In the serpentine grassland at the top of the ridge, in the soggy soil along the Bird Transect Trail just north of Road F, not too far from Trail 3, down in the grass below notice, unless you are really paying attention to lowly things, bloom some modest little pink flowers. Get down, get close, observe closely. These are lowland shooting stars (Primula clevelandii var. patula, formerly Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. patulum). They come in two color variants. I have only seen the white variant once: here. As far as I know, the more-colored variant is more common.
Last month, John Rawlings pointed out the leaves of this plant here. Looking more closely, we even saw some in bloom then. (See "A Day at a Time", 1/16/2017.) So this month I was on alert. Lo and behold, both color variants: one white, several more colored.
One can find two species of shooting stars at Jasper Ridge. The other is often called mosquito bill: P. hendersonii. This one, the lowland shooting star, tends to grow more in the grasslands, not in the woods; has yellow anthers near the flower tip; and has a green, not a red stem. It also tends to bloom earlier, so keep your eyes open for the mosquito bill.
I hope you enjoy these images, both against the grassland and taken from ground level, with the flower against the sky. Actually, I saw several other groups of the colored variant this morning, including some prominent ones on Trail 15 near the mountain lion scat.
Other images from this morning -- birds, oaks, and serpentine -- are in "A Day at a Time".
© Photography by Dan Quinn