Page Revised: 6/13/05


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch
Topanga State Park
Malibu Creek State Park
Point Mugu State Park
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Zuma/Trancas Canyons

Date of Review

6/12/05 6/1/05, 5/23/05
6/9/05, 5/28/05, 5/25/05, 5/15/05, 5/11/05
6/5/05, 5/31/05, 5/14/05, 5/3/05
5/30/05, 5/26/05

What's Blooming photo gallery:

What's Blooming archive:

Find Santa Monica Mountains wildflower walks:

Scenic drives:

1.      Mulholland Hwy between Malibu Canyon and Cornell Rd.

2.      Cornell Rd between Mulholland Hwy and Agoura Rd, especially from Cornell Way to Agoura Rd.

3.      Westlake Road from Potrero Rd. to Mulholland Hwy.


Circle X Ranch

Sandstone Peak via the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead

 Date: 6/12/05



        Our main purposes on this hike were to visit Sandstone Peak and to check on the progress of the Rein Orchids on the Mishe Mokwa trail. These inconspicuous slow growing plants are finally beginning to bloom, rewarding the real die hard flower enthusiast. The variety of flowers is down as we head into summer, although this section of trail is never spectacular in that particular way.

        Many of the fifty or so species encountered are of the "weedy" variety or on their last legs, so to speak. However, there are still respectable displays of Bush Lupine, Yellow Monkey Flower, Woolly Blue Curls, Black Sage, Chamise, Deerweed, Yucca, Caterpillar Phacelia, and the Clarkias, although they are on their way out.

        Still going strong are California Buckwheat, Bush Monkey Flower, Turkish Rugging, Golden Yarrow, Lance-leaf Live-forever, Golden Stars, Yellow Mariposa Lily, Branching Phacelia, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Flax-Flowered Linanthus, Chaparral Honeysuckle and Pitcher Sage.

        Early yet in their blooming cycle are Scarlet Larkspur, Slender Tarweed, Soap Plant, Bird's Beak, Chalk Live-forever, Rein Orchid, and the magnificent Humboldt Lily.   (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Topanga State Park

Santa Ynez Trail

 Date: 6/9/05



        This trail can be accessed either from Trippet Ranch above or the end of Vereda de la Montura Street off of Palisades Drive in Palisades Highlands.  The accounting travels from low to high.

        Entering the trail you are immediately in a shady riparian habitat.  There is still a lot of water in the creek.  At the start of the trail there are black sage, bush mallow, bush lupine, white nightshade and California buckwheat.  Going deeper into the woods was sticky monkey flower, purple nightshade, California poppy, golden yarrow, canyon sunflower and the best treat; multitudes of Humboldt lilies dangling from tall plants.  At the marked cross trail you can go right to the waterfall, which is a lovely hike but this day I went left toward Trippet Ranch.  Very shortly on the left you see cream bush in full flower cascading down the rock wall.  Continuing through the woods there are caterpillar phacelia, farewell-to-spring, Santa Monica dudleya, hedge nettle, blackberry flower, chicory and eucrypta. 

        Abruptly the trail turns uphill and into chaparral.  This brings an entirely different array of beautiful flowers.  There are white snapdragons by the hundreds, chamise, Turkish rugging, yellow monkey flower, white pincushion, deerweed and some spectacular chalk live-forever.  There is a spot where low along the trail are the beautiful canchalagua mixed with owl's clover, scarlet bugler, slender tarweed, heart leaf penstemon and California everlasting.  Suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of scarlet larkspur, many 10 feet tall.  There were many Plummer's mariposas.  Now low along the trail are sapphire wool stars and a bit further fleabane aster.  There were lots of different varieties of lizards and of butterflies.  Views are incredible.  It was the best hike I've taken this year.  (DS)


Naturalist's rating:  Excellent


Malibu Creek State Park

Cistern trail to Crags road

 Date: 6/5/05



        On 6/5/05 we hiked down the Cistern Trail off Mulholland Hwy. to Crags road to its end at Malibu Lake. Our objective was to see the blooms on a California false indigo reported near the western end of Crags Dr. in Malibu Creek State Park. We found the false indigo, but unfortunately it had completed its blooming so we saw the foliage and dried out blooms only. The hike though was an unqualified success though with 96 species blooming including the grasses. The quantity could be described only as bountiful, so an excellent rating is given. Eight species could not be immediately identified in the field, but subsequent research provided firm to tentative names of the new sightings. The new ones for me were: flax-flowered linanthus, Indian tobacco, western blue flax, stinky gilia, rose snapdragon and what I believe was several large stands of horseradish. Other sightings which I have seldom seen were California milkweed, white sage and a brilliant red purple Clarkia.

