It was a beautiful day to return to the field. We started bright and early. The drive up was spectacular. Wildflowers painted the desert floor. Bright yellow and green could be seen for miles. Not all parts of the desert were lush but for the most part, a lot of it was. Some patches were dry and drought-stresssed. After 2.5 hours we reached our destination. The drive into the Wilderness was a little disappointing. Nothing in flower or green! I was silently stressing out in my head. All I could think about was how I had easily persuaded my field partners to assist me because I told them we would see WILDFLOWERS. And nothing was growing in sight. I kept reassuring Rachel and Julio that we would see these so called"wildflowers" once we reached the base of the Scodie Mountains.
|Phacelia fremontii and Layia glandulosa covering the hillsides in Cow Haven Canyon|
|A Happy and Healthy Layia glandulosa|
I found out that this was Julio's first time collecting with botanists. It was he who pointed out the most amazing collection of the day. As Rachel and I collected, Julio asked, "what's this?" I turned around to see and pretty much flipped. It was Caulanthus coulteri and it was beautiful! This was the first time I had ever seen it. It was stunning and tall, and the flowers were just amazing.
|Caulanthus coulteri in full flower with Leptosyne bigelovii|
|Stunning flowers and glabrous stems of Caulanthus coulteri|
As we were driving towards the end of Sage Canyon a magnificent field of blue covered a flat portion near Boulder Spring. The blue was so vibrant. We had to find out what it was. We stopped and parked the truck when we came upon the blue fields a little farther up the canyon. It was Gilia sp.! Hundreds and thousands of it. I could not believe my eyes.
|Rachel walking though the Gilia field|
|Rachel Collecting Gilia|
|Rachel with the California poppies|
|Looking at the end of Sage Canyon. So much green.|
|What did your mother feed you?! Salvia columbariae on crack|
|Inflorescence and flower of Salvia Columbariae|
|Platystemon californicus in all its glory|
|A robust Lupinus excubitus. Smelled good too|
Overall this was a successful trip and one of the most exciting days in the field. The floral displays were amazing. Rachel and Julio were fantastic field assistants. I hope they get a chance to go back out. I can't wait to go back the Kiavah Wilderness.