Hillside walk, 18 April 2017

Last week we were out of town, so no report, and this break before today's observations serves to make the changes in the advancing season more evident. Particularly noticeable is that the proliferation of four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) so evident in the past few months has gone, with virtually all of these plants on the north hillside having no blooms, although there is still some bloom on the west hillside. The other major noticeable change is that suddenly we have caterpillar phacelia (Phacelia cicularia var. hispida) blooming, and more than just a few of them, especially in Canyon 6 and the west hillside.

Many other plants continue blooming, some even more at their peak than previously, such as the California primrose (Eulobus californicus). Another bloom now at its peak everywhere is the blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea).

A most gratifying sight is to see the liverwort (Asterella californica) with receptacles dropping their yellow spores, as is happening today with a clump of these plants in Canyon 6. It's the only clump of liverwort on the hillsides that didn't retreat into its dessicated state several weeks ago, although even this clump no longer has green leaves.

Much of the tall seasonal grass has seeded and died. This together with the enormous growth of mustard in many places makes the hillsides almost dangerous because it's so easy to slip on the fallen dry grass or to get one's feet entangled deep down in the mustard growth.

Caterpillar phacelia

California liverwort

California liverwort

Miner's lettuce

Common muilla

Common fiddleneck

Valley cholla


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