Monday I went for a hike at Sycamore Grove Park. On my last visit many of the trees were in bloom. On this hike the Common Fiddle Neck flowers were in bloom everywhere I looked. I also saw Vetch, California Golden Poppies, Blue Dicks, Lupin, and several others.
The Large Fiddle Neck flower (which I did not see) is quite rare and its survival is directly connected to the nuclear bomb research conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories high explosive testing area known as Site 300. Each year most of the site is burned to prevent grass fires from explosives testing. These controlled burns have allowed the native Large Fiddle Neck flower, along with many other native wild flowers and grasses, the opportunity to flourish. The burns have also helped to keep the non-native grasses from establishing a foothold as is the case in most of Northern California’s foothills and open areas. So for the Large Fiddle Neck flower, the Cold War and the Stock Pile Stewardship Program allow it to continue to survive.