Carpenter Valley Wildflowers

Carpenter Valley Wildflowers - Carpenter Valley, looking across a fen into the valleyCarpenter Valley is an amazing nature site owned by the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT). There is a wide variety of habitats here, including a wet meadow, fens, dry woodland, and stream/riparian. It is located near Truckee in Nevada County. I was fortunate to be able to hike through a portion of this property on a docent-led wildflower hike with the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

This area is not open for public access unless you are on a guided hike with a TDLT docent. Information on these hikes can be found on the TDLT Carpenter Valley website. There are plans to build an access trail that will be open to the public at a future date, and you can sign up for the TDLT newsletter to keep up to date. 

The Flowers

Here’s a sample of a few of my favorites from this hike. We had a limited amount of time on this hike so some of the pictures aren’t as clear as I would like.  Also, I have not yet ID’d all of the flowers we found, so I would appreciate any help you can offer. For the unidentified flowers I have additional photos of leaves, etc., if you are interested in helping. 

Hairy owl’s clover was a fun flower to find. I’ve not come across this species before.

Hairy owl's clover, Castilleja tenuis

Scarlet gilia is always fun to come across.

Scarlet gilia, Ipomopsis aggregata

I’m particularly fascinated by the variety of Calochortus in California. This one is Leichtlin’s mariposa lily.

Leichtlin's mariposa lily, Calochortus leichtlinii

I love vernal pools, and we found one on this hike. There was a carpet of white Wooly marbles, and nestled amongst them were a very, very tiny popcornflower. Just a few millimeters across.

Harsh Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys hispidulus

At the far end of the valley, near the fen, we found a few Sierra bog orchids.

Sierra bog orchidj, Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys

At that same location we also found Great polemonium (aka Tall Jacob’s Ladder), which is another flower I’ve not come across before.

Great polemonium, Polemonium occidentale

If you click on any of the photos below you will be able to scroll through larger versions of the pictures. All photos are available for purchase in a variety of formats.

Carpenter Valley Wildflower Listing

Here’s a listing of the native plants that we found on this visit (at least, the ones I have pictures of). The ones listed in color are endemic to California (that is, found only in California). Note that there were many more flowers at this site than I show here – we weren’t able to access the sensitive fen area on this hike. I’m hoping that the planned TDLT trail will provide some access to this amazing portion of the valley.

  • Bluntleaf yellow cress, Rorippa curvipes
  • Brewer’s monkeyflower. Erythranthe breweri
  • Bridges’ gilia, Navarretia leptalea ssp. bicolor
  • Broad leaved lotus, Hosackia crassifolia
  • Common camas, Camassia quamash
  • Crimson columbine, Aquilegia formosa
  • Elk thistle, aka Meadow thistle. Cirsium scariosum
  • Great polemonium, Polemonium occidentale
  • Hairy owl’s clover, Castilleja tenuis
  • Harsh Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys hispidulus
  • Heart leaved arnica, Arnica cordifolia
  • Jacob’s ladder, aka California sky pilot. Polemonium californicum
  • Large leaved lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei
  • Lewis’ flax, Linum lewisii var. lewisii
  • Long leaved suncup, Taraxia subacaulis
  • Longstalk starwort, Stellaria longipes
  • Mahala mats, Ceanothus prostratus
  • Meadow larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum, probably
  • Meadow pussytoes, Antennaria corymbosa
  • Milk kelloggia, Kelloggia galioides
  • Mountain phacelia, Phacelia hastata
  • Mountain pretty face, Triteleia ixioides ssp. anilina
  • One seeded pussypaws, Calyptridium monospermum
  • Rock penstemon, Penstemon deustus
  • Royal penstemon, Penstemon speciosus
  • Rydberg’s penstemon, Penstemon rydbergii
  • Scarlet paintbrush, Castilleja miniata
  • Sierra bog orchid, Platanthera dilatata var. leucostachys
  • Slender cinquefoil, Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata
  • Slender penstemon, Penstemon gracilentus
  • Snow plant, Sarcodes sanguinea
  • Spotted coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata
  • Spreading phlox, Phlox diffusa
  • Tawny horkelia, Horkelia fusca var. parviflora
  • Twinberry honeysuckle, Lonicera involucrata var. involucrata
  • Wandering fleabane, Erigeron glacialis
  • Waxy checkerbloom, Sidalcea glaucescens
  • Western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum (could be E. perenne, but need fruit to tell)
  • Whiskerbrush, Leptosiphon ciliatus
  • Woolly marbles, Psilocarphus brevissimus
  • Woolly mule ears, Wyethia mollis

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