Hillside walk, 14 March 2016
two days ago we received 17 mm of rain in a brief storm. Last night as further 1.8 mm of light rain made sure the hillside today was about as wet as it ever gets. The green growth is immense. Mustard is everywhere on the open slopes, and this year it's large, tall mustard. While the mustard and the grass hides other flowers, those other flowers were in abundance.
This week's count of 48 native species in bloom is the highest, this being the fourth spring season of the survey. This week's observations included five big, healthy specimens of stinging lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus) in full bloom; previously I've never found more than one in bloom, and that never in prime condition. Right now the whole hillside is in prime condition!
As would be expected, the California bluebells (Phacelia minor) on the north hillside are utterly prolific, as is wishbone bush (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia). Other at their absolute peak include blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum) and California plantain (Plangato erecta). This week we have the first of the season's California primrose (Eulobus californicus), on the north hillside in considerable numbers. Small ground-hugging plants such as strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus) are still in considerable numbers, but are often lost among the mustard, grass, and other things. The California suncup (Camissoniopsis bistorta) is in good numbers at the bottom of the north hillside, but is sprinkled well up the whole of that hillside. The open north hillside, which for so much of the year is dry and bare, is a real picture at present.
Once again, with apparently suitable rains, I'm watching the liverworts (Asteralla californica) to see whether they develop all the way to spores. This time it's the liverworts in Canyon 6.