Hillside walk, 04 May 2013
What a surprise, right near the beginning of today's walk, to find the clustered tarplant (Deinandra fasciculata) and golden stars (Bloomeria crocea) in bloom, neither of which I was expecting. The tarplant had good flowers, but the leaves were largely withered. They were growing in the exact same spot as the much earlier sun cups (Camissoniopsis bistorta).
The coffee fern and goldenback fern that I've been observing have now all withered and gone. But this week I found one small goldenback fern that has survived in the damp shade of a rock. The liverworts are now almost gone, too, with just a few green pieces and plenty of withered black remains.
I've realized that the prickly pear growing on the hillside is all tuna cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica), a species imported from Central America as a food plant. It's normally a tall (3 meters or more) cactus with a single trunk, and with few spines. That's what occurs in a couple of places on the hillside. Along Lida Street it's a sprawling mass of low cactus with spines; but looking at it more carefully, the flowers are identical and in a few places it's trying to grow higher with fewer spines. I conclude that the Lida Street cactus is the result of older specimens being knocked down, so that what we see now are primarily young plants. The large specimens elsewhere on the hillsides have similar spines on their smaller, newer leaves.