Page Revised: 4/6/07


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch

Rancho Sierra Vista

Point Mugu State Park

Cheeseboro & Palo Comado Cyns

Malibu Creek State Park

Zuma & Trancas Canyons

Castro Crest

Date of Review

4/6/07 & 3/24/07 & 3/23/07 & 3/9/07.







What's Blooming photo gallery:
What's Blooming archive:
Calendar of Events:


Circle X Ranch

Quick update

  Date: 4/6/07



        Just a very quick update for the ceanothus lovers in the crowd.  The bigpod ceanothus has pretty much finished up.  However, several of the other, later-blooming, ceanothus species are doing quite well right now.  My favorite is the Hairy-leaved ceanothus with its pale to deep violet blossoms. Look for it on the sheltered hillsides generally above 2000’.  Greenbark ceanothus is also doing well in the moister habitats. It has blue flowers ranging from nearly white to pale blue.  Up higher we run into the hoary-leaved ceanothus with blossoms that are generally white. It is easily told from the others by looking at the leaves.  They are arranged opposite on the branches and are quite white underneath.  Overall the flower display this year remains poor compared to other years we’ve had recently.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Generally Poor but with some bright spots


Rancho Sierra Vista

Satwiwa Loop Trail

  Date: 3/25/07



        On March 25th, we hiked the Satwiwa loop at Rancho Sierra Vista.  Both ponds were dried up!  Flowers that were present were small in number.  The highlight was seeing  Padre's shooting stars.   Peony had just finished.  My list: morning glory, California everlasting, California poppy, fiddleneck, wild cucumber, ceanothus, wild radish, black mustard, blue dick, slender tarweed, filaree, locoweed, vetch, and purple nightshade.  (KJ)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair


Circle X Ranch

Sandstone Peak Trail

  Date: 3/24/07



        This trail is usually not the best around for flowers but in compensation more than makes up for it by taking you to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The views are unobstructed and on a clear day you can easily see San Clemente seventy miles out to sea or the snow on Old Baldy eighty mile to the East. The ceanothus is the flowering shrub to see right now.  While the bigpod ceanothus is winding down there are still many individuals dotting the landscape with their whitish to purplish blossoms. For me the prize is the hairy-leaved ceanothus with its tight purple clusters of many small blossoms. It is easy to see why some people call this shrub the “chaparral lilac.”  As you climb higher toward the peak the bigpod and hairy-leaved give way to the whiter hoary-leaved ceanothus which is also beginning to bloom nicely on this trail.  The other flowers worth noting are prickly phlox, wild cucumber, deerweed, chaparral current, purple nightshade and Eastwood manzanita.  Otherwise we saw very few flowers, both in terms of variety and quantity.  All told only a little over two dozen different flower species were seen in bloom.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa loop

  Date: 3/23/07



        Here's one for the Circle X area.  We hiked the Mishe Mokwa / Backbone loop on March 23 and saw the following in bloom: Big-pod, Hoary-leaved, and Hairy-leaved Ceanothus, Peonies with buds, Prickly Phlox, Deer Weed, Chaparral Currant, Shooting Stars, Woolly Lomatium, Blue Dick, Wild Cucumber, Eastwood Manzanita, Coastal Lotus, Popcorn Flower. (BS)


Naturalist's rating:  NR


Point Mugu State Park

La Jolla Canyon

  Date: 3/23/07



        From Ray Miller Trailhead - La Jolla Canyon trail through La Jolla Valley and return via the Backbone trail.  The Giant Coreopsis in La Jolla Canyon are almost in full bloom.  Most plants had 3/4's of their buds open.  Another week and they should be at their peak.  We also saw copious amounts of Blue Dick and Indian Paintbrush throughout the hike.  Other flowers in bloom were: Scarlet Pimpernel, Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry, Shooting Stars, Red Stem Filaree, Turkish Rugging, Parry's Phacelia, Fiesta Flower, Wild Cucumber, Purple Nightshade, Lemonade Berry, Buckwheat, Everlasting, Morning Glory, Hedge Nettle, Greenbark Ceanothus, Buck-Brush, Blue Eyed Grass, Tree Tobacco, Bladder Pod, California Poppy, Collarless California Poppy, Coast Wallflower, Mustard, Deerweed, Santa Barbara Locoweed, Bush Sunflower and Chaparral Currant.  At Thornhill-Broome Beach across Hwy 1 from the trailhead we observed Pink Sand Verbena.  (R&AT)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Cheeseboro & Palo Comado Canyons

Misc. Trails in the Burn Area

  Date: 3/21/07



        Here is the list Kendra compiled from the Wednesday's burn area scoping survey.  Species: Amsinckia menziesii, Arctostaphylos glandulosa, Baccharis salicifolia, Calandrinia sp., Calystegia macrostegia, Camissonia californica, Castilleja foliolosa, Ceanothus crassifolius, Cryptantha muricata, Dendromecon rigida, Encelia californica, Eriogonum cinereum, Erodium botrys, Erodium cicutarium, Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia, Helianthemum scoparium, Heterotheca grandiflora, Hirschfeldia incana, Hordeum murinum, Juncus bufonius, Leptodactylon californicum, Lessingia filaginifolia, Lotus strigosus, Marah macrocarpus, Medicago polymorpha, Melilotus indicus, Mimulus aurantiacus, Mirabilis californica, Muhlenbergia microsperma, Nolina cismontana, Paeonia californica, Pectocarya linearis, Pedicularis densiflora, Phacelia parryi, Plagiobothrys canescens, Polypogon monspeliensis, Ribes indecorum, Salix lasiolepis, Salvia columbariae, Schismus arabicus, Solanum xanti, Tauschia arguta.  (KS & TS)


