Today we drove north of the city, in search of Mimulus cardinalis and purple-flowered Lupinus arboreus. We drove from the east side of Mt. Tam to the west side.
On the east side, we first stopped at Alpine Dam and hiked down to Lagunitas Creek, typical habitat for Mimulus cardinalis. Although we didn’t find any individuals there, we had an adventure getting down and saw a congregation of ladybugs. This side of the mountain is much drier, but Mimulus cardinalis occurs in wet areas like the creek. We stopped another time on this side of the mountain, at a seep in the side of the road. There were a couple individuals, without flowers, that were nearing the end of their lives. Although their habitat is quite different from the lupines from last week, they have a similar patchy distribution. On Mt. Tam, they are often in small populations in wet habitat like this.
We then drove over Mt. Tam and west towards the coast. Fog was coming in and the ocean was hardly visible. Eventually, we were driving among a coastal scrub community similar to what we saw last week. We stopped at a pullout and saw some of the plants as last week: coyote brush and bush lupines. Lupines here had purple flowers. The individuals were scattered sparsely around the area in the same manner as last week.