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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – run by Greentours for the AGS

From the cathedral-like atmosphere of coastal redwood groves to sagebrush-covered hillsides, and from the snowy Cascades Range to the unspoilt Klamath Coast, the Western Seaboard of America is home to a tremendously rich flora. Paintbrushes, penstemons, phloxes and meadows of blue camassias provide an arena for a multitude of Irises and kaleidoscopic calochortuses. These are the signature plants of this tour. For more information click here.
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Nine or more calochortuses include wonderfully-named elegant cat’s-ear and golden fairy lantern. There are the etched blooms of Calochortus superbus and rich pink Calochortus splendens, two of the finest, along with furry Calochortus tolmiei and sun-faced Calochortus monophyllus. Lilium maritimum holds out stunning red blooms though arguably Lilium pardalinum is even more spectacular.

We’ll see California fawn lily, palest yellow Erythronium oregonum, Erythronium purpurascens, and great swathes of Erythronium citrinum. Fritillaries include affinis, atropurpurea, glauca and the striking scarlet fritillary. Colonies of the carnivorous pitchers of Darlingtonia californica carpet bogs amidst douglas firs and with them the beautiful Californian lady’s slipper orchid.

There are giant trilliums, spectacular Xerophyllum tenax, a wonder with stunning tubular red flowers, the hummingbird-pollinated firecracker flower, and the perfectly-formed little calypso orchid. Cedar waxwings and Townsend’s solitaires inhabit these flowery forests along with white-headed, Nuttall’s and Lewis’ woodpeckers. Among the redwoods we’ll find the beautiful varied thrush while pretty lazuli buntings and immaculately- plumaged California quail are denizens of coastal scrub.

On the coast we’ll see majestic bald eagles and there’s Pacific loons and pigeon guillemots alongside flocks of surf scoter. There are plenty of mammals too, ranging from coyotes and chipmunks, through tule elk and pronghorn antelope, to giant Northern elephant seals and Californian sea Lions.