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Home » Santa Clarita News » Wildflowers Speak The Language Of Color

Wildflowers Speak The Language Of Color

Nature in Santa Clarita, it's not what you look at but what you see. 

-Wendy Langhans 

Wild heliotrope blossoms change color from yellow to purple after they have been pollinated.

Wildflowers use color to indicate freshness


When you go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of sandwich bread, have you ever noticed how the plastic bag is often sealed with a colorful plastic tab?  That tab has a date stamped on it which says something like “Best by 5/7/07”. 


Experienced shoppers have learned to check the date for freshness; I remember teaching this to our daughter when she was about 10 or 11.   But when experienced grocery clerks rotate their stock, they don’t spend time to reading the small print on each tab; they determine freshness by the color of the tab.


Some wildflowers use color to advertise their freshness to pollinating insects.

If you take a close look at the photo of the wild heliotrope, you’ll notice a few blossoms are white with a purple center while others have a yellow center.  These blossoms employ the same principle as bread tabs – using color to advertise freshness.  The purple color means the blossom has been pollinated and the pollen or nectar they use to reward insects is gone.  The yellow color is an invitation announcing, “Dinner’s ready.  Come to the table and eat.”  (And while you’re dining with us, please take a little pollen with you for your visit the next plant.)


Wild heliotrope, Heliotropium curassavicum, grows in the Santa Clarita Valley from March through October.  I hope you will join us for a wildflower hike at Towsley Canyon on Saturday, May 12, from 8-10 AM.


Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.


You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to

To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to tune in to AM 1220.

Wildflowers Speak The Language Of Color

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