Bernal Artist Seeks Help Identifying Lovely Yellow Flower

Reader Laurie has a question for the Bernalwood Intelligence Agency:

Do you think any of your readers would be able to ID this yellow flower, sketched on the west side of the hill yesterday?

The largest one was just over an inch in diameter.

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16 Responses to Bernal Artist Seeks Help Identifying Lovely Yellow Flower

  1. Gale says:

    Probably a wild pansy/johnny-jump-up (viola nuttallii

    Nice drawing!

  2. Will says:

    Early buttercup or creeping buttercup? Not a flower expert. Just poked around online.

  3. Gary Brickley says:

    Looks like sour grass to me. As a kid growing up in Noe Valley we used to chew on it all the time. The correct name is Yellow Oxalis. Its all over the City…especially after the rain.

  4. friscolex says:

    Great drawings! Hard to say without an image of the foliage, but if it is oxalis, I’ve got a garden full that the artist is welcome to come collect for future art. :-)

  5. Maryam says:

    Oxalis is probably the culprit. It’s considered a weed by many because it spreads so fast. You can eat the flowers and stems but watch out – the oxalic acid will turn your stomach if you eat too much “sour flower!”

  6. Thanks to all who sent in their ID’s. I will say that it’s definitely not oxalis–I too have those aplenty in my back yard. I’m voting for the wild pansy referenced in the first comment, as it had rusty streaks on some of the petals, and had a more orangy tint than oxalis, with a very pansy-ish shape. Next time I’ll draw the flower a little more precisely and from the front, and will try to find some foliage to draw (the flowers were only barely visible in long grass, and I couldn’t see the foliage without disrupting things more than I wanted to).
    – Laurie

  7. Jay Meltesen says:

    That oxalis is actually oxalis pes-caprae– Bermuda Buttercup, although I believe it is a South African escapee, hard to control. Spreads via tiny root fragments that are difficult to find.

  8. Olivia Kuser says:

    I’ve seen these on the west slope of Bernal for many years, just above the Esmeralda steps. I’ve always ID’d them as as Viola pedunculata- commonly known as wild Johnny-Jump-Up.

  9. rachel says:

    Yes, it’s Viola pedunculata if that darkened calyx has anything to say about it. (And we have very little oxalis on the west side of the Hill as of yet.)
    We have a small population on the hill, which Hill stewards try to augment with out planting. Next year we’re going to try some new techniques, including direct sewing to see if we can get better take.
    It’s a wonderful wildflower that in other parts of the peninsula is the larval host plant to an endangered butterfly, the Callippe Silverspot.

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