Best Wildflower Photos for 2018

Even with droughts, wildfires, and environment policy rollbacks, 2018 was a great year for wildflower photography. I’m still working on posting my notes from places that I’ve hiked this year(I have over 10,000 photos to review from this year alone), but I thought it would be a good time to show what I consider to be my best wildflower photos for 2018. My thanks to Jim Goldstein for suggesting this project. Let me know which is your favorite!

If you click on any photo you will see a larger view.

Calochortus Madness

One of my favorite genera of wildflowers in California is Calochortus, with at least 50 different species. Here are a few that I came across this year.

Butterfly mariposa lily, Calochortus venustus

Butterfly mariposa lily, Calochortus venustus

This Butterfly mariposa lily was one of my favorites from the Sunol Regional Wilderness.

Diogenes' lantern, Calochortus amabilis

Diogenes’ lantern, Calochortus amabilis

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park was burned in the terrible fires of late 2017. Digonene’s lantern (aka Golden fairy lantern) is one of the many native wildflowers that took advantage of the lack of non-native grasses in the aftermath.

Leichtlin's mariposa lily, Calochortus leichtlinii

Leichtlin’s mariposa lily, Calochortus leichtlinii

I try to get to Carson Pass every year, it is one of my favorite spots for wildflowers. Leichtlin’s mariposa lily can be found in the drier section of the trail.

Rare Wildflowers

I get excited when I find wildflowers that are listed as rare by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). Here are a couple from this year.

St. Helena fawn lily, Erythronium helenae

St. Helena fawn lily, Erythronium helenae

This St. Helena fawn lily is from the Modini-Mayacamas Preserves, and it has a CNPS rare plant rating of 4.2 (limited distribution)

Coast lily, Lilium maritimum

Coast lily, Lilium maritimum

We found this Coast lily by the roadside in Salt Point State Park. It has a CNPS rare plant rating of 1B.1 (rare/endangered).

California pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica

California pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica

A truly oddball flower for an oddball plant, found in northern California (where it has a CNPS rare plant rating of 4.2), Oregon and Washington.

Lots of Lilies This Year

It was a great year for Lilies!

Leopard lily, Lilium pardalinum ssp. pardalinum

Leopard lily, Lilium pardalinum ssp. pardalinum

Leopard lilies are exciting to find, and we found them in multiple locations in multiple states this year. The one above is from Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Avalanche Lily, Erythronium montanum

Avalanche Lily, Erythronium montanum

We found masses of Avalanche Lilies at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.

Washington lily, Lilium washingtonianum ssp. washingtonianum

Washington lily,Lilium washingtonianum ssp. washingtonianum

On a warm day you will smell Washington Lilies before you can see them. This one is from McCloud Falls, near Mount Shasta.

And a Few More Favorites

Oregon Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa ssp. oregona

Oregon Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa ssp. oregona

Some years it is hard to find Bleeding heart in bloom, but this year we found it many times in many locations. We came across this particular variation at Eight Dollar Mountain in Southern Oregon.

Scarlet gilia, Ipomopsis aggregata

Scarlet gilia, Ipomopsis aggregata

Fireworks! From Paradise Meadow in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Frying pans, Eschscholzia lobbii

Frying pans, Eschscholzia lobbii

There are several kinds of poppies in California. This one is Frying pans, from another of my favorite wildflower sites that I go to every year, North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve.

Poppies and Lupine in a ravine at the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve


This entry was posted in USA Wildflowers.

One Comment

  1. Timothy Boomer January 23, 2019 at 11:53 am #

    Hi Charlie, I love your Darlingtonia bloom photo! I’ve never seen one “right side up” like that. Did you find it very early in the season? They’re always already nodding when I go in May or June.

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