Each year, thousands of wildflower enthusiasts converge upon the Marin Headlands to experience the park’s spectacular floral display. Long recognized as a Bay Area botanical hotspot, the Marin Headland’s ridges, valleys, meadows, and sand dunes are carpeted with blooms of every hue and color from late winter to late autumn.
Photo Credits: www.marincountyparks.org
Marin County is home to a number of rare wildflowers, many of which are found in the county’s 33 open space preserves, the Golden Gate National Recreation area and the Point Reyes Seashore. Ring Mountain Preserve’s unique geology and microclimate provide a home for a number of rare plants. The Tiburon Mariposa Lily is found on the upper slopes of Ring Mountain and nowhere else on earth. Spring wildflowers on the trailhead from Paradise Drive to the top of the preserve are breath-taking.
As you enjoy the wildflowers, please remember that you may be in a national park, and natural and cultural resources are protected by law. Do not pick the wildflowers!
The 117-acre Old St. Hilary’s Preserve in Tiburon is the only place to see the extremely rare Tiburon Jewelflower. This odd member of the mustard family, usually seen in mid-May, has dark maroon petals that appear almost black. Other rare plants like the Dirca Occidentalis grow naturally only in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Marin County has five or six known small populations of this wildflower that are associated with basaltic greenstone rocks in a mixed evergreen forest. White Wakerobin can be found in the northern part of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula.
Patches of serpentine soil in the Loma Alta Preserve provide one of the best late-season wildflower displays in the county. Douglas Iris can be spotted in the Bald Hill Preserve, and the Bush Monkeyflower and Dwarf Checkermallow inhabit the Camino Alto Preserve.
The below resources give information on the many species of wildflowers that grow in Marin County and where they can be found: The Marin County Open Space District’s website lists all of the open space preserves in the county and describes the plants and animals that can be found there. Please visit www.marincountyparks.org for more information.
The Marin Branch of the California Native Plant Society provides information on Marin County’s rare plants and field trips. Please visit www.marin.edu/cnps for more information.