Silene laciniata subsp. californica (formerly Silene californica), commonly known as California pink, is today’s featured plant.
I (Taisha) encountered Silene laciniata subsp. californica while I was in Yosemite National Park on an ecology field course in the spring of 2014. Yosemite happened to be one of less work-intensive spots on our round trip of the state, as we didn’t have research permits to pursue any field studies. However, we did have projects, readings, and papers to work on. And, of course, exploring! We visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias where the Grizzly Giant (Sequoiadendron giganteum) resides, standing with a volume of 962.9m3. We also walked beneath Half Dome and had an afternoon swimming at one of several “secret swimming spots” in the park. The striking cluster of brightly-coloured flowers of California pink stopped many of us when walking back from our swimming. I was happy to see that Claire Woods shared a photograph of this taxon on Flickr, so I could write about my experience with it!
Silene laciniata subsp. californica is a perennial herb native to California. It grows at elevations of 0-2200m throughout California and Mexico. This taxon prefers shaded areas in open woodlands, chaparral, or on rocky hillsides and cliffs. The orange-red flowers often grow in clusters, and bloom throughout the spring and summer. It differs from the other subspecies, Silene laciniata subsp. laciniata, by having wider leaves and more typically ovoid fruit in comparison.