|Discover trails - Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve|
Here is a list of places I recommend for wildflower viewing in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, primarily in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties with a few farther locations added at the end. Edgewood Park, Coyote Lake, Santa Teresa, and Russian Ridge are particularly recommended through May.
This is the same list I presented at the Spring Wildflower show for the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society on April 29, 2012. Click on the place names for a link to the park website. Some additional links are provided.
|A field of discovery|
- Coyote Ridge
- also see Wildflower Hotspot #1
- Coyote Lake - Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
- try Calaveras, Ohlone and Mummy Mountain Trails
- join the May 6, 2012 hike with the California Native Plant Society with details here.
- also see Wildflower Hotspot #6
- Rancho Canada del Oro
- try Mayfair Ranch and Longwall Canyon Trails.
- Almaden Quicksilver County Park
- try New Almaden, Mockingbird Hill Lane and Mine Trails.
- also New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Association
- and Wildflower Hotspot #3
- Santa Teresa County Park
- try Stile Ranch, Rocky Ridge and Bernal Hill Trails.
- also Friends of Santa Teresa Park
- Joseph D. Grant County Park
- Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve
- also see Wildflower Hotspot #4
Northern Santa Cruz Mountains
- Edgewood Park and Nature
- San Bruno Mountain State and County Park
- Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve
- try Bay-Ridge, Borel Hill and Ancient Oaks Trails.
- wildflower hikes on May 2, 3, 13 (Mother's Day) and 24, 2012 led by docents described here.
Coastal Parks - can still be blooming in June. For all these coastal parks, may sure to check the San Mateo Coast Natural History Association website.
- San Pedro Valley County Park
- Montara State Beach and McNee Ranch State Park
- Bean Hollow State Park and Pescadero Beach State Park
- hikes at Pescadero Marsh led by the San Mateo Coast Natural History Association every first and third Sunday described here.
- and Wildflower Hotspot #5
- Ano Nuevo State Park - May 13, 2012 hike with the California Native Plant Society described here.
Further Out - worth the day roadtrip or weekend campout
- Sunol Regional Wilderness
- Henry W. Coe State Park
- see the Pine Ridge Association for flower guides and information on wildflower walks on May 20th, 2012.
- Pinnacles National Monument
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
|The white crown inside helps me ID bluedicks, Dichelostemma capitatum|
To help you further discover our local native wildflowers, tomorrow I will provide recommendations for numerous relevant websites and a few books - just click the Links tab at the top of the page and then scroll to the Wildflower section. I've included sites where you can get help identifying wildflowers such as plant lists for each park, photographs arranged by names, searches by colors and other features of the flower, even a listserver of photographers reporting on realtime wildflower bloom locations throughout the state.
|Elegant madia, Madia elegans|
The most important part of discovering wildflowers is going on hikes to see them in their natural environment. Don't get too caught up in names and lists. Enjoy your time outside, observe the ecological context of the flowers (cool bug visitors!), and you can look up the other stuff later.
|Denseflower willowherb, Epilobium densiflorum|
Last summer at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, I found a flower I have never seen before. Even though I spend a lot of time at Russian Ridge, including doing botanical surveys, it was such a thrill to discover the denseflower willowherb.
|From the Earth Day Parade, tierramor is right, the seedlings are from shooting star, Dodecatheon hendersonii|