11 Beautiful Wildflowers That Grow in California

Written by Alanna Davis
Published: February 23, 2024
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California is famous for many things, but one of the most prominent features of this state is its abundant natural beauty. Because the climate of this state is somewhat milder than others, wildflowers can grow many times during the year. However, what kind of wildflowers you’ll encounter will change depending on your location within the state. Let’s discuss 11 wildflowers that are native to the state of California and explore where you’re most likely to see them.

1. Yarrow

Common yarrow Achillea millefolium white flowers close up, floral background green leaves. Yarrow pattern, milfoil top view. Medicinal organic natural herbs, plants concept. Wild yarrow, wildflower

“Devil’s nettle” is a common nickname for yarrow.


Yarrow is one of the most popular wildflowers of all. It grows in many places across North America, not just in California. In addition to providing beauty. this plant is also medicinally significant. According to iNaturalist, “Yarrow is famously known for its ability to slow/stop bleeding, but it has many other useful properties. It is used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomfort, and to induce sweating.”

2. California Phacelia

Finding California phacelia is relatively easy as it is very common.

©Melissa Kopka/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Also sometimes called “scorpionweed,” California phacelia is a purplish-blue wildflower that primarily grows in Northern California. These flowers bloom between early spring and early fall. Individuals interested in finding this in the wild should check bluffs and grasslands located along the coast.

3. California Poppies

Golden Poppy

A variety of different wildflowers can be seen at


Valley California Poppy Reserve.


Few things in the world come close to the beauty of a field of golden poppies. In fact, many people agree that catching a glimpse of these wildflowers is worth hunting for. California poppies, much like California phacelia, grow between early spring and early fall. According to the California State Parks website, the best place to see them is at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

4. Owl’s Clover

Owl’s clover is commonly found in grasslands.

©Tom Hilton / CC BY 2.0 - License

While we’re on the subject of wildflowers that grow at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, we have to talk about owl’s clover. This purplish-pink bloom begins blooming during March and usually stops around the beginning of summer in late May.

5. Indian Paintbrush

Single stalk of bright red Indian Paintbrush

Indian paintbrush is common in California but finding it in eastern states is a challenge.

©Nancy Strohm/iStock via Getty Images

These vibrant red wildflowers really pop out against a green landscape. Indian paintbrush flowers grow all along the west coast from Washington down to Southern California. The best time of year to see them is during spring!

6. Cream Cups

Cream cups bloom all over the state of California.

©Tom Hilton / CC BY 2.0 - License

When cream cups start blooming, California residents know that spring has finally sprung. These delicate blooms are at their peak in spring, and each flower is roughly one inch wide. Colors can range from vibrant yellow to a creamy off-white.

7. Desert Marigold

Yellow flowers, Desert Marigold, Baileya Multiradiata

Desert Marigolds look similar in appearance to daisies.

©Barbara Ash/Shutterstock.com

Have you ever heard of the term “superbloom?” In California, certain weather patterns can create ideal conditions for a massive field of flowers to bloom. Desert Marigolds are one of these wildflowers. Anza-Borrego State Park is the best place to see these flowers on display, and according to their website, March is the ideal time to plan a trip.

8. Lupine

California wildflower super bloom at Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, one of the best place to see poppies, lupines and other colorful wildflowers

California superblooms usually encompass a variety of wildflower species.


Among all California wildflowers, lupine is undeniably one of the most breathtaking. These purple and blue blooms prefer to grow in the middle and northern regions of this state. Lupine super blooms are somewhat rare, but certainly not unheard of. According to the National Park Service, “From mid-May through June, this colorful purple, blue, and white blanket drapes the Childs Hill and Williams Ridge grasslands on the ridge between the Klamath River and Redwood Creek drainages. The bloom lasts two to four weeks.”

9. Coreopsis

Coreopsis verticillata zagreb many yellow flowers

Spring is the best time to go looking for these flowers.

©skymoon13/iStock via Getty Images

Coreopsis are delicate yellow flowers that might be tricky to find in the wild as it has a much more limited habitat. According to the California Native Plant Society, “It grows at elevations of 30-600 meters (98-1,969 ft). The plant grows in the washes of the San Joaquin Valley, southern Inner California Coast Ranges, and Transverse Ranges; and bajadas of the Mojave Desert, Colorado Desert, and Sonoran Desert.”

10. Tidy Tips

"Tidy-tips" Spring wildflower season at Shell creek road CA USA.

On average, tidy tips grow to be roughly 10 inches tall.


Although tidy tips might look similar to other flowers we’ve discussed today, they’re entirely unique. These yellow and white flowers grow all across California in a variety of different habitats. They typically bloom from spring until summer,

11. California Aster

California asters are hardy flowers.

©FrancyDB / CC BY-SA 4.0 - License

These beautiful purple flowers are typically found along the coast of California. However, unlike many of the flowers we’ve discussed today, this flower blooms in late summer and early fall. This gives the state a nice pop of color as residents transition into the colder months.

Summary Table Of 11 Beautiful Wildflowers That Grow in California

FlowerWhen It Blooms
YarrowSpring to early fall
California phaceliaEarly spring to early fall
California poppiesEarly spring to early fall
Owl’s CloverEarly spring to early summer
Indian paintbrushSpring
Cream cupsSpring
Desert marigoldSpring
LupineLate spring to early summer
Tidy TipsEarly spring to early summer
California asterSummer to early fall

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sumikophoto/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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