        Flowers in bloom in the white/cream color group were cliff aster, chamise, California buckwheat, matilija poppy, white snapdragon, bristly popcorn flower and yucca. There were also California chicory, soap plant, morning glory, eucrypta, English plantain and mugwort. Poison hemlock seems to be getting more plentiful than desired, but we also spotted elderberry, imbricate phacelia, California filago, Datura, narrow leaf milkweed and common yarrow.

        In the yellow/gold/orange group we encountered hedge mustard, yellow star thistle, deerweed, slender tarweed, golden yarrow, bush monkey flower, yellow monkey flower, sour clover, slender bedstraw, sticky madia, gumplant, golden star, California coffee berry bush, western wallflower, and black mustard. The usual prickly sow thistle and telegraph weed were seen as well as California poppy, lance leaf dudleya, Spanish broom, creek monkey flower, slimy monkey flower and a magnificent Humboldt lily sporting 3 fully opened blooms and an additional 7 more waiting their turns. Present along the way was sweet fennel, collarless Calif. poppy, Barnaby's star thistle, pineapple weed, yellow Mariposa lily, and bush sunflower.

        Present in the lavender/blue/purple color group were Italian thistle, black sage, bush mallow, greenbark ceanothus, Chinese houses, and purple nightshade. Others in this group were wooly blue curls, purple sage, elegant Clarkia, caterpillar phacelia, vervain and purple Clarkia (the lavender and purple variety). Speckled Clarkia, blue larkspur, winter vetch, red stem filaree, and several nice stands of foothill penstemon. Turkish rugging was plentiful, and long-beaked filaree, dove lupine, speedwell and milk thistle were also found.

        Pink/rose/red were represented by coast paint brush, heart leaf penstemon, scarlet pimpernel, Plummer's Mariposa lily and California thistle. Equal billing must be provided as well for the Indian pink, Calif. wild rose, chaparral honeysuckle, and snowberry.

        Other sightings include giant rye, Harding grass, coffee fern, curly dock, umbrella sedge, rabbit’s foot grass, and rye grass.  (RWM).


Naturalist's rating:  Excellent


Circle X Ranch

Canyon View Trail

 Date: 6/1/05



        This trail is often one of the best for flowers in the winter and spring, but now that spring is winding down it is only good to fair. The worst of the infestation of foxtails and star thistle have been recently removed

        Highlights include Woolly Blue Curls, Chamise, California Buckwheat, Parry's Phacelia, Large-flowered Phacelia, Caterpillar Phacelia, Purple Nightshade, Black Sage, Golden Yarrow, Yucca, Blue Dicks, Golden Stars, Turkish Rugging, Rock Rose, Purple Clarkia, Elegant Clarkia, Scarlet Larkspur, Lance-leaf Live-forever, Yellow Pincushion, White Pincushion, Wild Morning Glory, Linanthus, Laurel Sumac, Bush mallow, Yellow Monkey Flower, Creek Monkey Flower, Bush monkey Flower, Slender Tarweed, Mustard Evening Primrose, Annual Paintbrush, Rose Snapdragon, Cliff Aster, California Chicory, Dodder, Heart-leaved Penstemon, and Windmill Pink.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Fair


Malibu Creek State Park

Misc. West end Trails

 Date: 5/31/05



        We started at the parking lot in the South-East corner of the intersection of Mulholland and Cornell Road and hiked East toward Reagan Ranch. We hiked sections of most of the trails South of Mulholland and West of Century Lake but not the Lost Cabin trail. This includes a wild variety of habitats ranging from Oak Woodland to Valley Grassland to Coastal Sage and Chaparral. Flower density is not as great now that spring is winding down but we still saw several interesting flowers.

