Calypso orchid (Dianne Fristrom -- CalPhotos)

Calypso orchid (Dianne Fristrom — CalPhotos)

I rode Bittner Road out of Occidental with my family last weekend on our way to Doran Beach and spotted Calypso orchids (Calypso bulbosa) blooming under the redwoods. I love spotting them at this time of year — and all the more so because I never knew any of these beautiful little orchids grew in Sonoma County until very recently even though I grew up traveling these roads (I developed my botanizing skills after college even though I liked plants and flowers from an early age, so perhaps I just didn’t know what to look for at the time).

I spotted my first Calypso orchids only last year, on Harrison Grade Road, west of Graton and enjoyed seeing them again as I cycled to catch up with the rest of my family. I’ve been surprised by a number of interesting plants that I likewise never noticed until returning to Sonoma County, such as pussy ears (Calochortus tolmiei), which also favors the redwoods, another Calachortus, golden globe lillies  (C. amabilis — also known as golden fairy lanterns) around Lake Sonoma, and the showy canyon larkspur (Delphinium nudicaule) — which we also spotted on our ride as we returned on Coleman Valley Road. 

Pussy ears (© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary's College -- CalPhoto)

Pussy ears (© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary’s College — CalPhotos)

Golden fairy lantern

Golden fairy lantern (© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary’s College — CalPhotos)

Canyon larkspur

Canyon larkspur (© Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary’s College — CalPhotos)

 

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