Page Revised: 9/13/05


Available Sites

Circle X Ranch
Point Mugu State park
Rancho Sierra Vista
Charmlee Park
Arroyo Sequit

Date of Review

9/9/05 & 8/30/05.

What's Blooming photo gallery:

What's Blooming archive:

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Circle X Ranch

All Trails

   Date: 9/10/05



        Most of the trails at CXR pass principally through dry sage scrub or chaparral, with only brief descents into the moister riparian areas. Now in the depth of summer these dry sections have very few flowers, mostly small summer species like twiggy wreath plant, California sagebrush, sawtooth goldenbush and woolly aster, with scattered leftovers from earlier in the year like slender tarweed and California buckwheat. For example, a hike up to Sandstone peak failed to net even ten different flower species, although it did yield the relatively interesting Tejon milk aster and bush senecio.

        The riparian areas contain a larger (although still small) variety of flowers such as scarlet monkey flower, creek monkey flower, mugwort, California fuchsia, Fish’s milkwort, annual paintbrush, California loosestrife, willow-herb, white hedge nettle, leather root, cattail, a small unidentified Centaurium, and again, scattered leftovers from earlier in the year. Other highlights scattered about include narrow-leaved milkweed, chalk live-forever, wand buckwheat, telegraph weed, bleeding heart, Spanish clover, field willow-herb, cliff aster, and dodder. The roadsides often offer the greatest variety of flowers, but these tend to be “weedy” alien species found along roadsides everywhere. It is worth noting that the Grotto trail, the Mishe Mokwa trail, and the Canyon View trail all still have some water flowing in their respective riparian areas. Tadpoles, both frog and newt, still exist in quantity near the Grotto.

        Compared to earlier in the year when many of these same trails produced excellent displays of wildflowers I find myself bestowing a rating of fair at best, with many sections of the trails downright poor (strictly from a flower point of view). Interestingly enough, for a confirmed flower watcher like myself this allows me the freedom to enjoy other aspects of the area’s beautiful trails that I sometimes miss during the height of the flower season.  (TV)


Naturalist's rating:  Poor to Fair


Point Mugu State Park

Sycamore Canyon Trail &

Serrano Canyon Trail

   Date: 9/9/05



       On 9/9/05 I hiked along the Sycamore Canyon Trail and then up the Serrano Canyon Trail to the grasslands and returned. This is about a five mile hike with a 400 feet elevation change. I was surprised to find over 50 species blooming and a fair amount of water flowing in the creek down Serrano Canyon, providing the pleasant background babbling of the brook. Starting out from the trailhead just off the PCH, I was immediately confronted by the large number of what some might call a catalogue of "noxious" plants. Included in these might be Western ragweed, sweet fennel, tree tobacco, hedge mustard, horseweed, castor bean, prickly lettuce, poison hemlock, datura, cockle bur, telegraph weed and morning glory. Also found amongst this first group was mule fat, coyote bush, vervain, mugwort, wild rose, ashy leaved buckwheat, bush monkey flower, giant rye and cliff aster. Still blooming was bush mallow, laurel sumac, horehound, deerweed, wooly aster, elderberry, Harding grass, white sweet clover and cudweed. The bright red of both California fuchsia and hoary fuchsia and heart-leaved penstemon were spotted all along the trail. Sow thistle and wild heliotrope were spotted as well as narrow-leaved milkweed. Sawtooth golden bush was fairly plentiful and a few slender tarweed and California sage brush were also seen. Adding to the list was wand chicory, felt-leaf everlasting and chalk live-forever. The poison oak was displaying a wide range of reds, pinks and almost violet colored leaves. Several coffeeberry bushes were bearing fruit and the walnuts were thick underfoot beneath the trees The trail up Serrano Canyon crosses the creek many times giving an opportunity to see the tadpoles and at nearly every crossing the scarlet monkey flower. In these moist areas there was common plantain and more roses accompanied by their brilliant red rose hips. Climbing up toward the grassland I spotted California buckwheat, woolly blue curls, black sage, chamise, gum plant, rabbit's foot grass and a single Spanish broom.

