Wildflowers Shyly Raise Their First Blooms


Milkmaid [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Wildflowers are tentatively unfurling their tiny blossoms as warmer weather blankets the Emerald Counties. Both milkmaids and rockbreakers add tiny splashes of white and pink to the hills in Southern Humboldt.

According to Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association (like the Facebook page here), milkmaids are

a perennial, coming up year after year from an underground rhizome. The lower leaves are roundish, leaves higher up on the stem are divided into 3 or 5 lobes. Some leaves have pretty purple splotches and solid purple undersides. Milkmaids grow in moist, shady forests and riparian areas, usually one here, one there, but sometimes forming dense patches.

Lisin said that rockbreakers or saxifrage as they are also known, grow

in moist places, preferring rocks to soil. It is a sweet little plant that can grow in masses, covering large swatches on rocky river banks. It ranges from southern Oregon to northern Baja.


Rockbreaker or Saxifrage [Photo by Kym Kemp]

What kind of wildflowers do you have? We’d love to see what’s blooming where you are now.

And just so those of you with gardens but not wildflowers captured yet can feel included, here’s a cyclamen that’s just starting to bloom. You can add photos of your own flowers if you like.


Cyclamen. [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Let us know roughly where the flower was found and identify it if you can. (After the deer post, we’re excited to see what you all share.)



  • West side

  • Thank you! I love learning about our amazing wildflowers!

  • Do you folks get “Rattlesnake Plants” in Humboldt? I don’t know their real name, but when I was hiking around the area where Sea Ranch is on the coast I heard rattling and I thought it was a rattle snake. I was told that when a breeze comes up the little pods inside of the plant rattle and that’s where they got their name. I don’t know about all of this but I’ve always wondered if this is true. Any insight into this would be appreciated.

  • The redwood violets are out here. People outside the area are always charmed with our very early yellow violets. Other places have yellow violets but ours are numerous and very beautiful.

  • Yes Guest, that’s it. My grand kids love it. Thank you.

  • The plant shown as milkmaids? Is that the same as toothwort? I’ve never heard the name milkmaids here.

    • Yes, they are the same but I had only heard milkmaid and I had grown up here so it must have something to do with the area you are from. PS Milkmaid is much prettier in my opinion….walks away whistling…

      • Ah but like many other plants ending in wort, they are plants with a historial use such as soapwort, St John’s wort, fleawort, etc, frequently a medical use. I suspect some toothwort was used for toothache somewhere or another. I find the connection to that history interesting and informative. Even romantic.

        Don’t plant names like boneheal or allheal or selfheal or feverfew seem to connect you with your ancestors?

  • I grew up calling them mayflowers.

  • Scoliopus( fetid adders tongue) lillacea family. With one whiff of this beautiful little stinker you will not forget it. To me, it signals the coming of early wildflowers; milkmaids, Indian warriors, Western Hounds Tongue.

  • Daffodils are blooming today.

  • Near AP I’m seeing milk maids and what I think are called indian paintbrush (don’t know how to include photo). I saw some trees blooming between here and town too (plums?).

    Thanks Kym for putting this up. I’d enjoy keeping something similar updated as things progress through the seasons. I like learning the names for things. We could all learn from each other, and knowing what’s going on nearby can help us spot things we might miss without a “heads up”.

    I’m also starting to see buzzards again and the first buckeye leaves opening.

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