Treasure Hunt: Flowers You Might Find After a Fire

March 30, 2018

After a fire, seeds that have been lying dormant in the soil, sometimes for decades or even a century, awaken. Botanist Lech Naumovich describes the complex post-fire ecology of the North Bay in the April 2018 Bay Nature. This rare plant list gives an idea of some of the individual species that botanists might find in the coming years.

The following plants are not all obligate fire followers, but likely need similar environmental conditions as species that follow fire. An explanation of the CNPS rarity lists can be found here.

twining snapdragon
Antirrhinum kelloggi. (Photo by jpgalvan / iNaturalist – CC-BY-NC)

Kellogg’s snapdragonAntirrhinum kelloggii – At its northern range limit, recently rediscovered in the Mt. Diablo area after the Morgan Fire.

Brewer's calindrinia
Calandrinia breweri. (Photo by Don Loarie / iNaturalist, CC-BY)

Brewer’s calandriniaCalandrinia breweri – CNPS List 4; rare clarkia.

Rincon ridge ceanothus
Ceanothus confusus. (Photo by icosahedron / iNaturalist, CC-BY)

Rincon Ridge ceanothusCeanothus confusus – CNPS List 1B; North Bay endemic.

Calistoga ceanothus
Ceanothus divergens. (Photo by Peter Warner / iNaturalist, CC-BY)

Calistoga ceanothusCeanothus divergens – CNPS List 1B; local endemic centralized around the mountains near Calistoga.

clarkia breweri
Clarkia breweri. (Photo by Ken-ichi Ueda / iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC)

Brewer’s clarkiaClarkia breweri – CNPS List 4; at its northern range limit, very limited in Napa.

Whispering bells
Emmenanthe penduliflora. (Photo by Donna Pomeroy / iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC)

Whispering bellsEmmenanthe penduliflora – Common after fires but disappears within three years.

San Benito poppy
Eschsolzia hypecoides. (Photo by Curtis Clark / Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Leafy-stemmed poppyEschscholzia hypecoides – CNPS List 4; not seen in Napa for more than 20 years.

Harmonia nutans
Harmonia nutans. (Photo by Don Loarie / iNaturalist, CC-BY)

Nodding harmoniaHarmonia nutans – CNPS List 1B; entire species distribution centered in Napa.

Hesperolinon breweri
Hesperolinon breweri. (Photo by Tony Iwane / iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC)

Brewer’s dwarf flaxHesperolinon breweri – CNPS List 1B; entire species distribution centered in Napa.

Calistoga pincushion plant
Navarretia heterodoxa. (Photo by Kevin Hintsa / iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC)

Calistoga pincushion plantNavarretia heterodoxa – A plant that typically thrives in bare, rocky, and often serpentine soils in the coastal Bay Area.

fire poppy
Papaver californicum. (Photo by Heath Bartosh)

Fire poppyPapaver californicum – Fire poppy that usually is seen only following fires.

Ribes victoris
Ribes victoris. (Photo by c michael hogan / iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC-SA)

Victor’s gooseberryRibes victoris – CNPS List 4; species predominantly restricted to the Bay Area, mainly in the North Bay.

About the Author

Lech Naumovich has extensive experience in rare plant surveys, vegetation mapping, restoration ecology, and conservation science in the state of California. He serves on the California Native Plant Society Conservation Committee, has served as a Conference Session Chair for Restoration four times, serves on the Steering Committee for the Conservation Lands Network (versions 1 & 2), and is an appointed commissioner of the Alameda County Fish and Game Commission. He regularly teaches technical courses on Restoration Ecology in field and in the classroom and manages restoration projects throughout the Bay Area. He is the co-author of Annotated Checklist of the Flora of the East Bay, a CNPS/ Jepson Herbarium publication. He is the founder of Golden Hour Restoration Institute (goldenhour.org). Lech also works as a conservation photographer in his spare time.

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