Hillside walk, 04 February 2014
Despite being subdued, the spring growth and flowers continue to expand. Four o'clock (Mirabilis laevis var. crassifolia) has more green growth than last week, and a good number of flowers. The first poison oak flowers (Toxicodendron diversilobum) have appeared. The north hillside now has so many filarees (Erodium cicutarium), many of which are flowering. And the ubiquitous mustard now has many more blooms although not the carpet of last year.
Once again I saw strigose lotus (Acmispon strigosus), just two plants each with one flower, and once again they were in the middle of a well used animal track.
Of course, the species count doesn't indicate the quantity of flowers. For the most part, the numbers are way below last year. A good example is the hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius var. planus), for which the only flowers I've seen are on a small number of trees on a protected, north-facing slope in Canyon 5. The trees that grow in more open places have not bloomed at all. In all previous years the ceanothus has in January been a highly noticeable feature of the hillside. This year those open places have nothing to show.