Naturalist Segment: Wildflowers

March 25, 2020
Up next in our Science Committee’s Naturalist Segment is a fun look at native, spring wildflower species, written by Emma Kelsey. Spring has sprung! The way we get out on the trails has changed a lot over the past couple weeks. If you do choose to use the trails, responsibly, we encourage you to slow down and enjoy the spring flowers.

Here are some local native wildflower species to look for:

Californian Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) - Blue-eyed Grass is a perennial plant that is found most commonly in open areas on coastal California. It grows about 1 foot tall with grass-like leaves and small blue flowers less than an inch in diameter. It is thought that the local Ohlone, and other Native American peoples, used an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for indigestion and stomach pain. [1]

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) - The California Poppy is a perennial plant with long, rounded, blue-green leaves and single bright flowers on long stems. The poppy’s color ranges from yellow to red and, as the California state flower, is commonly thought of as golden. [2] You can find these flowers in open areas just about everywhere. Rumor has it that there are laws prohibiting the picking of the California poppy because it is the state flower. Actually, although there are laws stating that you need a land owner’s permission to remove plant material from their land, no law explicitly states the California Poppy. [3]

Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) - Redwood sorrel is a ground cover plant that loves the cool forest floor of redwood forests. Single white flowers rise from three clover-like leaves. The undersides of sorrel leaves can be a brilliant purple. These leaves are edible in small doses and some Native American tribes ate them with dried fish. The sorrel leaves were also thought to be used as a topical antibiotic. [4]

Lupins - Lupins are a genus of plans in the legume (bean) family (Facaceae). The leaves have many “fingers” and are referred to as ‘palmate’ with anywhere from 5-28 leaflets. Their bloom contains many little flowers on a long stalk, the flowers are most commonly purple or white. There are many species of lupin in bloom locally. Some are perennials and some are annuals. To learn move about the lupin species you’re seeing, visit The California Native Plant Society’s website:

Cited Sources
[1] The Native Plant Society. Blue Eyed Grass. (Accessed: Apr 29, 2019).
[2] Royal Horticultural Society, Plant Selector, RHS Gardening. (Accessed: Apr 29, 2019).
[3] California Department of Fish and Wildlife. California Poppy. (Accessed: Apr 29, 2019). [4] Holmes. Russ. USDA Forest Service. Redwood Sorrel. Plant of the the week. (Accessed: Apr 29, 2019).

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