Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 14, 2017

Santa Monica Mts. Wildflowers 6/12/17

Santa Monica Mts. National Recreation Area has new wildflower reports

Topanga Canyon State Park   Santa Ynez Canyon 6/12/17
This hike is one of the best for late spring and summer. There are two distinct sections; the riparian, where you start and the chaparral that you climb up into. In the riparian section the Humboldt lilies are the stars, they are everywhere this year, many more than I have seen in past years. They are so large and so bright that they almost appear to be illuminated. There is a lot of heart leaf penstemon and California buckwheat and a little bit of a lot of other flowers but the Humboldts are what you get excited about. After walking through the riparian section, and being careful to avoid the plentiful poison oak, you climb up into the chaparral section. This section also has stars and they are the scarlet larkspur which is really tall and really plentiful and the plummers mariposas which are abundant and stunning. There are also some other lovelies to enjoy; white snapdragons, canyon dudleya, sapphire wool stars and twiggy wreath plant. It will do your soul good to visit this place.

Zuma Canyon   Ocean View/Canyon View Loop 6/8/17
By the second week of June I figured that the flowerswould be about finished but I went anyway. I could not have been more wrong about the flowers-the displays are stunning. Just pulling into the Zuma Canyon parking area you can see the entire valley floor carpeted with purple sage with sprays of bush mallow shooting out above with the whole thing punctuated by the occasional bladder pod bush. I took the Ocean View/Canyon View Loop, a trail that is a bit less traveled than the Zuma Loop Trail. I could not keep track of the flowers. There were bushes full of milkwort, there was sticky phacelia, lots of heart leaf penstemon, patches of perezia and slender tar weed, lots of cliff asters, sticky madea and white and golden yarrow. Climbing up the hill the mustard growing by the side of the trail gets a bit overwhelming-it is 10-15 feet tall. At first I enjoyed the sensation of being an ant traveling through grass and then I started feeling a little claustrophobic and resentful that I could not see the views this trail is named for. Fortunately the intense mustard falls away and the views return. There are entire mountainsides that a simply coated with purple sage, it is spectacular. Almost as breathtaking are the large number of plummers mariposas growing at the top of this trail, a great reward for steep climb up on the mustard choked trail.

See photos and older posts at What’s Blooming

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