Tag: day trip to San Francisco

Roadside Flower Spotting

old man crossing

It started as an unconscious activity and has become a conscious game I play whenever I’m in a car.  I try to name all the flowers and plants I recognize on the roadsides.  I’m not scientific – common names are all I’m looking for.  It’s a way to acknowledge all the truly scrappy plants that survive in rigorous conditions: drought, exhaust fumes, road dust, hot direct sun with reflected pavement, punishing rains, and one long fight for resources with the other plants trying to scrabble a living on the roadside too.

roadside forsythia

Centranthus ruber.  Red valerian.  Jupiter’s Beard.  I consistently try to call this flower verbena.  It’s driving me nuts.  So perhaps if I repeat it’s different names enough times right now I will remember it next time.  Valerian.  Red Valerian.  See it on the roadside?  I love having this in my garden.  I also see forsythia and fennel here.

flower gazing

All of these pictures were taken between Sausalito and San Francisco this past weekend.  The most stunning of all the flowers I spotted were these larger than human sized lupines.

yellow roadside flowers

I would very much like to know what that darker yellow flower is near the top of the picture.  My guess is either some kind of toadflax or mimulus.  Anyone have a different guess?  I wish I could go back to this exact spot, stop the car, and go take a close up picture.

marin headlands

Here is a complete list of all the flowers (and herbs) I spotted on this trip to San Francisco: fennel, picnicking hobos, giant lupines, bottlebrush, California poppies, forsythia, wallflowers, cala lillies, ice plants, trash, red valerian, small pale yellow lupines, small purple lupines, Queen Anne’s lace, and vetch.