Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 10, 2019

Santa Monica Mountains Wildflowers 3/30/19

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has three recent reports

Zuma Canyon Backbone Trail 3/29
         The post-fire Backbone Trail through upper Zuma Canyon is especially floriferous these days. Although I only saw 40 species in bloom, they were putting on quite a show. Of particular interest were the uncommon “fire-followers” — Brewer’s Milk Maids (Calandrinia breweri), Twining Snapdragon (Antirrhinum kelloggii), Star Lily (Toxicoscordion fremontii), California Mustard (Caulanthus lasiophyllus), Skullcap (Scutellaria tuberosa), Whipering Bells (Emmenanthe penduliflora), Coastal Lotus (Acmispon maritimus), Shiny lomatium (Lomatium lucidum), and Common Eucrypta (Eucrypta chrysamthemifolia), the latter convering entire hillsides.
From the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Encinal Canyon Road, take Encinal Canyon Road 0.7 miles to the Zuma Ridge Mwy. trailhead and park at a road pullout. From there it’s about 1/3 mile walk along the Zuma Ridge Mwy. to the Backbone Trail.   — Jay Sullivan
Topanga Canyon State Park Nature Trail 3/27
         Things are really coming into bloom all across the Santa Monica Mountains. From Trippet Ranch, Topanga Canyon State Park offers a 1 mile Nature Trail loop. From the parking lot take the dirt road up to the Visitors Center. If it is Sunday it will be open. From the front of the Visitor’s Center go up the stairs and onto the uphill trail.
This part is woodland and there are currently canyon sunflowers and hummingbird sage in bloom here. Continue uphill and cross the fire road to where the trail continues. Now you will be seeing greenback ceanothus as well as a spectacular ocean view. As the trail goes out into the chaparral the flowers are really spectacular. There are wishbone bush, encrypta, wild cucumber and some lovely masses of arroyo lupine and blue dicks.  — Dorothy Steinicke
Leo Carrillo State Park Nicholas Flats 3/25
         This is an area that burned entirely in the Woolsey Fire. Going there now is a look at how a landscape recovers. It is inspiring.
You can reach Nicholas Flats via a 6-mile uphill trail from Leo Carrillo Beach. Or you can drive up Decker Canyon Rd and access the “flat” area. Decker Canyon Rd then turn north on Decker School Road (NOT Decker School Lane, that is a bit further east). Take Decker School Rd to its dead end and look for a place to park off the pavement. There is a nicely surfaced trail that picks up from the end of the road.
From where you park your car you can see masses of blue dicks and of padre’s shooting stars interspersed with encrypt and punctuated by scarlet Indian paintbrush. The day I visited there were painted lady butterflies fluttering everywhere. Making our way down the trail we saw wild cucumber crawling across the bare ground, woolly lomatium, blue-eyed grass, purple nightshade and a few, gorgeous Catalina mariposa lilies. Then we came to stands of star lilies, scores of them. By the pond there is a field filled with common fiddle neck, large flowered phacelia and Parry’s phacelia. I encourage you to, very carefully, take a look at the hilly meadow to the southeast of the pond, it is filled with chocolate lilies.

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