Hillside walk, 19 December 2016
The California sagebrush (Artemisaia californica) takes many weeks for the buds to form. I've watching it for a long time, often taking photos to examine at home for any signs of bloom. But it's like panning for gold: You aren't sure what is the shiny material in the pan, but when you actually have gold in the pan, you have no doubt whatever. So it is with the California sagebrush. This week it has erupted into bloom everywhere. Actually, there is one small group of these plans on the Lida Street berm that has had flowers since late October, but it has been the exception, with no flowers elsewhere until now.
The mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) in lower Canyon 3 is now in much better bloom than for a while, but it's still not a prolific as it has been in some years.
This is the first week all year that there has been no leafy California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum var. foliolosum) in flower on the north hillside. Flowering gradually declines throughout the summer, but not always to this extent. Now it's in bloom only along Lida Street.
It's Monday. Last Thursday evening saw the strongest storm of the winter so far, resulting 33 mm of rain. It's been cold since the storm, being under 50F at the start of this morning's walk. Thus the green of grass is suddenly more pronounced, being 8-10 inches tall in some places. Needless to day, the bryophytes and ferns are now really happy.