Hillside walk, 25 August 2014

Saw toothed goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa) continues to be the star of the hillside, in full bloom, not that it is stunningly obvious. It just happens to be the only plant reaching the peak of flowering at this time.

The long flowering of California primrose (Eulobus californicus) has finished, — no blooms this week. That's interesting because so many were present last week, about a dozen of them.

It's a few months since I was in Canyon 6, so this week I went there to check on the cottonwood trees. Nothing to report there. They appear not to have flowered this year.

Until now I assumed just one species of prickly pear on the hillside, Opuntia ficus-indica. That species stands tall and has large barrel-like fruit, pale green-yellow in color. However, just off Lida Street, the tangled masses of prickly pear, which do not stand tall, have many more spines and their fruit is decidedly different, being smaller, more cylindrical (not barrels), and purple. I recall the flowers look basically similar, but they are clearly not the same species. It was the difference in the fruit that alerted me to this. (I originally assumed it was a fallen form of the taller species because the flowers were similar, — a bad conclusion.)

So I took extra photos, brought home a sample, and made a detailed comparison of attributes against several candidate species. (To see the resulting Excel spreadsheet, click here.) It's clear that this species is mesa prickly pear (Opuntia x vaseyi). It's a native, which the other is not.

In accord with this discovery, I adjusted the records. In a few instances I filled in gaps where the species obviously was blooming, even though I didn't have it listed. The result is OK for 2013, but isn't complete for 2014 because I didn't take photographs of mesa prickly pear sufficiently frequently to indicate the full extent of when it bloomed. The record shows it blooming during five non-contiguous weeks, but I know it bloomed for a period greater than that. However, the record should remain showing only what was observed.


Coyote brush

California plantain

California mugwort


Leafy California buckwheat


Rattlesnake weed

Cliff aster


California liverwort

Black cottonwood

Black sage

California liverwort

The hilltop

Sawtoothed goldenbush

Deer on Lida street

Deer near Lida Street

Prickly pear

Douglas's nightshade

Bush monkey flower


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