        Highlights include California Tea, Spanish Clover, Speckled Clarkia, Elegant Clarkia, Purple Clarkia, Gum Plant, Gumweed, Coffeeberry, Bush Monkey Flower, Downy Monkey Flower, Yellow Monkey Flower, Golden Stars, Yarrow, Golden Yarrow, California Dandelion, Purple Sage, White Sage, Crimson Pitcher Sage, Yucca, Yellow Mariposa Lily, Linanthus, California Wild Rose, Globe Gilia, Slender Tarweed, Soap Plant, several different Lupines, Wild Brodiaea, Woolly Blue Curls, Bush Mallow, White Snapdragon, Indian Pink, Sticky False-gilia, California Poppy, Collarless California Poppy, Matilija Poppy (and several unknown poppies, probably garden escapees), Indian Paintbrush, Indian Milkweed, California Milkweed, Narrow-leaved Milkweed, Foothill Penstemon, Wild Heliotrope, Snowberry, Hedypnois, Parry's Phacelia, Mountain Phacelia (and other phacelias), Chaparral Honeysuckle, Garden Toadflax, Lance-leaf Live-forever, Bird's Beak, Blue-eyed Grass, Chinese Houses, Common Vervain, Chamise, Cliff Aster, Common Madia, Blue Larkspur, Wild Morning Glory, Woolly Morning Glory, Purple Nightshade, several different Sunflowers, Yellow Pincushion, White Pincushion, False Indigo, Turkish Rugging, Wild Sweet Pea, and Scarlet Bugler.  (TV).


Naturalist's rating: Good


Point Mugu State Park

Serrano Canyon Trail

 Date: 5/30/05



        We started at the coast and walked up Big Sycamore Canyon trail to Serrano Canyon trail and then to the gate on Serrano Road, about 6 miles. Flowers are on the wane now that Spring is winding down but several interesting flowers were still seen. The trail along the creek under the cover of the oaks and sycamores is beautiful at any time of the year but watch for the difficult to avoid poison oak.

        Highlights include Wild Rose, Yellow Monkey Flower, Creek Monkey Flower, Black Sage, Canyon Sunflower, Common Vervain, Bush mallow, Wild Morning Glory, Purple Sage, Coast Figwort, Hedypnois, Elderberry, Yucca, Cliff Aster, Heart-leaved Penstemon, Datura, Indian Paintbrush, Speedwell, Hedge Nettle, Bush Lupine, Farewell-to-Spring, Golden Yarrow, Chinese Houses, White Nightshade, Purple Nightshade, Blue Dicks, Slender Tarweed, Purple Snapdragon, Indian Pink, Chamise, Humboldt Lily, Crimson Pitcher Sage, Blue-eyed Grass, Woolly Blue Curls, Toyon, Turkish Rugging, Parry's Phacelia, Bird's Beak, Golden Stars, Spanish Clover, Prickly Phlox, Long-beaked Filaree, Wishbone Bush, Woolly Aster, Fleabane Aster, and Bush Sunflower.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Topanga State Park

Musch Trail

 Date: 5/28/05



        The hike from Topanga State Park (off Entrada) to Eagle Rock via Musch Trail is spectacular right now. I have been going there since I was young and right now it’s a real treat.  This is a great hike when it’s socked in at the beach and you want a little sun. If you want a really nice hike, I would suggest going both ways on Musch trail and skip the fire road loop, going back down the way you came gives a completely different perspective.  It’s about 1.5 hour hike up to Eagle rock and a little less on the way back. I’d say it’s easy to moderate on the way up.  The views from the top of Eagle Rock are also spectacular. I’m not great at identifying flowers, but there’s the usual buckwheat, monkey flowers, yucca, and golden yarrow.  (MF)


Naturalist's rating: Very Good


Point Mugu State Park /

Rancho Sierra Vista

Satwiwa to the upper Sycamore Canyon waterfalls

 Date: 5/26/05



        This 3-mile round trip starts out in rolling meadows of non-native "grasses-gone-by" with a few wildflower patches (tarweed, CA poppies). Once you head into the upper canyon, however, the hillside is covered in color: caterpillar phacelia, deerweed, ashy-leaf and California buckwheat, black sage, bush mallow, yucca, silver puffs, chamise, laurel sumac, chicory, and toyon. Particularly brilliant were patches of heartleaf penstemon (red), speckled clarkia (pink), bush monkey flower (peach), and soap lilies (white star-flowers that open in late afternoon).

