Rosy fairy lantern
(Calochortus amoenus)
Sugarloaf Drive:
Southern Sierra,
Western Foothills region

Tulare County

May 25, 2003

One of my favorite discoveries this spring was a small meadow on Sugarloaf Drive, between the Pozo turnoff and Sugarloaf Village. This less-traveled road is found on the Kern County AAA map at approximately section A-13 (north of CA 155). Located in the far southern portion of Tulare County at about 4,000 feet, this little patch of "floribundance" was sandwiched on the inside of the road's hairpin turn. Blue and black oak, ceanothus, and western buckeye were the dominant species growing in this location. Lightly shaded by a mature blue oak, I never would have believed that one meadow could harbor so many flowers. Elegant madia, bearded clover, pinpoint clover, foothill pretty face, valley lupine, California indian pink, and rosy fairy lanterns resided in perfect, if not crowded, harmony. Across the street, in full sun, a riot of California indian pink, valley tassels, purple owl's clover, blue fiesta flower, and cream sacs grew merrily. There were lots of "firsts" for me in this small corner of the western Sierra. As usual, a small selection is represented here.

Valley tassels [aka. Narrow leaved owl's clover]
(Castilleja attenuata) and California Indian Pink
(Silene californica) growing in full sun across the
street from the blue oak meadow.

Elegant madia [aka. Common tarweed] (Madia elegans) and valley lupine (Lupinus
make an irresistable pairing in the blue oak meadow. I couldn't decide which
I liked better, the fabulous, fuzzy, round buds of the madia, or its informal flower.

As I was shooting the madia, my eye caught a low-growing, purple bloom sheltered by the tall
grass. My overwhelming delight at finding it was a rosy fairy lantern (Calochortus amoenus)
hardly needs stating. So diminutive in size, (much smaller than the robust white globe lilies that
I have seen in the Santa Ynez Mountains), my eye had overlooked these little beauties until I
knew what to look for--then they were everywhere!

Valley tassels and California Indian Pink

Particularly robust purple owl's clover (Castilleja exserta) in full sun.

I can't resist one last look at the rosy fairy lantern....


Revised: August 14, 2003

This site ©2003 Ann Dittmer.