Hillside walk, 14 December 2015
A winter storm dropped 13 mm of rain overnight, the first substantial rainfall this winter. Walking about the hillside on damp ground is so much easier, and safer, than in dry, dusty conditions. It's too early for this rain to impact the native flowers, but it has resulted in a great, green display of liverwort (Asterella californica). Likewise, the two ferns, coffee fern (Pellaea andromedifolia) and goldenback fern (Pentagramma triangularis) are green again, although barely; they've not yet had enough time to return to a decent green state.
The big surprise this week was finding flowers of deerweed (Acmispon glaber var. glaber) on one of the plants along Lida street. This seems so out of season. Is this an early spring bloom, or a late out-of-season bloom? In the previous three seasons, the first spring bloom of this species was 14-Feb-2013, 20-Mar-2014, and 12-Feb-2015.
Another surprise today is golden currant (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum), which is beginning to bloom on multiple plants in lower Canyon 2, behind the Lida Street berm. The beginning of bloom for this species in the previous two seasons was 25-Jan-2014 and 25-Dec-2014.
Now we wait for further rain (more is forecast for a week from now) and the real beginning of the new floral season. Until now it has been largely a waning of the previous season, punctuated by some unusual out-of-season remnants (which continue). Now the new season is really in place, hopefully.