Bach’s Calicoflower (Downingia bacigalupii)
What a pleasant surprise to discover large patches of these tiny blue & yellow flowers in the dry outlet of Hyatt Lake, in Southern Oregon. Often found in vernal pools where water lingers in poor clay soils. Not much larger than your fingernail, the three lower fused petals, containing conspicuous yellow spots (right behind the pollen containing stamens), form a cup while two straight petals extend upward like ears.
Its common name refers to calico, from the spotted petals, while Bach is short for Bacigalupi, for whom the flower is named. Rimo Charles Bacigalupi (1901-1996) was a California botanist who in 1950 became the first curator of the Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley (established upon the death of noted Berkeley professor and botanist, Willis Linn Jepson (1867-1946), who also co-founded the Sierra Club and developed the Jepson Guide, which remains the bible of California flora).