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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 1, 2013

Santa Monica Mts Wildflower Updates 3/1/13

Santa Monica Mts. National Recreation Area posted the following wildflower report on March 1, 2013

      I always feel like Spring starts on March 1st in Southern California. Despite that it seems it is still too early to say we’ve entered the true flowering season here in the Santa Monica Mountains. I hiked down to the Grotto yesterday and there were neither a huge variety or number of flowers to be seen. The bigpod ceanothus has largely finished here at Circle X Ranch, although the sheltered north slopes and higher elevations still have some. It had a wonderfully long blooming season this year compared to last year. I’ve been seeing more of its bluer cousins starting to bloom recently as well. Unfortunately the little bit of rain we got last week has already turned to dust in many places — a measure of how very dry things are. Most of the creeks are dry or have only dribble in them when usually they are a continuous babble by this time. Unless we get some real rain soon this year may turn into another disappointment. Keep your fingers crossed. As always, happy hunting and I’ll see you on the trails.

I’ve spent all of my spare time over the last few weeks working to finalize the fourth update for the SMM WildFlowers iPhone app. Thanks to the fast turnaround at iTunes I’ve met my goal of having it available for download by March 1st. Although I’ve included optimizations for iPhone 5, this update is really just the content update from last season: about 40 new plants and about 800 new or updated pictures. I really wanted to make 1000 plants for this update but stalled out last year at 997. I’ll be on the hunt again once this season picks up.  ‑ ed.

Topanga Canyon State Park Los Liones Trail 2/26/13

This is a lovely trail at the end of Los Liones Rd, the second left off of Sunset Blvd, just after you turn off PCH. Here the pale blue flowers of green bark ceanothus are the predominant flowers. They are everywhere. There is also purple nightshade, wild cucumber, canyon sunflower and bush sunflower, wishbone flower, California live forever and wild morning glory. It is a lovely hike with wonderful ocean views. It is a bit distressing to note the ever increasing invasive ivy that has completely smothered other plants in some places.

Zuma/Trancas Canyons Backbone Trail 2/23/13

Today’s hike was the fourth leg of the 2013 National Park Service Backbone Trail Hike. We are hiking west to east covering two segments per month. Today we hiked in the headwaters of Trancas, Zuma and Newton Canyons. The effects of our dry winter continues to be interesting.

During the last month the second and third segments of the BBT have offered spectacular displays of big pod ceanothus, but little else. The few other species in bloom were in very low numbers. However, on section number four we counted 29 species in bloom. Some timing is unusual as with the big pod ceanothus and chaparral currant still going strong. Some other species are in seed while siblings are just in bud. There were those, too, that stood out due to their extraordinarily high numbers as with the big pod (again), peony, holly-leaf red berry, and milk maids.

Many of the usual suspects are finally peering out to see if it is safe: eucrypta, gooseberries, hummingbird sage, everlasting, 4 o’clock, deer weed, and many more. Perennials as well as annuals appear to be interested. It is possible that even with the dry season many species stalled their bloom due to repeated cold snaps. At least we can hope.

This section should improve in March.

See all of their reports at:  What’s Blooming.

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