The Santa Monica Mountains site just posted its first wildflower report for 2013. Check the site for reports throughout the year at http://www.researchlearningcenter.org/bloom/
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 more recently bigberry manzanita and a few early individuals of bigpod ceanothus. Some of the early annuals like the shining pepperweed are blooming nicely and this past week I ran across wild cucumber and a few scattered shooting stars. No doubt the warm weather they are predicting for this week will speed things up. It certainly looks like the ceanothus is poised to explode. Hopefully it’s not the start of a repeat of last year where a beautiful but dry winter prematurely ended the flower season for many species. Let me know what else you run into. As always, happy hunting and I’ll see you on the trails.