California Native Plant Society
San Gabriel Mountains Chapter

Piñon Hills

The reserve at Piñon Hills is a private Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy property in the eastern Antelope Valley, in the general vicinity of Piñon Hills and south of Fort Tejon Road. It supports a desert woodland of California juniper and Joshua tree. A rich diversity of desert shrubs is distributed over the property. The higher elevations (southern part) of the reserve include a forest of juniper; pure stands of juniper are highly unusual. Except for adjacent dirt roads, no significant land disturbance has occurred for a number of miles on any side of the property — it's in nearly pristine condition. The reserve is completely undeveloped, with no boundary markers, no signs, and an unmade access road.

Our visit to the Piñon Hills reserve was one of a series of annual desert field trips by our CNPS chapter. This was one of the drier years, with relatively few wildflowers blooming. A visit in the previous June found 27 native plants in bloom. Our visit, in April, did not find so many different blooms, but there was still much to discover. In fact, we added to the plant list so that the total count is now over 50 species. Click here for the plant list.

The images on this page are all from the scouting trip a few days prior to the official chapter outing. Click on the thumbnails to see high-resolution images, 720 x 480 pixels.


On the reserve

Looking towards desert from the reserve

White titytips (Layia glandulosa)

Lessingia (Lessingia glandulifera)

Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia)

Antelope bush (Purshia tridentata var. glandulosa)

Interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia)

Blue sage (Salvia dorrii)

Interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia)

Bladder-sage/paper-bag bush (Scutellaria mexicana)

Boxthorn (Lycium sp.)

Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens)

Matchweed/snakeweed (Gutierrezia sp.)

Fremont's monkeyflower (Mimulus fremontii)

Fremont's monkeyflower (Mimulus fremontii)

House in distance beyond the reserve

Buckwheat leaves (Eriogonum sp.)

Lessingia (Lessingia glandulifera)

Mimulus fremontii (Fremont's monkeyflower)

Purple mat (Nama demissum var. demissum)

Chia (Salvia columbariae)

Mormon tea (Ephedra nevadensis)

Pussy paws (Calyptridium monandrum)

Sun cup (Camissonia campestris)

Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tesselata var. tesselata)

Filaree (Erodium cicutarium)

California goosefoot (Chenopodium californicum)

Desert calico (Loeseliastrum mathewsii)

Cushion cryptantha (Cryptantha circumsissa)

Sun cup (Camissonia campestris)

Blazing star (Mentzelia sp.)

Common phacelia (Phacelia distans)

Cushion cryptantha (Cryptantha circumsissa)

Silver cholla ( Cylindropuntia echinocarpa)

California buckwheat (Erigonum fasciculatum var. polifolium)


Mickey Long

Chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) and forest of juniper (Juniperus californicus)

Forest of juniper (Juniperus californicus)

Fruit of juniper (Juniperus californicus)

Leopard lizard


Blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitata)

Joshua tree(Yucca brevifolia)

White tidytips (Layia glandulosa)

The road home

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Images © 2013-2019 Graham Bothwell.
Thanks to Mickey Long, Jane Strong, and Jane Tirrell for assistance in identification of plants and flowers.