        At the bottom of the shady canyon, some silver lupine was still in bloom along with a few giant Humboldt lilies. Crossing the creek and heading to the waterfall, the riparian area had some good-sized canyon sunflower bushes and scattered coast figwort, hedge nettle, blackberry, and a lone chaparral pea (the uncommon one). At the base of the waterfall, the rare round-leaved boykinia was flowering below a big patch of giant chain-fern.

        With the creek and falls still running well, this walk (and its extension downstream) should be nice for another month. Upper Sycamore Canyon is also known for its abundance of nesting birds, especially flycatchers, and many are heard singing through summer.  (JG)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Point Mugu State Park

Big Sycamore Canyon Trail (lower)

 Date: 5/26/05



        From Sycamore Cove, the first two miles of this road/trail are relatively flat, offering a easy stroll along the flowing creek. As this abundant wildflower year tapers off, less variety is seen but often in great profusion. Among the 20 or so species were robust clumps of purple sage, pink bush mallow, canyon sunflower, giant poison hemlock, golden yarrow, elderberry, blue verbena, white morning glory and jimson weed.

        Especially spectacular was a chaparral-covered hillside dotted with hundreds of huge yucca blooms and wide swaths of orange monkey flower. In the Santa Monicas, it's been an outstanding year for both and just keeps getting better. The hills directly adjacent to the ocean—the coastal sage scrub, or soft chaparral—appear to have the highest densities of yucca, our largest member of the lily family (not a cactus). Take care at the stone-step creek crossings and watch for whizzing mountain-bikers.  (JG)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Topanga State Park

Temescal Ridge Trail

 Date: 5/25/05



        We started hiking at the trailhead off of Chastain Parkway and went North to the Trailer Canyon Fire Road, less than a mile of the trail. We went up there mostly to look at the Braunton's Rattle-weed, a rather rare flower currently in bloom. This section of the trail is mostly dry sage and chaparral and while the variety of flowers was not great it is quite densely flowered in places. Notable, in addition to the above mentioned rattle-weed, include Bush Monkey Flower, Golden Yarrow, Wild Morning Glory, California Buckwheat, Gumweed, Heart-leaved Penstemon, White Nightshade, Toyon, Bush Lupine, Bush Senecio, Cobweb Thistle, and Cliff Aster.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Malibu Creek State Park

Tapia Spur Trail

 Date: 5/23/05



        Wildflowers are excellent along the Tapia spur trail which connects Malibu Creek State Park to Tapia Park. If you are in the mood for a picnic and beautiful flowers, drive into the picnic area at Tapia Park. The slopes there are covered with flowers. We parked near the Salvation Army gate and started hiking the one mile trail. The slopes are covered with golden yarrow, chamise, purple and black sages. We only covered about half the trail and saw 50 species. Highlights were the masses of canchalagua (rose colored stars with creamy centers) at the beginning of the trail and all of the clarkias – purple, speckled and elegant scattered all over. Along the way were willow herb clarkia, popcorn flowers and caterpillar phacelia. The unusual (and hard to see) buckwheat, eriogonum citheraforme with its looping stems is in bloom on the steep rocky slope that is also covered with spent seed pods of chia, yellow pincushion, coulter’s lupine and yucca. This trail is well worth going to. It has great variety of very interesting flowers, intensity of color and almost complete flower coverage. (SB)


