What's new in the forest of Nisene Marks SP?

It's flower season! The first native forest flowers are emerging out of the ground. We'll be posting more as more bloom from January - May.

Milk Maid are one of the first flowers every January. You can spot them all over the forest including along the fire road near the winter gate. They are named for their white milk color and delicate bloom.

Hound Tongue are blooming now and are spectacular with their beautiful indigo blue and magenta flowers atop big leaves shaped like a big dog's tongue. They grow along the West Ridge Trail as well as Vienna Woods Trail, Buggy Trail, the Fire Road, Aptos Rancho Trail and throughout the park.

The exotic Slink Pod flowers are always one of the first January bloomers. They are unusual in that they self pollinate by burying their pollinated pod in the ground next to them.

This wildflower is a member of the Lily family. Its distinctive leaves are just barely showing when the flower first blooms out of a tight bulb like leaf cluster. But they will grow in the weeks ahead.

They are also called Fetid Adder's Tongue as they have an unusual smell to them that isn't often referred to as pleasant.

They can be found on the beginning of the Buggy Trail near George's picnic area.

Slink Pods have multiple blooms, but each one doesn't last very long. The flower quickly forms a pod, which falls onto the ground, hence its common name Slink Pod.

Later in the spring, the long, mottled leaves will be quite noticeable. If you note their spots, then you can look for the flowers in the winter months.

Since they don't pollinate by air, they glow in clusters, mostly along the Buggy Trail so are not found all over the park. Their exotic flower only blooms for the month of January and part of February so get out and seem them soon or you'll have to wait for next year.

~Allison Livingston

President, Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks SP, forest flower lover and Coach for Parents with Strong Willed Children