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 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. 

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.

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.

Published by Alessandra Chaves

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

17 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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