Data are collected following the hiked path shown below and includes the immediate area.
One fertile flower (male or female), is all it takes to count a species in bloom.
We try to visit a lot of different areas, but areas with a better bloom may be visited more often.
It makes a huge difference if the bloom count is from a very dry badlands area, or from a place with a good rainfall or along a creek.
The data in the graph are averaged out over a couple of days, to show the actual daily bloom count in the graph, click on the legend on the right until only one is active (black).
With only one selected bars will pop up representing the daily bloom count.
August 20 2023 Hurricane / tropical storm Hilary with rain and local thunderstorms.
November 21 2023 Bloom prediction
Bloom is mostly gone.
November/28/2023 Diablo Dieguenos Loop
We wanted to hike the upper part of the loop, so we had to drive up Diablo Canyon and exit on the Diablo Drop off "road".
Along the way, part of the canyon walls collapsed in a dozen places, at one point in two days, and we were the first to make the "road" passable again.
One place was a bit tricky, but the car passed it without any problems.
Now Diable Canyon is deserted, but on most weekends this is a popular route to Fish Creek Wash.
The total time to get to the trailhead and back was about the same as our 3 1/2 hour hike.
Diablo Canyon is surprisingly good, lots of germination and flowering plants, much better than the barren looking Vallecito Wash.
The area is certainly one of the best you can find right now.
The most common plant is Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy, which covers many canyon walls, sometimes all the way to the top.
The Perityle emoryi aren't in full bloom yet, some are already very large.
For the first time this season we found a blooming Eriogonum thomasii | Thomas's buckwheat.
The number of Aliciella latifolia latifolia is high compared to our other hikes.
The temperature: A nice 67 at the end of our hike, almost no wind.
Flowers: Good for the area and time of year, 29+ different plants in bloom.
November/27/2023 Tarantula wash San Felipe creek loop
We started at the alternative route, which starts along the very bumpy Pole Line Road aka Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
It looks bleak, only 3 flowering plants in the first half hour.
Until we hit the Fish Creek / Carrizo Wash, more flowering plants left and right.
The Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmill plants grow incredibly large in this area, reaching a few meters in size.
The timing of the rains seems to be good for Chylismia cardiophylla cardiophylla | Heart leaf suncup, as we are finding many large plants on many of our hikes.
Here we found the first flowering Astragalus crotalariae | Salton milkvetch of the season.
We expected to find dried-out Euphorbia abramsiana, but the plants look much fresher and some are still in bloom.
All the creeks along the trail are dry.
The bad, part of the hike is in a nature reserve, but off-road tracks are everywhere.
Temperature: A nice 70 degrees at the end of our hike, hardly any wind.
Bloom: Not bad spotty, 38+ different plants in bloom.
Tom Chester asked us about a circular tree formation, so this is a hike to check it out.
We checked 2 sites and both turned out to be dominated by large Prosopis glandulosa torreyana | Honey mesquite.
Previously, we didn't make any iNaturalist records for Juniperus californica | California juniper on this loop, probably because it is very common and the dominant tree/shrub in this area.
Today we paid more attention to Juniperus californica and noticed that almost every single tree looked different.
The area is growing back nicely more than 10 years after the 2012 fire, especially the cacti which are a problem when hiking.
Temperatures in the high fifties, no wind in the canyons, but windy and colder along the PCT.
The goal was to see if we could find any Olneya tesota | Ironwood seedlings from last year.
We didn't find any young Olneya tesota trees.
The best flowering larger plant on our hike was Chylismia cardiophylla cardiophylla | Heart leaf suncup (50+).
That might have been Ericameria paniculata a few weeks ago.
The timing of the rains seems to be right for Agave deserti deserti | Desert agave to trigger a year-end bloom.
Here we found 20+ Agave deserti deserti in bloom and this was happening all over the desert.
Temperature: 64 degrees, 50% sun and a light breeze.
No rain, although we did get a little rain at the Scissors Crossing on the way in.
