Carrizo’s Mini-SuperBloom

May 1, 2020 at 8:02 am (Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) ()

I’ve been to my beloved Carrizo Plain National Monument twice this Spring hoping the late rains offered up another Superbloom such as last year’s.

A field of goldfields

For the most part, nope. In early April, though, my friend and I were treated to a small herd of pronghorn does and a Bell’s sparrow lifer for her.

Thistle sage

We didn’t go any further south that time than Panorama Road, which we took off Soda Lake Road to Elkhorn Road and back out. This time, however, I wanted to give her a California condor and find some desert candles for me. We were skunked on both accounts.

However, one stretch of Soda Lake Road in the southern end was a show-stopper. Last year’s hillside daisies which were the dominant flower were scarce, now overshadowed by the short shag-carpet goldfields. Fields of phacelia were non-existent. Instead were clusters of vivid thistle sage, Salvia carduacea.

A wildflower bouquet with thistle sage

We took several side roads to explore this new abundance. Several folks were dispersed camping – which last year was my very favorite area to camp because of the big skies, colorful landscapes, and scarcity of other humans.

One interesting phenomenon was the two types of flowers that encircled many of the Mormon teas. White fiesta flower is a tangle of small white flowers that gives a lacy frill. Another was the Parry’s mallow, a lovely lavender cupped flower ringing the base. The Parry’s mallow Eremalche parryi is endemic to California, and the subspecies kernensis is federally endangered. However I don’t know whether this is the Kern mallow (below), although it is known to be found in this same area.

Parry’s (Kern?) Mallow, Eremalche parryi

Here’s how it looks:

Parry’s mallow ringing the Mormon tea

Picturesque clouds were scarce, so we pounced on this one.

Western meadowlark

Maybe I will make one more trip before the dry season sets in for good, to see what else makes an appearance. Stay safe!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre
Feel free to reblog or share
Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America
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  1. Jet Eliot said,

    Just visiting this post was a breath of fresh air, Cindy. I had the pleasure of visiting the CP once during wildflower season, and I was enthralled. Your photos here bring back the glory of Carrizo. And I am thrilled with your identification of the wildflowers. I have a rudimentary knowledge of the wildflower species where I live in No. Calif. and appreciate seeing what these are, many are unfamiliar. Wonderful post.

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      Thanks Jet – I’m learning the wildflowers as I go. It takes more time to ID them than it did to make the trip sometimes!

  2. Patricia Henshaw said,

    Cindy you are so lucky to live close to Carrizo. From your photos not having the crowds and a mimi-super bloom is wonderful. Next year I want to bring my tent trailer and camp at Carrizo!


  3. mbkircus said,

    So beautiful – and you got pictures of plants I didn’t even notice.

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