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Updated May 9th 2015
Available Reviews
Topanga Canyon
Zuma Canyon
Stunt Ranch
Circle X Ranch
Triunfo Creek (Canyon) Park
Malibu Creek SP
Date of Review
5/5, 3/17.
4/8, 4/4.
3/23, 3/19(2), 3/6.

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I hear things are really drying out and that the SoCal drought continues. In that case the true flower connoisseur must begin using their craft to find the treasure. It is out there every month of the year.
 ‑ ed.

Topanga Canyon State Park
Musch Trail
I didn't have much time and only went a little ways. Still I was very surprised at all the flowers that I saw. I have been encountering a lot of dried out trails and this one was a pleasant surprise. The soap root lilies were out, being day time they were closed but clearly ready to bloom. The grasslands had purple clarkia, golden star lily, slender tarweed and golden yarrow. Otherwise there were the usual flowers, honeysuckle, Indian pinks and California buckwheat.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke

Zuma Canyon
Zuma Loop Trail
I made a loop of going out on the Zuma Canyon Trail and returning on the Zuma Loop Trail. This hike is one of my favorite for spring flowers but the heat and drought have hit it hard. Although there are still flowers there are not an abundance of flowers and things look as though they are past full bloom. There are many elderberry bushes in bloom as well as California everlasting, purple and black sage, scarlet penstemon and cliff aster. Climbing up the Zuma Loop trail there are Indian pinks, bush sunflowers, white yarrow and lots and lots of slender tarweed. Along the Rim Trail I expected to find Catalina mariposas but there was not one. Instead I found half a dozen yellow mariposas, a flower I wouldn't have expected for another month.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Stunt Ranch
Stunt High Trail
It was a really hot and dry day, too hot to walk far but fortunately this trail is rewarding from the very beginning. The trail starts with a beautiful flowering yucca and a sampling of some of the flowers from various habitats along the trail including the lovely Catalina mariposas. Entering the riparian area there were star lilies, fiesta flowers, black sage and the magical looking globe lilies. I scrambled down to the edge of the creek and was rewarded by finding stream orchids. The meadow area was the most rewarding, it was covered in golden star lilies interspersed with areas of purple clarkia, blue larkspur, blue eyed grass, brodiaea and Chinese houses. Climbing up into the chaparral there were large stands of purple sage buzzing with bees and butterflies. There were also woolly blue curls, chia, globe gillia, sticky monkey flower and farewell-to-spring. It was an amazing hike.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa Trail
Not as prolific a display of wildflowers as I had hoped. Some areas are already drying out. Nevertheless, at 50-plus species in bloom from the trailhead to Split Rock, it's definitely worth the trip. Highlights of the hike were "fire followers" such as Large-flowered Phacelia, Many-nerved Catchfly, California Mustard, and Fire Poppy along with a couple of not-to-miss plants: Pitcher Sage and white-flowered Peninsular Onion.  ‑ Jay Sullivan

Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa/Sandstone Peak Loop
It has been so hot and dry that we had low expectations of what flowers would be blooming on this trail. We did the loop counter clockwise, going to Split Rock before heading up to Sandstone Peak. At the trailhead we could see banks of mariposa lilies, California buckwheat, golden yarrow, blue dicks, popcorn flower, woolly blue curls and black sage. Heading up the trail we encountered flowering chamise, large flower phacelia, twining snapdragon, yellow monkey flower and woolly lomatium. Heading down toward Split Rock we saw sticky monkey flower, caterpillar phacelia, chia, deerweed, blue larkspur, Chinese houses and globe gillia. For the entire loop the sides of the trail were studded with star lilies. There was also miner's lettuce, fiesta flower, eucrypta, mustard evening primrose, parry's phacelia and purple nightshade. Holly leaf cherry and holly leaf redberry were helpfully blooming across the trail from each other. In the rocky section of the trail we saw owl's clover, goldfields and pincushion. Approaching Split Rock there were purple clarkia, yellow collarless poppies, fire poppies, whispering bells and virgin's bower seedpods. The creek at Split Rock was completely dry for the first time in my memory. Going uphill from Split Rock to Sandstone Peak there was cinquefoil, a very few shooting stars, wild sweet peas and flowering yucca. Beyond Sandstone Peak we were surprised to see prickly phlox still blooming and then common fiddle neck.  ‑ Dorothy Steinicke
Contributer Supplied Photo

Triunfo Canyon Park
Pentachaeta Trail
         I visited the Pentachaeta Trail, today and it continues to be a place of bountiful wildflowers, butterflies, damselflies and lizards, as mentioned in my previous report. Although the chocolate lily is finished, the Purple Chinese Houses are in abundance. Off of one of spur trails, I found globe lilly, blue delphinium, and Parry's Phacelia.  ‑ Kathy Jonokuchi
Contributer Supplied Photo Contributer Supplied Photo

