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Castle Rock State Park

California Hike and Waterfall: The Castle Rock Loop in the Castle Rock State Park.

Gorgeous 5-mile hike with beautiful panoramic vistas to the Monterey Bay.

2005 notes: March 2005; April 2005 (J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden).
2004 notes: March 2004 (by J. Zimmerman) and April 2004 (J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden).
Oak Trees.

April 2005

Report by J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden.

Wildflower in sequence first seen Wednesday April 20, 2005, on 5-mile clockwise loop (outward on Saratoga Gap Trail, and inward on Ridge Trail).

Most of the plant identifications listed here were made by Scott Peden, who leads docent walks in Big Basin State Park.

In the parking lot.
  1. Big leaf maple (tree). Green.
  2. Madrone (tree). Greenish white.
  3. White flower with fuzzy leafs. [SP to identify.]
  4. Miner's lettuce. White.
  5. Western sweet cicely (Osmorhiza occidentalis). Greenish flowers; long, smooth, sharp-pointed seeds.
  6. Vetch. Mauve.
  7. Yellow sanicle (snakeroot). Greenish yellow.
  8. Two-eyed violet. Mauve and purple.

    Heading out from parking lot toward Castle Rock Waterfall.

  9. Giant wake robin.
  10. Toothwort. Opens White, Pinkish before the blossoms fall off.
  11. [Alien]. Forget-me-not. Blue.
  12. Branched (or Fat) Solomon's seal (Smilacina racemosa).
  13. Hooker's Fairy Bell. Pale Green.
  14. Flowering currant. Pink.

    No sighting (right?) of Hound's tongue. Blue with white center.

  15. Hill star (Lithophragma heterophylla [leaf loving]). White. 5 petals. Flower base truncate or rounded ("U-shaped"). [Compare with Woodland star (below), which is ("V-shaped").]
  16. Wild ginger. Maroon/red.

    Across the stream to the trail division.

    Castle Rock Waterfall.

  17. Red larkspur. Bright scarlet on long slender stems. Defying gravity on the rock face across the stream and slightly to the left of the viewing platform.
  18. Bedstraw a.k.a. Cleavers (Galium aparine). White.
  19. Strawberry. White.
  20. Blackberry. White.
  21. Thimbleberry. White.
  22. California figwort AKA (in J.H. Thomas) Coast figwort or California bee-plant. Scrophularia californica. Short red tube-like flowers with two projecting upper petals. Square stem. Triangular leaves.
  23. Warty-leaved ceanothus. Light Blue.
  24. Poisoned oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). Greenish white.
  25. [Alien]. Common Sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus.) [S.P. comments that this is an annual, similar to S. asper, but without prickles on leaves.] Yellow.
  26. Sticky monkey flower. Orange.
  27. Wild cucumber. White.
  28. Yerba santa. Blue.
  29. Bird's Foot Trefoil; probably small-flowered trefoil (Lotus micranthus). Yellow.
  30. Stinging lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus ). Don't touch - OUCH!
  31. [Alien]. Perennial Sow thistle. Yellow. Sonchus arvensis Gland tipped hairs, Eurasian, 2-4 feet tall, milky juice, leaves have a clasping base and mildly prickly margins. [S.P. comments that this can be compared with Common Sow thistle (see earlier), an Annual, Sonchus oleraceus.]
  32. Popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys nothofulvus). White.
  33. 4 thin oblong petals at right angles; thin stem and leaves. [SP to ID.]
  34. Blue. Like blue dicks but not. Thin leaves in rosettes. SP to ID.
  35. [Alien]. SCOTT - confirm or change this id! xxx flax. Linum yyy Tiny blue petals. Blue pollen (unique in this area to Linum).
  36. SCOTT - help - my note says only 'mint (red blobs)' - I gave it a flower # but was it a flower? if so, what!!??
  37. Owl's clover. Purple. Scaly leaves with long fingers.
  38. Ball-shaped clover. Mauve. Looks like the alien garden variety.
  39. Manzanita: Brittle-Leaved Manzanita. White (enlarged burl)
  40. Indian paint brush. Red.