Naturalist's rating: Very Good to Excellent


Circle X Ranch

Backbone Trail near Sandstone Peak

 Date: 5/23/05



        This is my report of the blooms which we encountered on the hike on the Backbone Trail between the Sandstone Peak trailhead and the vicinity of Tri-peaks on 5/23/05. I recorded 88 species identified excluding the grasses and would rate the hike as very good. Highlights to me include the 9 species seen or identified for the first time. These include Calif filago, small-flowered flax, fire poppy, wild brodiaea, phlox-leaved bedstraw, rattlesnake weed, yellow-throated phacelia and the subsequently identified downy monkey flower. Though our main objective on the hike was to see the rein orchids in bloom, we were still too early, but did spot over a dozen readying themselves to bloom in the next few weeks.  Other blooms seen in their color categories, starting with white and cream were Calif buckwheat, chamise, popcorn flower, prickly popcorn flower, yucca, white pincushion, morning glory, Calif chicory, Calif everlasting, cliff aster, Catalina Mariposa lily, big pod ceanothus, eucrypta, willow-herb Clarkia, star lily, white pitcher sage, elderberry, hollyleaf cherry, bur chervil, white nightshade, red skin onion, and large flowered popcorn flower.

        Other yellow/golden flowers seen were hedge mustard, deerweed, yellow star thistle, golden yarrow, slender tarweed, sticky madia, sow thistle, yellow monkey flower, yellow Mariposa lily, golden star, mustard evening primrose, slender bedstraw, bush monkey flower, small evening primrose, strigose lotus, fiddleneck, silver puff, rock rose, Chile lotus, annual cats ear, common groundsel, yellow pincushion, coastal lotus, coast goldfield, Southern tauschia, and slimy monkey flower.

        Violet/blues included redstem filaree, black sage, purple Clarkia, blue dick, large flowered phacelia, caterpillar phacelia, fern leaf phacelia, Bajada lupine, purple nightshade, wooly blue curls, globe gilia, speckled Clarkia, sticky phacelia, Chinese houses, branching phacelia, prickly phlox, peninsular onion, hairy leaf ceanothus, blue larkspur, tomcat clover, yerba santa, and angels gilia.

         Red/pink colors were represented by Turkish rugging, owl's clover, scarlet pimpernel and windmill pink. Others seen were giant rye, curly dock, lance leaf live forever, slender cotton weed, and several tiny unidentified yellow flowers apparently of the evening primrose and lotus families. Many Calif whiptail lizards were encountered and one bobcat was seen when driving to the trailhead.  (RWM)


Naturalist's rating: Very Good


Will Rogers State Historic Park

Betty Rogers Trail / Backbone Trail

 Date: 5/20/05



        Park immediately beyond the first kiosk.  The trail heads up from this little overflow parking area.  You soon have a choice of taking the road or the Betty Rogers Trail, they go the same place but on the trail you have a possibility of shade.  On this trail there is lupine, morning glory, bush sunflower, wishbone flower, caterpiller and large flower phacelia, deerweed, sticky monkey flower, popcorn flower and purple nightshade.  The hillside is dotted with chaparral yucca. There is California and ashy leaf buckwheat, black sage, cliff aster, golden yarrow, greenbark ceanothus and bush mallow.  At a point the trail rejoins the fire road.  On this stretch there is a lovely non-native pink rock rose and an impressive patch of Plumbers mariposa lily.  The Betty Roger Trail separates again where there is California everlasting, lots of Indian pinks, canyon sunflower, blue dicks and chamise.  Where the trail rejoins the fire road is the very start of the Backbone Trail. Heading up there is Turkish rugging, stick leaf, eucrypta, mustard evening primrose, large flower lotus, white pincushion slender tarweed, bush poppy, yellow monkey flower and heart leaf penstemon.  About half a mile up the trail is a bridge between two canyons where you have a great 360 degree view.  The trail continues into Topanga State Park but we returned at this point.  (DS)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Topanga State Park

Temescal Ridge Trail /
Dead Horse Trail

 Date: 5/15/05



        The Temescal Ridge trail is kind of a hot and dry hike but the reward is seeing Braunton's milk vetch, a lovely plant that is quite uncommon.  The other blooming plants are California buckwheat, golden yarrow, deerweed, yucca, sticky monkey flower, caterpillar phacelia, eucrypta, canyon sunflower, purple nightshade and elder flower.  There were lots of butterflies including brilliant sulfers.  We saw one rattlesnake.