        For this time of year seeing this many different species even in modest quantities is good and such a rating is given. (RWM)


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Rancho Sierra Vista

Miscellaneous Trails

   Date: 9/6/05



        About 30 species encountered, but none in profusion and many could be considered “weedy.” Highlights include Woolly Aster, Telegraph Weed, Slender Tarweed, Gum Plant, Twiggy Wreath Plant, Field Willow Herb, Turkey Mullein, Vinegar Weed, California Buckwheat, Wand Buckwheat, Scarlet Gaura, Mugwort, California Fuchsia, California Wild Rose, Common Vervain, Bristly Ox-tongue and even a California Poppy along one of the drainages.  (TV).


Naturalist's rating:  Fair


Charmlee Park &

Arroyo Sequit

Loop Trails

   Date: 9/1/05



        On 9/01/05 we hiked the loop trails at Charmlee Park and the nearby Arroyo Sequit. We were hoping to spot some California goldenrod seen here several years ago. We were rewarded with sighting one such plant right at the parking lot of Charmlee Park. We got an additional bonus at Sequit later when we found a number of western goldenrod as well. At Charmlee we recorded 31 species in flower and at Arroyo Sequit another 19 for a total of 50 different species in bloom. For this time of year this is considered good and such a rating is given. Taking the loop trail in a counter clockwise direction we first encountered, surprise, Santa Susanna tarweed, horseweed, narrow-leaf tarweed, wooly aster and bird's beak. A splash of red was provided by California fuchsia. Hedge mustard was present as was bush mallow, turkey mullein, giant rye, prickly lettuce, scarlet pimpernel and little horseweed. Baccarus, bush monkey flower, wand chicory (twiggy wreath plant as some prefer), and a late deerweed. A small white flower was seen and later identified as sand spurry. Sawtooth golden bush was plentiful as was ashy leaf buckwheat. Black sage, cliff-aster, bush lupine, laurel sumac sweet fennel, morning glory, narrow-leaved milkweed, tree tobacco, telegraph weed and chamise concluded sightings at Charmlee.

        At Arroyo Sequit we spotted wild rose, mugwort, Indian pink, western lettuce, and slender sunflower as we started out the trail. Spearmint, western ragweed, Spanish clover and a few Calif thread torch were seen. The western goldenrod was then seen accompanied by vervain, gum plant and artichoke. Felt-leaf everlasting, chalk live-forever, datura and horehound were also present. Between the little house on the property and the parking lot a magnificent century plant has sent up a 25 feet tall stalk loaded with flowers.  (RWM).


Naturalist's rating:  Good


Point Mugu State Park

Chumash Trail

   Date: 8/18/05



        On 8/30/05 I hiked the Chumash Trail to the top of Mugu Peak. The trail head is the most northwesterly of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area and is just off the PCH opposite the CB's firing range. The drying out continues, though the temperatures along the trail were quite cool, since the Pacific Ocean is in sight over nearly all of the 1240 feet climb to the top of Mugu Peak. It is just as well, since the trail in nearly straight up the entire way. This was the poorest showing of the year with only 17 species found blooming. A poor rating is correspondingly assigned therefore.

        Leaving the trailhead I spotted sweet fennel, ashy leafed buckwheat, velvet leaf everlasting and saw toothed golden bush. Several laurel sumac were still blooming and a few deerweed flowers were encountered. Some fountain grass and a fair amount of wand chicory was present. Also a few straggling slender tarweed and California everlasting were noticed. A few toyon were still blooming amongst all the little green berries. Hedge mustard, cliff aster and gum plant were seen in scant quantities. Reaching the saddle back leading into La Jolla Valley, I decided to continue up to the top of Mugu Peak, having never done so before. The extra 430 feet climb yielded a few wooly asters and Indian pinks and a single wand buckwheat. I roused the curiosity of a soaring turkey vulture, who continued to circle me and passed within eight or ten feet on several passes. I assured him that I was not quite ready to be a meal, finished my lunch and returned without incident to the trailhead.  (RWM)


Naturalist's rating:  Poor




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