Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 3, 2014

Southern California Wildflower Report 5/2/14

The Theodore Payne Foundation Wild Flower Hotline has a new wildflower report for 5/2/14. To see photos, download reports and find older reports go to Wild Flower Hotline | Theodore Payne Foundation.  Below is the new report:

Wildflowers are fading in the low elevation desert regions, but we are getting some reports from local mountains above the 4000 ft elevation where spring and accompanying wildflowers are just arriving.

The South Ridge Trail in the San Jacinto Mountains is recommended for wild flower sightings this week. The road to the trailhead is in pretty good shape by San Jacinto standards. Only the last 0.1 mile has ruts. The ultimate wild flower find along the trail is the Burlew’s onion (Allium burlewii). If you look up toward South Ridge from Idyllwild you can see a large granitic outcropping. That is the general area to find the onion and in fact there are onions along the top edges of those granite slabs. It is difficult to see an individual onion flower (see photo) One can pass by many an onion before finally spotting them. A San Jacinto/Santa Rosa endemic, white margin oxytheca (Oxytheca emarginata), has not bloomed yet, but it looks like some could any day now. Bajada lupines (Lupinus concinnus) abound on the trail. There is also a nice bloom of another plant on the USFS watch-list—beautiful hulsea or pumice alpine gold (Hulsea vestita ssp. callicarpha). It’s also a good time to see snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) starting to push up out of the ground. Other species one will encounter along the trail include pink-bracted manzanita (Arctostaphylos pringlei ssp. drupacea), strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus), California rock-cress (Boechera californica), Parish’s Jacumba milkvetch (Astragalus douglasii var. parishii), Chaparral whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis), Parish’s tauschia (Tauschia parishii), woodland spurge (Euphorbia lurida), and Southern mountain lupine (Lupinus excubitus var. austromontanus).


Another trail in the San Jacinto Mountains worth hiking is the Ramona Trail in Garner Valley. On the rocky slopes above the trail head, one can see Johnston’s rock-cress (Boechera johnstonii). This is an interesting trail in that it is an upside down habitat. That is, it starts in the pine forest, climbs through the chaparral, and reemerges in the forest. One can see Idyllwild plants like Martin’s paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei ssp. martinii) at the trailhead only to have it replaced by its chaparral cousin wooly Indian paintbrush (Castilleja foliolosus) and then reappearing farther up the trail. There are California bee plants (Scrophularia californica) at about 5000 feet elevation. Cupleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus perplexans) was one of the most abundant plants in bloom. It’s clusters of white flowers lined much of the trail. It is going to be a beautiful sight when all the golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertifolium var. confertifolium) along the trail bloom. You may not get a chance to see so many larkspur (Delphinium parryi ssp. parryi) on a trail. Near the top of the trail is a large stand of Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis) in full bloom.

The best bloom along the Angeles Crest Hwy, Big and Little Tujunga Canyon Roads in the Angeles National Forest, is happening between 2,000 and 4,500 ft. Look for the very showy elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea), showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), patches of lupine (Lupinus spp.), the first blush of California fuchsia (Epilobium sp.) Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.), bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) and sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) along the roadsides and slopes. Every now and then you’ll come upon the bright pink prickly phlox (Leptodactylon californicum). Go for a hike to seek out the smaller beauties like miner’s lettuce (Claytonia sp.) forget-me-nots (Cryptantha spp.), snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea), and the golden orange wallflower (Erysimum capitatum).

The ecology Trail at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, is especially nice with flowering plants. Woolly blue curls (Trichostema lanatum), scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius), chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), blue dicks (Dichelostema capitatum), monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum), Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.) and black sage (Salvia mellifera) are the mainstay of the flower show along the trail.

If you want to take a pleasant hike at Stough Canyon Nature Center this weekend, look for the cheery yellow bush sunflower (Encelia californica), monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus), and pretty pink prickly phlox (Leptodactylon californicum).

The colorful display in Antelope Valley and the Lake Elizabeth area south of the Poppy Preserve is now toast. However, there is a report that there are showy displays of the pretty little desert calico (Loeseliastrum matthewsii) in a few places, and some areas have a good number of scattered orange-red desert Mariposa lily (Calochortus kennedyi) in bloom. In my opinion, it’s worth a drive to see these.

Joshua Tree National Park has various cacti species blooming nicely. Look for the bright pink and very photo-worthy beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) and hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) along the North Entrance road. The ocotillo (Fouquiera splendens) is still lovely at the south end of the park around the Cottonwood entrance. The Queen Valley Road and the Geology Tour Road have an array of different flowers still in bloom including, desert dandelion (Malacothrix glabrata), sand verbena (Abronia villosa), tickseed (Leptosyne californica), pinchushon (Chaenactis spp.), scorpion plant (Phacelia crenulata), bladderpod (Peritoma arborea), brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) scattered about with cryptantha (Cryptantha spp.) and Tasha’s poppy (Eschscholzia androuxii).

Up at the Santa Rosa Plateau Reserve in Riverside County, look for ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.) in bloom, along with monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), wild hyacinth (Dichelostema capitatum), checkerbloom (Sidalcea sp.), a native vetch (Vicia sp.), larkspur (Delphinium sp.) and chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum). The backdrop for all this beauty are the stately Engelmann oaks (Quercus engelmannii).

If you are going to the coast for a weekend visit, try the trails at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach. Enjoy the golden yellow of flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum), and pink honeysuckle (Lonicera hisipida). The sages (Salvia spp.) are scenting the air along with their cousin woolly blue-curls (Trichostema lanatum). Visit the Channel Islands section and check out the Island snapdragon (Galvesia speciosa), Island mallow (Lavatera assurgentiflora), and Island bush poppy (Dendromecon harfordii), all very colorful. Also the cheery California encelia (Encelia californica), fragrant mock orange (Philadelphus lewsii), showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), and various buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.) are looking very pretty.

The Vernal Pool Complex Garden at Elizabeth Learning Center is just glorious now with a full complement of rare flowers. Yellow-ray goldfields (Lasthenia sp.) wrap the vernal pool margins in a ribbon of yellow blooms! Look for prostrate navarretia (Navarretia prostrata), woolly marbles (Psilocarpus brevissimus), meadowfoam (Limanthes sp.), Hoover’s calicoflower (Downingia bella), Otay Mesa mint (Pogogyne nudiscula), owl’s clover (Castilleja sp). The uplands have school bells (Dichelostema capitata), gum plant (Grindelia sp.), sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor), Arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus), fiddleneck (Amsinckia sp.) and narrow-leaved fringepod (Thysanocarpus sp.). The school’s desert and chaparral habitat gardens also have dozens of flowering species.

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