    Swiss Cheese Rock.

  41. Flowering scrub oak (tree). White.

    Bridge at stream and seat.

  42. California Hedge nettle. Purple.
  43. [Alien]. Scarlet pimpernel. Scarlet.
  44. Upright lotus (Scott to get the name).
  45. Blue witch. Blue with gold center.
  46. 3rd type of Sow thistle. Yellow.
  47. White Sow thistle. White.
  48. [Alien]. Hawksbeard (Crepic L.). Yellow composite flower, like a dandelion but on a branching stem.
    Wonderful soft leaves of artemesia (wormwood).
  49. Sky lupine. Purple and white.
  50. Iris: Fernald's Iris (Iris fernaldii). Cream with purple veins. (Corolla tube above ovary very long.)
  51. Blue dicks. Blue.
  52. Buttercups. Yellow.

    Entered marvelous meadow.

  53. Lianthus (Phlox family). Red.
  54. ADC (A Different Composite - or, as some say, Another Dxxxxd Composite).
  55. Filaree.
  56. Different owl's clover.
  57. Coast Larkspur (inland variety) Delphinium patens. Indigo. Leaves like columbine.

    Leaving marvelous meadow.

  58. Woodland star (Lithophragma affine). White. 5 petals, deeply notched. Basal leaves rounded and nearly without divisions. Flower Base truncate or rounded ("U-shaped"). [Compare with Hill star (above), which is ("V-shaped").]
  59. [Alien]. SCOTT - confirm or change this id! Common flax. Linum usitatissimum 5-pointed blue petals half an inch long and wide, with 5 little blue stamens. The blue pollen is unique (in this area) to Linum. I don't see Threadstem flax?
  60. California poppy.

    Connector Trail (lower junction).

  61. Sheep sorrel. Red.
  62. Western native morning glory.
  63. non-sticky Bedstraw. Scott to ID.
  64. Manzanita: Santa Cruz (Heart Leaved) Manzanita. White (leaf clasps stem; no leaf periole; no burl stump)
  65. Pearly Everlasting. Cream.
  66. Prickly Sow thistle. Yellow. (Sonchus asper).
  67. Blue bush lupine.
  68. Blue on a long stalk - was this the blue eyed grass?
  69. Spring gold (Crocidium multicaule).
  70. Fremont's Star Lily, Zigadenus fremontii. 6-petal flower. Cream.
  71. Very small white flowers, similar to Strawberry. White.
  72. Crane's bill. White.

March 2005

Report by J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden.

Wildflower in sequence first seen Wednesday March 30, 2005, on 5-mile clockwise loop (outward on Saratoga Gap Trail, and inward on Ridge Trail).

Most of the plant identifications listed here were made by Scott Peden, who leads docent walks in Big Basin State Park.

  1. Toothwort. Opens White, Pinkish before the blossoms fall off.
  2. [Alien]. Forget-me-not. Blue.

    Lots of juncos.

  3. Giant wake robin.
  4. Madrone (Tree). Greenish white.
  5. Hooker's Fairy Bell. Pale Green.
  6. Flowering currant. Pink.
  7. Hound's tongue. Blue with white center.
  8. Wild ginger. Maroon/red.
  9. Yellow sanicle (snakeroot). Greenish yellow.
  10. Vetch. Mauve.

