Sunday, April 16, 2017

Desert Easter Lilies

Happy Easter.

We set out on a quick driving loop this morning to see two local Calochortus species, Alkali Mariposa Lily and Desert Mariposa Lily. 

At Redrock Canyon State Park we had a location for Alkali Mariposa Lily (Calochortus striatus) from our friends Tom and Liga. This relatively rare flower was a wonderful treat. The flowers at Red Rock have twice the number of chromosomes as those over in the Kern River Valley.  This genetic uniqueness makes for flowers that are on very tall stems.  This display should be enjoyable for the next couple weeks as they have just started blooming.

Plenty of buds still to open

Next up was a drive to the El Paso Mountains near home for some prolific displays of Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi). We had a track from some hiking friends to a large display, but before we could get there Susan spotted a whole hillside covered in orange. We had to wind our way part way in on a dirt road, then hike a mile and a half. It was worth every step. Wow. The display was nearly as dense as some of the California Poppies we saw a few weeks ago. This is as good a desert lily display as we will likely see in our lifetime. 

This won't last much longer. For anyone who wants to hunt this down, here's a track:

Desert Mariposa Lilies

Drive south along the powerline dirt road at the far south end of Brown Road (south of Inyokern). At 35.52962,  -117.75044 turn west and cross the old railroad track bed. Immediately turn south again for a short distance then turn west on EP 429. This is a high clearance dirt road for a short distance. We parked when the road entered a sandy wash. Walk due west into a small canyon.  Keep going for over a mile, the best flowers are out of sight on a north facing hillside.  Along the powerline road keep your eyes open for very nice displays of thistle sage.

Seed pods

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