Hillside walk, 17 May 2017
Last week's observations showed a dip of over 12% in the flowering species count compared with the previous week; but this week we are back up again. Why should last week's count be so low? Firstly, it followed a heavy thunderstorm the day before. Secondly, this past week has been relatively cool. Species that weren't seen last week and are here this week included strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus) and California primrose (Elobus californicus), the latter being more prevalent than I've ever seen.
The cool weather also sees some species continuing with flowering although they would normally have finished or greatly diminished by now. This includes blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum), represented this week by a single flower; four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. carssifolia) up and down the north hillside; and caterpillar phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida) blooming freshly in protected places such as under the oaks in Canyon 8.
Newly flowering for the season this week is white sage (Salvia apiana), which went from no flowers last week to mases of flowers this week; branching phacelia (Phacelia ramosissima) in canyon 8; and California everlasting (Pseudognaphalium californiicum). We should also include toyon (Hereromeles arbutfolia) as newly flowering; it has had a few remnant flowers continuously since last year's season, but suddenly now it has many flowers appearing.