    Castle Rock Waterfall. [50°F; 31.8 mm Hg]

  11. Pacific star flower.
  12. Buck brush. White to Lavender.
  13. Strawberry. Pink flowers as well as white.
  14. Miner's lettuce. White.
  15. Manzanita: Santa Cruz (Heart Leaved) Manzanita. White (leaf clasps stem; no leaf periole; no burl stump)
  16. Manzanita: Brittle-Leaved Manzanita. White (enlarged burl; leaf hairs 1-3 times as long as diameter of the leaf twigs).
  17. [Alien]. Common Sow thistle. Yellow. (Sonchus oleraceus.) [S.P. comments that this is an annual, similar to S. asper, but without prickled on leaves.]
  18. ??? 5-petal purple. Alternate lance leaves.
  19. ??? 4 tiny petals. Alternate lancelate hairy leaves.
  20. Yerba santa. Blue.
  21. Sticky monkey flower. Orange.
  22. Wild cucumber. White.
  23. Bird's Foot Trefoil; probably small-flowered trefoil (Lotus micranthus). Yellow.
  24. [Alien]. Perennial Sow thistle. Yellow. Sonchus arvensis Gland tipped hairs, Eurasian, 2-4 feet tall, milky juice, leaves have a clasping base and mildly prickley margines. Leave go up the stem but are below folower stalk divisions. [S.P. comments that this can be compared with Common Sow thistle (see earlier), an Annual, Sonchus oleraceus.]
  25. Poisoned oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). Greenish white.

    Swiss Cheese Rock.

  26. Indian paint brush. Red.
  27. Iris: Fernald's Iris (Iris fernaldii). Cream with purple veins. (Corolla tube above ovary very long.)
  28. [Alien]. Scarlet pimpernel. Scarlet.
  29. ??? 5-pointed blue with 5 little blue stamens.
  30. Another type of lotus with closed flowers and bunches up high.
  31. Blue witch. Blue with gold center.
  32. Chickweed (white).
  33. Valley lupine. Purple and white.
  34. Blue dicks. Blue.
  35. Buttercups. Yellow.
  36. Coast Larkspur (inland variety) Delphinium patens. Indigo.
  37. Popcorn flower.
  38. [Alien]. Bur chervil.
  39. Flax. (half-inch pale blue petals with lines.)
  40. Purple shooting star.

    Connector Trail (lower junction). [71°F; 30.7 mm Hg]

  41. Warty-leaved ceanothus. Light Blue.
  42. Blackberry. White.

    First, best, and only banana slug.

  43. Pearly Everlasting. Cream.
  44. Stinging lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus ). Don't touch - OUCH!
  45. Nipplewort (Lapsana communis). Yellow.
  46. Bedstraw a.k.a. Cleavers (Galium aparine). White.
  47. Large lupine. Purple with red flag.
  48. Flowering scrub oak (Tree). White.
  49. Dannie's Skullcap (Scutellaria tuberosa.
  50. Fremont's Star Lily, Zigadenus fremontii. 6-petal flower. Cream.

    Connector Trail (higher junction). [64°F; 30.8 mm Hg]

  51. Very small white flowers, similar to Strawberry. White.
  52. Crane's bill. White.

April 2004

Report by J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden.

Wildflower in sequence first seen Thursday April 8, 2004, on 3-mile clockwise loop (outward on Saratoga Gap Trail, up the 0.2 connector trail, and inward on Ridge Trail).

Most of the plant identifications listed here were made by Scott Peden, who leads docent walks in Big Basin State Park.

  1. Blackberry. White.
  2. Toothwort. Opens White, Pinkish before the blossoms fall off.
  3. Bur chervil (Alien). White.
  4. Two-eyed violet. Mauve and purple.
  5. Hound's tongue. Blue with white center.
  6. Hooker's Fairy Bell. Greenish white.
  7. Madrone (Tree). Greenish white.
  8. Flowering currant. Pink.
  9. Western baneberry. White.
  10. Wild ginger. Maroon/red.
  11. Bay (Tree). White/cream.
  12. Big leaf maple (Tree). Green.
  13. Buttercups. Yellow.

    Castle Rock Waterfall.

