Toyon, known for its bright red berries that grow during the fall and winter seasons, is a plant common in the area, so you’ve probably already seen it if you’ve been out on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.
Many visitors to the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks get an instant mood boost from seeing the beautiful springtime colors of wildflowers blanketing the hills. If you’re not a botanist, you might have wondered what some of the colorful species dotting the landscape are called. Some are less easy to identify, but a standout beauty is the arroyo lupine. Impress your friends with your botanical knowledge the next time you’re out on the trail.
Part of the pea family, this vibrant purple bloom has a recognizably lupine shape, with clusters of flowers forming a narrow, tapering bloom. Arroyo lupine is native to California and does well in a number of habitats, including the chaparral habitat found in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and is more water-tolerant than other lupine family members. It is one of the more than 50 species grown at Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm, where it is used along with other native plants for restoration projects. Lupines are attractive to pollinators like bees, birds and butterflies. Arroyo lupine’s water tolerance and appeal to pollinators makes it a great choice for a home garden.
Arroyo lupine is just one of the many beautiful plant species making up the colorful tapestry of the Landmarks.