Hillside walk, 21 March 2016

Another record count of flowering native species! I've seen more prolific flowering, such as the aftermath of early March rains two years ago, but the present season is noteworthy simply for the large number for different species, and their widespread occurrence. It's unusual, for example, to find Canterb8ury bells (Phacelia minor) spread all the way from the the lower north hillside to the upper north hillside.

This week is the first time when I've seen stinging lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus) in full bloom in multiple places. All of these are either on the north hillside or in upper Canyon 8. In former years this species flowers after rain, perhaps begins to flower, but dies before maturity because of the lack of moisture. This year is completely the opposite.

We also have strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus) spread over most of the north hillside. It initially requires searching because of the long grass, but once you find these tiny flowers, they are widespread up the hillside. Another species extending well up the north hillside is the California suncup (Camissoniopsis bistorta).

It's curious how the north hillside is such a proliferation of bloom in a good spring, whereas most of the year it is relatively dry and desolate, with lots of Russian thistle. I assume these characteristics arise from this hillside being largely clear of shrubs and trees.

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