Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Flora of California's North Coast: Beyond the Redwoods

The magnetic draw of California's North Coast has a lot to do with its stunning forests of towering Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens).  But as is always the case, there is more to this ecosystem than a cursory glance would indicate.  High rainfall and fog-drip allow a lush understory of ferns and forest wildflowers to thrive among the redwoods.  May and June are good months to visit the redwoods and experience the spring wildflower show.  The following collection of photographs are wildflowers of the redwood forests, found in Prairie Creek Redwoods, Grizzly Creek Redwoods and Patrick's Point State Parks on our recent trip north.

Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale)
These shrubs are absolutely stunning in full bloom, along with the similar Coast Rhododendron, pictured below. 
Western Azaleas are also found in the Sierra Nevada.
Coast Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum)

Columbian Windflower (Anemone deltoidea)
These beautiful white Anemones brighten up the forest floor and are one of my favorites!

Columbian Windflower (Anemone deltoidea)

Pacific Starflower (Lysimachia latifolia)
These small flowers grow close to the ground and may be easily over-looked.  A few moments to look more closely is
time well-spent.

Andrew's Clintonia (Clintonia andrewsiana)

Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)

Buttercup (Ranunculus sp.)
In damp, creek-side locations, look for the shiny, glowing flowers of Buttercups.

Western Wakerobin (Trillium ovatum)
Unfortunately, the lovely white blooms had already dropped from the Trilliums by late May. 

False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum racemosum)

Claspleaf Twistedstalk (Streptopus amplexifolius)
A quick glance down at this plant won't reveal its flowers; peek underneath the leaves to
find the delicate bells.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
A member of Ericaceae, the same family as heath, heather and our familiar Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp.), Salal
is synonymous with the Pacific Northwest. 

Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana)
This photo doesn't do this plant justice: a green, "clovery" carpet of Redwood Sorrel in bloom beneath towering
redwoods is a beautiful sight indeed!

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