Friday, May 11, 2012

popcorn flower ~ 05/11/12 ~ Fort Ord

Hickman's popcorn flower
Plagiobothrys chorisianus var. hickmanii
CNPS 8th Edition Inventory

This post is for Graeme, because he asked about it. I know for certain this is the uncommon Hickman's popcorn flower with 3 of our 4 field guides (people, not books) confirming its ID in Butterfly Valley. Speaking of which, as I was searching for additional information, I know for sure that this spot of land is, in fact, on Army Lands and consists of Mima mounds and 6 vernal pools. Hickman's popcorn flower is not an easy flower to identify to sp., let alone to variety, since many look very similar. According to there are 68 records of spp./var. of Plagiobothrys in CA, and depending on whose list one references (CNPS or David Styer's) there are anywhere from 4 to 7 spp./var. of popcorn flowers found at Fort Ord. I've seen popcorn flowers grow much taller than shown here, but then again, they could have been different spp., or it could have been a result of our unusually dry winter. To see exactly how tiny this flower is, compare it to my dwarf brodiaea pictures.


Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy said...

I keyed out a plant as Hickman's popcorn flower too today. Very prostrate growing alongside ranch road near creek on San Mateo coast.

John W. Wall said...

Is it true that popcorn flower is often associated with buttercup? :)

Imperfect and tense said...

Many thanks, Katie, and I recall that I still owe you a willow herb photo. Fortunately, it's nearly June!

randomtruth said...

Popcorn flowers are a pain. Not only are there a gazillion similar Plagios, check out the Cryptantha genus, and Pectocarya - both look similar, and you often have to count nutlets to determine species. Too much work. ;)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Pardon if this posts twice; I seem to be having some issues with my blog comment feature.

Cindy, could you not see your comment like me, hence the 2 comments?

John, that's a great pun!

Graeme, let me know when you find your willowherbs. I'm curious to see what they're like.

Ken, I looked up Cryptantha and Pectocarya. They do look similar, especially if you travel around CA like you do. Calflora also included Harpagonella palmeri in its Pectocarya search results. It has a common name of grappling hook. Oy! I imagine they could be a literal pain if brushed up against.