Bloom: Low abundance, 45+ different plants in bloom.
We parked at two places, once in the east, the free parking area and at the view point.
The August rain was almost 3 months ago, but these sand dunes can absorb water like the best.
Seeing all the freshly blooming Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, it's like going back in time for a month or two.
The most spectacular and sometimes the only plants in the dunes are the Eriogonum deserticola | Dune Buckwheat in full bloom.
Perhaps the most abundant flowering plants are Palafoxia arida | Spanish needles, already large, in time perhaps even large enough for var. gigantea.
Another spectacular bloomer, in small numbers Helianthus niveus tephrodes | Algodones Dune Sunflower.
This is a different habitat for Parkinsonia florida | Blue palo verde, they sure like it out here, wandering far into the sand dunes.
The number of Parkinsonia florida that have germinated by the end of the year is staggering, thousands of baby plants.
A lot of plants out here look weird compared to the same plants in the Anza Borrego desert, a better habitat makes plants grow bigger.
Bloom: Moderate, 30+ different plants in bloom, some areas will probably get a little better, some areas are at the end of bloom.
This area has been on our list for years because it was difficult to create a loop hike.
We managed to create a nice, very scenic route if you like mud hills and great views.
Even after months without rain, at one point where the water had pooled, I sank way too fast and deep into the mud, so we had to make a detour, which turned out to be relatively easy.
Flowering is spotty, surprisingly concentrated on the ridges and some mud hills.
On the shell layers fields of Dalea mollissima | Downy dalea.
Blooming Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower are common, as are Langloisia setosissima setosissima | Bristly langloisia and Phacelia crenulata ambigua | Notch leaf phacelia.
Less common are Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown-eyed primrose, Eriogonum trichopes | Little desert trumpet, and Eriogonum ordii | Fort Mohave wild buckwheat.
Bloom is waning, almost 3 months after the rain.
Bloom: Low, sometimes good for the area and time of year.
Along the S2 it gets greener after the Indian Gorge Exit, lots of blooming Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple.
The Carrizo Canyon Road, is sandy, but that is a good sign, because sand covers rocks.
We made it to the trailhead without any problems, the unmaintained "road" is in reasonable shape, it's always unpredictable what to expect from the "road".
The first stretch is Horsfordia newberryi | Newberry's velvet mallow territory, hundreds of plants, most in bud, unfortunately we are too early in the day for prime bloom today.
This is one of the few canyons with a creek, right now it's just a tiny stream.
As the canyon narrows and gets wetter, Prosopis glandulosa torreyana | Honey mesquite makes hiking in the canyon very unappealing.
It takes an hour one way to get to the accessible, drier part of the canyon.
Here blooming Deinandra floribunda | Tecate tarplant made our day, we've never seen it before and didn't expect to find any new plants this year.
In the canyon there are very good looking Washingtonia filifera | California fan palms and frogs.
As expected the area looks very dry, Justicia californica | Chuparosa has started the end of the year bloom, most Justicia californica were showing moderate to low bloom.
The smell of Bursera microphylla, Elephant Tree is overwhelming. Now we wonder if the trees were in flower 2 months ago.
Another highlight was a solitary Carlowrightia arizonica | Arizona Carlowrightia that we haven't seen for a long time.
The weather was fine, 70 degrees and sunny with sometimes a light breeze. In the Laguna Mountains and all the way to town it was completely cloudy, with some light rain at Scissors Crossing.
No water at zero crossing, plenty at First Crossing and a good flow at Second Crossing, but the crossing isn't as deep as it used to be.
The gate before Third Crossing is closed and may stay closed for a long time. There's a lot of erosion and rocks and a creek on the road doesn't help, it doesn't look like an easy fix.
This is good for hiking because it's really peaceful out here without the cars.
The creek has changed course dramatically and is now partially on the "road" on the east side of the canyon.
At the third crossing the creek has disappeared and moved to the other side.
Thousands of plants that need the creek will die because the creek is gone, this has happened before and plants will regrow quickly.
