Purple flowers for Cee’s Photo Challenge — and they are invasive in this part of California

I’ve seen this plant with beautiful, spiky purple flowers growing around Monterey Bay for many years.  I took photos a few months ago when they were in full bloom.

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The flower photo above is from a shrub growing in the wild, near the Salinas river, where the river merges with the Pacific Ocean.  I spotted it while taking photographs for a post about my watershed.

I’ve always found these flowers attractive — and also photographed some in bloom at the entrance of Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

Monterey Fishermans Wharf yellows and pink 1

I read on one of the blogs I follow that Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge theme this week was purple, and remembered these flowers.  I have wanted to take part for a while, and thought the flowers were perfect to post for the theme.

Not knowing the name, I did an image search and learned that they are called Pride of Maidera (Echium candicans).  It is a perennial shrub native to the island of Maidera in Portugal, much loved by bees and butterflies for its nectar.  It is drought tolerant, and a popular ornamental plant in coastal California.

Great to know!  Except… it is also an invasive plant species, and now being removed in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park National Recreation Area so that the native habitat can be restored.  Sigh 🙁

And so… I’m also linking this post to Just Another Nature Enthusiast’s challenge — Earth-Friendly Chroniclers #9 — focused on invasive plants.

Here is another beautiful purple flower from a plant that I know is not native to California.  Right  now, it is growing all over our landscape, from fields, to the side of the roads and embankments.

Do you know what it is?

Wild Radish flowers purple

The flowers are from a wild radish.  Most wild radish have white flowers, but sometimes, they also have purple flowers.

From the CalFlora website:

Wild Radish California

I pulled out one of the plants and sure enough, I get that it is a wild radish… It is tiny, but the root smells like, and looks like a radish.  A miniature of the “daikon” types I see at Asian stores.

Wild Radish  roots

Wild Radish notes

Some more purple flowers for the theme… and I’m pretty certain these are not invasive here in my little part of the world.

My favorite purple flower shot thus far are the wisteria at the Pacific House Memory Garden, posted for the changing season photo challenge.

Memory Garden Wisteria

Click on the photo for more garden images, taken at the historic Monterey downtown area.

And lastly, a non-flower related (but these young girls are pretty as flowers!) photo of Baile Folklorico dance group members, performing for a community celebration on the occasion of Cesar Chavez Day.

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Click on the photo to see more dance photos, for the commemorative holiday that celebrates the legacy of civil rights and labor movement activist Cesar Chavez (promoting community service).

13 thoughts on “Purple flowers for Cee’s Photo Challenge — and they are invasive in this part of California

    • They are beautiful, Nicole, and once again, since I have admired them so many years, I thought they have always grown here.

      Yes, I think the reason I notice and remember them is precisely because they are so beautiful when they bloom 🙂 .

  1. Pride of Maidera is so pretty… Another pretty purple invasive is the Butterfly Bush. We have that on the hit list for removal from our yard next week when the weather is due to cool down again 😉

    Love your purple collection, Lola Jane.

    • Oh no, butterfly bush, too? I have not seen it naturalized out here and it was among the easy to grow plants I planted in my garden years ago with the white and purple varieties.

  2. Pride of Madeira…so that’s what they’re called! They certainly are all over the place. I’ve also taken photos of them in the past. Had no idea they were invasive (like the other plants you’ve mentioned!).

    Can you eat that radish???

    • I truly love those purple cone flowers, Jane — and never knew what they were called until this post. You are right, they are all over the place in this area. Now the blooms have faded away, but when they are in bloom, those flowers are just gorgeous… and big.

      The wild radish was teeny, teeny, teeny tiny, I’m not sure if one can eat it…same family of plant, but somehow we humans managed to make them giants like in the case of the “daikon” variety

        • I think you are right Jane, and at least the plants are not in the toxic category like the poison hemlock. I wonder how long it has been growing in the Golden Gate Park Recreation area — how it got to the point that they are removing the Pride of Maideras now.

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.