Table Mountain is a flattop mesa located in Butte County. It is quite distinctive set against the backdrop of the rounded hills of the Sierra Nevada. The State of California owns a 3200 acre parcel, North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, that is managed by Fish and Game. This area was long ago formed by lava that cooled into a flat basaltic plateau over what was (65 million years ago) once a river basin. Over time faulting and erosion of the softer shoulders of the river valley has created canyons and cliffs. Winter rainfall creates temporary streams and over time ravines. The spectacular wildflower display starts in late February and continues until hot temperatures dry the area, usually in late May. The timing and breadth of the display depends on the weather each year. Thin soils prevented introduced grasses from dominating and the rocky nature of the mesa made it less attractive for farming. On this page we are picturing geophytes found along Cherokee road, the road that leads to and from Table Mountain, as well as the Fish and Game parcel. Although there are some early blooming species, many of the geophytes bloom later in the cycle after some of the annuals have started to fade. Photos taken April 2006 by Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller show the display of flowers in a good year and some of the different habitats.
Calochortus albus can be found in the cobbles and along Cherokee road. Photographs from Mary Sue Ittner April 2006 were taken along the road.
Dipterostemon capitatus, syn. Dichelostemma capitatum, is found in thin soil and rocky outcrops. It blooms earlier in the season and continues on for a longer period. Photo 1 by Nhu Nguyen. Photos 2-4 taken April 2006 by Mary Sue Ittner.
Iris macrosiphon photographed by Mary Sue Ittner was growing along the Cherokee Road.