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.

[Note: Thumbnails arranged vertically as your browser does not support the “flexbox” feature.]

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On the reserve

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Looking towarda desert from the reserve

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White layia (Layia glandulosa)

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Valley lessingia (Lessingia glandulifera)

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Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia)

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Antelope bush (Purshia tridentata)

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Interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia)

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Interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia)

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Purple sage (Salvia dorrii)

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Interior goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia)

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Boxthorn (Lycium sp.)

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Boxthorn (Lycium sp.)

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Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens)

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Matchweed (Gutierrezia sp.)

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Fremont's monkeyflower (Diplacus fremontii)

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Fremont's monkeyflower (Diplacus fremontii)

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House in the distance

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A buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.)

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Valley lessingia (Lessingia glandulifera)

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Valley lessingia (Lessingia glandulifera)

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Fremont's monkeyflower (Diplacus fremontii)

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Purple mat (Nama demissa var. demissa)

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Purple mat (Nama demissa var. demissa)

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Chia (Salvia columbariae)

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Nevada ephedra (Ephedra nevadensis)

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Common pussypaws (Calyptridium monandrum)

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Mojave sun cup (Camissonia campestris)

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Mojave sun cup (Camissonia campestris)

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Desert fiddleneck (Amsinckia tesselata var. tesselata)

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Redstem filaree (Erodium cicutarium)

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California goosefoot (Chenopodium californicum)

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California goosefoot (Chenopodium californicum)

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Desert calico (Loeseliastrum matthewsii)

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Cushion cryptantha (Cryptantha circumscissa var. circumscissa)

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Cushion cryptantha (Cryptantha circumscissa)

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Mojave sun cup (Camissonia campestris)

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Blazing star (Mentzelia sp.)

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Blazing star (Mentzelia sp.)

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Common phacelia (Phacelia distans)

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Cushion cryptantha (Cryptantha circumscissa)

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Silver cholla (Cylindropuntia echinocarpa)

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Mojave Desert California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium)

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Lichens

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Mickey Long

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Chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei)

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California juniper (Juniperus californica)

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California juniper (Juniperus californica)

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Leopard lizard

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Leopard lizard

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Grasshopper

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Blue dicks (Dipterostemon capitatus)

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Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia)

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White layia (Layia glandulosa)

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The road home

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Thanks to Mickey Long, Jane Strong, and Jane Tirrell for assistance in identification of plants and flowers

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