Wildflowers along a sweep of Diablo 50K

I got to sweep the first half of Brazen Racing’s Mt. Diablo 50K and then pick up some additional miles to head back to the finish line. These are the various species I met along the way. Until recently, I’ve never paid this much attention to the surroundings, but there’s so much serpentine rock in Mt. Diablo that it’s prime territory for native and endemic species. Here’s my Strava activity:

Note: This past weekend, I was (again) the first half sweep of Diablo 50K and realized that I had written this blog in 2022, but never published. The first three or so pictures are from 2023, the rest were from last year. There was a superbloom prediction right after all the rains, but the cooler temperatures seem to have pushed out the blooms. I saw a lot less diversity of wildflowers this year than the last.

Wildflowers of Mt. Diablo

Okay, she ain’t no wildflower, but a Bluey sighting in our house is a little rare, as she’s usually outdoors most of the time. I headed out to the 50K start line early am and got to say hi to her in the garage on my way out. 🙂

Right after I started the sweep on Stage Rd, I was greeted with fields of Hairy Vetches, which unfortunately is a non-native plant, but introduced to the US. It is a legume and a winter cover crop that’s used for nitrogen fixing.

Blue Dicks
Coast Paintbrush
California Poppy

Purple Chinese Houses

The Ookows, once you see them, are pretty hard to unsee. The tall, naked, thin stems stick out of the foliage and is topped with an inflorescence packed densely with 6 to 15 flowers.

Mediterranean Stork’s-Bill
Coast Paintbrush
Orange Bush Monkeyflower
Chaparral Pea
Silver Lupine
Black Sage
California Yerba Santa

Another new acquaintance for me this year, the Yerba Santa is used to revegetate damaged lands like overgrazed rangelands.

Red Larkspur

A species of Delphinium (named after the Greek word for Dolphin), the Red Larkspur along with the Royal Larkspur (blue) are toxic to humans and livestock.

Poppy Fields!

I finished my “sweep duty” at the the mile-15 aid station and was about to start on the Barbeque Ter Rd downhill towards the start/finish line, when I stopped with my mouth open to admire this big poppy field. They were everywhere!

Ithuriel’s Spear

This one’s my favorite for the season so far. Native to California, the plant grows from a “corm” (like a tuber) and is supposedly edible, though I haven’t personally tried it.

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