a little of everything weather wise. 
There were masses of different kind of Lupines in bloom with assorted 
companions including Gilia and California poppies. The flowers were really 
quite spectacular as were the views. From the summit at 4500 feet there 
were views of the ocean with large trees to frame it and underneath carpets 
of flowers. I highly recommend this drive in a good flower year like this 
one was.

We saw a lot of different kind of geophytes and still saw only a small 
number of the ones in this area. In the beginning we were entertained by 
Calochortus catalinae growing in the grass and with Dichelostemma 
capitatum, Delphinium parryi, and Lupinus sp. We saw them again towards the 
end of the drive so it was a nice way to start and end the day. The other 
Calochortus we saw in a shady wooded area was Calochortus albus. I've added 
habitat and closer pictures of Calochortus catalinae to the wiki.…

We saw Delphinium parryi mentioned just now in the beginning in the grass 
(I already added pictures of it to the wiki) and in the end when I had to 
climb up the side of a hill to reach it growing with shrubs in a very 
different habitat. There was a report of Delphinium nuttallianum being seen 
in the latter part of the drive, but we think someone got confused about 
that since that species is not supposed to occur in this area. What we did 
see in bloom fairly high up along the road in somewhat shady conditions was 
some lush Delphinium patens. It's a species I grow and a very long blooming 

There were at least three species of Alliums we saw. Early on we saw Allium 
crispum again and then halfway up when we were wandering around in the 
scrub discovered Allium haematochiton in bloom. I've added a couple of 
pictures of it in various stages. It is one of the easiest California 
Alliums for me to grow and the longest blooming one so I was surprised to 
find it so much further south where rainfall must be so different. Close by 
but with only one leaf we found another Allium that was white with pink 
stripes. My husband found a PDF file for the Plants of the Los Padres 
National Forest, South Zone, online which would have listed the 
possibilities. That didn't help me a lot since there were 16 Alliums 
listed! Having one leaf helped however and I narrowed it down. I think it 
might have been Allium diabloense. Russell Stafford sells it so maybe he 
can tell me if my pictures look like that species. By the way there were 13 
taxa listed of Calochortus on that list too. Sadly we didn't see all of them.…

My companions were so wanting to see Fritillaria biflora. Mine had finished 
blooming long before and we had already seen seed pods of it in the 
Pinnacles so I didn't think we'd still find any in bloom, but we did in one 
of our off the road wanders through the fields.…

In the middle of an open field of goldfields and Sisyrinchium bellum we saw 
Chlorogalum leaves, but no blooms yet. There was Yucca in bloom and some of 
California's nicest shrubs/perennials blooming together on the last stages 
of the loop (Dendromecon, Ribes, Penstemons, Lupinus, Trichostema lanatum, 
etc.) We felt very grateful that with so much of the California wild areas 
covered with buildings and houses now there are still special places where 
you can get a sense of what it must have been like before.

Mary Sue 

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