Wildflowers of the redwood forests

A few of our favorite little gems that pop up under the tall trees

Wildflower season is one of the best times to experiences California’s great outdoors.

If it’s spring, it’s wildflower season. 

With all the public health restrictions in place right now, few of us are able to get out and experience the explosive color that typically draw millions to our outdoor spaces in a normal year. But, trust me, even though we’re not out there to see them, the wildflowers are doing their thing as you read this.

As a reminder of what we’re missing, we asked a few of our conservation staff members to name their favorite wildflowers that they encounter in the coast redwood and giant sequoia forests.

Here you go:

Trillium

 

 Trillium is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Max Forster
Trillium comes in many varieties, like this white flower in Redwood National Park. Photo by Max Forster.

 

Rhododendron

 

 Rhododendron is a wildflower found in redwood forests.
Rhododendron is really more of a shrub or small tree that flowers beautifully among the redwoods, such as here in the Big River-Mendocino Old-growth Redwoods.

 

Douglas Iris

 

Douglas Iris is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Jerry Peepers.
The Douglas iris is considered common, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive. These were found in Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve. Photo by Jerry Peepers.

 

Lupine

 

 Lupine is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Max Forster
Lupine is another common flowering plant, and always a joy to see, like here in the Bald Hills of Redwood National Park. Photo by Max Forster.

 

Leopard Lily

 

Leopard lily is a wildflower found in redwoods forests.
This lovely flower is found often in the coastal mountains of California. This specimen is from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

 

Sticky monkey flower

Sticky monkey flower is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Colleen Proppe
Bees and hummingbirds are also big fans of the sticky monkey flower. Photographer Colleen Proppe found these in Marin.

 

Alpine Lily

Alpine Lily is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Sean Munson
Also known as the Sierra tiger lily, this flower is found at altitudes between roughly 4,000 and 9,000 feet. Photo by Sean Munson.

 

Snowflower

Snowflower is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Sean Munson
The snowflower, or snow plant, is an odd sort of thing. It doesn’t produce its own chlorophyll, but instead takes advantage of a fungi that lives off the roots of giant sequoia and other conifers. That’s why you’ll often see them poking up out of the ground under the tall trees.

 

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by M. E. Sanserverino
The spotted coralroot is actually a native orchid. Photo by M.E. Sanserverino

 

 

Wood Strawberry

Wood Strawberry is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Laurel Russwurm
The wood strawberry has a delightfully simple flower. Photo by Laurel Russwurm.

 

Stream violet

Stream violet is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Lynette Elliott.
The stream violet is another simple flower that is terrific to find. Photo by Lynette Elliott.

 

Mariposa Lily

 

Mariposa Lily is a wildflower found in redwood forests. Photo by Judy Gallagher
Another great Sierra wildflower, the mariposa lily is named after the butterfly because it is large and showy. Photo by Judy Gallagher.

 

Garrison Frost

About the author

Garrison Frost joined Save the Redwoods League in 2019 as its Director of Communications.

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4 Responses to “Wildflowers of the redwood forests”

  1. Marcella Crane

    So beautiful, hope to visit next year.

    Reply
  2. Eric Hongisto

    Wonderful photos!

    If you are in the Sonoma and Mendocino coast redwood forests, don’t forget to look for the favorite smelly winter bloomer:
    Scoliopus (Fetid Adder’s Tongue)

    Reply
  3. Linda Taylor

    Just beautiful! Thank you!
    Curious if these beautiful flowers survive the “prescribed burns”….

    Reply
  4. Patricia Davis

    The flowers are beautiful and somewhat different from the flowers we see here in the east. Thanks.

    Reply

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