Carnivorous Plants in California- El Dorado County

Welcome to El Dorado County, California.  Come visit this picturesque environment where I found Carnivorous Plants growing above 6200' elevation.  We will visit three different sites, each one amazing, in terms of beauty and diversity of plant species.

Firstly, we visit a shallow lake nestled within the iconic granite of the Sierra Nevada.  Growing in this unassuming lake at 6200' elevation, I found two species of Utricularia and a host of other plants.

Personally, I would have named this lake "mosquito lake" because there was an over abundance of the little blood-suckers!!!  Not so good for me but I'm sure the Utricularia don't mind at all.

When I'm on a plant discovery mission there is little that can detour me!!!

Utricularia macrorhiza growing submerged in 1-2 ft. of water

U. macrorhriza forms long stems over 6' in length.  Observe that only the tip of the plant is actively growing, prey filled traps appearing as little black dots in its' wake.

The second species I found, Utricularia minor

Urticularia minor viewed from underwater

I also found a bunch of cool California natives. Circium occidentale

As I approached the lake I found Rubus parviflora.

and Lilium parvum

Hackelia micrantha

One last look at this lake

The next stop appears to be a meadow but is actually a shallow lake covered with a floating mat of Sphagnum.

Drosera rotundifolia, in flower, growing on a floating mat of Sphagnum 

I also found the two species of Utricularia from the last site I visited, U. macrorhiza underwater

U. macrorhiza underwater

Utricularia minor

Utricularia minor underwater

There were large patches of a flowering plant with red flowers that accented the green of the Sphagnum beautifully

The red flowered culprit, Comarum palustre, a member of the Rose Family

The Rocky Mountain Pond Lily, Nuphar polysepala, is a frequent inhabitant of aquatic Carnivorous Plant habitats  Look directly left of the flower and you can see U. machrorhiza

There is a small area at the center of the lake that the Sphagnum does not occupy

Also abundant in most CP habitats in CA is the genus Erythranhe, or monkeyflower, a familiar and welcome sight

The third site is very different than the previous two.  It is a meadow, miles from a lake, that is fed by a spring, and hosts so many wildflowers. 

I knew I was on the right track when the arid landscape started becoming soggy and where a small stream cut through the trail I found the largest display of Platanthera dilatata, The Sierra Bog Orchid, I have ever seen.  There were at least 30, meter high columns of flowers.

Following the water, I came to a large open meadow full of Drosera rotundifolia

Drosera rotundifolia

I saw a few flowering plants but I botched all the flower closeups I took

Drosera rotundifolia was the only CP I found at this site but the habitat was very unique and worth the visit

A fantastic display of wildflowers, including: Lupinus, Erythranthe, Cicuta and Veratrum

Pedicularis attollens, the Attol Lousewort is a member of a family of hemi-parasitic plants

Allium validum, the Swamp Onion, has an edible bulb like all species of Allium

A couple last pics of Drosera rotundifolia

The view from my campsite, Lake Tahoe at the top and Fallen Leaf Lake at the bottom of the photo

Now, I'm going to post some pictures of wildflowers that I held back in an attempt to keep the above focused on CP's.

Lupinus breweri, one of many Lupines native to CA

Allium campanulatum, another onion species I found along the path to CP's

Erysimum perenne, the Sanddune Wallflower, in the Brassicaceae family

Calypteridium, one of my favorite plants to find, from yosemite to tahoe it loves decomposing granite.

Aquilegia formosa, a wild Columbine

Cicuta douglasii, Western Water Hemlock

Veratrum californicum

A close up of the field of monkeyflower pictured earlier, Erythranthe sp.