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Updated June 16th, 2017
Available Reviews
Topanga Canyon State Park
Zuma Canyon
Malibu Creek State Park
China Flat
Rocky Oaks
Stunt Ranch
Circle X Ranch
Paramount Ranch
Castro Crest
Newton Canyon
Date of Review
6/16 & 6/12 & 5/17.
6/14 & 6/8 & 5/18.
5/10.
5/9.
5/2.
4/26.
4/15.
4/11/17.
4/7/17.
4/3/17.

Quick Links:
How To Submit a Flower Report - Anyone can participate!
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains - Photos of 1000 SMM plants.
Archive - Previous “What's Blooming” reports.
Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone.
New! SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for Android smartphones (Pre-Release Beta Version).


This site performs a public service that anyone can participate in. Let us all know what you are seeing! In general, if you are submitting a report I will get it much faster if you use the gmail account 'SMMWildFlowers' rather than my nps.gov account. If you are new to submitting a report (or maybe even an old hand at it) be sure and read How To Submit a Flower Report
  — ed.





Topanga Canyon State Park
The Musch Trail
6/16/17
         Days are getting hot. So in order to do this hike we started at 7am at Trippet Ranch. We took the Nature Trail to the fire road and continued toward Eagle Rock and then took the Musch Trail back to Trippet Ranch. The Trippet Ranch pond is still surrounded by tiny, hopping, juvenile western toads. So watch your step. They are fun to watch. Starting up the Nature Trail there is a wonderful group of Indian milkweed in full flower. Once we got to the fire road we saw the standard chaparral flowers of early summer; California buckwheat, slender tarweed, sticky monkey flower, laurel sumac, cliff aster and heart leaf penstemon. There are still great quantities of flowers. Further along the fire road we came to great patches of plummers mariposa lilies accompanied by lots of scarlet larkspur. They sight is really stunning. Heading down the Musch Trail we encountered a new set of flowers that included mustard evening primrose, white pincushion, poppies, yellow monkey flower, sticky phacelia, black sage, and to my surprise, the beautiful notable penstemon. It seemed that every turn of the trail brought a new surprise. Once it was a meadow filled with farewell-to-spring and purple clarkia. Once it was a shady spot filled with Indian pinks. Once it was a coiled rattlesnake. Once it was another grassy area studded with narrow leaf milkweed, vervain and sticky madia. A 3.5 mile hike and we were finished by 9am.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Zuma Canyon
Zuma Loop Trail
6/14/17
         Last week's hike in Zuma (on 6-8-17) was so amazing that I needed to go back and explore the north shoulder of the canyon. Today I took the Zuma Loop Trail which climbs up onto the northern side of the canyon before dropping down to return through the riparian area at the bottom. The purple sage, bush mallow and heart leaf penstemon are all still going strong. As I climbed up into the chaparral I also saw a lot of cliff aster, elderberry, milkwort, sticky monkey flower, both white and golden yarrow and a lot of Indian pinks and ashy leaf buckwheat. But the stars of this trail are the yellow mariposa lilies in bloom near the highest part of this trail. They are simply gorgeous. Make sure you go to the top of the Zuma Loop, if you cut through on the Rim Trail you will miss them and they are not to be missed.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Topanga Canyon State Park
Santa Ynez Canyon
6/12/17
         This hike is one of the best for late spring and summer. There are two distinct sections; the riparian, where you start and the chaparral that you climb up into. In the riparian section the Humboldt lilies are the stars, they are everywhere this year, many more than I have seen in past years. They are so large and so bright that they almost appear to be illuminated. There is a lot of heart leaf penstemon and California buckwheat and a little bit of a lot of other flowers but the Humboldts are what you get excited about. After walking through the riparian section, and being careful to avoid the plentiful poison oak, you climb up into the chaparral section. This section also has stars and they are the scarlet larkspur which is really tall and really plentiful and the plummers mariposas which are abundant and stunning. There are also some other lovelies to enjoy; white snapdragons, canyon dudleya, sapphire wool stars and twiggy wreath plant. It will do your soul good to visit this place.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Zuma Canyon
Ocean View/Canyon View Loop
6/8/17
         I have been meaning to get to this area for literally months. My the second week of June I figured that the flowers would be about finished but I went anyway. I could not have been more wrong about the flowers-the displays are stunning. Just pulling into the Zuma Canyon parking area you can see the entire valley floor carpeted with purple sage with sprays of bush mallow shooting out above with the whole thing punctuated by the occasional bladder pod bush. I took the Ocean View/Canyon View Loop, a trail that is a bit less traveled than the Zuma Loop Trail. I could not keep track of the flowers. There were bushes full of milkwort, there was sticky phacelia, lots of heart leaf penstemon, patches of perezia and slender tar weed, lots of cliff asters, sticky madea and white and golden yarrow. Climbing up the hill the mustard growing by the side of the trail gets a bit overwhelming-it is 10-15 feet tall. At first I enjoyed the sensation of being an ant traveling through grass and then I started feeling a little claustrophobic and resentful that I could not see the views this trail is named for. Fortunately the intense mustard falls away and the views return. There are entire mountainsides that a simply coated with purple sage, it is spectacular. Almost as breathtaking are the large number of plummers mariposas growing at the top of this trail, a great reward for steep climb up on the mustard choked trail.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Zuma Canyon
Backbone Trail
5/18/17
         The Backbone Trail section through upper Zuma Canyon is a garden right now, with over 80 species currently in bloom. In addition to the "usual suspects", some of the less common plants to be seen include: Checker Bloom, Stinky Gila (Allophyllum glutinosum), some white-flowered Elegant Clarkia, Large-flowered Phacelia, California Mustard (Caulanthus lasiophylllus), Pine Mat (Gallium andrewsii), and Mountain Dandelion.   — Jay Sullivan
 


