Malibu Creek State Park
Topanga State Park
Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons
Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Preserve
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Point Mugu State park
SMM Visitor Center
Date of Review
4/27 & 3/22.
4/12 & 3/23.
4/24 & 4/12.
Many people have submitted flower reports in the last week, no doubt a consequence of the annuals finally putting in an appearance. This is more or less on cue if you consider the only big rain event we had this year was about two months ago. The interesting thing in this in this for me is that we are seeing, here in May, flowers which usually bloom much earlier in the season. It seem strange to see some of the early lupines blooming side by side with the Clarkias! The other interesting thing is that there have been a few unusual things showing up. For example, the little Seaside Calandrinia is appearing in quantity this year. After hunting for that plant for years in the end only place I was able to get pictures for the web site was down in San Diego. It's still a drought year and both the variety and quantity of flowers is low, and the plants themselves are frequently stressed and small. I saw a California poppy only one inch tall with one single tiny flower at the top of its single stem.
The rain a couple of months ago eased the drought a bit but it is probably too late now to hope we will get enough rain to end it. Only a week after that March rain the winds were picking up huge clouds of dust from the dirt parking lot here, something you would never see in a more typical March. The ground was dry as a bone and most of that rain disappeared into that vacuum literally without a trace. Similarly, most of the creeks never ran this year, another sign that a mere 6" of rain does end a severe drought. The saddest thing is seeing how many large old trees have died. If we have to cut down many more trees I'm afraid the campground here at CXR is going to look pretty barren by the end of the year. Keep your fingers crossed and let me know what you see. ‑ ed.
|Malibu Creek State Park||
|We hiked the Phantom Trail today and I am happy to report that there are many species of flowers blooming now. We saw Eucrypta, Popcorn Flower, Wishbone Bush, Indian Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily, Purple Nightshade, Sticky Phacelia, Caterpillar Phacelia , Fernleaf Phacelia , Fiesta Flower, Fiddleheads, White Morning Glory, Red Maids, Common Vervain, and California Poppies. There are flowers starting on the first quarter mile of the trail, and another mile will bring you to some CA poppies. It you turn and walk back up the hill from here, there are even more poppies. ‑ Jim Garafalo|
|While trail running Serrania Park south to dirt Mulholland (heading east), I spotted an array of tansy leafed phacelia, blue nightshade, Indian paintbrush, more Catalina mariposas, elderberries, the ubiquitous mustard, succulent lupine, purple sage, black sage and Mimulus aurantiacus. ‑ Adam Lieberman|
|Topanga State park||
Saturday’s hike was the eighth and last leg of the 2014 National Park Service Backbone Trail Hike. We have been hiking west to east covering two segments per month. This segment took us from Trippet Ranch to Will Rogers State Historic Park.
The first few miles visit several different plant communities that tend to be pretty damp. Then it is ridge top after ridge top of mostly chamise chaparral. We had our highest count of species in bloom, 50. In keeping with the abnormal year some were out of season, many just opening their first buds, while others were shutting down. The oak trees, coast and interior live, were accompanied by the hollyleaf red berry, hollyleaf cherry, elderberry, mountain mahogany, toyon, sugar bush, green bark and big pod ceanothus. Bush poppy, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, morning glory, prickly phlox, eucrypta, popcorn, deer weed, 2 nightshades, 3 lupines, 4 everlastings accented the just emerging virgins bower, common vervain, fiesta flower, golden yarrow, wishbone, heart-leaved penstemon, wooly blue curls, California buckwheat, and black sage. Some of the surprises came in the form of Chaparral pea, twining snap dragon, large-flowered lotus, mustard evening primrose, and more than a splash of Catalina mariposa, blue dicks, owl's clover, butter cups blue-eyed grass, and fiddleneck. High heat is forecast so future display is uncertain. ‑ Ralph and others
|Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons||
|There is a wonderful spot where lots of Lupines are blooming In the eastern part of Cheeseboro canyon. This is the part of Cheeseboro that can be accessed from Las Virgenes, north of the 101. Starting with the Zev Yaroslavsky Trailhead, there are four trailheads on Las Virgenes. The one that I used is the second one, on Las Virgenes just south of Thousand Oaks Blvd. To get there; Go north of the 101 Frwy to Thousand Oaks Blvd and make a U-turn. Drive to the trailhead next to the old ranch house and park. Hike the trail and immediately take the left fork. About a quarter of a mile to the flowers. Lupines pic ‑ Jim Garafalo|
|This is the first hike I've taken this season that has any real payoff in flowers. Leaving the parking lot there are blooming elderberries, bush sunflower and ground hugging lupines. Taking the trail to the left, up the hill we saw blooming vervain, sugar bush and morning glory. Turning right to walk along the side of the canyon there were ashy buckwheat, fuchsia flowering gooseberry, lots and lots of Indian paintbrush, purple sage, purple nightshade, white hedge nettle, blue dicks, southern tauschia, sweet pea, blue eyed grass and a dozen or so Catalina mariposas. Descending back to the creek bed there were mountain mahogany, patches of brilliant wishbone flower and several star lilies. Continuing along the creek bed, which continues to be completely dry, there was wild cucumber, scarlet bugler, popcorn flower, California everlasting and virgin's bower in bloom. ‑ Dorothy Steinicke|
|Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve||
|We hiked the Las Virgenes to Cheeseboro Connector Trail from the Cheeseboro Ridge Trail to the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Trail. This trail is rather remote unless you have a mountain bike. I was pleasantly surprised by how many annuals we saw in bloom, although to be honest, I would still rank this as a poor showing in a non-drought year. Altogether we ran into about forty different species in bloom, but almost all were present in only small quantities. The one real exception was the yerba santa which was in places quite dense and flowering profusely. It was also interesting to see the unusual mix of plants in bloom. We had flowers I normally associate with very early in the season blooming alongside those I think of as late season flowers (like the clarkias -- one of which is actually called "Farewell to Spring.") I assume the drought has many of them confused, but then, just the very low quantity of flowers points out how unusual this drought year is. A partial list of the flowers we encountered included small evening primrose, hairy leaved ceanothus, hoary leaved ceanothus, popcorn flower, blue dicks, yerba santa, succulent lupine, collar lupine, stinging lupine, silver puffs, eucrypta, strigose lotus, prickly phlox, black sage, wild cucumber (now essentially just in fruit), quite a few wishbone bush, chia, bush monkey flower, mustard evening primrose, one single woolly blue curls, lace pod, morning glory, purple nightshade, caterpillar phacelia, two-tone everlasting, bush poppy, a scattering of elderberry, white snap dragon, yellow pincushion, and the willow herb clarkia. ‑ ed.|
|We saw quite a few flowers and here’s the list: Wooly Paintbrush, White Forget-me-not, Black Mustard, Small Evening Primrose, Deer Weed, Red-stem Filaree, Mustard Evening Primrose, California Everlasting, Sticky Monkey, Wild Cucumber, Woolly Blue Curls, Tree Poppy, California Buckwheat, Long-beaked Filaree, Yerba Santa (quite a few), Prickly Phlox, Rock Rose, Telegraph Weed, Black Mustard, Parry’s Phacelia (many), Hedypnois, Yellow Sweet Clover, Purple Nightshade, Hummingbird Sage, Wild Morning Glory and Red Maids. ‑ John & Barbara Goldthwait|
|Topanga State Park||
