Note: I think I'll throw this post out into the wild in its current incomplete form and hope I get some plant ID help. Update: (8/2) I've decided that it's P. labrosus, not P. rostriflrus. (7/31) I decided that my ID of Solidago was right based on a return trip. Update: (30 July) I have an ID for the "cute plant" courtesy of a nice reader. It's Horkelia. Also, I fixed a self-inflicted misidentification of Penstemon.
I'm not sure why my focus seems to be on the smaller herbaceous plants. Perhaps I can see myself more easily growing them at home. I'm looking for plant ID help on some of these - I'll willingly take your input and corrections.
Close up of the Artemisia:
Hartweg's Iris (Iris hartwegii ssp. australis, southern Hartweg's Iris) had just finished blooming when I was there in the second week of July. This is an interesting iris to find because this geographically isolated population of the species (which explains the subspecies name, australis = southern) that lives only in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties between 5000' and 7000' feet elevation. The main body of the I. hartwegii species exists in more northern areas of the state. This southern subspecies is purple, but the others are yellow or cream colored. You can see a remnant of the purple flower in this photo.
Wooly Mullein (Verbascum thapsus, common mullein, wooly mullein, great mullein, mullein, Jacob's staff, flannel leaf, velvet plant, candlewick plant, lung wort, felt wort) appears mostly near the Commisary. It's not native. It's actually considered an invasive weed by Cal IPC, but it is interesting to look at:
But, it appears subtly yet distinctly different than the other: The leaves are more silvery overall, with far fewer leaves that have the highly lobed character of the previous patch. Finally, the scent of the leaves when crushed was less aromatic than the scent of the other patch. It could be the growth conditions, but I've (perhaps hopefully) decided that this may be Artemisia ludoviciana (Silver Wormwood). However, I've been unable to find a definitive description of the leaf that would differentiate the two Artemesias and pictures on Calflora show both leaf characters for both plants, so my species ID is somewhat questionable in my mind. One thing this is NOT, is White sage, a common belief among the staff at camp.
Here's a little plant that looks like strawberry (Fragaria) but...
After some searching, I think I've stumbled on the right genus: Drymocallis. It could be Sierran Beauty (Drymocallis lactea var. lactea) but it's more likely to be Sticky cinquefoil (Drymocallis glandulosa). I'd bet a large number of dollars to donuts that it's not Fragaria.
NOT Strawberry, Drymocallis:
There were a number of these around camp, but I'm coming up without a firm ID. Maybe one of my readers can help?
Solidago? That's a major guess, so don't hold me to it. A flower would help but I didn't see any here. UPDATE 7/31: In sunnier locations I have seen a yellow flower spike on what appears to be the same plants and this makes me confident that it's in genus Solidago. A hand-lettered sign said "deer weed", but that common name usually refers to Acmispon glaber (formerly Lotus scoparius AKA common deerweed, deerweed) which also has a yellow flower but looks nothing like this. I'm now willing to give odds that it's Solidago. There is a probable species candidate: S. velutina ssp. californica (California Goldenrod), based on online reference to its habitat of "Woodland margins, grassland, disturbed soils".
Linanthus. I'm making the call that it's Linanthus pungens (granite prickly phlox).
False Indigo (Amorpha californica, California false indigo, False indigo, mock locust)