March Madness

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Wildflowers are blooming all over and it’s been challenging trying to keep up with them.  My goal is to record them all via the camera for now, and to identify them.  I’m going to have to be more scientific about it and not just wander around with the camera, but years of living in California has instilled in me the mantra–DON’T PICK THE WILDFLOWERS!

Here is what I’ve found so far with a good idea of what they are:


March 2014Wild Radish

Wild radish (Raphanus sativus).  This is one that I went back to and dug it up so I could identify it.  The taproot never forms into a radish.

Erigeron peregrinus, Wandering daisy

Some type of daisy.  They are growing in the grass around the house and I’ve found white and light pink ones.  They close up at night and open in the morning.

March 2014Lamium purpureumRed Deadnettle  Red Deadnettle

Red Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum).   They have square stems and the flowers grow out from under the leaves.  These plants are growing all over the vegetable garden area.

March 2014Monotropa hypopithysPinesap I think this is called Pinesap (Monotropa hypopithys).  I found it growing on the west side of the house in the shade.  When I first found it it didn’t have much of a top, but the top has since started to leaf out.  I’m going to keep an eye on it to see if the top develops into flowers, which would be 20-30, bell-shaped, nodding, atop the stem.  Monotropa refers to the flowers all facing one way.  Pinesap has no chlorophyll and saps the roots of nearby plants for food.

(It’s one week later and I think it is not Pinesap.  There are many more of them in the garden and they have leafy tops.  If they grow flowers I’ll be able to ID it–maybe.)  (Edit: 2/22/2015; This plant grew into a green plant about 18 inches tall with large oval leaves, but it never bloomed.  They are back again this year. )

Spreading groundsmoke  Spreading groundsmoke (Gayophytum diffusum), maybe

Centaurium erythraea  Monterey centaury (Centaurium muehlenbergii)  I saw this one in October of last year.


March 2014Violet  Violet

March 2014Viola   A type of Viola, possibly Upland yellow violet (Viola nuttallii).  At any rate, a yellow violet seems wrong.



IMarch 2014QuinceNot sure, but I think this is a Quince.  It’s a bush and it’s gorgeous covered in the red flowers.  I’ll have to wait and see what fruit, if any, develops.  (Edit: 3/22/2015; No fruit on this bush; it’s most likely a flowering quince.)

Hyacinths  Cheery hyacinths that greet us as we drive up to the house.


March 2014Grape hyacinth  Grape hyacinth (Muscari)

March 2014Lamprocapnos spectabilis (bleeding heart)poppy family Papaveraceae  Bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa)



Stropharia ambigua  Stropharia ambigua.  So pretty, they look like sugar-dusted candy.

March 2014Tramates hirsuta  Trametes hirsuta.  These are mushrooms growing in the flower bed by the  the dining room.



March 2014Turkey Vulture  Turkey vulture

March 2014Red-shafted Flicker  Northern Flicker


March 2014 Western Fence Lizard  Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis).  Well, I’m hoping it is, because those lizards have blue bellies.

“They are brown to black in color (the brown may be sandy or greenish) and have black stripes on their backs, but their most distinguishing characteristic is their bright blue bellies. The ventral sides of the limbs are yellow.  These lizards also have blue patches on their throats. This bright coloration is faint or absent in both females and juveniles. The scales of S. occidentalis are sharply keeled, and between the interparietal and rear of thighs, there are 35-57 scales.”   Wikipedia


When you are pulling out weeds, other things become much more fascinating–like this ant trucking along with a larger dead ant.  They were feasting that night!

March2014 Elk

We haven’t seen very much of the Elk so far.  This time they were in the neighbor’s pasture (the one with the cattle).  It’s cool any time they show up.


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