Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday - July in Kings Canyon and Sequoia

It may not be springtime but wildflowers can still be found blooming all through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.  In fact, they're just about everywhere you look.  The variation in shape, size and color is amazing.  I even found some I'd never seen before.  They're all so beautiful! 

As usual, I took a lot of flower pictures.  Unfortunately, there were a few flowers I saw that I never had an opportunity to photograph...they were always in places along the road where there was no place to turn out and park.  I kept looking and trying but never found a chance.  Maybe they're a little camera shy.  The flowers I did photograph more than make up for it though. 

This one reminds me of orchids and snapdragons.  It's actually a Meadow Lotus.  Quail and small rodents like them for their seeds.  So pretty!

These Western Azaleas were a bit challenging to photograph because they seemed to always be growing in thick, bushy and wooded areas that made it hard to get close to.  I did my best.

The blooms were surprisingly large.  I love the soft yellow in each one.  It almost looks like they were spray painted or airbrushed with the yellow.  They grow in such large clusters.

I have no idea what this is but it's cute.  It reminds me of curly caterpillars.

We didn't quite make it in time to see the Mountain Dogwood at it's best.  I was happy to see it nonetheless.  It was a treat to see them because they don't grow where I live.  Even the foliage is beautiful.

Here's one of the blooms as it's beginning to fade away for the season.  It's still pretty!

I found these on Morro Rock.  They might be the same as one of elusive flowers that I kept seeing alongside the least, it's the same fuscia color.  It was still a bit far away to get a close look and picture.  The color is striking.  I'm pretty sure it's a California Fuschia.

I never tire of seeing Lupine.  It turns out that there are over 80 species of Lupine in California.  They can vary in size, shape or color but they're always beautiful. 

Growing in the forest and around the bases of the redwood trees seemed especially pretty.

I think they're happy in this forest...they were extra tall and bushy.

This is another flower that I see quite often.  It's Indian Paintbrush.  It turns out there are at least 11 species of it.  That explains why I've seen variations in size, shape, and it's red color.  I also found out that the red isn't the flower but bright bracts or leaves that surround a tiny flower.

This one is quite appropriate for the holiday we spent in the park, Fourth of reminds me of fireworks.

These are very common throughout the park.  They grow on bushes that are sometimes quite large.  It's Littleleaf Ceanothus but it's also known as Whitethron, Deer Brush, and Wild Lilac.  I love the soft look of it and the delicate color.

This was surprising and interesting...and, I wasn't about to touch it!  It's the Sierra Gooseberry.  It starts out with rose colored flowers and the spiney fruit turn brilliant red in late summer.  They're mostly skin and seeds but are loved by wildlife.

These carpeted large areas of the forest.  The blossoms kind of reminded me of flowers you'd see on a strawberry plant.  But, check out the looks like fern.  It turns out they are called Mountain Misery or Bear Clover.  It's said that on warm days it can smell like Witchhazel.  Indians used parts of the plant for medicinal purposes.

Buck Brush grows on large bushes and grows in various forms throughout California.  They can be seen in white, blue, or lavender and are very fragrant.  They've been used for medicinal purposes and when rubbed in water they create a cleansing lather.  A bee is enjoying this one.

I'm not quite sure what this one is called but I couldn't resist taking a picture.  I wasn't able to get close enough for a good picture but aren't those fluffy white cones cute on their delicate little stems?!

These remind me of strawberry blossoms too.  But, unlike the Bear Clover with it's ferny leaves, this one has big leaves and actually grows fruit.  Birds like their seedy berries.

I'm not completely sure, but I think these are Cow Parsnip.  They're huge!  It turns out they are part of the carrot family.  I never would have guessed that!  They've been used for food and medicinal purposes.

They have large leaves and tall stocks grow several feet tall.

The flowers are inside large, fuzzy pockets and slowly unfurl.

The intense yellow on this is pretty.  I'm not completely sure but it could be California Goldenrod.

The Crimson Columbine are actually pretty intense in color and really pretty.  However, they quiver in the breeze so much that it can be difficult to get a really clear photo.  Here's my most successful attempt on this trip.

I can never resist a butterfly photo opportunity!  This butterfly was so heavy that the Balsamroot flowers always tipped down when it landed on them.  So, I was only able to take pictures of the bottom side.  But, it's almost as pretty as the backside.

I'm amazed at the intense burnt orange color of this little butterfly.  Even the body is fuzzy and orange.  So cute!

These teeny little flowers could easily be missed but a closer look provided a cute little surprise..alternating little white petals and green leaves.  So cute!  The one on the right looks like it has some fur on it...maybe, from a wild animal?

So delicate and precious!

These are easy to figure out...Wild Iris! 

These were the most surprising and exciting wildflower find on this trip.  They're Leopard Lilies.  We only found them one time and in one spot during the entire week.  They're small and very spotted.  They hang upside down and had to be held up for a good photo.

They only grow in shady, wet areas.  Notice all the beautiful fern surrounding them.

We found a few of these tucked down, low to the ground.  It reminds me of a morning glory.  It could also be a Jimson Weed but they are usually a lot larger.  If it is, it turns out they have other names Sacred Datura, Moon Lily, and Thorn Apple.

These started popping out like crazy the last couple of days we were there.  There was a nice little trail near the "Princess" campground we stayed at and each day that we walked on it, there were more and more of these.  They're Harvest Brodiaea.  They grow in the full sun.  The plant is almost invisible in the dry grasses but the flower is vibrant blue/purple.

One of my favorite flowers in the Sierra Mountains...tiny roses.  Isn't this bud precious?!

They carpet large areas of the forest.

Thistle!  Pretty but don't touch!

Pretty, little, yellow daisies.

Thanks to a little booklet I bought in the visitor center, I was able to identify and learn about some of these beautiful plants and flowers that grow in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.  It's"Wildflowers of Sequuoia and Kings Canyon National Parks" by Stephen K. Stocking and Jack A. Rockwell.  It's thin but worth every penny of it's small $6.95 price.

I saw other flowers in the park that I wasn't able to take pictures of because of their locations, I didn't have my camera at the time, or I decided to skip because I had made so many stops to take pictures already and I just wanted to breath deeply and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery.  These parks are filled with spectacular things to see, from tiny flowers and huge trees to grand and magnificent landscapes.  Much of which is impossible to capture in pictures and can only be enjoyed in real life, in that moment.  I did, however, take a lot more pictures and will share more in the coming days...wildlife, waterfalls and rivers, and, of course, HUGE trees.  I hope you'll stop back by for another visit.


Roxie said...

Your flowers are breath-taking! What an eye you have for beauty. Thanks for sharing your photos. they brightened my day!

Benita said...

Those flowers are a sight for sore eyes. We are so dry here that only a few of our usual wildflowers have bloomed. That one pictures of with the redwood tree and the road in it is now my desktop picture. I hope you don't mind, but I really love that picture and it makes me smile.

Sandra said...

gorgeous! I wish more people would look down when they hike and see all this beauty!

jomomma said...

Can we say COFFEE TABLE BOOK!!! Are you saying that these pictures were taken with your phone?

evergreenknits said...

Wow, those azaleas are stunning! I didn't realize that they grew wild in California ... breathtakingly gorgeous and woodland-y.