Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 27, 2012

Santa Monica Mountain Wildflower Update 5/26/12

Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area just published a new wildflower bloom report for 5/26/12. Below are the general comments and the most recent reports

Overall comments

”        Early on this year there was little to report as the lack of rain made for a pretty barren winter.  The unusual deep dust of winter had been knocked down by the late spring rains but things are still unusually dry and the dust has returned. One indication of the dryness is how little water there is in many of our seasonal creeks.  These creeks are largely spring fed and the lack of water is a result of unusually low water tables.  The flower displays I’ve seen recently seem a bit more typical of this time of year but I’d judge still not as good as normal.  It is interesting to note that the early extended dry spell followed by a fair quantity of rain rather late in the season has confused some plants. For example, many ceanothus are flowering again much latter in the season than is typical for them, with some plants simultaneously showing both mature fruit and flowers on the same shrub.  I suspect this weather pattern is also behind the great display of the yucca this year.  Finally, the recent appearance of the California fuchsia is a sign that spring is moving on.  ”


Circle X Ranch     Grotto Trail      Date: 05/25

While this trail is not the best flower trail around it is still one of my favorites. The drying up of the “flower alley” just below the first waterfall is a sign that summer is approaching. Ditto for the recent appearance of the California fuchsia on this trail. The late rains have left many of our perennial shrubs looking quite lush for this time of year with a number of them recently passing through a second bloom. With only a few exceptions the flower display on this trail was only fair, typical of the paucity of the year. Yellows are the color right now spearheaded by the sunflowers, bush monkey flower and the golden yarrow. Altogether I saw about sixty different species in bloom which is typical, but the quantities of most were low. Other highlights included both greenbark and bigpod ceanothus, wild morning glory, yucca, deerweed, California buckwheat, elderberry, yellow monkey flower, black sage, a few chamise, California everlasting, elegant clarkia, heart-leaved penstemon, caterpillar phacelia, both purple and white nightshade, California wild rose, lance-leaved dudleya, sticky madia, a few popcorn flowers, woolly blue curls, a few Catalina mariposa lilies, golden stars, cliff aster, blue-eyed grass, and a nice display of humming bird sage.  – ed.

Triunfo Canyon Park     Pentachaeta Trail      Date: 05/20
We visited the Pentachaeta Trail this morning and were pleasantly surprised with the number of blooms for this time of year and drought conditions.  In large numbers, they were chamise, golden yarrow,  California buckwheat, woolly blue curls, black sage, purple sage, sticky monkey flower, red stemmed filaree, yucca, black mustard, mariposa lily, elegant clarkia, speckled clarkia, farewell-to-spring, slender tarweed, caterpillar phacelia, and deer weed.  In smaller numbers but notable: blue larkspur, fleabane, bush mallow, golden stars, Calif. poppy, common celery, bush sunflower, California everlasting, rock rose, wild morning glory, sapphire eriastrum, vervain, purple nightshade, shiny lomatium, Spanish clover and blue eyed grass.  Fauna-wise, we came across a 4 ft. rattler with was just crossing the trail into the deerweed.  Saw a few spotted towhee and 2 flocks of black hooded parakeets.

Zuma/Trancas Canyons    Backbone Trail       Date: 05/18

Backbone Trail from Encinal Cyn to about half way to Kanan Dume. We saw a great many wildflowers along the trail and here is the list: Black Sage, Blue larkspur, Blue-eyed Grass, Black mustard, Bush Lupine, California Everlasting, California Poppy, Canyon Sunflower, Caterpillar Phacelia, Chinese Houses, Cinquefoil, Cliff Aster, Common Eucrypta, Deer Weed, Elegant Clarkia, Fiddleneck, Fuscia-flowered Gooseberry, Heart-Leaved Penstemon, Mariposa Lily, Mountain Dandelion, Prickly Phlox, Purple Clarkia, Purple Nightshade, Silver Puffs, Popcorn, Star Lily, Sticky Monkey Flower, White Chaenactis, Woolly Blue Curls, Yellow Monkey Flower, and Yucca.
Off the trail by the stream we saw: Annual Paintbrush, Canchalagua, Chalk Live-forever (not blooming), Checker Bloom, Creek Monkey Flower, Owl’s Clover, Parry’s Phacelia, Poison Hemlock, Red-skinned Onion, Southern Goldfields, and Water Speedwell

Go to their website to see all of their reports:

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