Hillside walk, 17 March 2015

The past week has been warmer than it has been recently, with temperatures reaching the the 90s F. Thus it wasn't surprising to find that nearly all of the California four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) is completely finished blooming, which made the north hillside significantly less attractive than in recent weeks. It was blooming only in small quantities in the protected parts of upper Canyon 8 and Canyon 3B.

Despite the heat, Canterbury bells (Phacelia minor) were in far greater numbers than last week, possibly at their peak for this year, although in far smaller numbers than during last year's sprint. And the heat can't have been unduly devastating in recent days because several strigose lotus (Acmispos strigosus) were seen on the mid north hillside. Also, the California sun cup (Camissoniopsis bistorta) was present at the bottom of the north hillside, as well as further up the slope. The California primrose (Eulobus californicus) was in even greater numbers than the past several weeks, including in the very bottom wash of Canyon 8, where I've not seen it before.

In Canyon 4 this week, Danny's skullcap (Scutellaria tuberosa) has leaves over an area probably about a meter diameter in a shady place, with numerous flowers. This is a new display.

However, the liverworts (Asterella californica) are looking decidedly stressed. The big question is whether any of the receptacles will grow to maturity and spread spores. Unfortunately, almost everywhere the thalli are disappearing and the stems of the receptacles are looking thin and weak, as if they are running out of steam. Only in Canyon 5 is there what appears to be a hearty clump that is fully green. Hopefull it will continue its path towards maturity.

A few newly flowering seasonal species this week include morning glory (Calystegia sp.), bush monkey flower (Diplacus longiflorus), cobweb thistle (Cirsium occidentale var. occidentale), chamise (Adenostoma fasiciulatum var. fasciculatum), and death camis (Toxicoscordion sp.)

This week's total number of blooming plants is 43, which is 1 more than the maximum of last year's spring, and most likely the peak for this year. Last year's peak was on April 27, which is about five weeks later.

Wild hyacinth

Miniature lupine

California plantain

California primrose

California bluebells

California sun cup

Southern honeysuckle

California coffeeberry

Popcorn flower

Strigose lotus

Rattlesnake weed

Two color everlasting

Blue elderberry

Western nettle

Coast live oak

Wishbone bush

Wild cucumber

California bluebells

California liverwort

California liverwort

Holly leaf redberry

Skunkbrush

Skunkbrush

California liverwort

California liverwort

Common eucrypta

Scrub oak

Danny's skullcap

Morning glory

Popcorn flower

Collar lupine

Lemonade berry

Cobweb thistle

Bush monkey flower

Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry

Caterpillar phacelia

Bitter cress

Coffee fern

California liverwort

California liverwort

Goldenback fern

Common fiddleneck

Death camas

Poison oak

Holly leaf cherry

Leafy California buckwheat

Toyon

Douglas's nightshade

Deerweed

Chamise

Coast live oak

Golden currant

Mulefat

Mulefat

Whispering bells

Whispering bells

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