Hillside walk, 10 July 2017
Summer continues. At their peak this week are these five: California primrose (Eulobus californicus), leafy California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum ssp. foliolosum), dodder (Cuscuta sp.), rattlesnake weed (Chamaesyce sp.), southern honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata var. denudata). and cliff aster (Malocothrix sacatilis var. tenuifolia). It's sobering to see these species at their peak when the hillsides generally are looking so brown and summery.
Today, as last week, was very hot, so the hillside walk began at 7:15 a.m. This meant many more California primrose flowers were fully out — they quickly curl up when the sun shines on them directly. Having these flowers blooming so late in the season is unusual. Similarly, it's nice to see so many flowers this time of year of four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia).
A surprise find this week was sapphire woolly star (Eriastrum sapphirinum). It's still the same plant on the mid north hillside — I've seen only the one plant this year — and for a few weeks now it has appeared withered and done. And yet it now is loaded with flowers.
The early summer flowers of sacapellote (Acourtia microcephala) are now almost gone. Next in line to bloom is likely to be the California mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), currently in heavy bud in lower Canyon 8. Then there will be sawtoothed goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa), also currently in heavy bud on the mid north hillside and in Canyon 4.
A sizable gopher snake that died very recently was lying in the middle of my usual path in Canyon 5. How odd. No cause of its demise was apparent.