Adolphia californica (Spineshrub or Prickbush)

Adolphia californica (California Prickbush, California adolphia, Spineshrub), Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, San Diego, California.

California Prickbush or Spineshrub (Adolphia californica) is considered rare, threatened or endangered by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), with a threat rank of 2B.1. This means it is seriously threatened in California – where most of it can be found here in San Diego County. It also grows in Baja California (Mexico), and CalFlora has two (obscure?) observations outside of San Diego County.

Read moreAdolphia californica (Spineshrub or Prickbush)

Ceanothus cuneatus – Amazing Bloom

Ceanothus cuneatus (California buckbrush, Wedgeleaf Ceanothus) in bloom

While in the Lake Elsinore area, I thought we might as well drive up on Ortega Highway a little bit – an area that I have neglected entirely so far. We made a left turn onto South Main Divide Road at the California Firefighters Memorial, just out of curiosity, to see where that road would take us.

Read moreCeanothus cuneatus – Amazing Bloom

Ceanothus verrucosus Bloom – A Wave of White

Blooming Ceanothus verrucosus (White Coast Ceanothus) in sun and shade, Elfin Forest, Escondido, California. February 2019.

While spring in Southern California and in the chaparral is said to begin with the first winter rains, it of course takes a while for it to really show – and even then, it comes in waves. Right now, a wave of white has washed over parts of the landscape, as White Coast Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosus) exploded into bloom at the end of January and early February.

Read moreCeanothus verrucosus Bloom – A Wave of White

Cercocarpus betuloides (Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany)

Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides) leaves at Black Mountain Open Space Park, San Diego, California

Some portraits of Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), one of my favorite plants in the chaparral. You can find it in every climate zone here, growing a bit stunted in the windswept coastal chaparral (or what little is left of it, for example at Torrey Pines), standing tall in beautiful and lush patches on north-facing slopes in the foothills and inland areas, up to the highest elevations of the Peninsular Ranges, and even in the transition zone into the desert.

Read moreCercocarpus betuloides (Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany)

Chamaebatia australis (Southern Mountain Misery)

Flowers of Chamaebatia australis (Southern Mountain Misery), Black Mountain Open Space Park, San Diego, California. April 2018.

Chamaebatia australis (Southern Mountain Misery, Southern Bearclover) is a native to the chaparral slopes of Southern California and Baja California, but it is quite uncommon. More observations on CalFlora are recorded for southern San Diego County, and I’m feeling lucky that there‚Äôs a small colony of these beautiful plants with their fern-like leaves growing at Black Mountain Open Space Preserve, not far from our home.

Read moreChamaebatia australis (Southern Mountain Misery)

Clematis species (Chaparral Clematis)

Chaparral Clematis (intertwined with some Buckwheat), Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, Fallbrook, California, March 2017.

Last Sunday I joined a docent-led hike at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve (SMER) – an open space that is normally closed to the public. Volunteers who lead hikes make it possible to see and experience this wonderful place. The hike went from the reserve’s south entrance down into Temecula Canyon, where Santa Margarita River flows nicely at the moment.

Read moreClematis species (Chaparral Clematis)