        Starting in the Dead Horse parking lot off of Entrada Rd.  This is a fairly short but interesting trail that alternates between chaparral and woodland.  At the start there is a lot of yellow: Golden stars, golden yarrow and chaparral yucca.  There are a few remaining butterfly mariposa lilies and blue dicks.  There is California buckwheat, elegant clarkia, vervain, globe gilia, and caterpillar phacelia.  Heart leaf penstemon is making its first appearance.  There is a gorgeous stand of hummingbird sage that is still blooming.  Soon you come to a bridge that is high above a flowing creek, a nice place to stop and rest.  Continuing on there is morning glory, California chicory, a little greenbark ceanothus, purple nightshade, woolly blue curls, popcorn flower, black sage, sticky monkey flower chamise, deerweed, canyon sunflower and fiesta flower.  I saw my first slender tarweed of the season.  As you walk along a meadow watch for deer and bobcats.  There is spring vetch, blue eyed grass, elder flower and California everlasting.  The trail ends by the pond at Trippet Ranch, a good place to launch onto further hikes or return as you came.  I always see more things on the return trip.  (DS)


Naturalist's rating: Good


Malibu Creek State Park

Backbone Trail from Tapia to Saddle Peak

 Date: 5/14/05



        This hike was the seventh of the 2004-2005 NPS Backbone Trail Series. We will be hiking the entire Backbone Trail, one part each month and reporting on the flowers seen. This hike was from the top of Stunt Road to Malibu Canyon Road:  a distance of 7.5 miles. The weather was sunny and quite warm. Our route took us up and over Saddle Peak, descending the Saddle Peak Trail through Dark Canyon and climbing the Piuma Ridge Trail to descent to Piuma Road, and following the road to the Backbone Trailhead parking on Malibu Canyon Road. This hike includes the Coastal Sage Scrub, Southern Oak Woodland, Chaparral, Riparian Woodland, and Valley Grassland plant communities. Expectations of a large variety of blooming species were met with over 140 species being noted. As usual this year there always seems to be a couple plants that we could not immediately identify.

        In addition to the usual flowers, we were seeing Chaparral Pea and the Large-Flowered Lotus on the early parts of the trail. Saddle Peak is overwhelmed with Spanish Broome. Descending through spectacular rock outcrops we saw an abundance of Silver Lotus and passed a stand of blooming Cream Bush. There was a blooming Whitethorn among two species of Manzanita, which are sporting berries. In old burn areas Tree Poppies remain where they had dominated, giving way to the more typical Chaparral. The attractive California Thistle, Bull Thistle, and Elegant Clarkia are showing up in numbers. Hillsides of Purple Sage mixed with Golden Yarrow provided spectacular displays. We also saw both Slender Tarweed and Sticky Madia (they sometimes have conflicting descriptions in reference books). Climbing out of Dark Canyon always seems to provide special displays; this time it was Wallflowers, Baby Blue Eyes, White Snapdragon and even the rare Small-flowered Meconella and a lone Rein Orchid. The Piuma Ridge Trail has a lot of Blue Larkspur, Purple Clarkia, and Hedge Nettle. Globe Lilies are also here along with a variety of ferns under a thick canopy of Oaks and Bay Trees. As the trail approached Piuma Road a second time there was Notable Penstemon mixed in with the usual weedy species and garden escapees. As we hiked through an area of an old cabin ruins we ended with the invasive Periwinkle.

        Others worth mentioning include Violet Snapdragon, Crimson Pitcher Sage, Toadflax, several different Lupines, several different Monkey Flowers, several different lilies including Star, Yellow, Lilac, and Catalina Mariposa Lilies, Bush Mallow, Purple Owls Clover, Woodland Star, Sticky Cinquefoil, Chamise, Chinese Houses, Flowering Flax, and Western Virgin Bower.