Topanga Canyon State Park
Nature Trail
5/17/17
         This year's wonderful flowers are starting to diminish in many places but the Nature Trail in Topanga Canyon State Park, especially the chaparral portion out on the edge of the hillside is still pretty wonderful. It isn't that there are unusual flowers there, just that there are so many massed flowers. There are bush mallow and lots of bush sunflowers, yucca, wild rose, bush lupine, narrow leaf milkweed and California buckwheat, in great quantities. We saw alligator lizards and a California whip snake. The only downside is that there is a lot of yellow star thistle growing in and near the trail. The prickles easily penetrate most trouser fabric and I pity anyone wearing shorts.   — Dorothy Steinicke
 


Malibu Creek State Park
Backbone Trail from Piuma Road to Saddle Peak
5/10/17
         Hiked the Backbone Trail eastbound from Piuma Road to Saddle Peak. There is a large variety of flowers blooming on this trail. There is a lot of Golden Yarrow, Elegant Clarkia , Orange Monkey Flower, and Purple Sage blooming on this trail. Other flowers seen; Yellow Monkey Flower, Deerweed, Chemise, Indian Pink, California Everlast, Tarweed, Mariposa Lily, White Pincushion , Wooly Bluecurl, California Fuchsia, Buckwheat , Popcorn Flower, Canyon Sunflower, Purple Nightshade, Black Sage, Purple Sage Turkish Rugging Goldenstar, Fern Phacelia, Tarweed, Large Flowered Phacelia, Caterpillar Phacelia Cliff Aster   — Jim Garafalo
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


China Flat
5/9/17
         A wonderful site if you can make the climb. Black Sage blooming in mass, Sticky Monkey Flower seems to be peaking, Wooly Blue Curls and Chamise adding to the mix. I started at the China Flat trailhead. Heading up the 101 North take Kanan exit, head North away from coast, after a few miles go right on Lindero Canyon Rd. Look for China Flat trailhead sign on the left. Hike is straight uphill and strenuous with some overgrown Mustard in the beginning, but once you get to the top, weeds are gone and hiking is generally easy and flat.
         The pond off the China Flat trail on the eastern end of the loop has standing water, with hundreds of juvenile Western Toads hopping all around it. Quite the natural phenomena. If you do go, watch your step because some of them are tiny.   — Anthony Bevilacqua
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Rocky Oaks
Pond Trail
5/2/17
         Rocky Oaks is a great place to go right now with many flowering species seen not far from the parking lot. I took the Pond Trail and found a cluster of flowers from a large patch of Golden Yarrow, Black Sage, Wooly Blue Curls, and all the Chamise around them in full bloom. A nice easy walk and the pond is full with water. After many dry years it is worth the trip.   — Anthony Bevilacqua
  Contributer Supplied Photo  


