Hillside walk, 30 May 2016

The hillsides are looking dry. Almost all of the annual mustards and grasses are dead. Flowers that for me symbolize the peak of spring have gone, such as the California primrose (Eulobus californicus) and California bluebells (Phacelia minor). Today on the north hillside there was not even a single rattlesnake weed (Chamaesyce sp.) with flowers, which is most unusual.

Despite the dry appearance, some plants are at their peak of bloom, such as clustered tarplant (Deinandra fasciculata), leafy California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum ssp. foliolosum), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), and California everlasting (Pseudognaphalium californicum). The latter is highly noticeable in many places with its brilliant white flowers. Today we also have the peak blooming of chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei), with six on the north hillside, three in Canyon 5, three on the west hillside, and one on the south hillside.

At the foot of that south hillside yucca is today's big surprise, a single plant of Plummer's mariposa lily (Calochortus plummerae) with one large open flower and eight buds. Amazingly, it's located on the south hillside, less than five minutes walk from our back door.

Another surprise, but of a different kind, was to find four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) with occasional flowers, sometimes a single bloom on an otherwise dead-looking plant.

As occurred last year, I've been watching the branching phacelia (Phacelia ramosissima) in Canyon 5, and at last it has flowers. (There is also one of these plants just outside out house fence, in high bloom.) Another plant that I watch repeated until it blooms is the sacapellote (Acourtia microcephala). Today it has flowers almost out in many locations. It has actual flowers in just one location on the north hillside.

Laurel sumac

Clustered tarweed

Golden stars

Caterpillar phacelia

Branching phacelia


Southern honeysuckle


Vasey's prickly pear

Plummer's mariposa lily

Chaparral yucca

Whispering bells

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