What's Blooming Banner

Updated: Feb 08, 2013


Available Reviews

Circle X Ranch

Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Cold Creek Preserve

Date of Review




Quick Links:

Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains - Photos of 1000 SMM species.

Archive - Previous “What's Blooming” reports.

Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.

Wildfowers Facebook - A place where people can share about flowers.

SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone.


       Fall and Winter are the quiet time of the year for flower hunters in Southern California.  It is actually a time when I can get in some good exercise in as I’m not continually stopping to look at the plants.  Certainly the cool, fresh air and green, dust-free trails encourage a brisk pace.  However, even now we can find flowers.  There are almost always some of the past season’s flowers hanging around and some of the early spring flowers are blooming already.  I’ve been seeing the chaparral current in bloom since last November and things like bigberry manzanita since December.  Some of the early annuals like the little native mustard, shining pepperweed, have been blooming long enough already to have seeds.  Although it is still too early to predict, the recent rain moves us one step closer to a great flowering year in the SMM.  It was perfectly timed for the bigpod ceanothus which is now in full bloom in many places.  Here at Circle X Ranch they are quite spectacular right now.  You may recall that last year during the critical winter months we had an extended dry spell that caused many of them to abort their flowers. This means they still had much of last year's reproductive energy ready for an extra-special blooming season this year.  I seem to be seeing similar extravagance in some of the other perennials like the wild cucumber.  I'll be watching the lilies and the shooting stars closely since they had almost no blooming season last year as well.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Let me know what else you run into.  As always, happy hunting and I'll see you on the trails.  – ed.




Circle X Ranch

Backbone Trail from the Mishe Mokwa parking lot east




       A short way down the trail on the left there was the most magnificent display of shooting stars that I think I have seen in 15 years.  Proceeding further down the trail there are more excellent displays of shooting stars.  We hiked up a slope on which there were many more shooting stars at various levels continuing all way up to the road.  Shooting stars are one of our favorites and if they are yours too, we heartily recommend this trail.  Among the shooting stars there were Slender Pectocarya and Shining Pepperweed. There were, of course, Bigpod Ceanothus everywhere.

– John and Barbara


Upper Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Backbone Trail from Encinal Canyon east toward Kanan Dume




       The star of the show was Bigpod Ceanothus, which was blooming beautifully all over the slopes, just as Tony said it was at Circle X Ranch.  We also saw many milk maids and two chaparral currant.

– John and Barbara


Cold Creek Preserve

Stunt Ranch High Trail




       We hiked this lovely trail today and saw the first real flowers of the winter, all of them white.  In the wooded, early part of the trail, there were pure white milkmaids growing on both sides.  A little further up into the chaparral there was big pod ceanothus and some wild cucumber in bloom.  After the first road crossing we encountered manzanita in bloom and some white chaparral current.  It was all lovely.

– Dorothy Steinicke



Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360




If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report you can e-mail the editor at:


or phone Tony at 310-457-6408

What’s Blooming

on the web at


or go to


click on “Things to Do” and “Look for Wildflowers



experience your America


NPS Arrowhead logo