Shy Wildflower Plus

A shy wildflower I’ve never seen before in the park bloomed on March 22 inside the southern end of the fenced Burrowing Owl area. It formed a neat radial of lance-like leaves, with bright yellow flowers standing out and reaching for the sky in the middle. Thanks to scientist Jutta Burger, who identified it from my photos, I can say that this is Taraxia ovata, aka Camissonia ovata, commonly known as sun cups or goldeneggs. It’s native to California and Oregon. It grew all by itself, without any fellow bloomers. There is not much literature about it, and it has almost no presence in the commercial nursery trade. I count myself lucky to have seen it and taken its picture.

Taraxia Ovata
Taraxia Ovata

P.S. On the 26th, in a mellow sun, this flower bloomed again. When I visited on the 24th under an overcast, it had closed up, and I mistakenly thought it was done for the season. Here it is again, with some kind of pollinating insect on it:

Goldeneggs
Detail from image above

The bug is a hoverfly (aka flower fly). I’ve submitted the photo to bugguide.net to have their experts look at it for further identification. Hoverflies are harmless to humans and can be highly useful in control of harmful bugs such as aphids.

Next morning: The fly is a Paragus haemorrhous female. Hats off to Bill Dean of Bugguide.net, who came up with the ID within hours after I submitted it. I am impressed! According to Wikipedia, this is one of the hoverfly species that feeds on aphids, so it’s a gardener’s friend.

And as a completely off-topic bonus, a snapshot of the bunny that posed for its portrait not fifteen feet away from the wildflower:

Lepus Californicus

Links: Wikipedia CalFlora CalPhotos

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