The open grasslands and blue oak woodlands of the southern Sierra Nevada foothills provide critical habitat for many native plants, along with two exceptional rare wildflowers at Lewis Hill Preserve. In 1994, the Hawkins family donated this property north of Porterville to the Kern River Research Center. Six years later, the title transferred to the Tule Oaks Land Trust, which later merged with Sequoia Riverlands Trust.
Co-sponsored by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust and the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, this field trip presents the rare opportunity to visit this property which is mostly an annual grassland with many varieties of wildflowers that are blooming this time of year including golden stars (Triteleia ixiodes), and Ithuriel’s spear (Triteleia laxa) and two rare plants, the exquisite and fragrant striped adobe lily (Fritillaria striata) and the San Joaquin adobe sunburst (Pseudobahia piersonii). Both of these rare species are very difficult to find anywhere else in Tulare County. On the way up the hill we will put markers down where we find these elusive flowers. Alta Peak Chapter Rare Plant Team leaders, Ann Huber and Mary Merriman, will be on hand to assist in documenting the sighting of these rare plants on the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt survey forms to be turned into the State Office of CNPS.
The walk is moderate in difficulty due to the rocky ground and steep hill (700 ft), but only about one mile round trip. Bring water, snacks, sun hat and sunscreen as needed. CNPS field trips are free and open to the public.
At the end of the walk Sequoia Riverlands Trust participants can enjoy flying the kites in the breezes found on the top of the hill. Bring your own kite.
Directions: Going South on Highway 65 (towards Porterville), turn left at the Strathmore exit. Travel east several miles and turn right (south) at Avenue 256. Lewis Hill is near the top of the grade on the right. Park along side of the road.
For more information contact Ann Huber at 559-561-4562.