Wildflower Show

CNPS Monterey Bay Annual Wildflower Show

April 20 – 21, 2024, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Carmel Woman’s Club

 San Carlos Street & Ninth Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea

The Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will host our area’s 64th Spring Wildflower Show on April 20 and 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Carmel Woman’s Club located on the corner of Ninth Ave. and San Carlos in Carmel.

Come join us to see specimens of plants that are blooming this third week of April in the wild lands of “historical” Monterey County which included San Benito County until 1874. This is a large area with diverse plant habitats from the ocean into the arid San Joaquin Desert biome and with interesting geology due to being on both the Pacific and North American plates.

Because of the abundance of plants in our area, the Spring Wildflower Show usually has 600 to 700 or more specimens on display which is impressive. It is considered to be the largest wildflower show in the northern and western hemispheres! Collecting teams scour the county for plants several days before the show (which may be challenging this year due to so many road closures), then the specimens are delivered to be identified and prepared for display. Each specimen is put in a glass container and accompanied by a card that includes common name (many are amusing – footsteps of spring, chinless mouse-ears, slender woolly-marbles, yellow pincushion), plant family, genus and species as well as subspecies and/or variety (all in Latin, so anyone in the world knows precisely what plant you are discussing) and other interesting information. The plants on display are arranged by family more-or-less in the order the fossil record indicates they first appeared on earth.

It is predicted to be a superbloom this year – come to the Show for a one- room-field-trip to experience a piece of it! Learn about California native plants from local experts and browse the chapter’s selection of books for sale (discounts for CNPS members, and yes, you can join at the Show). Photos are allowed and we will have a table for artists to draw.

A $5.00 donation is suggested

The 59th Annual Wildflower Show on April 9-10, 2022

This year’s Show was a break from the nearly 60-year traditional wildflower show as to name, location, and instead of the third weekend of April, it will take place on the second. With the recent relaxation of the pandemic protocols, we are delighted to again present a wildflower tour of the county displayed in glass containers, arranged by plant family, identified by common name, scientific name (including recent name changes), whether native, introduced and/or invasive, as well as other potentially interesting bits of information. It’s a chance to marvel at plants’ shapes, sizes, colors, aromas, structures and where they chose to grow; share stories, ask questions, even get help figuring out the name of the plant in your photo. Even after a very dry season, we were able to display an amazing variety of taxa at a new venue.

The 58th Annual Wildflower Show on April 19-21, 2019

Co-chairs Brian LeNeve and Michael Mitchell hosted the Annual Wildflower Show at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. This winter’s rainfall had made up for the unusually late start and was a fine wildflower season. We were privileged to put on a spectacular show with over 700 specimens on display

The 57th Annual Wildflower Show was held on April 20-22, 2018

After an exceptionally dry winter, March finally produced meaningful rainfall but was unseasonably cool, as was early April. As a result, the wildflowers were several weeks later than normal and, despite March’s rain, good displays of wildflowers were few and far between. Despite this, our intrepid collectors managed to find about 675 different species to display. Our “best in show” went to a particularly fine example of the Most Beautiful Jewelflower (Streptanthus glandulosus subsp. glandulosus) collected by Brian & Carol Le Neve. Here are some pictures of the show, including some especially striking flowers, our best in show and our perennial joke which lays claim to being the most photographed flower in the show and is a sad commentary on the organizers’ sense of humor.

Setting up the show is an intensive team effort, requiring the initial unpacking and identifying of hundreds of plants, detailed examination and keying out of difficult specimens and not least finding the right card to accompany the plant as it is goes out on to the floor.