California Snowdrop Bush (4 photos)

Right after coming home from the second trip to Carrizo Plain (with my friend Peter Tellone) I went for another docent-led hike at the Santa Margarita Ecological Preserve.* This time I joined to see the “Santa Margarita River Highlands” in a strenuous 6 mile hike with ~1500 feet elevation change that led through steep sections of chaparral and huge granitic boulders.Maybe it’s pure coincidence, but once more I saw entirely new and native plants in the chaparral – last time it was Parry’s Tetracoccus and Chaparral Clematis, this time it was the California Snowdrop Bush, Styrax redivivus – a rare plant with a NatureServe “G2 – imperiled” conservation status.

While its flowers do have a resemblance to snowdrops, it has nothing to do with the Galanthus genus of course. The flowers are much bigger than a snowdrop’s, and most of all the plant is, as the common name implies, a bush. And the hike was timed perfectly it seems, so that we could see them in bloom – what a nice surprise!

The flowers are actually tricky to photograph because as you can see, they’re hanging down. I guess I made some pretty ridiculous
contorted maneuvers trying to photograph them. :-)

*) this reserve is not open to the public – you can see it in a number of docent-led hikes during the cooler months of the year. If you’re interested, you can find the dates on the “Events & Activites” page of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy’s website (link opens in a new tab).

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