Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2013

Santa Monica Mt. Wildflower Update 3/15/13

Santa Monica Mts. posted a new wildflower report:

The blue ceanothus, greenbark ceanothus and hairy-leaved ceanothus, are now on center stage and have been so for a couple of weeks. It seems the rain we got recently is encouraging them to have as fruitful a flowering season as the bigpod had. Most of the hikes I’ve done recently show rather sparse flower displays. Perhaps more noteworthy, some flowers have the rather stunted look they can assume when they are drought stressed. However, it is still early in the season and I don’t see a lot of leaf yellowing so it’s anybody’s guess as to how the season will turn out. Indeed, given the conditions it might be surprising to see which trails do well this year. Keep me informed. As always, happy hunting and I’ll see you on the trails.

I spent all of my spare time in January and February working to finalize the fourth update for the SMM WildFlowers iPhone app. Thanks to the fast turnaround at iTunes I 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 start looking again in earnest this week.  ‑ ed.

Circle X Ranch Canyon View Trail 3/14/13

This trail is one I frequently send people to when they visit CXR looking for flowers. It is a good producer in the early spring because of its sheltered south-facing aspect and multiple habitats . It is often overlooked compared to the more dramatic hikes at CXR and consequently can be relatively quiet even on a busy weekend. Including the rather productive hike back along Yerba Buena road we counted 45 species in bloom (although personally I would not hike along the road on the weekend with all the traffic coming and going.) Highlights included twinning snapdragon, blue dicks, wishbone bush, collarless California poppy, mustard evening primrose, Parry’s phacelia, popcorn flowers, globe gilia, blue larkspur, lacepod, both stinging and succulent lupins, California peony, yellow monkey flower, shooting stars, chia, and the diminutive strigose lotus. We even saw a lone yucca in full bloom on the hillside far above the trail. Some of these were rather plentiful so this was a pretty good showing for a dry year.  ‑ ed.

Zuma/Trancas Canyons Zuma Loop Trail 3/11/13

We saw Mexican elderberry, black mustard, Chinese caps, yellow sweet clover, red-stem filaree, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, bush sunflower, wild morning glory, Indian paintbrush, deer weed, blue dicks, snake root, blue-eyed grass, Canyon sunflower, golden yarrow, bur clover, a nice display of chocolate lilies, poison oak, purple nightshade, green bark Ceanothus, wishbone, California everlasting, California blackberry, hedge nettle, virgin’s bower, Bermuda Buttercup, mule fat, popcorn flower, wild cucumber, succulent Lupin, wild radish, tobacco tree, Cretan mallow, fiddleneck.

For those interested in butterflies we saw a California sister, several Monarchs, a mourning cloak, a Sara orange tip, and a possible great purple hairstreak that we could not positively identify because it never landed.  ‑ John and Barbara

See all their reports at:What’s Blooming.

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