Lake Lagunitas

                             (30 plants)

How to find your plant
Lake Lagunitas is one of my favorite places. Although there is parking 100 yards or so away, it is peaceful, and rich in special spots: a dam where I often see Cormorants drying their wings; a cove often full of dragonflies; a seep rock wall full of delicate wildflowers; an Oracle Oak; some of the largest Coast Oaks; and groves of Madrone trees that look red in the fall from all their berries.

On the far side of the lake there is a rock wall that is almost always wet from a hidden spring (a seep). This allows a beautiful display of small wildflowers, right at eye height. I call it the magic wall. Opposite the wall is a lake overlook, where I often hear and see Coots washing. One day I saw otters quietly swimming with just their noses out of the water.

Google Maps link to Lake Lagunitas

Thanks to Daniel Kushner for this list.

Common Wildflowers

California Buttercup
Ranunculus californicus
  • Blooms Feb - May
  • Bright yellow flower, up to 1 inch wide, has 7 to 22 shiny petals.
  • Single flower at the top of a stem, which can be short or long.
  • No leaves along the stem, but basal leaves are divided into several lobed parts.
  • CA native

Flower has many shiny, yellow petals.

Some individual petals can be white. The center is often green, surrounded by many stamens.

Basal leaves have a stem, with divided sets of indented leaves.
Douglas Iris
Iris douglasiana
  • Common. Open hills and wooded areas.
  • Flower petals in 3s.
  • Cream to purple color.
  • Leaves narrow and long, with parallel veins.
  • Leaf underside paler than top.
  • California native.

Petals in 3s with colorful veins. Petal color varies quite a bit.

Veins not very noticable, compared to Ground Iris.

Leaves are narrow and long, with parallel veins. They're glossy on the top, and paler underneath.
Miners Lettuce
Claytonia perfoliata
  • Blooms Feb - May
  • Small white 5-petaled flowers above a big round leaf.
  • Abundant in moist shady places, especially under Redwoods.
  • Leaf is edible, and was eaten by early miners.
  • CA native

Round leaf surrounds the stem, just below the flower.

In addition to the leaf below the flower, there are diamond-shaped leaves at the base.

After the flowers mature, the two sepals below the flower fold over it to protect the fruit until it matures.
Sun Cups
Taraxia ovata
  • Blooms Feb - Apr
  • 4-petaled yellow flowers are low to the ground, each o its own short stalk.
  • Leaves spread out below the flowers, forming a circle.
  • Leaves are roughly oval in shape, often with red stems, veins and edges.
  • Found in clay soils below 1,000 feet.
  • CA native

Four yellow petals with green and white center parts. Grows low to the ground.

Petals on this mature plant are separate from each other.

Lots of fairly wide basal leaves with red stems
Whipplea modesta
  • Blooms Mar - May
  • Flowers in small balls at the end of short stems.
  • Found in shady places
  • Opposite leaves
  • CA native

Flowers are little white balls at the top of short stems.

Closeup of flower shows 5 separate petals.

Modesty is modest - mostly leaves with small flowers.
Hounds Tongue
Cynoglossum grande
  • Blooms Feb - Aug
  • Flower pale blue early, and darker later in life.
  • Several flowers cluster at the end of a tall stem.
  • Leaves wide and long, like a hound's tongue.
  • CA native

5 blue petals surrounding 5 white ones.

Leaves large, wide and long, like a hound's tongue.

Seed groups in 4s, although they may not all develop.
California Poppy
Eschscholzia californica
  • Blooms Feb - Sep
  • 4 large petals are orange (inland form) to yellow (coastal form)
  • A flat disk (torus) at the base of the petals is distinctive.
  • Widely distributed and quite common in grassy areas.
  • CA native, and the state flower

Bud and bloom. Notice the sheath covering the early bud.

Note the low grey leaves, and yellow flowers with orange centers of this coastal variety.

California Poppies fill grassy areas with an orange display from April to July.
Cardamine californica
  • Blooms Jan - Apr
  • Small white 4-petaled flowers, about 1/2" across.
  • Leaves near flower have several points. Leaves near the bottom are round.
  • Streambanks slopes
  • CA native

Four white petals form a flat cross. Yellow center. Stamens and pistal protruding.

Leaves near the ground are fairly round, like the top of a milkmaid's stool.

Leaves near the flower are pointy. Milkmaids has a fairly tall stem, with a few branches. Notice flowers are all near the top of the stem.
Common Bedstraw
Galium aparine
  • Blooms Apr - May
  • Creeping plant with small hooked hairs which help them latch onto other plants.
  • Stem is angular and square shaped.
  • 6 to 8 thin leaves in whorls around the stem.
  • Tiny, star-shaped white to greenish flowers, coming out of the leaf joints.
  • CA native

6 to 8 thin leaves appear in whorls around the stem.

Leaf whorls and flower appear along the stem and at the top.

Bedstraw is often in a tangle of low greenery.