For botanists this is a good thing, a possibility for new plants and to be able to hike along the creek.
Between the first and second crossing, just after the first crossing, there is much more pooling water than in previous years.
It's been pretty uninteresting along the creek for a couple of years, this season that's changed, more room for different plants to grow.
This may be the best year-end bloom we've had so far this season.
Bloom: Moderate, more than 50 different plants in bloom, bloom could get better.
There are a surprising number of large flowering Asclepias subulata in the drainages.
Along the Santa Rosa slope there are many patches of Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowering trailing windmills, many still in good bloom.
There must be thousands of Boerhavia spiderling on the same slope, many brown, but a surprisingly high number still in bloom.
In Rattle Snake Wash there are probably hundreds of one-year-old Parkinsonia florida | Blue palo verde that survived the summer.
On the shadow side of the Lute Fault Scarp, the walls are full of Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy.
The Psorothamnus emoryi emoryi | Emory's indigo bush has been blooming for months and can be smelled from a few meters away.
Throughout the sandy area there are thousands of rodent burrows, the tunnel area is vast and makes hiking unpredictable, you never know when you will sink, but you certainly will many times.
In this sandy area there isn't much flowering, but it is covered with brown and brittle Kallstroemia californica | California caltrop.
Temperature: 62- 72, mostly cloudy, no wind.
Bloom: Low, just over 20 different plants in bloom, often only a single plant.
November/14/2023 Palomar Mountain: Doane Valley loop
With the help of Tom Chester, we determined that the largest stand of Pinus ponderosa was on Palomar Mountain.
Pinus ponderosa is often confused with Pinus jeffreyi.
On our trip we found that the things that separate them are Cone size, inside cone color, inside bark color, bark odor (turpentine 2 trees).
Not helpful: How prickly the cones are (both are very prickly), tree/leaf color, vegetative buds white hairs/resinous.
Seeds not checked yet.
On the way back to the car we found a Pinus ponderosa only 5 minutes from the car, so there are certainly more trees out here.
Flowering is low, but we found several flowering Monardella breweri lanceolata, Lessingia glandulifera glandulifera and Keckiella ternata ternata.
The number of insects was much lower than on our previous visit, about 1/4 of the hike they were annoying and one insect bit us.
The rain is too long ago, the Pena artesian spring, which often flows from a pipe, is dry.
There is still some moisture in the many seeps of the Pena spring, just enough for the bees.
Bees were the real danger on this hike, we were both attracted and stung by bees, luckily they didn't follow us too far.
In all the drainages where we often find water higher up in the canyon there is almost none left, certainly not enough for the blooming Mimulus guttatus we were hoping to see.
We did find at least two surviving and flowering Malacothamnus enigmaticus.
In one of the drainages the plants were happier than anywhere else, here we found a blooming Diplacus longiflorus.
Although we hiked by chance, we found the same plant on a previous hike.
Unfortunately, there are several blooming Pennisetum setaceum | Fountain grass at this site, which we also found a few years ago.
The best was a single blooming Keckiella antirrhinoides microphylla.
In the same drainage the largest and best flowering Senecio flaccidus monoensis.
We are finding an unusually high number of Cuscuta californica californica this season.
There are more Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed Amaranth in Culp Valley this year than we remember from previous years.
Temperature: 68, sunny, later mostly sunny.
Bloom: Low, not bad for the time of year, more than 25 different plants in bloom.
November/11/2023 Sunset Trail - Big Laguna Trail Loop
The story begins with a Pinus ponderosa at the north end of the Lagunas, the only tree approved by a trusted botanist.
We almost went to that location, it was in the middle of nowhere, that was suspicious.
It turned out that the tree was much further south along the Sunset Trail.
We later learned that there is no Pinus ponderosa in the Lagunas.
The goal was to find Quercus × morehus | Oracle Oak, and we found two.
Along the way we checked and photographed Pinus jeffreyi | Jeffrey Pine for our next trip to see Pinus ponderosa.
