Hillside walk, 31 July 2017
High summer has arrived, — the sawtoothed goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa) is beginning to bloom. So far the bloom is on a single plant in Canyon 8. The more noticeable plants on the north hillside remain in bud, even though they see more sun.
This week we have considerably more species in bloom than for this same week in any previous year of this survey. There is no obvious reason for this. No rain has fallen for several months and we have had our share of very hot weather. I can't help thinking that we are seeing a result of the beautifully damp winter, with plants now living off the fat they have saved up from the winter season. For example, in each of the previous four years the narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) never bloomed for longer than a month. This year it has been blooming for almost three months, and today it is blooming strongly, not just a late-in-the-season remnant. It will be interesting at some point to make a study of blooming duration across multiple species. Last winter's timely rains do appear to have had considerable impact.