Page Revised: 5/28/07


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch

Point Mugu State Park

Topanga State Park

Cheeseboro & Palo Comado Cyns

Zuma & Trancas Canyons

Rancho Sierra Vista

Triunfo Canyon Park

Leo Carrillo State Park


Date of Review

5/17 & 5/14 & 4/16 & 4/14.









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



Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa Loop

  Date: 5/17/07



        We hiked the Mishe Mokwa loop, but because we then dropped down onto the Canyon View Trail we did not do the 0.2 mile connector section.  The Canyon View trail, which we also did, is hardly worth mentioning as it is almost devoid of flowers.  As we’ve noted elsewhere the species counts are almost as high as in less dry years but the quantity of individuals is way down.  In another year this showing would probably rate as fair to poor, but this year we might be a bit more generous and bump it up to fair to good.  Some specific sections of this six-mile trail were quite nice with good showings of clarkias.  The total species count was over seventy different flowers.  Highlights included sapphire wool stars, linanthus, deerweed, yucca, buckwheat, Turkish rugging, golden yarrow, quite a bit of black sage, some popcorn flowers, woolly blue curls, bird’s beak, the diminutive small-flowered dwarf flax, golden stars, quite a bit of bush monkey flower, yellow monkey flower, four different phacelias, some faded blue dicks, one Fish’s milkwort, a few early heart-leaved penstemon, canyon sunflower, some early pitcher sage, Chinese houses, blue larkspur, two different mostly withered onions, sticky cinquefoil, a bush lupine, one star lily hiding under a chamise bush, and a few coast goldfield.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair to Good (for this year)


Circle X Ranch

Grotto Trail

  Date: 5/14/07



        Grotto plants in flower: black sage, mountain phacelia, crimson pitcher sage , large-flowered phacelia, sugar bush, sticky monkey flower, California everlasting, canyon sunflower, rose, chamise, golden yarrow, California buckwheat, morning glory, elegant clarkia, creek monkey flower, caterpillar phacelia, lance-leaved dudleya, purple nightshade, Chinese houses, mini-flowered popcorn, deer weed, heart-leafed penstemon, woolly blue curls, Santa Catalina mariposa lily, 4 o'clock, blue-eyed grass, speckled clarkia, crimson pitcher sage, scarlet monkey flower

elderberry, and slender tarweed.  (RW)


Naturalist's rating:  NR


Point Mugu State Park &

Circle X Ranch

The Backbone Trail

  Date: 5/12/07



        This is the flower list from the NSP sponsored hike of the Backbone trail on May 12th.  This was segment eight of the series and ran from the Sandstone Peak trailhead at Circle X Ranch down to the Danielson multi-use area in Point Mugu State Park:  deerweed, chamise, black sage, golden-yarrow, morning glory, bed straw, yellow mariposa lily, Santa Catalina mariposa lily, woolly blue-curls, California everlasting, two-tone everlasting, bush lupine, lance-leaf live-forever, sticky monkey flower, yellow monkey flower, purple nightshade, heart-leafed penstemon, speckled clarkia, purple clarkia, elegant clarkia, willow-herb clarkia, farewell-to-spring, prickly phlox, Chinese houses, larkspur, yellow pincushion, rose snapdragon, pitcher sage, rock rose, owl's-clover, popcorn flower, Turkish rugging, annual coreopsis, hedge nettle, caterpillar phacelia, Indian pink, yucca, tarweed, holly-leafed cherry, purple sage, squaw spurge, blue-eyed grass, paint brush, golden star lily, fiesta flower, blackberry, elderberry, rose, greenbark ceanothus, peninsular onion, cobwebby thistle, lomatium, checkerbloom, crimson pitcher sage, and mountain phacelia.  (RW)


