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Exploring the Beauty of the Dusky-Footed Woodrat Trail: A Wildflower Walk

I had high hopes of seeing the eponymous animal of this trail. But woodrats are more commonly seen in the evening or at night. Daytime has its advantages for spotting wildflowers, and that was the goal of this walk.

This loop trail is located in the Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. A little under 4 miles, with an elevation gain of 675 feet, it is ideal for those who want to saunter through nature, taking time to enjoy budding plants and open views. I appreciate wildflowers, but I am not an expert at sighting or naming them. If it weren’t for our leader Hoy, I would have missed many flowers, as many of them weren’t blooming or in full bloom.

Hoy had her mind set on finding the Dirca, a flowering plant native to California. While we saw many interesting plants and fungi on the trail, Dirca was not one of our sightings. Only after the hike was over, did we see it. There were several Dirca plants high on a hill next to the road by the parking lot. The last photo on this page is the Dirca. It is a small bush with delicate yellow flowers. Although we weren’t able to get near it, it was thrilling to see, especially because the sighting brought great joy to Hoy, who can now add Dirca to her plant-spotting list.

After I returned home, I read about Dirca. According to Wikipedia, some sources classify it as poisonous because it contains calcium oxalate crystals. I’m not sure why these are considered toxic, although the crystals make up kidney stones. Others claim the berries are mildly narcotic. Native Americans made tea from the inner bark to use as a laxative. Regardless, Dirca is quite a lovely sight, understated in the environment.

For details on this trail, see the AllTrails website.

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