With the drought in California this past winter, it seemed that spring might come and go with hardly enough moisture for the usual spring wildflower displays. Then a few good storms came in March—not enough to pull us out of the drought, but enough to allow some wildflowers to bloom well, at least in some areas. One place that looks great this spring is Table Mountain, a plateau of Miocene basalt just north of Oroville, California.
I visited Table Mountain last year, also in early April. This year, by comparison, there was still more water in the creeks and vernal pools, and most plants weren’t as far along in their blooming period.
Frying pans, Eschscholzia lobbii, is a close relative of California poppy (E. californica).
California goldfields, Lasthenia californica, and sky lupine, Lupinus nanus.
Bird’s eye gilia, Gilia tricolor.
Kellogg’s monkey-flower, Mimulus kelloggii.
Bitter root, Lewisia rediviva, in a bed of spikemoss, Selaginella hansenii.
Water drains mostly to the west, toward the Sacramento Valley. As you approach the west side of Table Mountain, ravines become deeper and a few trees appear.
Sheer cliffs surround much of Table Mountain, and seasonal creeks like this one plunge off the edge. This is Phantom Falls, a favorite destination for hikers.
Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
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