It's Veterans Weekend, as a bonus there's free parking on the downside it's very busy, something different from the normal low to zero hiker routes.
One hiker was in a hurry to get to the other side and told us there might be a fire, she noticed dark smoke.
This is how a panic starts, other hikers also hurried back.
There was no smoke anywhere, no sirens, no helicopters, just the desert dust below in the Anza Borrego Desert.
Temperature: 48-55, sunny with a breeze around the lake, mostly pleasant.
This is unusual Musca domestica | Common House Fly again, we've never seen them here in such high numbers.
The flies were hitchhiking on our backpack and hat, they mostly stayed there for the ride.
But flies seem to indicate rain and it certainly looks good.
The mud hills are alive with an abundance of Geraea canescens | Desert Sunflower, a much better than average bloom of Eriogonum trichopes | Little Desert Trumpet and Phacelia crenulata ambigua | Notch Leaf Phacelia.
And we even found Langloisia setosissima setosissima | Bristly Langloisia and Chaenactis carphoclinia carphoclinia | Pebble pincushion in bloom.
Once on the mesa things changed, some time ago a large area was covered with blooming Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills and Kallstroemia californica | California caltrop.
Some of these are still in bloom at the moment.
Most of the other flowering plants are in the links.
It's Veterans Weekend, so it was unusually busy for a Friday.
We went on a car/hiking tour.
First stop Barrel Spring parking to check on a suspected Amaranthus hybridus and we think the ID is correct, we found a few plants in the area.
Next stop is Oak Territory along 79, which has a very diverse number of oaks in a compact area.
We wanted to see and photograph Quercus × ganderi | Gander Oak, best checked in fall as it seems to be evergreen.
Last stop Santa Ysabel Creek, here we found a strong flowing creek with enough interesting (flowering) plants.
We added some new plants to our list.
On the way back, along the road, a very green spot with interesting non-native plants like Amaranthus palmeri | Palmer's Amaranth and Sorghum halepense | Johnson Grass.
Our goal today was to look for Pinus ponderosa from a voucher in the area.
We spotted some trees high up in a rocky drainage that we had to check out.
After a lot of scrambling up the sometimes steep rocky drainage we decided that they were almost all Pinus coulteri.
The good thing is that this is prime terrain for Ericameria cuneata spathulata, many of which are still in flower.
The nights are getting colder and the leaves are turning yellow.
This is a new loop for us, so we mostly hiked. A great loop to do again in the spring.
Part of the loop, if not most, is a shared horse trail and more dusty than usual.
The best bloomer along most of the hike is Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum | Sapphire Woolly Star.
We haven't hiked this loop since 2015, so it's long overdue.
The "Foot Travel Only" sign is gone, and off-roaders have gone into the wash, driving over the pristine mud hills and doing doughnuts.
The many Lycium fremontii | Fremont's desert thorn in the Mud Hills Wash look good, some are still in bloom.
New Lycium fremontii appear whenever roots are exposed.
There are more Hoffmannseggia microphylla | Hoffmannseggia in the wash than before, many in flower, most in fruit.
Tidestromia suffruticosa oblongifolia | Arizona honeysweet are very green and most are in bloom.
The area is basically divided into badlands, mud hills that are often too toxic to grow much, and the brown, often meter-thick shell layer, or what's left of it, that is much more suitable for plant life.
On the shell layers, often sloping, you can find large fields of Dalea mollissima | Downy Dalea.
The mud hills are home to Eriogonum trichopes | Little desert trumpet, Eriogonum ordii | Fort Mohave wild buckwheat, Chorizanthe rigida | Devil's spineflower, and Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.
Eriogonum ordii is easily overlooked as it looks very similar to Eriogonum trichopes.
We even found some Chorizanthe rigida in bloom, which is rare this time of year.
In the washes there is much more life, like huge patches of Allionia incarnata | small flowered trailing windmills following the washes.
Suddenly on a mud hill with hundreds of flowering Eriogonum trichopes mixed with Eriogonum ordii.
