Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wildflowers in Mission Trails

Every day brings new wildflowers here in San Diego. It's exciting and wonderful. I walk the same trails week after week, and I find new flowers every single time. Here's the latest bunch. They are from Mission Trails, beginning in the Grasslands Loop, then Oak Canyon, up to the Fortuna Saddle and the summit of North Fortuna, and back down through Oak Canyon to Old Mission Dam.

I was barely out of the parking lot when I came across pineapple weed, a.k.a. wild chamomile. It's in the same genus as chamomile.

While we walked along a riparian area, I found Jepsonia parryi, the same plant we ate in my class this week! I'm relieved I could recognize it without my teacher around to point it out.

Jepsonia leaves. Each one has a corm underground. Since I am not yet very familiar with this plant and its reproduction, I wouldn't dream of harvesting and eating the ones here out of fear of wiping them out.

Then we came across some clematis vines:

And a gorgeous Parry Phacelia. It's a shame I haven't been able to get a better photo of this one, since it's so beautiful with white spots on the petals and beautiful white stamens.

Parry Phacelia, Phacelia parryi

As we left the riparian area, we passed Parish Nightshade:

Parish Nightshade, Solanum parishii

Near the top of the mountain, we passed the funny looking but non-native Cyclops Acacia:

And, most excitingly, we found Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitum. Why is that exciting? Because these beauties have edible corms! Each plant has a large parent corm that produces little cormlets. By harvesting just the parent and detaching the little cormlets, you can obtain a meal and help propagate the plant. It can also grow from seeds, so you can further help the plant by letting it go to seed and then planting the seeds when you retrieve the corm.

A blue dicks leaf - the big one that runs diagonal in the photo

A blue dicks flower.

At the summit of North Fortuna, we found this lovely flower:

Back down in the canyon, we passed this morning glory:

And we passed several mature coast live oaks. They all look like this right now:

This is pretty, whatever it is:

It's not a great shot, but it was a pretty flower.

While walking along the roadside back to our cars, we passed this plant. It's clearly in the mint family and the flowers were just gorgeous, although I completely failed to capture them well with my camera because the wind was blowing. It doesn't smell like mint or sage, which narrows down what it might be. My best guess is henbit, which isn't a native but you still find it around here.

Then we found a bladderpod plant, Peritoma arborea. It's so pretty, which kind of surprised me since it's known for having a bad smell. It's in the Cleome family and its other name is Stinkweed.

I wonder what's going to be flowering next week? Springtime is so exciting!

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