A plethora of native wildflower species are showing off their colors and variable shapes in pockets throughout the San Dieguito River Park. While we generally admire these flowers for their unique visible displays they are so much more than just their looks. Native wildflowers are performing a number of essential functions and roles within their landscapes. A flowers main purpose is reproduction and in their reproduction cycle they have become vital providers to insects and wildlife. Flowers provide food in the form of pollen, nectar, fruit, seed, the entire plant could be lunch if it is unlucky. They are used as a form of protective shelter for insects and wildlife to hide from predators, breed and raise their young. Their growth and establishment can improve the overall health of soils as well as water quality while preventing erosion. Wildflowers have so many functions and uses that we can’t out rightly see but if we pay attention there is no doubt they provide a number of benefits to their ecological communities. As food for the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds as shelter for their nests. Wildflowers are what keep insects and wildlife thriving. So while we are admiring the blooms of our native wildflowers it is a pleasant thought to also think of all the benefits they are providing to our wildlife and leave them in the condition we found them. Wildflowers are more than just their looks and have an important ecological role to play.
By: Interpretive Ranger Jamison Lauria