We only realized we had found Eriogonum ordii when we checked a solitary plant, the identification is easy, by leaf color/shape, stem hairs and by the white in the tiny flower.
Along our entire route, many Geraea canescens | desert sunflower in bloom, but certainly past their prime.
This is such an interesting hike that it would be a great hike even without the flowers.
We didn't count the flowers, but from our pictures and memory we found close to 50 blooming plants.
In this area, such a good bloom would have been a great spring bloom.
Temperature: 60 - 81.
Bloom: Good to very good, for the time of year and location.
A new hike in the Borrego Badlands.
The planned route didn't work out as expected, I forgot how steep these washes are.
The views along the rim are spectacular, but there is no easy way down.
Strangely enough, this was the only place we found spring annuals today, right on the narrow ridge.
The plants didn't look bad, and we added a few Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster that we hadn't seen before.
October/30/2023 Bighorn Canyon - Blue Spring - Nolina Canyon Loop
The goal of the day was to photograph the Epilobium canum garrettii | Garrett's California Fuchsia in bloom.
We didn't have many photos of this variation, so this was the time.
Bloom is low, but it doesn't feel that way because there are so many Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush and Epilobium canum blooming.
Germination is absent in the Bighorn wash, but present for a few hundred meters in the Nolina wash.
Along our route, but especially in Nolina Canyon, walls were covered with Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowering trailing windmills, many still in good bloom.
The crossing from Bighorn Canyon to Nolina Canyon is a climb, this time we took a new route to the east, which turned out to be much easier.
Still, this was our longest hike of the season at 4 hours and 40 minutes.
In Borrego Springs there was a lot of ground fog, dust from the wind and the off-roaders and maybe some moisture from the Salton Sea.
The fog was completely gone by 2 pm.
We now entered "Park 2" much closer to the forks we wanted to visit.
There was a good bloom after this year's monsoon rains, we now see the last blooming Pectis papposa papposa | Chinchweed.
The Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed bloom is a bit better, but certainly at the end of its bloom.
After the fire we found thousands of germinating Argemone munita | Prickly Poppy, to our surprise not a single living plant remains, we did find a few fresh basal leaves.
At the Allium marvinii drainage we found only an amazing amount of dried Centaurea melitensis | Tocalote and recognizable dried Allium marvinii.
The best bloomer, probably just starting to bloom, was Malacothamnus enigmaticus | Enigmatic Bushmallow, but only a few in this fork.
We visited a fork further west where we've never been before and found a much larger number of flowering and healthy looking Malacothamnus enigmaticus, certainly in the hundreds.
This new fork is certainly worth a visit next year, if we get some rain.
We've been trying to find Euonymus occidentalis parishii | Parish's Burning Bush in this area, now we knew what to look for and we finally found one in fruit.
Another plant on our list was Perideridia parishii latifolia | Sierra yampah and we are pretty sure that we found the plants, hopefully in bloom next year.
On our trip we found some interesting Carex plants. The bad thing is that plant removal here is pretty brutal, of course we need a passable trail.
We found at least 7 blooming Penstemon heterophyllus, more than on our last trip here.
What a surprise to find a blooming Frangula californica tomentella.
Temperature: 58 when we started and 64 3 1/2 hours later.
It's been too warm to visit the badlands often, but that will change when the temperature drops enough.
The hike is short, so we added an extra loop for a 3 1/2 hour hike.
Things look much better than average, as expected Pectis papposa papposa | Chinchweed is way past peak bloom.
Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy is covering areas around the wash and should be in full bloom soon.
We were surprised and pleased to find two Mentzelia involucrata in bloom, normal plants, certainly not the huge ones we found last year.
On our route we found one Chylismia claviformis peirsonii in bloom and another one close to bloom.
On the extra loop we found several blooming Asclepias subulata | Rush Milkweed and best of all a rare white Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's Woody Aster, the second time we found white flowering plants after seeing well over 10,000 plants.
