Hillside walk, 27 December 2013
The first blooms of the new rainy season, the precursor to spring, have appeared. These were three species in three isolated locations: two color everlasting (Pseudognaphalium biolettii), wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpa), and golden currant (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum).
Perhaps in this list of new-season blooms we should also include rattlesnake weed (Chamaesyce sp). For many weeks I have seen only one apparently remnant plant in bloom, but this week I saw several, scattered around the north hillside in multiple locations. Strangely, the remnant plant is now nowhere to be seen.
Everywhere the fresh green appears although it's a modest amount of growth. Alter all, so far this winter season I've recorded only 61.5 mm of rain.
Meanwhile, California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) continues in full bloom, with much of it now going to seed. Virtually all of the remnant blooms of other species from the previous season continue.
I'm now confident that the liverworts in Canyons 3 and 5 are Asterella californica, which is the most common of all the liverworts in the California. It's now in retreat in these canyons as a full week has passed since the last rain storm. I've been watching them every 2-3 days. They've generally been doing fine, except that today some of them have completely disappeared and most have changed from a bright green to a darker, dull green. They look somewhat withered, and are becoming more difficult to see. This follows a couple of warm days; today's maximum was in the low 80s F.