Late Summer Stars

Scattered among the brown vegetation, dried spring flowers and fruiting plants, are a few late summer plants that are still flowering. They include several yellow-flowered plants in the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family that are star attractions to a variety of butterflies and insects.

(Northern White Skipper on Bush Senecio – September 26, 2008)

The two most popular plants are bush senecio (Senecio flaccidus ssp douglasii) and California broomshrub/scale broom (Lepidospartum squamatum). The scale broom plants were all aflutter with many Mormon Metalmarks. There were many bush senecio that were visited by a variety of butterflies and insects. Sawtooth goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa) and California goldenrod (Solidago californica) also have yellow flowers, and visiting bugs.

Vinegar Weed
(Woodland Skipper on Vinegar Weed – September 26, 2008)

Another fall blooming plant, vinegarweed (Trichostema lanceolatum), was flowering in soil that sprouted a variety of lupines in the spring, and where on an April SBBG trip, a number of oak species in that same area were identified and discussed.

Scarlet Monkey Flower
(Scarlet Monkey Flower (the bee enters via the backdoor to the nectar) – September 26, 2008)

California fuschia brighten dried vegetation with splashes of red, sometimes blooming through late fall. At a seep, scarlet monkey flower (Mimulus cardinalis) were found in large numbers near coffeeberry and willow. Autumn willowherb is tiny enough to miss; but the bright pink flowers can be eye-catching against a background of brown.

(Fall Buckwheat – September 26, 2008)

A favorite part of fall is the reddish-brown of drying buckwheat, especially when growing near bluish-green chaparral yucca. The sycamore trees and blue oaks have yet to turn red; hopefully they will be seen on the SBBG Fall Foray trip, on November 3. In the meantime, it is back to the grindstone after a wonderful early fall/late summer trip – day six of my “one-day-at-a-time” vacation this year.

Slideshow – click on any image to start slideshow