Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 25, 2013

Santa Monica Mts. Wildflower Update 5/24/13

Santa Monica Mts. National Recreation Area has a new wildflower report:

  As you probably know things remain excruciatingly dry. That said you can find flowers but you will need to use your “Summer” flower hunting skills to find them. The clarkias and other late season flowers are doing OK in some locations but a lot of reliable sites look pretty barren. Other plants we typically expect to still be blooming have prematurely withered. I’ve noticed that many plants that did flower this year did not have enough resources left over to produce seeds. For example, although they did flower this year it appears we’ve essentially lost the entire shooting star seed crop at many locations. Here at CXR we did the piece of the backbone trail south of Yerba Buena a few weeks ago and it had some sparse but nice displays on it. There are other sheltered trails worth exploring. Let us all know what else you have been seeing.

Topanga State park  Backbone Trail: Old Topanga to Saddle peak   05/23/13

This section of the backbone is long enough that I prefer to do it with a two-car shuttle. We started at the Old Topanga Road trailhead and hiked uphill to the west. There is about a 1600 foot elevation gain but it is frequently shaded so it is a nice trail for exercise even when fairly warm (for an inland trail anyway.) The trail has recently received maintenance so it is wide and easy-going; a real pleasure to hike. I always enjoy the fossils along the trail near Saddle Peak. We saw over 60 species in bloom but many were represented by only a couple plants of even just a single individual. There was evidence of flowers blooming earlier in the season based on the dried up plants we saw, but even these remains indicated this trail experienced only a modest flower year. In addition, the weeds always seem to be winning this time of year. Probably the only thing that got me excited was a nice patch of wild brodiaea in a grassy meadow not far from Old Topanga. Otherwise we enjoyed the modest displays of clarkias, mariposa lilies, heart-leaved penstemon, Turkish rugging, white pincushion, gum plant, tar weeds, monkey flowers, cliff aster, elderberry, golden stars, and phacelias.  ‑ ed.

See older reports at:  What’s Blooming.

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