Stunt Ranch
Stunt High Trail
4/26/17
         This trail is in full glory. The trailhead is awash in purple sage mixed with golden yard, chamise and wild morning glory. Descending into the cool riparian woodland you fine purple nightshade, canyon sunflowers, fiesta flower, hummingbird sage, eucrypta and my favorite; globe lilies or fairy lanterns that just seem to radiate light. Climbing up out of the oaks you come to meadows that are filled with golds and purples. There are multitudes of golden star lilies and more golden yarrow mixed with larkspur, blue dicks, blue eyed grass and the exquisite tiny brodeaia and punctuated by more butterfly mariposa lilies than I can remember seeing in one place. Continuing into the chaparral you will find elegant clarkia, heart leaf penstemon, woolly blue curls, California chicory, caterpillar phacelia and great swathes of Chinese houses. A wonderful hike for flower viewing.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Circle X Ranch
Mishe Mokwa Loop.
4/15/17
         This is always an amazing hike filled with different habitats and the plants that inhabit them. We began our hike from the second parking lot after you pass the park visitor center, the one marked as the Mishe Mokwa trailhead. When we came to the Backbone Trail we turned left onto it and made a clockwise loop going to Sandstone Peak and then Split Rock before returning to the parking lot, about 6 miles.
         We were barely out of the parking lot before we were overwhelmed at the quantity of butterfly mariposa lilies, they filled the grasslands and trail edges, I don’t remember ever seeing so many. There was also blooming yucca, yarrow, black sage, popcorn flower, California chicory, chia, star lilies, twining snapdragon and yellow monkey flower. As we climbed toward Sandstone Peak we saw blooming chamise, sticky monkey flower, collarless poppies, mustard evening primrose and beautiful bush lupines. On the trail up to Sandstone Peak there were clumps of blooming phlox. Walking from Sandstone Peak to Split Rock there were blooming globe gilia, larkspur, yellow pin cushion and owls clover. Approaching Split Rock there are blue and white ceanothus that are not the usually found ones that are especially beautiful. From Split Rock back to the parking lot there were great patches of virgins bower, delicate woodland stars, parry’s phacelia, shiny lomatium, more blue dicks than can be imagined and a few of the flower we were hoping to find, chocolate lilies. It was a wonderful hike.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Paramount Ranch
Coyote Canyon Trail, Hacienda Trail, Backdrop Trail, and Bwana Trail
4/11/17
         I left out of the old western town, took the Coyote Canyon Trail to the Hacienda Trail to the Backdrop Trail and then came back to the western town on the Bwana Trail. At first I was disappointed that there didn't seem to be the masses of flowers that I have seen in some other locations, it just seemed to be blue dicks. Then there were also a lot of owl's clover, then added in popcorn and fiesta flowers, then there were fairy lanterns, a flower that I rarely see. The rest of the chaparral section had caterpillar phacelia, yellow monkey flower, woolly blue curls, chia, yarrow, parry's phacelia and whispering bells. When I walked through the grassland area I saw great masses of globe gillia interspersed with yellow collarless poppies as well as butterfly mariposa lilies, red maids, fiddle neck and johnny-jump-ups. A very pleasurable walk for flower lovers.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Castro Crest
Backbone Trail
4/7/17
         The Castro Crest area is easily visited by travelling the Backbone Trail between Corral Canyon Road and Latigo Canyon Road. This is a great hike for flowers at this time in this year. There are some, like star lilies that are scattered along the length of the trail, we must have seen hundreds. There are others that seem clustered in their own 'neighborhoods'. Some highlights are: The large quantities of twining snapdragon, in some places creating nearly a solid mass of them. The great masses of blue dicks that are interspersed with butterfly mariposa lilies. Patches of the tiny but vividly blue skullcap that line the trail in many places. The yellow johnny-jump-ups, cinquefoil, milkmaids and fiesta flowers that are in the shaded creekside places. There are large patches of woolly blue curls, of parry's phacelia, Indian paintbrush and scarlet bugler. This is not a trail to be missed.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  


Newton Canyon
Backbone Trail
4/3/17
         Climb up and over Tunnel 1 from the Newton Canyon Trailhead. About 15 minutes or into the trail you will find the most amazing stand of Hummingbird sage (aka Crimson pitcher sage) I've ever seen. It is on the right-hand side of the trail (upslope). There are several areas of it along the way.   — Gary Goldstein
  Contributer Supplied Photo  




Contact Information:

Santa Monica Mountains NRA
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
805-370-2301
www.nps.gov/samo

If you would like to contribute a wildflower
report you can e-mail the editor at:
Tony_Valois@nps.gov
Or, for faster response use the
gmail account SMMWildFlowers@gmail.com


What's Blooming
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or go to

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click on
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