Wednesday, December 23, 2015

California Christmas Cards

If I were ever to get off my lazy butt and send out real Christmas cards again to all my wonderful family & friends, here are some of my California native plant pics that might make the cover.

What do you think? Which one(s) do you want on your card?

more and more indian warrior
Indian Warrior, Pedicularis densiflora, that blooms as early as January

black oak leafing out
Fresh new spring leaves of deciduous Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii

snow plant
Snow Plant, Sarcodes sanguinea, a parasite that comes up with snow melt

red elderberries
Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, good for Christmas color and wine!

cal indian pink
California Indian Pink, Silene laciniata ssp. californica, a lovely native carnation

spice bush
Spice Bush, Calycanthus occidentalis, an endemic and relic shrub from dinosaur days

rose gall
A Rose Gall Wasp gall on Ground Rose, Rosa spithamea (yes, that's a gall!)

scarlet beardtongue
Scarlet Beardtongue, Keckiella corymbosa, a shrub that's a hummingbird favorite

manzanita red
Live Manzanita wood - aka "refrigerator bush" :)

summer ornaments
California Gooseberries, Ribes californicum, still on after leaf drop like ornaments

bristlecone pine male cones
The red male flowers on an ancient Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva

And, of course, Christmasberry, Heteromeles arbutifolia, a classic December treat

Merry Christmas everyone. May safe travels, warm fireplaces and the laughter of friends and family be overflowing for you this season, and for many years to come.



  1. For a Christmas Card you gotta go with the Snow Plant!

  2. I cannot pick...they are one beauty after another. Thank you for all the beauty you have shared this year!

  3. Rose gall - you can stare into its depths and wander about the richness of life.

  4. Stunning and refreshing photos; they capture the season and say "California" so well. Thank you!

  5. it's a toss up between black oak leaves and manzanita wood--I miss them both!

  6. I really like the manzanita wood. But they are all really beautiful!

  7. Black oak leaves; stunning against the black background. Second choice - the California Indian Pink, probably for the same reason.

  8. All good choices. My personal favorites are the Sarcodes, Ribes, and that amazing rose gall.

  9. Those are all amazing, what great work you've done, and so many lovely plants. In intrigued by 2 things, especially:
    1) spice bush being a relic from ages ago (COOL! Need to find it around here...)
    2) and anyone calling manzanita "refrigerator bush." I've NEVER heard that. Do you know what that's about?

    1. You're in luck BB - spice bush grows in your area. You can find it along the Merced River around the Briceburg Bridge, and also along the river on the Hites Cover trail.

      Manzanita are called refrigerator bush, and Madrone called refrigerator trees, because they're cool to touch when you lay your hand on a trunk, especially after the bark has recently peeled/shed. It has to do with the super thin bark with the cambium layer directly beneath. Much like a pipe when water is flowing through it feels cool to the touch.


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