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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 31, 2013

Santa Monica Mts. Early Wildflowers 1/31/13

Santa Monica  Mountains  posted the following very early season wildflower bloom report :

 Fall and Winter are the quiet time of the year for flower hunters in Southern California.  It is actually a time when I can get in some good exercise in as I’m not continually stopping to look at the plants.  Certainly the cool, fresh air and green, dust-free trails encourage a brisk pace.  However, even now we can find flowers.  There are almost always some of the past season’s flowers hanging around and some of the early spring flowers are blooming already.  I’ve been seeing the chaparral current in bloom since last November and things like bigberry manzanita since December.  Some of the early annuals like the little native mustard, shining pepperweed, have been blooming long enough already to have seeds.

Although it is still too early to predict, the recent rain moves us one step closer to a great flowering year in the SMM.  It was perfectly timed for the bigpod ceanothus which is now in full bloom in many places.  Here at Circle X Ranch they are quite spectacular right now.  You may recall that last year during the critical winter months we had an extended dry spell that caused many of them to abort their flowers. This means they still had much of last year’s reproductive energy ready for an extra-special blooming season this year.  I seem to be seeing similar extravagance in some of the other perennials like the wild cucumber.  I’ll be watching the lilies and the shooting stars closely since they had almost no blooming season last year as well.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Let me know what else you run into.  As always, happy hunting and I’ll see you on the trails.  – ed.

Cold Creek Preserve  Stunt Ranch High Trail  01/29/13

We hiked this lovely trail today and saw the first real flowers of the winter, all of them white.  In the wooded, early part of the trail, there were pure white milkmaids growing on both sides.  A little further up into the chaparral there was big pod ceanothus and some wild cucumber in bloom.  After the first road crossing we encountered manzanita in bloom and some white chaparral current.  It was all lovely.

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