Trip to Baja

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I can’t believe it has been over two weeks since my last post. And a busy two weeks indeed. I was fortunate to be able to join a Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden botany trip to Baja California. The purpose of the trip is to develop a field guide to dominant plants in California quail habitat. We traveled around the San Vicente area, both inland and near the coast. I was blown away by the beauty of the area. Words don’t do it. Neither do pictures but I really want to share. The following images were all taken on the first of four days in the field. More to come.

Rosa minutifolia was blooming nearly everywhere we went.

This gentleman and his dog were interested in what we were doing, and as we found out, was himself interested in the plants and habitat of his home.

Shaw’s agave (Agave shawii) has always been a favorite of mine at Rancho. As usual, it is even more spectacular in the wild.

Flowers of Shaw’s agave (Agave shawii)

Bush rue (Cneoridium dumosum) was in bloom and fruit. It is in the same family as oranges (Rutaceae), as you can see from its fruits. I haven’t tasted any and don’t know if they are edible.

Mission manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor), a close relative of manzanita, was also in bloom and fruit.

There were several different ceanothus in bloom. I think this is wart-stemmed ceanothus – what a terrible name – (Ceanothus verrucosus) because of its warty stem and alternate leaves.

The tree on the left is the chaparral flowering ash (Fraxinus dipetala).

Shooting stars were blooming in lots of places. This one is Dodecatheon clevelandii. I am going to go out on a limb here and say it is subspecies clevelandii based on the fact that the wrinkly looking material at the bottom of the filament tube right above the stamens is yellow. See Plant Systematics key at (

Field of Padre’s shooting stars.

Ceanothus in bloom in the center, Padre’s shooting star and barrel cactus in foreground.

Masses of Shaw’s agave.

Some of the Baja wild rose (Rosa minutifolia) were white. Many were white with pink streaks on the petals near the stamens.

Close to the coast we saw sea coreopsis (Coreopsis maritima) in bloom.

Lovely little rabbit’s purse (Harfordia macroptera) was common as well. This vining plant has showy seed pods, though its small, yellow flowers are inconspicous.

Rabbit’s purse – what a great common name!

Inconspicuous yellow/cream flowers of Harfordia macroptera, rabbit’s purse.


Collecting herbarium specimens.




We saw many beautiful cacti and I will post more of them in the future. This is an old clump of Echinocereus maritimus.

Caught a back lit shot of this hummingbird on a chuparosa (Justicia californica).

Gorgeous sunset ends a gorgeous day. More to come.

10 thoughts on “Trip to Baja

  1. Amazing photos. Especially enjoy seeing the hummer (bird, I mean!) They are not easy to catch on film. You've a great eye.

  2. Barbara,<br />What a great trip and wonderful images to go with it. The first rose photo is excellent!

  3. Oh, I&#39;m envious! But thanks so much for sharing, amazing photos. Glad you&#39;re back.

  4. Great photos Barbara. The Rabbit&#39;s purse seed pods look like little strawberries and the color of the Rosa minutifolia is so vivid. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow. Great post. Shooting stars are one of my favorite flowers, and you pic of a field of them left me very jealous. The ceanothus and agave are also beautiful.<br /><br />If you haven&#39;t seen, Ryan over at Drystonegarden was just in Baja as well. I&#39;ve never been down there, but now I think I need to check out the plants for myself.

  6. I let out more than one audible &quot;wow&quot; as I scrolled my way through your trip. Looks incredible and that shawii blows me away! Can&#39;t wait to see more.

  7. That is a beautiful place! Your photos are amazing!

  8. Oh my, how could ever stand to leave? Stunning photos, and I have to admit I&#39;ve never seen rabbit&#39;s purse, what a unique plant! The field full of shooting stars just leaves me speechless!

  9. Beautiful photos. That rabbit&#39;s purse is new to me, very cool. I was further south around the same time; very noticeable that the species are all different from the ones in your photographs. I&#39;ll have to go to that part of Baja someday. <br />I&#39;m trying to think about where we saw the most quail. I think it was in places with populations of plants I know from up north, like

  10. Belated thanks to everyone for your comments. Been crazy busy and haven&#39;t been able to keep up with comments and…haven&#39;t had time to read other blogs very much.<br /><br />Ryan, I just took a look at your blog and your posts about Baja. What an amazing trip – by bicycle/bus, etc. One of the people I went to Baja with (the organizer of the trip, in fact) does botanical research in

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