Latest observations reported here: 14 and 21 December; 4 and 17 January on Vernal Pool, N. and S. Trans Preserve, Granite Loop, Coyote, Lomas, and S. Los Santos Trails; Hidden Valley, Waterline, Faultline and Ranch Roads.
This year is already looking much better than last year. Many annuals have germinated this year that never grew at all last year. Many perennials are flowering much earlier than normal, perhaps due to the early rain, followed by warm weather. If the rains continue, this should be an excellent year for wildflowers.
Unfortunately, at least four species will not bloom, or produce only minimal bloom, this year, no matter how much rainfall we get, because they were unable to set flower buds during the last drought year. The four species are Eastwood manzanita, mission manzanita, sugar bush, and hoaryleaf ceanothus. Perhaps squawbush also falls into this category. (Only a few favored plants of these species, in wetter locations, may bloom.)
New species beginning their show recently (dates are when I first observed them; (1) means only a single plant was in bloom):
- 17 January: shining peppergrass, ground pink (1), shooting star, climbing bedstraw, California buttercup (1), johnny jump-up (1), Pomona locoweed, scarlet pimpernel (1), common lomatium (1)
- 4 January: Engelmann Oak, scrub oak, blennosperma, blue-eyed grass, purple needlegrass, hoaryleaf ceanothus (only a few plants along Clinton Keith Road).
- 21 December: (none).
- 14 December: wild cucumber, white-flowered currant, Eastwood Manzanita (1 plant with an anemic bloom), California oxalis (observed by Kay Madore), two-tone everlasting, Siskiyou aster, bull thistle, bristly ox-tongue, elk thistle.
There are currently 12 species not yet at full show, 8 species in full show, 1 species ending their show, and 1 species (1 from last year's show) that are finished with their display this year.
List of plants in bloom or displaying colorful seeds, fruit or leaves:
Best-guess overall summary (see caveat below) on 1/17:
Beginning: shining peppergrass, ground pink (1), shooting star, California buttercup (1), johnny jump-up (1), Pomona locoweed, scarlet pimpernel (1), common lomatium (1), California oxalis (1), blennosperma, blue-eyed grass, purple needlegrass.
Full: two-tone everlasting, Engelmann Oak, scrub oak, wild cucumber, white-flowered currant, climbing bedstraw, mule fat, hoaryleaf ceanothus (only a few plants along Clinton Keith Road).
Ending: shortpod mustard (last year's bloom).
Ended: Eastwood manzanita (1 pitiful specimen), toyon (red berries).
Caveat: Because it is not possible to hike all the trails each week, the summary above is my best guess at to the overall bloom status. You may find different bloom status on a trail I did not cover recently. Also, there are often one or two plants that behave very differently from the majority of plants of a given species, usually due to their unique location.
Copyright © 2000-2003 by Tom Chester.
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Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 27 January 2003.