Hide & Seek! California Wildflower Edition
Down with the winter blues? Explore Northern California during the wildflower bloom season this spring. Unlike anything you have experienced before, wildflowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors will emerge with the promise of warmer, milder days. In this article, we will explore five common wildflowers you can find in the Santa Cruz area.
You can recognize an Indian Paintbrush because of its red-orange color covering the leaves blossoming from a strong, long green stem. The color red is known to be difficult for insects to see, however, bees do not seem to have trouble visiting these flowers. Hummingbirds are also frequent visitors of the Indian Paintbrush, using their long bills to reach the nectar at the end of the long flowers. With a lack of lower petal lip, insects are without a perch to rest on. So, bees and hummingbirds have claimed the real estate on the red leaves.
Redwood Sorrel may look like clover, but don’t be fooled! These low-growing plants thrive in moist environments close to the soil. They are rich green in color and tend to grow in thick bunches with pastel flowers peeking out from underneath. This flowering plant is native to western coastal regions of the United States, such as the Hillside.
Miner’s lettuce is one of the most commonly recognized edible plants found in the wild. This popular plant got its name from the miners that used to snack on this wonderful plant as a salad ingredient. All portions of the plant can be consumed, raw or cooked! You can find this plant in dark moist areas such as underneath trees, behind bushes, or buried underneath the shade of shrubbery.
This wildflower is known to be a showstopper - and it’s no secret as to why! California poppies can be easily identified by their bright orange color, oftentimes referred to as a “cup of gold”. These cover much of California’s highways, wide-open fields, and anywhere that allows them to take up the space they deserve.
The desert dandelion is a member of the sunflower family. They have yellow leaves that fold into lobes. This wildflower prefers sandy terrains where it can soak up as much sunshine as possible.
“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.”
~ Native American Proverb