Plants Of The PCT
I have been absolutely astounded with the number of different plants and wildflowers that I have seen on trail so far.
The wildflowers are EVERYWHERE and change in type, color, and abundance when I also change in elevation. I have enjoyed rounding a corner or climbing up a steep pitch to see that the elevation change has brought about new types of flowers.
I have identified some below (it is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but if not I would love feedback or other expertise)! I am still leaning about this landscape more and more every day. The app “Picture This” has been a super helpful recourse.
The reason why I love wildflowers is because of their resilience against the elements and against all odds. They withstand, prevail, and thrive in harsh conditions.
I want to learn from the wildflowers out here. I want to thrive out here in the desert on my thru-hike. I want to be tough like these beautiful wildflowers- even when conditions are less than optimal or when challenges present themselves.
Even when I am sweaty, tired, and trudging up a seemingly endless climb- I want to look around me and remember these wildflowers and the beauty and blessing that they are to this desert and the earth.
The Pacific Pea Plant
Also known as San Diego Pea, Hillside Pea, and Bolanders Pea
This plant needs six hours of sunlight (but 16 is ideal), it is toxic to humans and animals, and is indigenous to Western North America.
This was such a joy to see so early on in my hike. It was a rainy first couple days but the little drops of rain that collected on this vibrant plant was such a beautiful sight to see. Very worth risking getting my phone wet to take a picture of it.
Chia, A Species of “Sages” (Salvia)
Also known as California Sage, Chia Sage, Golden Chia, and Desert Chia
This plant is native to Western North America and sometimes it is used as cladding for hand built structures.
I love how this plant almost grows out of itself. It has the stem that has 2 or 3 blooms on it- I think this plant is so amazing and I often stop walking just to stare at it. It has been abundant in this desert section on the PCT.
The Desert Dandelion (Malacothrix)
Also known as Smooth Desert Dandelion
This wildflower is in the same family as the sunflower, native to Western North America and Mexico, and the name refers to the hairless leaves which is a key characteristic of this flower.
The California Bluebell, A Species of “Heliotrope” (Phacelia)
Also known as Desert Scorpionweed or Desert Bells
This plant is a native Californian wildflower that blooms annually and can reach one foot tall.
I love how delicate this wildflower is, especially the inside details of the bloom and the paper thin petals.
The California Poppy (Eschscholzia)
Also known as Golden Poppy, Cup of Gold, or California Sunlight.
This is the California State Flower! It is native to California and Mexico. April 6 is considered “California Poppy day” since they cover the hillsides in their vibrant colors.
I wish I had known that April 6th was a day to celebrate these flowers! How cool!
The Desert Apricot Plant
This plant has fruit that resembles an apricot, it grows in areas of low rainfall, and is a member of the rose family.
I enjoy the delicate booms of this bush and how it gives the hillsides a soft rosy color when they are all together.
Miners Lettuce, Also Known As “Spring Beauty” (Claytonia)
Also known as Indian Lettuce or Winter Purselane
This plant is a winter annual plant with blooms in the spring. It has small succulent like disc shaped leaves. The flower leaves are supposedly edible and the roots have essential nutrients!
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