  14. Bedstraw a.k.a. Cleavers (Galium aparine). White.
  15. Buck brush. White to Lavender.
  16. Miner's lettuce. White.
  17. Strawberry. Pink flowers as well as white.
  18. Yellow sanicle (snakeroot). Greenish yellow.
  19. Poisoned oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). Greenish white.
  20. Bird's Foot Trefoil; probably small-flowered trefoil (Lotus micranthus). Yellow.
  21. Common Sow thistle. Yellow. (Sonchus oleraceus). Three types see in this hike (not all in this location).
  22. Prickly Sow thistle. Yellow. (Sonchus asper).
  23. Prennial Sow thistle. Yellow.
  24. Manzanita: Santa Cruz/Heart Leaved Manzanita. White (no leaf perioles and no burl stump)
  25. Manzanita: Brittle Leaved Manzanita. White (enlarged burl; leaf hairs 1-3 times as long as diameter of the leaf twigs).
  26. Stinging lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus ). Don't touch - OUCH!
  27. ??? White cluster, belly flower, lance leaves, hairy stem. White.
  28. ??? Fiddle neck/head. White.
  29. ??? 5-petal mauve/pink. Rosette leaves like sheep sorrel, but not.
  30. Yerba santa. Blue.
  31. Woodland groundsel. Yellow.
  32. Wild cucumber. White.
  33. Owl clover. Purple.
  34. Gilia. Posssibly Gilia clivorum Blue.
  35. ??? white 4-petal (like but NOT shepherd's purse).
  36. Plumed clover. Purple.
  37. Sticky monkey flower. Orange.
  38. Indian paint brush. Red.
  39. Flowering scrub oak (Tree). White.
  40. Buckeye (Tree). White.
  41. Pearly Everlasting. Cream.
  42. Warty-leaved ceanothus. Light Blue.
  43. California Hedge nettle. Purple.
  44. Blue witch. Blue with gold center.
  45. Scarlet pimpernel. Scarlet. (Alien)
  46. Windmill Pink (Silene gallica) 5-petal, white. Opposite leaves.
  47. Vetch. Mauve.
  48. Valley lupine. Purple and white.
  49. Blue dicks. Blue.
  50. Iris: Fernald's Iris (Iris fernaldii). Cream with purple veins. (Corolla tube above ovary very long).
  51. ??? Phlox (red).
  52. Coast Larkspur (inland variety) Delphinium patens. Indigo.
  53. Baby blue eyes. White with lilac strips and little dots at the base of the petals.
  54. Woodland star. White.

    Connector Trail - nothing new till reached Ridge Trail.

  55. Fremont's Star Lily, Zigadenus fremontii. 6-petal flower. Cream.
  56. We also had cat's ear

March 2004

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Oak Trees

Seven oak tree species are found in Castle Rock State Park:

  1. California Black Oak. Quercus kelloggii. Interestingly erratic edges to the deciduous leaves, 3-6" long; 2-3" wide; in 5-7 lobes, shaped somewhat as if edged by flames. Ellipsoidal long acorns; deep scaly cups. Black heavily ridged bark. To 50-100 feet tall, 1-3 feet diameter.
  2. Canyon Live Oak. Quercus chrysolepis. Oblong or elliptical evergreen leaves 1-4" long and 0.5-2" wide; some are smooth-edged, others like holly. Ovoid acorns; 1.5" long; thick scaly cups covered with golden fuzz. To 60-80 feet tall, 1-5 feet diameter.
  3. Coast (California) Live Oak. Quercus agrifolia. Oval leaf, with stippled edges. These evergreen leaves (slightly larger than interior live oak's) remain on tree through only one year. Chestnut-brown conical acorns; 1" long; cups covers lower third. To 60-90 feet tall, 2-3 feet diameter.
  4. Gary Oak. Squarish lobes on leaves.
  5. Interior Live Oak. Quercus wislizenzii. Elliptical evergreen leaves 1-1.5" long and 0.7" wide; smooth or holly-like margins. 1" long acorns in deep scaly cups that cover up to the lower half. To 50-80 feet tall, 2-3 feet diameter; short trunk; black furrowed bark.
  6. Oracle Oak.
  7. Scrub Oak. Like Coast live oak, but narrower, more compressed leaves.

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