Page Revised: 2/21/09


Available Site Reviews

Rocky Oaks

Circle X Ranch


Date of Review




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        The bigpod ceanothus has pretty well finished up in most places although you can still find individuals with faded blossoms on them.  The same with the bigberry manzanita and chaparral current.  Some of the blue species of ceanothus are beginning to bloom especially at the lower elevations.  People have been giving me brief verbal reports but so far there is little get excited about  The recent rains will no doubt help once the warmer weather kicks in.  Recently I’ve seen coast goldfields, red maids, lupines and still a good crop of shooting stars here and there.  –ed.




Rocky Oaks


            Date: 2/1



        Blooms are only fair here now, but many plants are in bud. This small site is worth seeing now and returning again to watch the progress of the blooming season. We saw a few big berry Manzanita with blooms going to berries, lots of red berries on the toyon. In the pond were coots and ducks (shovelers). Tree frogs were croaking. Many different types of lichen are visible.

        The only masses of blooms were on the three species of white flowered ceanothus just about everywhere. It’s worth going to practice your identification skills on the ceanothus.  All their white flowers are similar. Big pod ceanothus (megacarpus) has alternate leaves. Hoary-leaved ceanothus (crassifolius) and buck-brush ceanothus (cuneatus) both have opposite leaves. Both have thicker leaves then big pod. Both have corky stipules near the leaf stems. Hoary-leaved has rounder leaves with occasional jagged teeth. These leaves are very white (hoary) wooly on the underside. Buck-brush (cuneatus) has wedge-shaped (cuneate) leaves with the narrow part near the stem. Buck-brush can also be finely wooly on the underside.

        Trails on the western side of the site have more flowers.


.   – S. Braden & J. Gillooly


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail.

         Date: 1/18



        We hiked down to the grotto last weekend but there was not much in the way of flowers to report about.  We saw a total of twenty different species in bloom and that included all the weedy things we encountered and several that were actually seen as we hunted around off-trail.  Without exception everything we saw blooming was a perennial and none had started to bloom in any abundance yet.  The bigpod ceanothus was just barely beginning to bloom on the 18th, but now on the 24th it looks like most of the population has started to bloom.  So far the hills have only a faint blush of white on them.  It will be interesting to see how they do this year given the horrible stress they were under last year.   –ed.



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:




or phone Tony at 310-457-6408