Report on the August 5, 2018 trip to the Modini Preserve

led by botanist and Audubon Canyon Ranch Naturalist Dave Self.

The Modini Mayacamas Preserve is situated 2,000 feet up into the mountains east of the Alexander Valley. The preserve supports a surprising diversity of August wildflowers. Some of these plants specialize in serpentine soils and hot rocky outcrops. Others like yampah (Perideridia kelloggii) were largely displaced from the lowlands by overgrazing and farming, but have persisted here where ranching was harder to sustain and where steep areas and brushy patches offered reliable refuge from livestock. From milkweeds (Asclepias cordifolia and A. fascicularis) and serpentine sunflowers (Helianthus exilis) to several kinds of buckwheat, these wildflowers also support a diversity of summer bees, butterflies, and other insects. We saw a lovely display of alkali heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum ssp. oculatum)  and showy madia (Madia elegans), which closed its flowers in the morning.

Modini Mayacamas Group1Modini Mayacamas View

Fig 1: Group at Pine Flat Hill, Sonoma County (photo by Lorri Gong).

Fig 2. David Self and Susan Schlosser among the serpentine sunflowers (Helianthus exilis) at Modini (photo by Lorri Gong).