Another Tiburon Mariposa Lily

Here is another example of this endangered flower, shot in the Ring Mountain Preserve in Marin County, CA. In order to present a more environmental picture, I haven’t done my usual artistic optimization.

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All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon R5, Canon EF 100mm macro, 1/200 sec (for wind), f/14 (to capture more of the environment), ISO 1000. Minimal LR tonal adjustments. Focus stack masked by hand to capture more of the flower structure. Topaz DeNoise. Diffusion screen to soften harsh sunlight and shield wind.

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Beautiful, Diane. The subtle colors and finite detail you’ve gotten in this lily are wonderful. I like that you have included the environment, I would have thought it would have been more lush and green. Amazing, thanks for sharing with us.

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It is out in the wilds for sure. Seems semi-arid…? Were you out with a naturalist to find these?

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Thanks @linda_mellor and @_Kris! There are more common varieties of Mariposa Lilies out here (California) and they bloom after the grass has turned brown in early summer. (It’s only green here in spring, after the winter rains.) The inconspicuous leaves and stems come up when things are green. About 12 years ago we had a profusion of the yellow variety on the hill behind our house, and then almost none in subsequent years.

The area where the Tiburon variety grows is very poor rocky soil with mostly just some small grasses. I’m surprised the lilies are not more protected or kept more under wraps from the public who use the trails, but they are very small and inconspicuous.

The area was saved from development some years ago, and two of the people involved in that effort are the parents of the researcher who showed me around the preserve, although his work is in a different field. I suspect part of the deal to preserve the land from development was to allow public access. They are being studied and conservation efforts are underway. I feel guilty I had not explored it long ago.

There is an amazing variety of microclimates in California. Maybe 5 miles west of this area, toward the coast, is a rich and huge expanse of redwood and Douglas fir forest.

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A fascinating plant, Diane, and your shots and story really show us how it looks and where it lives (for some reason I can’t enlarge this one at the moment). As it is a lily, I’m wondering does it have a scent?

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That’s sometimes a nice bonus. I think our State Natural Area system works in a similar way. All but a few are open to the public, although most without trails so you have to be pretty savvy about navigation. Isn’t there a Mariposa county as well. Musta been a big influence to have so many things named after him (I assume it’s a him…us wimmins don’t usually rate). The Clintonia lily is named after a very early Governor of New York.

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Perfect. Not all photographs need “artistic optimization” to be greatly enjoyed and appreciated.

Ring Mountain Preserve is a typical example of a Serpentine Barren. The soils are derived from rock with high levels of elements that are toxic to plants. Many of the other species in the ecosystem are also rare, thus the protected status.

California has an abundance of Serpentine Barrens due to the geomorphology on the coastal ranges. The rock were formed on the floor of the Pacific and are being pushed up and over other subsurface geology to the west. Let’s just say it’s complex.

Serpentine is a metamorphic rock. It varies greatly, and is found around the world. There are Serpentine Barrens in eastern PA, and they, like Ring Mountain are protected as Natural Areas.

As noted before, this species is only found at Ring Mountain Preserve.

Here’s more if anyone wants to learn more.

The Tiburon Mariposa Lily was first described in 1971, and soon after put on the Federal Endangered Species List as THREATENED.

Again, thank you Diane for bringing this rare plant to our attention and doing so in such a lovely way.

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Thank you, @paul_g_wiegman for the additional information and especially for the link to the Bay Nature article. It predates my subscription and I had not seen it.

@Mike_Friel, it didn’t occur to me to sniff one (that’s not like me, with a flower!) but I have spent considerable time on my belly close to the yellow Mariposa Lilies that have grown on our property, trying to get decent pictures of a 3D object in the wind, and never noticed a smell. (These things only seem to be open when it is windy – same as California Poppies.)

@_Kris, you nudged me to look into the name, which is one I have seen in other contexts. It is Spanish for butterfly, which is appropriate for this flower.

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Does Agave victoriae-reginae count? There is also an orchid with a species epithet for Queen Victoria. The Victoria water lily has the Genus named after the Queen.

How about Effigia okeeffeae for Georgia O’Keeffe? Unfortunately the scientific name is for an extinct dinosaur of the Jurassic related to crocodiles.

But you’re right, there are unfortunately few plants/animals named for women, even when during the golden age of taxonomy,when many collectors were females.

@Diane_Miller thank you so much for sharing all this information about the Tiburon Mariposa lily and also @paul_g_wiegman for the link to more information about the Ring Mountain preserve.

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Diane: Wonderful subject and capture. I like seeing the spent bloom as well. Thanks also for the details in the thread and its educational value. Most excellent. >=))>

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