Thursday, May 14, 2009

What a Little Sunlight Can Do

This year's wet Spring has really been a boon for the California wildflower rush. They're more prolific than 2008, and many are lasting longer - in the Sierra Nevada and the California Coastal Ranges (I camera-haunt both).

I enjoyed some of this explosive growth firsthand while visiting the Sierra for a couple of weeks at the end of April. The climate shifted back & forth from wet & gray to sunny & 80 (as oft happens in California). And, all it takes is a little sunlight to get good ole photosynthesis kicked into overdrive, and allow the wildflowers to surge and show their love for Father Sun.

So, much like my post on the Early Bloomers of the Sierra Spring, here's some mug shots of the mid-Spring lineup of flowers that beautify the forests & fields around our family lodge near Mariposa, California, and at about 3,100 feet in the Sierra Nevada.

I watched the Dogwoods around the house "flower" in just 4 days:
pacific dogwood flowersminer's dogwood
(not really flowering since the "petals" are actually bracts (colored leaves ala Bougainvillea) - the true flowers are clustered in the center bit)

Out in the fields, the colors were rioting...

Oaks, Redbud & Wintercress:
redbud & oaks

Goldfields, Blue Dicks & Popcornflower:

Clover, Lupine & Popcornflower:
clover, lupine & popcornflower

Blue Dicks, Buttercups & Spring Gold:
blue dicks & buttercups

Goldfields, Ceanothus & Pines:
goldfields and blue skies

Closeups of the cast of colorful characters...

Baby Stars and Lupines:
baby starslupine lords

Woodland Stars & Black Oak buds:
woodland starsblack oak

Meadow Foam & Manzanita:
nemophilawhite manzanita flowers

Pine Violets & Sulphur Peas:
perky pine violetsmmmmm... orange peas

Mission Bells & Monkeyflowers:
mission or brown bells?monkeyflowers - mimulus guttatus

Checkerblooms & Goldfields:
fresh checkerbloomlasthenia

Popcornflower & Johnny Tuck:
popcornflowerjohnny tuck

Purple Mouse-ears & Paintbrush:
purple mouse-ears - mimulus douglasiipaintbrush

Bluecup & Ceanothus:
common bluecup - githopsis speculariodesceanothus

Prettyface & Blue Dicks:
prettyfaceblue dicks

Fivespot & Mountain Misery:
more fivespotsmountain misery

Wild Ginger & Shooting Stars:
wild ginger flowersshooting stars

Fiddlenecks and a purple Baby Blue Eyes:
fiddleneck unfurlingpurple baby blue eyes

Skullcap & Brooklime:
dannie's skullcap - scutellaria tuberosaamerican brooklime

Sure is amazing what a little sunlight can do.

Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little sunlight can do.

You're in love
Your heart's a flutter all day long
You only stutter cause your poor tongue
Just will not utter the words 'I love you' ...

Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little sunlight can do to you.

Adapted from "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" by the immortal Billie Holiday




  1. That's a beautiful collection. I enjoyed walking through it.

  2. AnonymousMay 14, 2009

    Wowza! Quite an amazing assortment of flora busting out all over. Nothing like Spring in the mountains, is there? Again, a spectacular collection of photos from someone who really knows his stuff.

  3. Too nice as usual! Keep your eyes open for a 'late Spring' round up in a few weeks after I head up again. Hoping to get some great pics of Mariposa Lilies, Flannelbush, Mule Ears and Elegant Brodiaea...

  4. So impressive when compiled together like this. Beauty not just for the eyes, but also for the soul. Looking forward to the next chapter.


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