Common Wildflowers of California

Spring is coming to a close in the Central Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. I have been busy recording some of it, and I invite you to take a look at my ongoing project photographing the common Wildflowers of California in my Adobe Portfolio.

In February, 2020, I had the opportunity to visit the Algodones Dunes in Imperial County, where I recorded a few wildflowers blooming in that desert. In the spring of 2021, I photographed in two locations near my home, the Stebbins Cold Canyon, a UC Davis preserve, and the South Yuba River State Park, in the Sierra’s foothills. 

The portfolio linked above includes only a portion of my documentary work: those photos that “go together” and which were photographed, processed and cropped in a similar way. My definition of wildflower is loose: although the majority of the photos were obtained in the wild, I have also photographed a few CA native plants growing in the local arboretum. Whenever possible, I tried to make an artistic portrait of the flowers; however, because wildflowers are delicate and should not be disturbed, are often near the ground or next to other vegetational elements, they are invariably difficult to isolate.

The flowers are grouped by color, and species in the same genus are kept next to each other whenever possible. Identification in the portfolio is provisional, and the titles (they are tiny and difficult to see. I am trying to fix that) contain only the common names of the flowers. I based my identification on internet searches, identification books, species’ lists for the parks visited, and identification labels on site. That being stated, I am not botanist, and if you know wildflowers and find any names that seem obviously wrong, please let me know.

I am hoping to visit some higher elevation sites from mid-May to July, for additional wildflower finds.

Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

16 thoughts on “Common Wildflowers of California

  1. Beautiful collection, and all nicely photographed!

    For the IDs, I find and their “What Grows Here” feature most helpful in finding and identifying the plants of a certain area. It takes time to browse the results, but has helped me a lot with my own flower IDs (for the San Diego County wildflower photos that I’m collecting).

    In the Algodones Dunes area, I think the flower in your “Pincushion Pink” photo is a Palafoxia arida (Desert Needle), and the Phacelias are probably Phacelia crenulata.


  2. I agree with your first commenter: you did a good job isolating your subjects. What made you decide not to include the scientific names, which can differentiate between species that share a common name?


    1. I need some time to check those names, if they are current. Plant names seem to change quite often. I also want a fiend to check the identification of some. I’m a terrible plant taxonomist.


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