A Field Guide to CountryHouses Flowers

Photos and Commentary courtesy of Nadine Barter-Bowlus

Calochortus spp. Common names include fringe lily, fairy lantern. This one was photographed near Unit 12.

Ceanothus blue-- same as one at left, showing plant shape.

Ceanothus white

Grand Collomia. Watch for this apricot-colored flower along straight part of Hoopa Circle near the intersection with the circle part. I've also seen them along Hoopa Circle behind Units 1-3.

Iris. Found these lovely yellow ones in the woods behind Units 8-11.


Mushroom. This one I couldn't identify, but I found it near the drive. The squirrels like this one for eating.

Naked Cats Ears. I found a patch of these tiny lilies between the drive and the guest parking by Unit 1. They are tiny, fragile, ephemera. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Nice kitty.

Naked Cats Ears.

Snow Plant. Snow plants don't have green leaves. They connect with the underground fungal network to get the food they need. That kind of lifestyle is called SAPROPHYTE. I found this particular clump behind Unit 12, but they were coming up later that others that I saw along Shoshone. They dried up when the ground did in early June. Better luck this year?

Spotted Coralroot. This one is really cool. It is an orchid and makes its living totally from the decaying matter in the soil. The term for that lifestyle is SAPROPHYTE.

Lupine. One of the many grown from seed sown at the entrance to CountryHouses.

Penstemon. The penstemon patch is on our side of Hoopa Circle right at the intersection between the circle part and the straight part. Look near the bottom of the power company's wooden stairs.

Pussy Paws share the roadside with the penstemons. Besides being pretty, they are soft to pet. Really.

Bitter Cherry. These small trees grow on our hill along the north side of Hoopa Circle.

Ceanothus spp. The common name for many of these shrubs is California Lilac. There are two kinds growing along the roads in Big Trees village. One kind has large, soft leaves and blue flowers. The other kind grows low to the ground, has smaller, thicker leaves, thorns, and white flowers. Bees love both.

Ceanothus white

Dogwood. The one in the photograph was from a tree at one of our neighbors in Big Trees Village. Maybe the one I planted in front of Unit 12 will bloom this year.

Morel. Spring in the Sierra is also the time for fungi to "bloom". The morel form comes from one of the types of fungi that form partnerships with the pines, firs, and oaks. The partnerships increase the efficiency of the tree roots. The fungi get sugars and starches produced by the trees. The structures formed by the roots and fungi are called MYCHORHIZZAE (my-core-rye-zee).

Pine Violets. These pretty violas have distinctive leaves. They look like a glove. There are several plants growing on the slope between Units 11 and 12.

Spider Condo. I found these spider webs draped in a branch along the path that we use as a short cut from Unit 12 to Hoopa Circle via the power company's stairs.

Strawberry. Found this in the woods near the Iris behind Units 8-12.

Kitkitdizzee is the Indian name for the plant the European settlers called Mountain Misery. The low shrub grows on the drier parts of the CountryHouses hill. You can smell it on warm afternoons. I like the spicy aroma.


Fall 2010 - Scaly Chanterelles (Gomphus floccusus) "bloom" massively under the cedars near the big propane tank.

Summer 2009-2010, Piperia Elegans, a lovely little orchid growing in clumps in the Country Houses common area.