Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 15, 2011

Santa Monica Mountains Wildflower Update 7/15/11

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area just published a new wildflower report.  They have new postings for Malibu Creek State Park and Topanga State Park.   Below are the reports and dates:

Malibu Creek State Park and Topanga State Park     Backbone Trail (Saddle Peak Trail) 7/9/11

“The trail crosses the road up at the end of Stunt Road where it intersects Saddle Peak and Schueren Roads. It is a beautiful view just from the parking lot. Go up the hill on the right when you are facing the ocean. We followed the trail to the peak and then backtracked to the fork in the road and went down the path with the sign that said “boundary”. We took this trail down past the big rocks and then went back the way we came. There were quite a few flowers in bloom for this time of year and great abundance of many varieties. The most exciting would be the chaparral pea which isn’t that common. There were several large bushes with many blooms. Quite lovely. The trail was lined with sticky monkey flower and heart-leafed penstemon on the shady sections of the trial. We also saw a Plummer’s mariposa lily plant with at least 22 blooms which is unusual. There were a lot of Eastwood manzanita with their little “apple” berries. The trees were gorgeous with their smooth dark maroon trunks, light green leaves, and little green and red berries against a deep blue sky. We saw a few silk tassel bushes, but we will have to remember to go again in the late winter to see the blooms. Always a treat. The other flowers on the trail include: laurel sumac, toyon, a lot of California buckwheat, yarrow, deerweed, chamise, narrow-leaf dudleya, bedstraw, bush mallow, cliff aster, a small amount of black sage, spring vetch, tocalote, Spanish broom, hemlock, California and felt-leaf everlasting, lupine, canyon sunflower, virgin’s bower, morning glory, caterpillar phacelia, Indian pink, a few blooms of hairy ceanothus (there were several hairy ceanothus trees on the trail) cudweed aster, wooly blue curls, and honeysuckle. Also noteworthy is the very large horned lizard who escaped quickly into the brush, and some spittle bugs on the felt-leaf everlasting. Enjoy the hike! ” – Fred and Nellie

Topanga State Park     Trailer Canyon Trail     7/8/11

“Today we hiked up the Trailer Canyon Trail from Pacific Palisades to the Backbone Trail and back, about 4.5 miles each way. Even though we have been having hot weather the flora is still quite green, with some surprises. While the Laurel sumac, California buckwheat and Toyon dominate in quantities, Elderberry flower and fruit are plentiful. There is leftover Monkey flower, Deerweed, Golden yarrow, Purple nightshade, Filaree, Black sage, Caterpillar phacelia, and Heart leaved penstemon. Starting up the trail we saw Vervain, Chaparral honeysuckle, and Sunflower, giving way to Cliff Aster, Narrow leaved milkweed, Bush lupine, Two-tone everlasting. Of course there was plenty Yellow star thistle, Black mustard, Tree tobacco, Sweet fennel, and a few Bristly ox-tongue. I was surprised to see what appears to be re-blooming Greenbark ceanothus and Chamise. There are a few Hollyleaf redberry that are easy to identify with the berries. The expected Felt-leaf everlasting and Slender tarweed were represented. Not having hiked this trail before, I was surprised to see more than a few Braunton’s milkvetch in the final stages of blooming. When I referred to my iPhone app for SMM Wildflowers, I see that the pictures posted for this plant were taken on Temescal Ridge Trail just above the trail that we are hiking. Rating: very good.”– Burt Elliott

Go to their website to see all of their reports: http://www.researchlearningcenter.org/bloom/


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