Naturalist's rating:  NR


Circle X Ranch

Mishe Mokwa Loop

  Date: 5/08/07



        We hiked the first half of the Mishe Mokwa Trail on 5/08/07, only to be turned back before reaching Split Rock because of the mid ninety temperature. We had hoped to catch a few chocolate lilies, but found only a few small leaved plants and no blooms. The only sighting of any special interest was of a pure white Parry's phacelia. This is the second one of these we have spotted over the last five years. Other blooms seen were Calif. buckwheat, chamise, black sage and a number of Catalina Mariposa lilies, the latter being stunted and lacking in color. Also seen were golden yarrow, wooly blue curl, yucca, deer weed, popcorn flower and minute flowered popcorn flower. Scarlet pimpernel, a single sand spurry, a speckled Clarkia and bush monkey flower were also noted. Quite a bit of soft brome was seen and berries on a golden current and red berries on an Eastwood manzanita as well. On display was a single common yarrow, Parry's phacelia, fern leaf phacelia, collarless California poppy, hedge mustard, red brome and Chia. The live-forever were blooming as were narrow-leaved bedstraw, and Chinese houses. The seed heads of the silver puff were also present. In all 26 different blooms (including the grasses) were seen and a rating of fair is assigned. (RWM)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair


Topanga State Park

Musch Trail

  Date: 5/5/07



        This morning I took the Musch Trail almost to the Eagle Rock fire road.  Well, if you look closely you find some variety of wildflowers struggling to make a small show!  On the Musch Trail last week I found Filaree, Hummingbird Sage, California Buttercups, Wild Hyacinth, Catalina Mariposa Lilies, Sticky Monkey Flower, Golden Yarrow and Notable Penstemon.  The Elderberry Bushes are flowering and provide a nice backdrop. Around the Trippet Ranch area there is also Bush Lupine, Bush Sunflower, Chinese Houses, Fiesta Flowers, Blue Eyed Grass, and Wild Radish.  Also, there is some Common Vervain, Purple Nightshade, a little Black Sage starting to bloom, and a small Hedge Nettle. The poison oak is getting into the trail at several points so care is needed.  I'd say the rating is poor compared to other years, but fair because at least there is something and, at this point, more seem to coming out every day.  (LH)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair (for this year)


Cheeseboro &

Palo Comado Canyons

Sheep Corral Trail

  Date: 4/26/07



        This trail runs through the burn area and looked quite good in the otherwise mediocre flower showing we had last year.  This year has been too dry and consequently not much is blooming. The wild morning glory is doing well, but other than that even the weeds seem to be struggling. I only encountered about 20 species in bloom and most of those had a very light showing.  We did see the dried-up skeletons of some the seasons earlier flowers, but even these remains were few and far between. Highlights (such as they were) included a few woolly blue curls, some bush monkey flower, a few bush sunflowers, popcorn flower, a few blue dicks, some purple nightshade, a couple of caterpillar phacelia, some yellow pincushion, yerba santa, wishbone bush, and a few mustard evening primrose.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Poor


Zuma and Trancas Canyons

The Backbone Trail

  Date: 4/24/07



        With the recent warm weather, the Backbone Trail (from Kanan Rd. west to Zuma Ridge Trail) is finally blooming.  Nothing spectacular, but enough variety to be worth a look.

Some of the 70 or so species encountered were: blue larkspur, fiesta flower, holly-leaved redberry, California bee plant, caterpillar phacelia, verbena, bush lupine, redbud, wild pea, woodland star, milk maids, blue-eyed grass, blackberry, sticky cinquefoil, meadow rue, star lily, Parry's phacelia, California mustard, plus 3 kinds of ceanothus, at least 2 popcorn flowers, 3 kinds of bedstraw (including the unusual Gallium andrewsii, or pine mat), and last, but not least, California poppy.  (JS)


Naturalist's rating:  Good (for this year)


Circle X Ranch

Ceanothus update

  Date: 4/16/07



        Just a very quick update for the ceanothus lovers in the crowd.  The ceanothus season is winding down. You can still find individuals blooming, especially in sheltered environments, but the big displays are over for the year.  Overall the flower season this year remains poor compared to other years we’ve had recently.  (TV)


Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa

Native plant garden

  Date: 4/15/07



        Few wildflowers are blooming throughout the mountains because of our apparent drought, but for a short wildflower walk, consider the native plant garden at Rancho Sierra Vista when you visit the Satwiwa Native American Center or hike another trail in the area. True, the garden does get water, but it has lots of blooms of bladderpod, vervain, black sage, golden currant, monkey flower and purple nightshade. The prickly pear cactus has lots of red fruits and the native onions are flowering. The walk is short, but the flower rating is very good. (SB)


Naturalist's rating:  Very Good


Circle X Ranch

Triunfo Backbone Trail

  Date: 4/14/07



        This past weekend the NPS sponsored hike of the backbone trail did the section at Circle X Ranch between the Sandstone Peak trailhead and the trailhead at about mile marker 9 on Yerba Buena Road.  This four mile section is one of the newest but is finally getting old enough that some of the pioneering species like the phacelias, bleeding hearts and fire poppies are no longer quite so profuse.  This trail is especially good for views of the ocean since so much of it is on high, steep, South facing hillsides.  Although we did not do the side trail up to Triunfo Peak, that would normally be on my itinerary for this hike. The view on top of Triunfo is almost as good as from Sandstone Peak.

