If you follow the paved path on the east side of the park northward until you come to the sign showing various birds of the area, and then turn left, you will see one of the shallow v-shaped concrete drainage channels that leads up the slope. It is usually overgrown with weeds. Ignore the weeds and walk uphill in the channel. At this season, both sides are brown and weedy. Then, maybe twenty yards up the slope, on your right, among the dry herbage, a splash of color meets your eye. It’s a little colony of three bunches of tightly packed tiny flowers, almost white, with purple mixed in, blooming brightly in this season when the eyes see very little other cheerfulness on the ground.
My cellphone app identifies these flowers as “Golden Statice.” That’s one of the many common names for this plant, also known as wavyleaf sea lavender, marsh rosemary, sea pink, and others. It’s one among the more than 120 varieties of the Limonium family, and frankly, I’m not sure which one. I was hoping limonium californicum, a native, but the leaf shape doesn’t match up. It’s probably limonium sinuatum, a Mediterranean native, liked in the florist trade for its usefulness as a dried and long-lasting addition to floral arrangements.
It’s also known to become invasive. This last quality it shares with just about every other plant that grows in Cesar Chavez Park. It’s almost a required quality for survival in this environment. In any event, here it grows in a tucked-away location. I’ve wandered here before and noticed a much smaller stand of the same plant, and made the same guess as to its identity, last December. It has definitely spread since then. In this case, I wish it “happy invading.”