California botanizing part 5

Finally, the last installment of my botanizing trip with Fred and Leonard down to northern California in May 2022. We continue where we left off in the last post (here), heading up to the Cook and Green Pass in the Klamath National Forest. We passed this waterfall on one side.

But there were acres upon acres of burnt forest on the other side. A lot of those green plants growing up underneath the dead trees are manzanitas. There were lots of greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), but Calfora says there is also whiteleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida) and pinemat manzanita (Arctostaphylos nevadensis) in this area. With all of the burnt trees, we also encountered two morel hunters later in the afternoon – burnt forests are prime habitat for both manzanitas and morel mushrooms.

We got out of the car and started hiking up into the hills. Soon after, we came upon on this plant. Ignore the blurry flowers (left), just focus on those leaves! Absolutely stunning – I would love to have something like this Western waterleaf (Hydrophyllum occidentale) in the garden. The flowers aren’t too bad either (right). If you look closely, you can see there is a cute little black buprestid beetle on there to boot!

Lavender flowers and white markings on western waterleaf leaves
Hydrophyllum occidentale

We soon came to a flat rocky area with tons of rock garden worthy plants.

Most of which we had seen before elsewhere on the trip. But, this cute pussypaws (left) was too hard to resist taking a photo of and I also really like the native sulphur buckwheat (right). Both of them just happen to have the same specific epithet in the scientific name, umbellatum, referring to the flower clusters.

White flowers of pussypaws, Calyptridium umbellatum
Calyptridium umbellatum
Bright yellow flowers of a native sulphur buckwheat, Eriogonum umbellatum
Eriogonum umbellatum

More Calochortus sp. (left and right) and cliff lewisias (center). I think these Calochortus might actually be the elegant cat’s ear, Calochortus elegans compared to the ones posted earlier from Oregon, which may be Calochortus tomiei. Still not sure though.

Spreading phlox.

Pink flowering mat of Phlox diffusa
Phlox diffusa

This was a new one though. The very photogenic Shelton’s violet (Viola sheltonii).

Yellow flowers and lobed green leaves of Shelton's violet, Viola sheltonii
Viola sheltonii

Fred found a very attractive purple-leaved Indian paintbrush.

Red flowers and purple leaves of an Indian paintbrush
Castilleja sp.

Here is the view looking back towards the road we came in on. That’s all greenleaf manzanita bushes in the foreground.

Mahala mat (Ceanothus prostrata).

Pale lavender flowers and toothed leaves of mahala mat, Ceanothus prostratus
Ceanothus prostratus

The blindingly vivid yellow flowers of glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum).

Blindingly bright yellow, nodding flowers of glacier lily, Erythronium grandiflorum
Erythronium grandiflorum

We came upon another flat area with a lot of broadleaf shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii). This one posed nicely in front of a greenleaf manzanita. As I was going through Calflora looking for identification clues, I was chagrined to find that the scientific name for the genus may have been changed to Primula. No. No. No. I like being correct, but I don’t want to give in to that name change. Shooting stars look very different than what I think primulas should look like.

Pink, yellow, and black nodding flowers of Henderson's shooting star, Dodecatheon hendersonii
Dodecatheon hendersonii

Bigseed lomatium (Lomatium macrocarpum). A visually appealing little plant.

Finely dissected grey-green leaves and pale yellow flowers of bigseed biscuitroot, Lomatium macrocarpum
Lomatium macrocarpum


Finely dissected grey-green leaves and pale yellow flowers of bigseed biscuitroot, Lomatium macrocarpum
Lomatium macrocarpum

A study in leaf textures and colors. I like this photo a lot.

Wholeleaf saxifrage (Micranthes integrifolia) reminds me of a smaller, more attractive version of Bergenia, also in the Saxifragaceae.

Small white flowers of wholeleaf saxifrage, Micranthes integrifolia, near Cook and Green Pass, California
Micranthes integrifolia

Probably one of the most attractive lupins I have ever seen, the dwarf lupine (Lupinus lepidus). Purple and white flowers contrast with each green leaf outlined in silver.

Purple and white flowers and white rimmed leaves of dwarf lupin, Lupinus lepidus, near Cook and Green Pass, California
Lupinus lepidus

A rocky outcropping just covered in tiny botanical treasures.

Dwarf larkspur (Delphinum nuttallianum) on the left and a plant with a lot of common names on the right. Seriously. Bulbous woodland star (gross), bulbiferous prairie-star (also gross), bulbiferous fringecup (bleh), bulblet prairie star (blah), bulbed woodland star (awkward), smooth woodland star (ok) and smooth rockstar (yeah!). Only one currently accepted scientific name though, Lithophragma glabrum.

Blue and white flowers of Delphinium nuttallianum near Cook and Green Pass, California
Delphinium nuttallianum
White, finely dissected flowers of bulbed woodland star, Lithophragma glabrum near Cook and Green Pass, California
Lithophragma glabrum

Maybe my favorite yellow daisy-like flower of the trip, the heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia).

Yellow daisy-like flowers and heart-shaped leaves of heartleaf arnica, Arnica cordifolia, near Cook and Green Pass, California
Arnica cordifolia

Another picturesque rocky outcropping. This is probably my favorite type of ecosystem, one with interesting rocks and a huge diversity of compact plants.

This was a new one. The nodding flowers aren’t very noticeable from above. Very easy to accidentally step on if you aren’t careful. The spotted fritillary (Fritillaria atropurpurea) is very closely related to the checkerlily (Fritillaria affinis). These two species can be hard to tell apart, but Calflora didn’t have any of the latter identified in this immediate area. The inside of the the flower is amazing and worth taking a look at.

Checkered green and maroon flowers of the spotted fritillary, Fritillaria atropurpurea, near Cook and Green Pass, California
Fritillaria atropurpurea


One of my favorite pictures from the trip, with a windblown oak leaf caught on the stem of the checkerlily against a backdrop of ferns, dwarf larkspurs, and a stormy sky.

Heading back for the evening, Leonard spotted this purple California groundcone, Kopsiopsis strobilacea.

Purple and white flowers of a California groundcone, Kopsiopsis strobilacea, near Cook and Green Pass, California
Kopsiopsis strobilacea

Mount Shasta the next morning on the way home.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of the plants from our trip. I’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled garden chaos next time. And is it ever a doozy of a mess. Between the long rainy spring, a massive construction project, and the grass pollen, I am very behind in weeding. Parts of the garden feel like an overwhelming disaster, so much so that I’ve been putting off garden writing to focus on writing about this much more pleasant botanizing trip!

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