Hillside walk, 04 January 2016

The wintry weather continues. Recent rains mean that green grass shoots are everywhere, but they are still short at this stage. The mustard is coming into bloom everywhere although most of the plants are tiny, just a few inches tall, perhaps indicative of dry ground as much as the colder season.

At this time of year it's a challenge to decide where the remnants of the previous season transition into the coming spring. A definite spring indicator is the wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpa), which today showed its first flowers of the season, in Canyon 8. Another early spring bloom, golden currant (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum), made its first appearance three weeks ago.

Amazingly, the saw toothed goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa) still has blooms although in prior years it was strictly a mid summer to autumn bloomer. Similarly the bush monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus) continues its flowering in lower Canyon 2, with even more flowers than in previous weeks.

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