Spring 2024 Carrizo: Fiddlenecks in bloom (photo by William Buck)

Things are still heading for a good, or at least decent, wildflower year in the Carrizo Plain.  Rainfall to date has been good, the soil is moist, and recently the temperatures have come up.  This has lead to a sudden bursting into bloom of the early wildflowers.  Yellow and orange predominate, as the hillside daisies and goldfields have suddenly become prominent.  (There was almost nothing like that two weeks ago when I drove across the northern Temblor Range on a trip to Sacramento.)

Traveling out to the Carrizo recently, we were struck by how suddenly the hillside daisies had come into bloom.  They are covering many hillsides with their bright yellow flowers, and are easily the most noticeable of the early bloomers.  But there are others as well: goldfields are beginning to bloom in low spots in Carrizo Plain, including around Soda Lake, and the fiddlenecks are again abundant, with their more subtle small orange-colored flowers.

There is a small fly in the ointment, however.   The rainfall and perhaps overall mild temperatures have allowed for a lot of recent growth of grasses, and that means competition for the wildflowers.  The rains got off to a late start, which usually favors the wildflowers since they are not as robust as the grasses, but it looks like the grasses have caught up.  What this means is that the wildflowers will not be as visually prominent as they might be, and that is why this observer is calling for a good, but not great, wildflower season. A lot will depend on what happens in the Temblor Range, which historically has more wildflowers because of its thinner soils.  A look at the Temblors from the Carrizo Plain shows the yellow hillside daisies but not much else yet.  So keep your fingers crossed and we will keep you informed.  A lot can happen over the next few weeks.  One or two more good rain events will really help.

One final note of caution:  Most of the roads in Carrizo Plain are in decent shape, but several of them—especially Simmler Road and Panorama Road which cross the Plain—have low spots that are still wet and muddy and are places where one can get a car stuck.  Towing services are not really available, so be safe and don’t take chances with your vehicle or yourself.

Enjoy your outing to Carrizo Plain, and be sure to add your voice to those speaking out for more protection for this special place!  Thanks. -Neil Havlik

Soda Lake Spring 2024
Soda Lake March 17, 2024 (photo by William Buck)

Pin It on Pinterest