Triunfo Canyon Park
Westlake Vista Trail
         Westlake Vista Trail at junction of Triunfo and Lindero Canyon. This is the trail to the right, going up to the reservoir area; the Pentachaeta Trail is the one to the left.
         Trail route and conditions: The route is flat for a few hundred yards until a junction with a trail going left. If you go straight here, you’ll come out at the flat area near the reservoir. For the best flowers, though, take this left fork, which now proceeds uphill and becomes more rugged. Continue taking the left forks at subsequent trail junctions except those that dead-end. A few spots will require caution if children are present as there are drop-offs. The trail will eventually come out along the ridge overlooking the reservoir from above. Hike down parallel to the fence towards the reservoir and the floral carpets you'll see as you approach it, then return on the main trail from there.
         Flowers: This trail appears to have the best variety of species of any trail in the region at present, with several dozen types in bloom. It’s also one of the few trails with actual carpets of flowers, not just individuals and small patches. The densest flowers include owls clover, goldfields, popcorn and phlox. Highly recommended, and don’t miss the floral mix near the corner of the reservoir fence!  ‑ Bob Matthews
Contributer Supplied Photo

Triunfo Creek Park
Pentachaeta Trail
         Took a trip to Triunfo today as despite living next to it for several years I've never noticed it! I opted to take the Pentachaeta Trail from the car park (sign posted). Was not disappointed with the displays of goldfields, purple owl's-clover, foothill plantain and some other good plants.
         The most common plants of the day were wild hyacinth, purple nightshade agg., miner's lettuce (perfoliata), wide-throated monkey flower, shiny lomatium, Fuschia-flowering gooseberry, fiesta flower, caterpillar phacelia, "common" fiddleneck, cottonweed, western blue-eyed grass, fringed lianthus, California chicory, silver puffs, poison oak (in flower), everlasting nest straw, black sage. I was rather happy to find one of my long-standing "nemesis flowers" which was Padre's shooting-star, there is a large congregation about 20-25 minutes down the trail but most have lost their flowers. Lots of wild cucumber (which I mistook for white bryony being from Britain and all) with vines over many shrubs and oaks.
         Saw singles of Parry's Larkspur, Parry's phacelia, indian warrior, woolly blue-curls, mission woodland-star, chia, Calystegia sp, twining snapdragon, California peony, Pterostegia drymarioides and California poppy. There was a good comparison of musk filaree and red-stem filaree immediately by the car park in the rocks before the start of both paths (both non-native but interesting). Erodium botrys (non-native) also common along the trail. There was some sort of dodder off in the distance that I did not see well enough for ID.
         There was a good patch of white form wild hyacinth about 5-10 minutes down the trail from the car park where the path bends to the left (east). Not many butterflies but several Sara orange-tip, California sister, Behr's metalmark, white chequered-skipper and a fly-by duskywing sp. Lots of insect life about, my highlight was a snake fly (Agulla sp.) which I have not encountered before.
         I still have some unidentified plants to go through, not that this post needs to be any longer than it already is. I mostly stuck to the main path to avoid disturbance, it is a rather rocky trail with hilly regions, but worth doing if you can.  ‑ James Bailey

Topanga State Park
Backbone Trail
         Hiked today on the Backbone Trail eastbound from Piuma. The trailhead is located on Piuma Road, 1.2 miles E of Las Virgenes Cyn Road. On this trail there are lots of Fiesta Flowers, Fern Phacelia ,Mariposa Lilies, and tons of Blue Dicks! Other flowers that I saw were Western Wallflowers, Blue Larkspur, Yellow Monkey Flowers, Sticky (Orange) Monkey Flowers, Burr Clover, Stinging Lupine, Parry's Phacelia , Sticky Phacelia , California Golden Poppies, Purple Nightshade, Eucrypta , Globe Gilia, Popcorn Flower, Fiddlenecks , Morning Glory, Black Sage, And Purple Sage.  ‑ Jim Garafalo
Contributer Supplied Photo

Point Mugu State Park
Spring 2015
         Here is a list of plants submitted by the National Park Service's botanist Tarja Sagar. This list was generated as part of the Park's ongoing monitoring of the recovery of the habitiat that was burned in the Springs Fire two years ago. It was generated over the course of the last couple of months so not all of these would still be in flower.

Triunfo Canyon Park
Pentachaeta Trail
         I re-visited the Pentachaeta Trail, part of the Los Robles trail system on March 6 and was not disappointed. There was a very large variety of species, some I haven't seen in awhile because of the drought. The chocolate lilies were abundant as well. Flowers observed: California fuschia flowering gooseberry, ground-pink, common goldfield, Lyon's daisy, red skinned onion, purple owl's clover, wild hyacinth, common fiddleneck, indian warrior, filaree, California poppy, speedwell, purple nightshade, wild cucumber, miner's lettuce, shiny lomatium, fern-leafed phacelia, small evening primrose, wide throated monkey flower, twining snapdragon, golden top, shiny peppergrass, bigelow coreopsis, woodland star, Parry's phacelia, red maids, woolly blue curls, fiesta flower, popcorn flower,wild radish, snakeroot, and lemonade berry.  ‑ Kathy Jonokuchi
Contributer Supplied Photo

Contact Information:

Santa Monica Mountains NRA
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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