A Showy Display of Rare — and At-Risk — California Wildflowers

Coyote Valley Poppies

By Protect Coyote Valley Staff

Peacocks fanning their tails. Cherry blossom trees blooming en masse. Whales breaching. It’s breathtaking when nature pulls out all the stops. And here in Coyote Valley, wildflower season is a prime example.

Coyote Valley’s wildflower season is not only a spectacular sight, it’s also a unique opportunity for an up-close glimpse at native California wildflowers at their showiest. Why? The hills surrounding Coyote Valley are one of the few undeveloped areas in the region featuring serpentine soil, which provides — ironically — a harsh, nitrogen-deprived environment for plants. Yet California wildflowers have adapted well, meaning they thrive while non-native species don’t. And that results in stunning displays of colorful flora.

Development Threatens the Environment


Bay Checkerspot Butterfly. Photo credit: Creekside Center for Earth Observation

The Coyote Valley region contains over 15 plants identified by the California Native Plant Society as rare or endangered, including the Santa Clara Valley dudleya, Coyote ceanothus, Tiburon Indian paintbrush, and Metcalf Canyon jewelflower. Among them lives the federally endangered Bay Checkerspot butterfly, which emerges in the spring along with the wildflowers. Coyote Ridge, adjacent to Coyote Valley, is now one of the butterfly’s only habitats in the Bay Area, as urban development and emissions have destroyed its host and food source that grows within the serpentine grasslands.

The flowers are also at risk from increased air pollutants, which drive disruptive levels of nitrogen into the soil. Non-native plants — spurred by this alien nutrient — have begun to invade and crowd out the native species. Managed cattle grazing keeps the non-native plants at bay on some sites, but sustaining that activity may not be viable over the long-term.

Those are just a few of the reasons that Protect Coyote Valley calls you to action. We need public support to preserve this remarkable space, and we also encourage you to come enjoy it.

Get Involved — and Get Among the Flowers

Join our upcoming wildflower hike on Saturday, March 31 from 9AM-1PM.Taking place in an area typically closed to the public, this is a special opportunity to enjoy this unique ecosystem with a naturalist guide. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

Register here.

Can’t make the hike, but want to know more? We’ve got you covered!

  • Visit Coyote Valley on your own
  • Read about other upcoming Coyote Valley events.
  • Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, featuring other event information and Coyote Valley news, or volunteer to stand up and step out when we need our community’s support to spread the word about Coyote Valley.

You can join this last chance opportunity to protect the valley. Pledge your support today.

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