Hillside walk, 12 January 2015
The early spring flowering has indeed begun. This is the third week of flowers for golden currant (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum), although it's mostly still in bud. Today we have the first blooms of wild cucumber (Marah marocarpa), on the steep north-facing slope of Canyon 1, where it's very wet.
Other early bloomers are still in bud, including the hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius var. planus) and California fuchsia (Ribes speciosum). The blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea) at the top of the north hillside, which has a single bloom last week, is no longer in flower although it has plenty of buds. Later blooming plants are still growing.
What was after laslt month's rain a mass of tiny seedlings has become masses of mustard or masses of filaree. However, the greenery of individual native plants are also visible, such as California bluebells (Phacelia minor). In numerous places we have flourishing green grass.
Over the past couple of days we received 16 mm (0.6 in) of rain, in an almost continuous light drizzle. The liverworts (Asterella californica) clearly liked this, — I've not previously seen so many of them. In several places receptacles are forming, low down immediately above the thalli. Presumably the receptacles will develop stalks later in the spring as the spores become ready, and when the receptacles are larger.
Today, as is typical immediately after rain, the rattlesnake weed (Chamaesyce sp.) on the north hillside looks so bright and perky, sitting up erect with lots of open flowers, and sparkling in an array of water droplets, either from the rain or from the heavy morning dew. The water droplets are interesting because today's walk did not begin until after 11 a.m., and that slope faces south.
Today the Stephanomaria plant on Lida Street had no flowers at all, perhaps a result of the rain. However, it had seven flowers on Friday last; thus it counts in this week's tally although no photo was possible.