Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

Clarkia unguiculata is a species of wildflower known by the common name elegant clarkia or mountain garland. This plant is endemic to California, where it is found in many woodland habitats. Specifically it is common on the forest floor of many oak woodlands, along with typical understory wildflowers that include Calochortus luteus, Cynoglossum grande and Delphinium variegatum. C. unguiculata presents a spindly, hairless, waxy stem not exceeding a meter in height and bears occasional narrow leaves. The showy flowers have hairy, fused sepals forming a cup beneath the corolla, and four petals each one to 2.5 centimeters long. The paddle-like petals are a shade of pink to reddish to purple and are slender and diamond-shaped or triangular. There are eight long stamens, the outer four of which have large red anthers. The stigma protrudes from the flower and can be quite large. Flowers of the genus Clarkia are primarily pollinated by specialist bees found in their native habitat¬† “Clarkias independently developed self-pollination in 12 lineages.”

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Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

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