In the Vallecito Wash and probably all over the desert Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush are starting their year-end bloom.
Temperature: 62 when we started and 82 3 1/2 hours later.
Bloom: Moderate for the time of year, better than average.
October/22/2023 Johnson Canyon - PCT - California - Loop
Since we found the shortcut, that is our favorite route.
It doesn't look bad, the Adenostoma sparsifolium | Red shank are green and we were really surprised to find a lot of them in bloom.
We no longer had any good Sporobolus cryptandrus | Sand dropseed photos, here we found a whole bunch of fresh plants.
Like here, there are more Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock at the end of this year than we remember from any other year.
This is the first time we found water in Johnson Canyon and probably because of that, the best find of the day, a plants we only hoped to find Erythranthe parishii | parish's monkeyflower.
Temperature: 60 when we arrived and 71, just over 3 hours later, 91 at Borrego Springs.
October/21/2023 Santa Ysabel Coast to Crest Trail east
The goal of the day, to check on the Salvia clevelandii | Cleveland Sage that Tom Chester and Don had posted on iNaturalist.
The plant at the Nature Center was in full bloom, which was hopeful.
In the wild, the hundreds of plants are long past bloom.
We connected our Coast to Crest Trail to our Santa Ysabel East Loop, completing the entire short Coast to Crest Trail in Santa Ysabel.
One of the other highlights, two blooming Antirrhinum nuttallianum | Nuttall's snapdragon and several plants along the San Diego River, which is actually a small creek.
Temperature: 66 on arrival and 84, 3 1/2 hours later, 100 at Borrego Springs.
We had no idea if we would be able to enter the two routes we had planned.
The northern entrance along the Lake Henshaw Truck Road seemed to be OK, a closed gate with no readable text entering the Cleveland National Forest.
We could get to the lake shore without much trouble.
This was the most interesting part, as we found many new plants, over a dozen, YES.
We spent half an hour while hiking to remove all the nasty fruits of Bidens frondosa | Devil's Beggarticks.
The second entry was further south at a phone booth with an entry OK sign.
This brought us directly to the goal of the day, a reported Baccharis pilularis.
A big disappointment, no way the plant reported in 2022 was dead, probably too long above the waterline.
We added a few new plants here as well.
Temperature: fifties on arrival and 85 about 3 hours later.
On the spur road Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed is still alive.
Not much in bloom at our parking spot.
From the parking spot up to Rattle Snake Wash, bloom is poor, but exceptionally good for some, such as Psorothamnus emoryi emoryi | Emory's Indigo Bush and Ambrosia dumosa | Burrobush.
The number of dead perennials here is greater than the number of good looking living perennials.
Near the lake, a variety of green grasses around the rocks and Asclepias subulata | Rush Milkweed in full bloom, as good as it gets.
In the flooded areas (now dry) there were hundreds if not thousands of Sphaeralcea angustifolia | Narrow-leaf globemallow and probably the same number of Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge, the latter often in large mats.
The flooded areas should soon be covered by already growing Brassica tournefortii | Sahara Mustard; Asian Mustard.
At the lake itself, almost nothing grows.
The last photo of Abronia villosa villosa near the car looks great, but it might be the only spot with more than one flowering plant.
Temperatures 62 at the start and 82 3 hours later and rising fast.
This may be our last low desert hike for a while as it seems to be going into the hundreds again.
We headed for the Whale Peak Trailhead, past the easy sandy road, some rocks, but not more than usual.
The "road" is more of a gully than before, the middle part is the trickiest, close to our ground clearance.
The bloom must have been very good after the summer rain, what we see now are the last flowering plants.
We noticed a lot of Menodora scabra glabrescens | Broom Twinberry in full fruit.
It didn't look good enough for Euphorbia revoluta | Rolled Leaf Spurge, but we still found several plants in fruit.
The goal today was to check the Sporobolus flexuosus points from Tom Chester.
The rain may have come too early, we found a lot of dried grasses, some maybe, some probably not, some definitely not.
