Hillside walk, 13 April 2014
Even more green growth this week, and it's hard not to tread on the flowers! In places my track up the lower, steep part of the north hillside was obliterated by greenery, especially four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) and California bluebells (Phacelia minor).
It's exactly six weeks since the big rain at the beginning of March, which is a reminder of our trip to Chile in 2005, when we saw part of the Atacama Desert (a 1-inch rainfall area) in bloom south of Copiapo, six weeks after rain.
The north hillside generally is the major spectacle this week. I'm sure the number of strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus) is no fewer than last week, but they are now often hidden by other plants. We even have a yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) in bloom this week.
This week I saw two plants for which last year I saw fruit only, and now they both have flowers: spiny redberry (Rhamnus crocea) on the north hillside, and holly leaf redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia) in Canyon 5. Their flowers are tiny, a dull green color, and generally insignificant; no wonder I didn't see them last year.
This week a new species is added to the list: whispering bells (Emmenanthe peduliflora var. peduliflora), located not far west of our house. I don't believe it bloomed last year although last year I saw the dried husks of earlier flowers (and could not identify them), perhaps the formation that in the wind generates the quiet sound that gives them the name of whispering bells.
This week's species count of 38 exceeds last year's peak of 35. Last year did not produce the the maze of plant growth that we have right now.