Saturday, May 27, 2017

California Spring Extravaganza 2. Over the mountains to the coast

The Sespe Wilderness features vistas of spectacular rock
outcrops.
As we started into the mountains, another species of Phacelia
greeted us.  This appears to be P. grandiflora. Photo by
Chung-shu Yang.
From Antelope Valley, we headed west over the coastal mountain ranges.  That
took us first through the spectacular Sespe Wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains. We were treated to marvelous granite outcrops and badlands-like areas of eroded slopes. And there were of course wildflowers - not the blankets of color we had seen in the open
fields of Antelope Valley, but here and there patches of color.  There were more flowering shrubs and vines here - morning glories, clematis, ceanothus and manzanita. But there were also flowering annuals and perennials tucked away in clearings between the shrubs.     These included poppies, lupines and phacelias, as well as varied members of the sunflower family.

Still another Phacelia captured by Chung-shu,
possibly P. curvipes, the washoe phacelia.

After a necessary passage through valley suburbs of L.A. we crossed the Santa  Monica Mountains and arrived at the Pacific Ocean.  This smaller range has much the same flora as the San Gabriels, until we got to the Pacific facing slopes where milder and wetter conditions prevail.

A wild relative of the tomato, Solanum xanti,
was common in the mountains.
Photo by Chung-shu Yang.

Manzanita bushes (Arctostaphylos sp.) were blooming
throughout the mountans, sporting nodding white flowers
similar to those of their blueberry relatives.

Clematis lasiantha is a common vine in the California chaparral.

A blue-flowered Ceanothus bush.


Some Ceanothus have white flowers.

A white-flowered morning glory vine in the genus Calystegia 
occidentalis was also common in the mountains.














Encelia californica was abundant in the mountains as we approached the Pacific coast. 
After witnessing great fields of wild mustard along the Pacific Coast Highway, we decided to spend the rest of the day at the Point Mugu State Park.  After passing through groves of Sycamores that had evidently suffered during the droughts of recent years, we found the trailheads for some great walks up the side of the mountain.  Here we found a spectacular wild garden of mariposa lilies, lupines, wild solanums, morning glories,  yellow legumes of the genus Acmispon, and many more. And this is what we saw in just one day in early April.  I envy anyone who has the opportunity to visit repeatedly during the spring, for there is probably much more to see.  



A bushy Solanum, possibly S. umbelliferum, is
common around the campground at Pt. Mugu.


A yellow form of the bush monkey flower, Mimulus aurantiacus. 
is common in the coastal mountains of California.

A field of Catalina mariposa lily, Calochortus catalinae  has emerged from a recent  burn area at Pt. Mugu.

The  Catalina mariposa lily is a star attraction at Pt. Mugu State
Park in April.
A tiny mat-forming member of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), Chamaesyce albomarginata, is almost overlooked amidst the colorful extravaganza around it.

A member of the legume family, Acmispon dendroideus.

A wild mustard plant(genus Brassica).

A relative of the dandelion, possibly Agoseris heterophylla.

A member of the phlox family, Linanthus dianthiflorus,  seems to be
all flowers.
Encelia californica and a species of Lupinus on the side of the mountain.


Sisirhynchium bellum, a tiny member of the Iris family.

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