Muir Woods Towering and Tiny

George and I headed out early on New Year’s Day to ring in 2015 with our traditional New Year’s walk through Muir Woods National Monument. It was clear but very cold, and tourists from countless countries exclaimed in their native languages about the majestic redwood trees.

Muir Woods redwood trees

Unlike them, George and I poked along slowly, heads down to spot a tiny flower in the Lily family, the first native flower to bloom in California in the winter. Its Latin name is Scoliopus bigelovii, also called Slink Pod, Fetid Adders-tongue (for its unpleasant scent), or our preferred name – Brownie. Though armed with the GPS where George keeps careful track of our brownie spottings, by this time we’re familiar with the place where the flowers come close enough to the trail’s edge for us to see them. This year George earned himself a big kiss for finding the first one.

Brownie flowers in Muir Woods

The Brownie’s Latin name means “crooked foot,” because its stalks curve over after the pollinated flowers become too heavy for the slender stalk. The tiny flowers are at most an inch around, and each plant only ranges from 3 to 6 inches tall. Brownies’ leaves are large as compared to the flowers, and are freckled with brown spots.

Brownie flowers in Muir Woods

When our necks were stiff from looking down at the diminutive flowers, we stretched, and began to notice other wonders in the Woods. With the recent rains Redwood Creek was flowing strong. The Ranger said that salmon were spawning downstream beyond the public part of the Park.

Redwood Creek in Muir Woods

George spotted this magnificent mushroom.

Mushroom in Muir Woods

I also took some short videos. Click here to see one I shot of the redwood trees. Want to see more of our traditional Muir Woods walks? My blog posts from prior years:

On our New Year’s Eve 2012 walk we saw salmon for the first time!

Rainy New Year’s Eve 2011 walk 

New Year’s Day 2011 walk

Happy New Year to you all!

2 comments on “Muir Woods Towering and Tiny

  1. Tansy says:

    I am completely at a loss to understand how you could possible prefer the name “Brownie,” when “Fetid Adder’s Tongue” is available!! Thanks for drawing my attention to these sweet-looking (if not smelling) flowers!

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