As Spring and Summer returns to Northern California there arises in undisturbed places a bounty of Nature’s most alluring panoramas, the wild flowers. The sight of acres of Goldfields that turn the barrens under the Oaks into a veritable sea of gold is something that is sometimes overlooked. Not only are massed displays of wild flowers seen in Shasta County but elsewhere in Tehama, Butte and Lassen counties there are several hundred species of wild flowers appearing in a succession of bloom throughout the three seasons of Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Centrally located with easy access to some the finest wild flower habitats in the North State is Lassen Volcanic National Park. The bottom lands of King’s Creek in Lassen are, in late Summer, a fairyland of multi-colored herbage, including yellow Monkey Flowers, along with the pink species, yellow flowered Butterweed, semi-aquatic Sierra Corydalis, tall Corn Lilly and of course the seemingly ever present Lupine. Other wild flowers are present, but less concentrated in masses except perhaps the sunflower-like Mule Ears along the park road in Summer. The unique, scarlet Snow Plant can be seen shortly after snow melt along hiking trails. All of this wild flower potential is for naught should the snows of Winter be so heavy and persistent that the vegetation, including the wild flowers, never come to maturation.
At the valley level there are always some wild flowers to be seen. The Vida Plains of Tehama County have rich bands of wild flowers edging vernal pools including the Owl Clovers and Meadowfoam, with the distinctive white flowers with rose-colored veins. Elsewhere there is a variety of flowers including the early Spring arrivals Blue Dicks and Pussy Ears. On the Millville Plains east of Redding fields of Tidy Tips interspersed with purple Lakespur.
(To be continued in the May Edition of Today’s Senior Magazine)
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