        We had a very large group this time with over thirty participants.  Many of us were quite interested in flowers so we stopped often and discussed the flowers we encountered.  We also had a couple of geologists along and enjoyed hearing about the physical landscape.  It was a perfect day and even the shortage of flowers didn’t dampen people’s spirits.  The quantities of flowers were quite low due to the very dry conditions.  Interestingly enough, we are still seeing reasonably typical species counts, rather, it is the number of individuals of any given species that is often very low.  We encountered almost seventy different species in bloom which is close to the about ninety or so I might expect to see on this trail.  Highlights include ceanothus, purple nightshade, star lily, fuchsia flowered gooseberry, wild cucumber, bush monkey flower, blue dicks, wild morning glory, popcorn flower, Parry’s phacelia, mustard evening primrose, bush lupine, wishbone bush, rock rose, sunflowers, woolly blue curls, prickly phlox, hedge nettle, chinese houses, blue larkspur, small-flowered meconella, fiesta flower, yellow pincushion, red-skinned onion, purple clarkia, and deerweed.  You should keep in mind that many of the flowers I’ve listed here were present only in very low numbers.  It would be easy to hike this tail and miss seeing many of them unless you were keeping a careful watch.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Mostly Poor with some Fair sections


Triunfo Canyon Park

Southwest end near the Reservoir

  Date: 4/12/07



        We didn’t have time to hike the Pentachaeta Trail on this outing but did a quick loop up to the Las Virgenes Reservoir and back.  While everything looks unusually dry we did see some nice flowers. The highlight is always seeing the endangered Lyon’s pentachaeta and we were not disappointed as we ran into a number of small populations on the social trails leading up to the reservoir.  We also encountered California poppy, chaparral flowering ash, blue eyed grass, blue dicks, ground pink, good numbers of the small white linanthus,  a few golden yarrow, wild cucumber, woolly blue curls, popcorn flowers, a couple of owl clover, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, Johnny jump-up, the delightful cream cups, some lupine, fiesta flower, purple clarkia, and coast goldfields.  All told about forty species in bloom.  By the way, I’ve heard that the pentachaeta trail is doing OK this year too.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Leo Carrillo State Park

Willow Creek and Nicholas Flat Trails 

  Date: 4/4/07



        From the trailhead near the entrance station to Leo Carrillo State Park, we took the Willow Creek Trail to the right and hiked up to the junction with the Nicholas Flat Trail and back down that trail, making it a 3mile loop. It was Spring Break and the campground was full. We passed several hikers on the trail.

        The highpoint of the hike literally and also from a flower sighting standpoint was near the trail junction. We saw a couple groupings of fresh Scarlet Buglers, not a very common sight in these mountains. In terms of quantity of flowers, the Wishbone Bush, Indian Paintbrush, Minute Popcorn Flower, Blue Dick, Red-Stem Filaree and both the California and Two-Tone Everlastings were most obvious. Tiny flowered Spurge always like the type of decomposing shale soil found here. Not far from the start of the Willow Creek Trail, on the south side, is a beautiful, large Bladder Pod dripping with pods and flowers. The expected Deerweed, Santa Barbara Locoweed, Popcorn Flower, Black Mustard, Morning Glory, Narrow-Leaved Bedstraw, Wild Sweet Pea, Yellow Sweet Clover and Sunflower were evident, but in smaller quantities than usual in a normal rain year. We saw a few blooming Greenbark Ceanothus and Lemonade Berry, and a few Mustard Evening Primrose among some Parry’s Phacelia and California Poppies. Near the entrance to the campground we saw Wild Elderberry and Mule Fat flowering.  (BE)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair




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
Jay Sullivan
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