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A Field Guide to California Wildflowers

Updated: Oct 2, 2023


The hills of California are alive with color during the spring when wildflowers blanket the countryside in a rainbow of blooms. From poppies to lupines to buttercups, there's no shortage of beautiful flowers to admire. But the state's natural beauty doesn't start or stop there; you can find an array of vibrant wildflowers throughout the year. The best time to go out and look for wildflowers is on a sunny day just after it has rained. California is a desert and many plants use the seasonal rain as a cue to crank up the color.


With this Field Guide to California Wildflowers we will introduce you to some of the most common California wildflowers with photos we have taken and the time of year you will most likely see them so that you can identify them while out exploring. So grab your camera gear and get ready for a beautiful adventure!



Updated: 10/1/23


Count: 79 - Stay tuned, more flowers to come with each outing.

Plant: Baby Blue Eyes

Blooms: February to June




​​Plant: Belladonna Lily Blooms: July to September Notes:



Plant: Black Sage

Blooms: April to July




​Plant: Blue Dicks

Blooms: March to May




​Plant: Bush Mallow

Blooms: January to December

Note: Also called Chaparral Mallow




Plant: Bush Sunflower Blooms: May to November



​Plant: Branched Scorpion Weed

Blooms: April to October




Plant: California Aster Blooms: June to November



Plant: California Bush Poppy Blooms: February to September



​Plant: California Fuchsia

Blooms: June to October




​Plant: California Poppy

Blooms: March to May




​Plant: California Sun Cup

Blooms: March to May




Plant: California Wild Buckwheat

Blooms: April to November




​Plant: Canaigre Dock Blooms: March to May Note: Wild Rhubarb



Plant: Canterbury Bells

Blooms: March to June




Plant: Chamise

Blooms: April to June




Plant: Chaparral Yucca

Blooms: April to June




Plant: Chia Sage

Blooms: March to June

Notes: Very short plant, low to the ground. Sometimes all you will see is the spiky flower stock coming out of the ground.




​​Plant: Common Phacelia

Blooms: February to June




​​Plant: Coulter’s Lupine

Blooms: March to May




Plant: Dandelion

Blooms: May to October

Notes: Known as a weed to most people




Plant: Davidson’s Lotus

Blooms: May to August

Notes: Flowers can be yellow to Orange




​Plant: Deerweed

Blooms: March to July




Plant: Desert Indian Paintbrush

Blooms: March to August




Plant: Elegant Clarkia

Blooms: May to June




​Plant: Evening Primrose

Blooms: June to September




Plant: Felt Leaved Yerba Santa

Blooms: March to August

Notes: Flowers can be white to Pale Blue. Butterflies love these




​Plant: Hairy Bittercress

Blooms: March to July




​Plant: Halfmoon Milkvetch

Blooms: March to May




​Plant: Largeflower Linanthus Blooms: May to August Note: RARE and Endangered



​Plant: Large-Flowered Phacelia

Blooms: January to June



​​Plant: Lesser Indian Paintbrush

Blooms: March to September




Plant: Mexican Elderberry

Blooms: March to September




Plant: Mexican Pink Blooms: May to July



​Plant: Morning Glory

Blooms: May-June




Plant: Moth Mullein

Blooms: June to September




Plant: Mustard

Blooms: March to July




Plant: Nevada Gila

Blooms: March to June



​Plant: Padre's Shooting Star

Blooms: February to April




Plant: Pasture Goatsbeard Blooms: March to October Notes: Introduced from Europe



Plant: Periwinkle Blooms: March to July



Plant: Pitted Onion

Blooms: April to June




Plant: Plummer's Mariposa Lily Blooms: May to July



​Plant: Prickly Pear Cactus

Blooms: April to June




​Plant: Prickly Poppy

Blooms: March to July




​Plant: Red-gland Spurge

Blooms: December to May

Notes: Very small flower which makes it difficult to see




​Plant: Red-stem Filaree

Blooms: February to May




​Plant: Rock Goldenbush

Blooms: September to November




​​Plant: Rock Purslane

Blooms: April to November




​Plant: Rubber Rabbitbrush

Blooms: July to November




Plant: Sacred Datura

Blooms: April to October

Note: Flowers can be a light shade of purple or blue as well. All parts of this plant are poisonous



​​Plant: San Bernardino Sun Cup

Blooms: March to May




​​Plant: Scarlet Larkspur

Blooms: May to July




​Plant: Scarlet Monkeyflower Blooms: May to October



​Plant: Scarlet Pimpernel Blooms: March to August



Plant: Short Leaved Cliff Aster

Blooms: March to September



Plant: Showy Prickly-Nut Cryptantha

Blooms: March to July




​Plant: Silverpuffs

Blooms: March to June




​Plant: Snow Plant

Blooms: May to July

Notes: Found in foreset areas 3,000 to 10,00 feet elevation




​Plant: Spanish Broom

Blooms: April to June

Notes: This plant is on the Government Noxious Weed List because it alters the soil and extreme fire hazard.




​Plant: Telegraph Weed

Blooms: September to November




​Plant: Tarweed

Blooms: April to September




​Plant: Thistle

Blooms: May to October

Notes: Flower can be pink to red, or blue to purple




Plant: Tidy Tips

Blooms: March to June

Notes: Flowers can also be all white




Plant: Tree Tobacco

Blooms: April-August

Notes: Leaves of this plant are poisonous if eaten



​Plant: Tufted Poppy

Blooms: March to June




Plant: Twiggy Wreath Plant Blooms: June to October



Plant: Violet Wood-sorrel

Blooms: March to October

Notes: Leaves in three shaped like hearts




​Plant: Whipple Cholla Blooms: May to July



Plant: White Pincushion

Blooms: April to July




​​Plant: White Sage

Blooms: April to July




​Plant: White Tidytips

Blooms: March to June




Plant: Wild Cucumber

Blooms: January to April

Notes: Produces large spiky fruit




​Plant: Wishbone Bush

Blooms: December to June




​Plant: Wooly Sunflower

Blooms: March to June



​Plant: Yellow Pincushion

Blooms: April to July




​Plant: Yellow Rabbitbrush

Blooms: June to October




​Plant: Yellow Star Thistle Blooms: May to October Notes: Invasive, Toxic to Horses



​Plant: Yellow Wood-sorrel

Blooms: March to October

Notes: Leaves in three shaped like hearts




Stay tuned, more flowers to come with each outing.


The photographs contained in this website may not be reproduced without the express consent of Shutter Bison.




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