We probably found Sporobolus flexuosus in two places, one good enough to take a voucher.
The best grass we found, large and in some numbers, is Muhlenbergia porteri | Porter's muhly.
Sporobolus contractus | Spike Dropseed was high on our "to find" list and we found several large plants, mostly in fruit.
The rain seemed to be OK for Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock as we saw many large flowering plants.
Our second stop was the PCT from the S2 towards Banner.
It looks bad, much drier, too dry to expect any Sporobolus, this turned out to be true, not a good year there.
The temperature was in the low sixties when we left and 85 when we returned from the PCT (s2) detour.
October/11/2023 Smuggler Canyon - Bisnaga Alta Wash
Windy in town, a wall of sand at the end of Coyote Canyon / Pegleg and a plume of sand close to the Carrizo Marsh.
We were safe though, the wind was actually pleasant and sometimes completely gone.
It's been 8 years since we hiked this particular route, time to check it out again.
The bloom is certainly winding down, some of the Fouquieria splendens splendens, Ocotillo are in bloom.
Here you can find the pretty Euphorbia, Euphorbia pediculifera pediculifera | Carrizo mountain spurge.
Still a few fields of fragrant Pectis papposa papposa | Chinchweed.
Surprisingly we found a Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw; desert unicorn plant in good bloom and several blooming Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus.
The temperature was in the mid sixties when we left and 85 when we returned.
A lot of soft sand came down Pinyon Wash this summer. The road is a bit tricky because of the sand.
The wash itself is barren. This is probably due to the new sand deposits and the many footprints in the soft sand.
There is virtually no germination of spring annuals. There is an abundance of monsoon annuals such as Pectis papposa papposa | Chinchweed, still quite fresh.
Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye and Senna armata | Spiny senna are probably just past their prime.
Blooming Chilopsis linearis arcuata, desert willow and lots of good blooming Eriogonum plumatella.
Many perennials responded to the monsoon rains, such as Acamptopappus sphaerocephalus sphaerocephalus | Desert goldenhead, Porophyllum gracile | Odora, and Menodora scabra glabrescens | Broom twinberry.
The goal was to relocate Sporobolus plants found by Tom Chester. We didn't find any around the GPS points, but we did find our own plant further up the wash.
The temperature was in the low eighties with a slight breeze.
October/09/2023 Chico Ravine - Laguna - Agua Dulce Loop
Many look alikes in good bloom Penstemon centranthifolius | Scarlet Bugler, Penstemon rostriflorus | Bridges' Penstemon, Keckiella ternata ternata | Whorled Leaf Penstemon and Epilobium canum latifolium | California Fuchsia.
Another plant that covers larger areas Castilleja miniata miniata , Giant red paintbrush in good bloom.
A late blooming Laguna plant, Dieteria asteroides lagunensis | Mount Laguna aster is in good bloom, most likely more on the other side of S1.
The last blooming Horkelia clevelandii clevelandii | Cleveland's horkelia and Leptosiphon floribundus floribundus | Hairy summersnow.
Solidago velutina californica | California goldenrod sometimes covering larger areas and in good bloom.
Still plenty of water in the various streams, often with the best flowering.
We've added several (2/3) new plants to our list, which doesn't happen as often as it used to.
Bloom at the beginning and around Lake Laguna is low, otherwise in the canyons bloom is moderate to good for the time of year.
Bloom: Sometimes low, locally good for this time of year.
October/07/2023 San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area & Sentenac
We started walking along the northern fence and the bloom is much less than on our previous visit to the southern part.
Best find of the day: A flowering Cucurbita foetidissima | Stinking Gourd and we added a new Cuscuta | Dodder to our list of vouchers for the area.
In Sentenac we searched for an Artiplex that we've never seen before, the ID may be wrong or the plant may be hidden in the dense vegetation.
Best to find it here: Male flowering Baccharis salicina | Willow baccharis, we found a female flowering plant a few days ago in the same area.