|Today’s hike was the seventh leg of the 2014 National Park Service Backbone Trail Hike. We are hiking west to east covering two segments per month. Today we hiked from the Saddle Peak trail head to Trippet Ranch. This is typically a damp area with high species diversity. We had the highest count, 30, of any segment thus far thanks to our only significant rainfall some 6 weeks prior. However, drought conditions persist and several species were blooming well out of their normal season. We saw: big pod ceanothus, elderberry, interior live oak, wild cucumber, California buckwheat, hairy-leaved ceanothus, chaparral currant, green bark ceanothus, caterpillar phacelia, two-tine everlasting, bush poppy, purple nightshade, walnut, poison oak, prickly phlox, shiny lomatium, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, popcorn flower, purple clarkia, small-flowered fiddleneck, eucrypta, deer weed, chaparral flowering ash, blue dicks, arroyo lupine, butter cups, milk maids, coast live oak, dove lupine, and blue eyed grass. ‑ Ralph and others|
|Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve||
|While on a trailrun in the Ahmanson Ranch Preserve, entering from Victory and heading south then west, then north I spotted many blue dicks and hundreds if not more of Catalina mariposa lilies, mostly in the western and southwestern higher elevations. I was surprised to see such a good show, considering the drought. ‑ Adam Lieberman|
|Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy||
|This is a gorgeous hike for views of the ocean and some of the Channel Islands. There is a signed trail entrance on PCH and also one from the parking lot shared with Malibu Seafood. It is about half a mile south of Corral Canyon Road and traverses the south slope of lower Corral Canyon. The trail itself is only about a 2 mile loop. Things are starting to green up but there is still not much in the way of flowers. There was telegraph weed, Indian paintbrush, wild cucumber and wild morning glory and none of them in any abundance. We did see two gopher snakes, or possibly the same snake both coming and going. ‑ Dorothy Steinicke|
|Point Mugu State Park||
|The stars of the day were the fairly abundant Wild Cucumber and Blue Dicks. In addition, there were a few of the following: Datura (2), Wild Morning Glory, Giant Coreopsis, Locoweed, Deer Weed, Bladder Pod, Black Mustard, Ashy Leaf Buckwheat, Southern Tauschia, Coastal Lotus, Hedge Nettle (1), Yellow Sweet Clover (1), Woolly Paint Brush, Wild Sweet Pea (1), Broad-leaved Lupine (1), Mule Fat, Common Eucrypta, Minute-flowered Popcorn, Tobacco Tree (1) and Pacific Sanicle (1). ‑ John & Barbara Goldthwait|
|Point Mugu State Park||
|We saw several Beach Evening Primrose and Giant Coreopsis, a few Bladder Pods, one Sea Rocket, a few Slender Sunflowers, a few San Diego Popcorn Flowers and a few Croton. ‑ John & Barbara Goldthwait|
|SMM Visitor Center||
|The Santa Monica Mountains Inter-Agency Visitor Center at 26876 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas has a fair display of flowers in it's garden. There are quite a few native iris, as well as blue-eyed grass, foothill penstemon, California poppies, and hummingbird sage. Larger shrubs such as, golden current, Rhus trilobata, bush poppy and elderberry combine to make a fair amount of blue and gold. We also saw heuchera and some manzanita. The garden does get some supplementary water which accounts for this nice showing. ‑ Sheila Braden|
|Topanga State Park||
|We saw a few of all of the following: California Buttercup, Common Eucrypta, Miner's Lettuce, Black Sage, Deer Weed, Wild Morning Glory, Green Bark Ceanothus, Red Stem Filaree, California Buckwheat, Mexican Elderberry, California Everlasting, Tree poppy, Prickly Phlox, California Bay Laurel, Big Pod Ceanothus, Wishbone and Wild Cucumber. ‑ John & Barbara Goldthwait|
|Malibu Creek State Park||
|Today’s hike was the sixth leg of the 2014 National Park Service Backbone Trail Hike. We are hiking west to east covering two segments per month. Today we hiked from the Saddle Peak trailhead to the Piuma trailhead. This is typically a damp area with the highest species diversity of our 8 segments ranging from 60 to 100 in counts. However, drought conditions persist. Our list of flowers is very short and most of these were very sparse: bush monkey flower, mule fat, wild cucumber, hillside gooseberry, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, walnut, willow, prickly phox, telegraph weed, bush poppy, sage brush, and California laurel. ‑ Ralph and others|
|Corral Canyon to about halfway to Latigo Canyon||
|We saw Chamise, several Red Stem Filaree, two Chaparral Current, many Wild Cucumber and Winter Cress. However, the star of the show was Milk Maids, of which there were great many, about as much in a 'normal' year. ‑ John & Barbara Goldthwait|
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 the CXR office 310-457-6408