June 7, 2022
The late spring rains are welcome and will go a long way in keeping us green a little longer. The wildflowers at times seem to be spectacular and other days appear to be bedraggled and overcome by the tall grasses. In this blog I wanted to show some of the flowers blooming later, both native and nonnative. The lily flowers of Allium uniflorum, Wild Onion, and Triteleia peduncularis, Long Ray brodiaea. The different pea and vetch flowers such as the Four Seeded vetch, Vicia tetrasperma, and the Grass pea or Peavine, Lathyrus sphaericus. The Grass pea is an invasive plant that can take over native habitats and has recently made its way into Little Lake Valley. It is easily identifiable by its bright red to pinkish single flowers and leaf structure, which differs from other pea family plants that have pinnately compound leaves.
Another introduced and highly successful nonnative flower we see a lot of this time of year is the Hairy Cat’s Ear dandelion, Hypochaeris radicata. It stands out because after weedeating the grasses and other weeds it will bloom in profusion. I was especially fascinated with how many beetles were visiting these bright yellow flowers.
The Brodiaeas bloom late in spring and into summer and are always such a treat to see. The short but spectacular Dwarf brodiaea, Brodiaea terretris, is having a very good blooming year in the pasture areas of the valley and its blue purple color adds a lovely hue to the palette of yellow and pink. The light blue of the Flax flower, Linum usitatissimum, is a common sight in these fields. This plant is not a native to California, it was brought over from Europe as it is thought to be one of the oldest cultivated plants. Flax flower is used to produce linseed oil, which is extracted from the seeds. This linseed oil is high in Omega-3 acids and when it is refined, also used to produce paint, soap, and printing ink. Flax fibers are used to produce linen and used as insulation material, in book binding, and in the shoe industry. It is apparently a very easy plant to grow.
This time of year, as our spring is coming to an end and the hot days of summer are ahead, it is a good time to go out and see what is blooming and notice all the butterflies that are flitting around too.