Hillside walk, 29 May 2017

Today's walk was rewarding, with a greater variety of flowers than expected. It culminated right near the end in two plants of Plummer's mariposa lily (Calochortus plummerae), one with one flower and the other with two flowers. This was on the south hillside. One of these plants was exactly where these flowers appeared two years ago, so probably it is the same plant.

In Canyon 4 was a specimen of golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) in full bloom. This humble species blooms every year in our back yard, but I've only ever seen it once on the hillsides, years ago, and that was in Canyon 5.

Perhaps as a result of cooler weather in the past week, the four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) was everywhere in bloom, almost to the same extent as in early spring. This was a surprise as the species has been represented in recent weeks by only a few remnant flowers. Similarly, California primrose (Eulobus californicus) on the north hillside is in it's best bloom so far this year, despite the flowers having been in decline in recent weeks.

A real surprise was to find so many blooming specimens of California suncup (Camissoniopsis bistorta), not just in their most prolific location at the bottom of the north hillside, but all the way to the top of that hillside, and also in Canyon 6 and Canyon 3. Many of them had stems 30 to 50 cm in length, with one or two flowers at the end.

Canyon 8 was especially rich in flowers today, with a grand display of caterpillar phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida) in it's protected, upper reaches, and the branching phacelia (Phacelia ramosissima) in full bloom. This canyon also had a good display of southern honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata var. denudata), and lesser amounts of California bluebells (Phacelia minor). And other things, too.

This week, a couple of firsts for the season included the chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei), with one flowering plant on the north hillside and another on the west hillside; and the first blooms of dodder (Cuscuta sp.) amid the newly-arrived fresh growth of this species.

On the upper north hillside, narrow leaf milkweed continues to have a good crop of flowers. It seems to be flowering much longer than in previous years.

And on upper Lida Street the toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is in full bloom. Also on Lida Street are at least three plants of American lotus (Acmispon americanus var. americanus), spread out along the upper portions of the street along the edge of the asphalt. They have many little branches sand many little flowers.

Overall, this was a great week for hillside flowers.

Clustered tarweed

California sun cup

Sapphire woolly star

Chaparral yucca

Narrow-leaf milkweed

Popcorn flower

Golden yarrow



American lotus

Vasey's prickly pear

Plummer's mariposa lily

Plummer's mariposa lily


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