Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 13, 2015

Santa Monica Mountains Wildflower Reports 2/12/15

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area  posted the following reports todayIt is still very early in the 2015 flower season but some of my favorites are already out. Keep that in mind there are plants that bloom year round if conditions are right. Maybe this is the year you might try to see those things that bloom only in the early part of the season.
Finally, the drama of mudslides overshadow the fact that although the SMM have received some rain the effects of the drought of the last few years are far from over. Keep your fingers crossed that we get that needed rain!  ‑ ed.
Rancho Sierra Vista 2/12/15
         On 2/12/15, I hit the jackpot at the overflow parking area at Rancho Sierra Vista: the biggest display of chocolate lilies and shooting stars in one place I have ever seen. Also observed: California poppies, popcorn flower,filaree, common groundsel, ground pink, indian paintbrush, wishbone bush, star lily, squaw spurge, goldfields, Parry’sphacelia, ground pink, speedwell, golden yarrow, johnny jump up, wild cucumber, commonfiddleneck,andlacepod.
Las Virgenes View Trail 2/11/15
         LasVirgenes View Trailis located on the northwest corner of LasVirgenes Rd andMulholland Dr. Parts of the trailare lined withFilaree. Further up I found Wishbone Bush, Popcorn Flower , and Blue Dicks. Turning left at the “T” intersection at the ridge, I went up the hill to find some Lupines (Broad Leafed I think) and more Blue Dicks, There are lots of plants growing that haven’t bloomed yet , but they are facing the usual dilemma: will the winds dry them out, or will we get enough rain to keep the bloom going.

Triunfo Creek Park Westlake View Trail 02-10-15
         This is a place where I havefrequently been both rewarded with extraordinary flowers and confounded by the lack of trail markers. Today was no exception. For the first ten minutes of the hike I thought that the blooms that Ihave been observing had not made it to this area, I only saw big podceanothus. Then I started to see fuchsia flowering gooseberry, wild cucumber and woolylomatium. I happened on a gorgeous group of Indian warriors, something I have notfrequentlyencountered. Coming out of the chaparral and into meadow there were bluedicks, deer weed and popcorn flower but there was also the highlight of this hike; hillsides carpeted in ground pinks, thousands upon thousands of them. Theywere interspersed with shooting stars that looked as though their peak bloom was a couple of weeks ago. There were also tiny red and white flowers that I was unable toidentify. At the edge of the meadow there were miner’s lettuce and blue larkspur. Then the well trodden trail that Ihad been following disappeared into impenetrable chaparral, forcing me to backtrack. An outstanding hike.  ‑
New Millennium Trail 2/9/15
         The New Millennium Trail is in the City of Calabasas. The trailhead that I used is in the Dog Park, just south of the intersection of Las Virgenes and Agoura Road , across the street from A E Wright Middle School. It is the ridge that is to your left if you are driving south on Las Virgenes Road.
Thanks to a recent light rain, Purple Filliree is now lining the lower trail. There are also more Red Maids growing. I took the short-cut that goes up a ridge to join the south loop. Blue Dicks are growing on the short- cut trail, and near the top, some Lupines are starting to bloom. Turning right on the trail junction, I noticed that a lot of Caterpillar Phacelia is growing, but it is not blooming yet. Further on, near the top of the ridge, there is a nice patch of California Golden Poppies blooming (see pic). Continuing on, I turned right on the trail that stays on the ridge ( instead of staying on the loop trail). There I found more Blue Dicks, Popcorn Flower, Chia, and a few Bush Sunflower.
New Millennium Trail 2/4/15
         The New Millennium Trail is in the City of Calabasas. The trailhead that I used is in the Dog Park, just south of the intersection of Las Virgenes and Agoura Road , across the street from A E Wright Middle School. It is the ridge that is to your left if you are driving south on Las Virgenes Road.
Plants are starting to bloom. As I walked up the trail I saw a few Red Maids, some wild Cucumber , and some Blue Dicks. Turning left at the “T” intersection (1.2 miles) , I walked another half mile till I was coming down the hill into the next canyon. At that point, Iwas surprised to see a couple of nice patches of California Golden Poppies brightening up the top of a hill on the other side of the canyon. I followed the loop trail and was able to walk on the ridge of the hill about 200 yards to take some pics. Lots of stuff is growing on this trail. If it doesn’t dry out and we get a little more rain it could be a good wildflower year.
Zuma Canyon misc. Trails 2/3/15
         Zuma Canyon is an under appreciated gem of a location. It’s possible to hike a small loop, a medium loop, a large loop or an enormous loop. I joined the Zuma Canyon loop to the Canyon View and Ocean View Trails to make a fairly large loop. The flowers are really starting to come into bloom. The big pod ceanothus and the wild cucumber are already past their peak. The cucumbers are showing off their fruit more than their flowers. The fuchsia flowering gooseberry and Indian paintbrush are looking very nice. Additionally I saw; bush sunflower, chaparral currant, southern tauschia, toyon, poison oak in flower, wild sweet pea, blue dicks and purple nightshade. Alongside the still-dry creek were mule fat, cud weed aster and California everlasting. Climbing up the southern side of the canyon the only new flowers encountered were eucrypta and wishbone flower.

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