Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 26, 2016

Skyline Serpentine Prairie Wildflowers 3/26/16

California Poppy/Eschscholzia californica and Cream Cups/Platystemon californicus

California Poppy/Eschscholzia californica and Cream Cups/Platystemon californicus

The star at Skyline Serpentine Prairie was the abundant bloom of California Poppy.  The best area for flowers was the hillside below and outside the downhill side of the fence. There were good displays of Poppies with Cream Cups and California Buttercups. There was also some Plectritis and Red Maids mixed in.  Other flowers in bloom were Blue-eyed Grass,  Goldfields,  Purple Sanicle, Hog Fennel or Yellow Lomatium, Winter Vetch, Filaree, a small Lupine, a Ceanothus and a Salvia.

Although I was mainly looking at flowers, I saw or heard Western Scrub Jay, Wrentit, Raven, American Crow, Northern Mockingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Bluebird and Anise Swallowtail Butterfly.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of what I saw. I was there at midday with bright sun and some wind. A nice day for being out and seeing flowers but not for photography.

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Skyline Serpentine Prairie is in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, Ca.  It is a restorated and protected area.  The management of the area includes prescribed burns and weeding out of invasive species. Serpentine is the official California state rock.  Serpentine areas are not supportive of many alien species. Serpentine creates an area that is supportive of native wildflowers and grasses that are tolerant of extreme soil conditions, including a low calcium-to-magnesium ratio and a lack of essential nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Much of the prairie is protected by fence but can be easily viewed and photographed from the surrounding paths. There is a photo wildflower brochure available on line at Guide to Wildflowers of the Prairie

Learn more at Skyline Serpentine Prairie an article by Steve Edwards the former director of Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

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