Wildflowers at La Purisima Mission

“A Surprisingly Good Display of Spring Annuals”

In spite of a very dry year, the March rains brought out a respectable display of spring annuals in some of the meadow areas on the La Purisima Mission grounds.

On Sunday, April  6, 2014, Connie Geiger and I led our annual early April field trip of around 25 people, this year along “Al’s Flower Trail,” named for Al Thompson, for many years the main Garden Docent at the mission. This trail runs along a slope on the northeast side of the valley, starting from a cistern by a stand of coast live oaks, and meets the trail running along the creek to the “duck pond,” the source on the early water system.

Wildflowers Viewed

White flowers included white layia, Layia glandulosa, popcorn flowers, Cryptantha & Plagiobothrys, spp., common yarrow, Achillea millefolium, honeydew (AKA wedge-leaved Horkelia) , Horkelia cuneata, miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, California croton, Croton californicus, and morning-glories, Calystegia spp.

Yellow flowers included dwarf golden yarrow, Eriophyllum pringlei; golden yarrow E. confertiflorum, Bigelow’s coreopsis, Coreopsis bigelovii, and assorted DYCs.

Blue to lavender flowers included various Phacelia spp.

Red to pink flowers included purple owl’s clover, Castilleja exserta, prickly phlox, Leptodactylon californiacum, purple Chinese houses, Collinsia heterophylla, among others.

There were bush as well as forb lupines, including silver bush lupine, Lupinus albifrons, costal bush lupine, L. arboreus, dwarf lupine, L. bicolor, and collared lupine, L. truncatus. Along the left side of the trail, were several sand almonds, Prunus fasciculata var, punctata, some in fruit.

At the head of the trail were several stands of cream cups, including the carnival poppy (a color variation alternating
white and yellow petals), Platystemon californicus. Down the slope towards the creek was a stand of goldfields, Lasthenia sp. By the trail up to the cross, were a few black figworts, Scrophularia atrata, and some redberry bushes, Rhamnus crocea, with tiny flowers.

All in all, a very rewarding tour.

– Charlie Blair

April, 2014