Acmispon americanus, commonly known as Spanish Clover and Bird’s Foot Trefoil (former scientific name Lotus unifoliolatus), is an annual that we see in bloom around May and June here in San Diego County’s inland areas.
Perhaps due to the “super” blooms at Anza Borrego, Carrizo Plain and elsewhere this year (thanks to California’s wet winter), I’m looking at our local flora with a more elevated sense of curiosity than during regular walks in the springtime. Because maybe, just maybe, there’s a flower or plant out this year that I haven’t seen before?
It’s snapdragon season in Southern California! Two years ago, in April 2017*, it was a Coulter’s Snapdragon (Antirrhinum coulteranium), then still unknown to me and an unexpected find on a trail at Lake Hodges, that heightened my attention and focus to the native wildflowers here San Diego County*. So maybe it was fate that a few days ago, I found an almost entirely white Antirrhinum nuttallianum (Nuttall’s or Violet Snapdragon) at Lake Hodges. A coincidence really of course, but it’s like a little snapdragon anniversary for me. :-)
With the abundance of wildflowers that we’re seeing in the spring of 2019, it’s hard to pick a favorite, of course. Last year – and I guess much to everyone’s surprise since San Diego only received a total of ~3 1/2 inches (90mm) of rain – we saw a large amount of Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia, commonly known as Wishbone Bush or California Four o’clock (a plant that isn’t easy to photograph in a compelling way, I’d like to add), almost everywhere.
In 2019, my personal “wildflower or the year” is without a shred of doubt Calandrinia menziesii, commonly known as Red Maids.
Even after more than eight years in Southern California, I find flowers and plants on local trails that I have not seen before, and Caulanthus heterophyllus (commonly known as Slender Pod Jewelflower, San Diego Wild Cabbage, San Diego Jewelflower) is one of them. I may not have paid close attention to all of the plants before 2015, when I took the Chaparral Naturalist Class with the California Chaparral Institute, but we’ve had a “good” winter since then (in the 2016/2017 water year) and I didn’t see this flower anywhere – and this year, they seem to be everywhere!
Willow Herb or Canyon Clarkia (Clarkia epilobioides) is another flower that I had not seen (or noticed) until spring 2019. I spotted the first few of them two weeks ago along one of my running trails, and soon after, they began to come out in many more places along the trails that I visit often with Toni and the camera. White anthers, white stamen and white petals – quite a challenge to photograph! I hope you like the results.