CA – April 2021, Wildflowers of Shasta County (Part 2)

After a 3-week hiking hiatus, when invited to join my botany friends for a short hike at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, how could I say no? Special note of thanks to them for helping with identifications.

Firecracker flower (Dichelostemma ida-maia) was one somehow missing from my photo library. I’d found a few on my bike rides but they just didn’t offer the WOW I needed.

There were some nice patches of firecrackers.

The firecrackers contrasted nicely with nightshades.

I was quite excited to be introduced to the ginger bloom. I’ve taken many photos of the beautiful heart-shaped ginger leaves. I was enlightened yesterday about the hidden bounty. This is the most common variety in Shasta County, Hartweg’s Wild Ginger (Asarum hartwegii). The bloom in Trinity County is significantly different. “California has four species of wild ginger, all with similar habits and looks, but separated slightly by range or character differences. The two most common are Asarum hartwegii, or Hartweg’s wild ginger, and Asarum caudatum, or creeping wild ginger. Hartweg’s wild ginger is the most common in the conifer forests around Redding, while creeping wild ginger is commonly found in Trinity County and along the North Coast. Though called wild ginger, this plant is not related to the ginger normally used in the kitchen. The wild ginger name comes from the aroma that the leaves emit when crushed, or that the rhizomes (underground stems) emit when broken apart. Researchers have now determined that wild ginger plants contain poisonous chemicals that are harmful to humans if consumed. “Seed dispersal in wild gingers is significantly aided by ants, which benefit from the location of the flower on the forest floor. some researchers have suggested that pollination occurs by flies and gnats attracted to the rotten-flesh color and the sometimes musty, rotting smell that the flowers produce. However, other researchers have found that wild ginger relies heavily on self-pollination instead.” Source link

Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida) was another I wanted to see. We found one unaccessible patch and then a little later we found the gold mine! This is in an area burned in the 2018 Carr fire. I wonder if that heat contributed to seed distribution.

It was a great time to be on the trail for a wide variety of blooms. There were several colors of iris.

The trail was lined with California snowdrop bush (Styrav redivivus).

The Purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) had clearly found perfect conditions in which to grow. The plants were 3-4 feet tall.

Clustered broomrape (Aphyllon fasciculatum) is a parasitic herb, producing little or no chlorophyll; instead, they draw nourishment from the roots of other plants by means of small suckers called haustoria.

The clematis looked like it was having a bad hair day. They were quickly passing peak bloom.

Stipulate lotus (Hosackia stipularis)

Sulfur Pea (Lathyrus sulphureus)

Creeping or Sonoma Sage (Salvia sonomensis)


Hairy star tulip


I only found one patch of paintbrush.


Dogwoods were just starting to bloom.

With little spring rain, I don’t expect April showers to bring May flowers; however, I suspect I’ll still find plenty. I hope you all get out and enjoy a few blooms as well.

6 thoughts on “CA – April 2021, Wildflowers of Shasta County (Part 2)

  1. How beautiful. Thanks, Jan, for the interesting botanical details. I’m so jealous of the fields of gorgeous blooms in your state.

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