Naturalist's rating:  NR


Malibu Creek State Park

Phantom Trail

  Date: 3/14/07



        I was on the Phantom Trail (northern Malibu Creek SP, north of Mulholland) earlier this week (Wednesday, to be specific), and I saw a lot of Indian Paintbrush in bloom.  Not certain of the exact species, but it is bright cardinal in color, one in which the style extrudes itself out of the flower tube.  There are also California poppies coming out on the ridge, as well as a fair amount of ceanothus in bloom, and not big-pod, either, in both white and 'blue'.  Naturally, poison oak is beginning to put out buds in many areas.  I also saw willow in bloom, but can't remember exactly where - been all over, trying to get out a lot before the weather gets too hot - just that it wasn't on the Phantom Trail, of course.  I also saw a few very small, deep purple-with-a-hint-of-red flowers that had a vague resemblance to native geraniums (not the horticultural ones) on the southern Phantom Trail ridge.  A "belly flower" that require getting on your stomach to really see,  (JC)


Naturalist's rating:  NR


Zuma and Trancas Canyons

backbone trail

  Date: 3/10/07



        Saturday, 3/10, we walked from Kanan to Mulholland crossing the upper watersheds of Zuma and Trancas Canyons. The following were blooming (they're listed in no particular order.)  big-pod ceanothus, greenbark ceanothus, man-root, purple nightshade, California everlasting, chaparral currant, fuchsia-flowered, gooseberry, Indian warrior, milkmaids, hoary-leafed ceanothus, walnut, California poppy, deerweed, mule fat, California buckwheat, hummingbird sage, morning glory, four o'clock, coyote bush, telegraph weed, slender sunflower, Parry's phacelia, sticky monkey flower.  The big pod was outstanding.  A lot of everlasting, chaparral currant, man root and nightshade.  Everything else was sparse.  (RW)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair


Circle X Ranch

Various trails

  Date: 3/9/07



        The very dry conditions we’ve had this winter has resulted in unusually few flowers so far this year.  In particular, the annuals that depend on regular winter rain to germinate their seeds are running way behind.  Even the perennials have been slow to get going.  However, we are finally beginning to see good numbers of ceanothus blooming so at least they believe Spring is beginning. In fact, they have been so quick to pop out that I’ve had to re-write this review since I began composing it a few days ago

        The chaparral current has been blooming for a month now and while some have already finished blooming most are in their prime.  The same can be said for big-berry manzanita although the later blooming Eastwood manzanita is just beginning.  Individual bigpod ceanothus shrubs have been blooming for some time but the population as a whole is only just beginning.  However, in just the last two days a dramatic change has occurred and now they can be seen on the hillsides at a distance.  Even a few of the other species of ceanothus can be seen blooming here and there.  The other notable right now is the shooting star.  Again, they are just beginning but both the Mishe Mokwa trail and the Backbone trail below the Mishe Mokwa display them well in a number of locations.

        I’ve also run across scattered examples of purple nightshade, California buckwheat, deer weed, wild cucumber, wooly lomatium, southern tauschia, silk-tassel bush, prickly phlox, two-tone everlasting, morning glory, and a few popcorn flowers.  On the Canyon View trail last weekend I noticed that the wishbone bush looks like it is getting ready for a good year but has not quite started blooming yet.  Along the creeks the small flowers of the mule fat are easy to miss.  On the grotto trail two weeks ago we smelled the sweet fragrance of the California bay and examined a nice display of young ferns.  A hike to Sandstone Peak last week resulted in the poorest flower showing I have ever seen, but the hike itself was magnificent with vistas of the offshore islands and distant snow-capped peaks.  Even the typical roadside weeds like the mustard, filaree and groundsel seem to be struggling to do much.  The creeks are mostly dry, and while there is water at the grotto, none of the waterfalls are doing anything worth mentioning.  On the other hand the trails are pleasantly green and in good condition.  In summary, from a strictly flowering perspective, the hikes I’ve done so far this year have been mostly poor, but that may change fast now that the days are getting warmer.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Mostly Poor but with some Fair sections




Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360




Thank you


for your contributions:



Bob Sweet
Bonnie Clarfield
Burt Elliot
Dorothy Steinicke
Greg Sweel
Jack Gillooly
Jim Carleton
Judy Joy Lively
Kathy Jonokuchi
Ken Low
Kenda Sikes
Lynne Haigh
Matt Friedman
Michael Charters
Ralph Waycott
Richard & Agnes Thaler
Robert W. Maughmer
Sheila Braden
Tarja Sagar
Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:




or phone Tony at 310-457-6408