Plant Communities of the San Gabriel Mountains

Chaparral (Hard Chaparral)

Special Feature: Fire Followers
Fire is a common and natural occurence in the chaparral because of its structure and location. In these recently cleared patches after the spring rains, massive displays of colorful flowers bloom: gorgeous California poppies, big-flowered purple phacelias, pale whispering bells and sunny golden yarrow. The rabbitbrush is particularly stunning in September at Lightning Ridge. Glendora Ridge Road because of its long length and location frequently has new burns and thus spectacular shows of wildflowers. San Gabriel Canyon, Mt. Baldy Road and the Blue Ridge also have had recent fires. Gradually the tough, dense shrubs will grow back and the flowers will disappear.

Special Feature: Escaped Exotics
Along the forest (fire) roads and paved highways many naturalized plants bring color to the hillsides. Familiar early spring bloomers are sweet alyssum, black mustard and wild oats. Spanish broom which smells and looks heavenly in the late spring is quite commonly found lining the roads between 3,000' and 5,000'. Check Barley Flats Road, Angeles Forest Highway just north of the junction with Big Tujunga Road and Sawpit Fire Road near the shooting range. Euphorbia characias is found many places as well as cistus, the Mediterranean rock rose, in both white and dark pink forms. At Echo Mountain, the white form with the dark crimson blotch varies from pure white, white with a tiny spot to white with a large blotch half the size of the petal. Pink ones can be found along the Sunset Ridge road.

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Copyright © 2000 by Jane Strong
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Updated January 25, 2000