Mixed-up Flowers

Crown Daisy (Glebionis coronaria)

The rainstorm that we had, plus the mild temperatures that followed until recently, apparently confused some of the wildflowers in the park about what season it is. They seem to think it must be spring. This Crown Daisy, normally a spring bloomer, opened a radiant flower head in the first week of December, ready for visits by pollinator insects. Most of these bugs, however, probably have a more rigid calendar, and won’t be working until daylight hours get longer. The turnaround — Winter Solstice — isn’t far away, but right now the days are still shrinking and the nights expanding.

Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata) with Alyssum

Also blooming in December is this Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata). It also bloomed in September, so its display in winter maybe isn’t so far out of its character. It wants to shine, and it just doesn’t care what season it may be.

Surrounding this orange and yellow bloom is Alyssum (Lobularia maritima). This plant has been blooming here since early September, also past its usual spring and summer blooming season. Although not a native, Alyssum is a magnet for bees, wasps, butterflies, and other pollinator insects.

Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

All these late bloomers are very probably the product of a weed-and-seed day that the Chavez Park Conservancy organized with the assistance of UC Berkeley student volunteers in October 2019. Here’s an item about that. You can see all this in the southeast corner of the park, near the entrance.

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