Wildflower Lesson

Mission Bells (or Chocolate Lily) is hard to see.

Surprise of the underside!

Mission Bells, or Chocolate Lily (I do not know the difference), is blooming! It is a rare wildflower on our ranch, maybe because its coloring makes it rare to see!  Last year as I was attempting to photograph one blossom, it suddenly disappeared in front of my eyes as a goat mouth came into focus in the camera’s lens.  Fortunately, there are now seven lilies where there were only three in years before. Maybe selective browsing by goats does increase perennial plant populations! Nevertheless, this year I sneaked down to photograph without the goats.

When I was about aged ten, a group of us Girl Scouts picked what we understood to be a rare Jack-in-the-Pulpit while on a spring outing.  I don’t know whatever got into us, as we all knew better, but I will always remember taking the trophy back to our leader—my mother. “That will never grow again,” she said. “This is its last season.”

This probably isn’t true, as the plant is a perennial, but I know I never picked another Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and I am very careful about collecting any wildflower. And coming across the delicate Mission Bells at the base of Coyote Trail on our ranch is visiting old friends each March.