(BE & TV)


Naturalist's rating: Very Good


Zuma Canyon

Backbone Trail

 Date: 5/12/05



        On 5/12/05 we hiked along the Backbone Trail from the Newton Trailhead to the Upper Zuma Falls and returned. A rating of very good is given for the variety (95) and quantity of flowering species observed. Starting at the trailhead we immediately encountered elderberry, hedge mustard, red stem filaree, bur clover, sour clover and sow thistle, the usual suspects. Spanish broom provided lots of color as did greenbark ceanothus, black sage, toyon, bush monkey flower and Italian thistle. Bur chervil, slender bedstraw, chamise and windmill pinks were abundantly present as were speckled Clarkia, miner's lettuce, deerweed, Calif. buckwheat and minute flowered popcorn flower. The small of tomcat clover to the tall of Chaparral yucca were present. Sticky Madia, Calif. everlasting, lacepod, common bedstraw and eucrypta were next encountered along the trail. Numerous fiesta flowers and rigid hedge nettles provided more color along the way. Canyon sunflower, Calif. figwort, two-toned everlasting, Calif. chicory, pineapple weed, silver puff, London rocket, scarlet pimpernel and purple night shade were next observed. Curly dock, blue dick were accompanied by elegant Clarkia, Parry's phacelia, chia, bigpod ceanothus and several small stands of large flowered popcorn flower. The aptly named caterpillar phacelia as well as wishbone bush, mountain dandelion, fern leaf phacelia, horehound and several stands of Chinese houses, one group containing several plants with pure white flowers were seen. The bush lupines were in bloom and several groups of large flowered phacelia were spotted. Sugar bush, scarlet pitcher sage, checker bloom, blue larkspur, snow berry and holly leaf red berry were also exhibiting blossoms.

        It was especially exciting to find numerous large patches of globe lily all along the trail. In the past we had only spotted an occasional plant. We saw wild blackberry, golden yarrow, purple Clarkia, bull thistle, blue-eyed grass, snake root, horkelia, morning glory, yellow monkey flower, small evening primrose and Turkish rugging. A fair quantity of wooly blue curls were in bloom as were the star lily. A few prickly phlox, globe gilia, hillside penstemon and Catalina Mariposa lily were also in bloom. A special treat to me was the discovery of a small bush of speedwell in bloom, the first time I have seen it in the SM mountains. Slimy monkey flower put in its appearance as well as golden star, Indian pink, creek monkey flower, white pincushion, cliff aster and sticky phacelia. One nice stand of owl's clover was passed, Spanish clover was present and vervain made its appearance. The hike was concluded with the observation of tree tobacco and slender sunflower. Grasses identified along the way included golden top and soft brome. (RWM)


Naturalist's rating: Very Good


Topanga State Park

Nature Trail

 Date: 5/11/05



        The trail leaves the picnic area by the pond.  Immediately there are lots of fiesta flowers and miners lettuce along with quite a bit of poison oak.  Passing the nature center, the woods have a bit of purple nightshade but not much else.  But when you enter the chaparral portion there are morning glories, sticky monkey flower, bush lupine, deer weed, black sage, bush sunflower, California buckwheat and caterpillar phacelia which is now completely unrolled. There is vervain, California everlasting, chamise, white nightshade and golden yarrow.  Returning down the fire road there is a veritable wall of elegant clarkia growing on the road cut.  Returning to the nature center there are still golden stars and blue-eyed grass.  I saw an entire blooming meadow and stepped off the trail to investigate.  Endless Chinese houses, really spectacular. I also went a little way up the Musch Trail.  Not really enough to make a report but I went to the place where the geophytes always grow.  There is an amazing amount of purple owl's clover and the farewell-to-spring has started.  (DS)


Naturalist's rating: Good




Contact Information:


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


Ph. 805-370-2301




Thank you


for your contributions:


Burt Elliot
Dorothy Steinicke
Jack Gillooly
Kathy Jonokuchi
Ken Low
Lynne Haigh
Michael Charters
Matt Friedman
Robert W. Maughmer
Sheila Braden
Tony Valois

If you would like to contribute to the wildflower report:




or phone Tony at 310-457-6408