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Updated 02-22-2013

Available Reviews
Circle X Ranch
Zuma/Trancas Canyons
Cold Creek Preserve
Date of Review
02/18 & 01/29.

Quick Links:
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains - Photos of 1000 plants.
Archive - Previous “What's Blooming” reports.
Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
Wildflowers Facebook - A place where people can share about flowers.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone/iPad.

         Spring is getting close with the first of March only a week away. We are seeing more and more flowers all the time but have yet to reach what I would call the true flowering season of the Santa Monica Mountains. Very quickly over the last few days the bigpod ceanothus largely finished here at Circle X Ranch, although the sheltered north slopes and higher elevations still have quite a bit of it. It had a wonderfully long blooming season this year compared to last year. I've been seeing more of its bluer cousins starting to bloom recently as well. Unfortunately the little bit of rain we got a few days ago has already turned to dust in many places -- a measure of how very dry things are. Most of the creeks are dry or have only dribble in them when usually they are a continuous babble by this time. Unless we get some real rain soon this year may turn into another disappointment. Keep your fingers crossed. As always, happy hunting and I'll see you on the trails.
         I’ve spent all of my spare time over the last few weeks trying to get an update out for the SMM WildFlowers iPhone app. My goal has been to have it available on iTunes before March 1st (the date I always think of as the beginning of the blooming season here.) I hope to upload it to iTunes this weekend and then it is in Apple’s hands as to whether it will be avalable by March first. This update will be only a content update: about 40 new plants and about 800 new or updated pictures. I really wanted to make 1000 plants for this update but stalled out last season at 997. I’ll be on the hunt again once this season picks up.  ‑ ed.

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa Trail
         The big pod ceanothus is the highlight of this hike. Entire mountainsides are in bloom to the degree that one wonders if there are any other shrubs on the hillside. The trail is dusted with the "snow" of fallen petals. This trail features both big pod ceanothus and hoary leaf ceanothus. Additionally there are blooming manzanita and chaparral current with wild cucumber climbing over them in certain places. I was surprised at how few prickly phlox plants are in bloom, we only saw a couple. There are several openings alongside the trail that were carpeted in Padre's shooting stars which are always a treat. There was a single blooming bush of hillside gooseberry just above Split Rock. I saw two early blue dicks in the chaparral.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

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

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

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 NRA
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

If you would like to contribute a 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"

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