Temperatures: Seventies when we arrived in San Felipe and 90 when we returned after 2 hours and 95 when we left.
Driving up Montezuma Grade, an excellent display of yellow: Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye, Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed and higher up Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush.
An unusually large display of large flowering Datura wrightii | Jimson weed on our drive up and along the route.
Oenothera californica avita | California evening primrose and lots of Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clocks on our drive down.
On our way down Old Wilson Road and at the start of the hike, huge Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum | Sapphire Woolly Star in full bloom, a rather rare sight.
In the same area there are many large flowering Lessingia glandulifera glandulifera.
As expected all along our route, Amaranthus fimbriatus.
Lots of Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock in full spectacular bloom and completely closed 3 hours later.
Temperatures 70 -> 82 still a bit warm for an off trail hike up several hills.
A detour to a 20 acres fire at the end of July 2023. Plants are already growing back and the Mirabilis plants are back to full size.
Except for the many young Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush there is not much going on at the burn site.
One of the few areas in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park we hadn't visited before.
Going down the Blue Ribbon Trail, the flowers didn't look very good.
But as we got closer to a creek, the bloom picked up considerably and became more interesting.
Highlights: Monardella breweri lanceolata | Mustang Mint, a white Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum | Sapphire Woolly Star.
Hardly any annoying insects to bother us.
The most visible plants: Gutierrezia sarothrae | matchweed, Eriogonum fasciculatum polifolium , California buckwheat | (in fruit) Cercocarpus betuloides betuloides | birch-leaf mountain mahogany.
Walking down the road, the bloom is quite good, with large Acmispon heermannii heermannii | Heermann's lotus lining the road.
Many Keckiella ternata ternata | Whorled Leaf Penstemon along the way are still in bloom.
Our best find of the day, several in bloom: Erythranthe cardinalis, Scarlet monkeyflower.
In Noble Canyon itself there is much less bloom, except near the creek. The number of insects that followed us all the way up Noble Canyon was annoying.
Just outside of Sentenac Canyon and in the San Felipe Valley, the Prosopis glandulosa torreyana | Honey mesquite looks spectacular in fruit.
We have never seen such a display of fruit, this time last year the plants looked dead.
This time we were looking for Atriplex that are not frequently recorded, most likely because these are annuals that grow when it's warm.
We found Atriplex argentea expansa | Silverscale and Atriplex serenana serenana | Saltscale only in this area and now it's time to find them in bloom and we did.
Another target Atriplex canescens canescens | Four-winged saltbush, tiny almost invisible female flowers and large fruits.
The most visible flowers: Isocoma acradenia eremophila | Toothed leaved alkali goldenbush, Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed and Datura wrightii | Jimson weed.
The interesting plants are scattered and sometimes hidden by invasive plants and large areas of dry non-native grasses.
The goal is to record plant locations and voucher all plants.
Warning: Access to the Wildlife area is NOT free.
Our next stop is the Sentenac "swamp", here the non-native plants are also present in abundance like vast fields of Bassia hyssopifolia | Fivehook bassia.
There is a removal effort underway, but we don't expect that to work, with the huge seed supply, with fruiting plants now that there is no one around to remove them.
Next San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area is a huge cache of non-native plants.
Bloom: Spotty, some good patches, but generally low.
We've never been on this loop in October after a monsoon rain.
As in most of the low desert, Pectis papposa papposa | chinch weed is everywhere in color and scent.
We expected to find a fringe population of Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw.
It looks more like a main population, we zigzagged around the plants, caught about 400, missed more than 50% on our route, there must be thousands of plants out here.
We wanted to find out if Abutilon palmeri | Indian Mallow, can flower by the end of the year.
They do in abundance, 100% of the plants in good bloom, this could even be a prime bloom after a monsoon rain.
Some of the Horsfordia alata | Pink Velvet Mallow are in bloom.
If Abutilon is blooming out here after the monsoon rains, what about Abutilon abutiloides | Shrubby Indian mallow in Blair Valley?
We have been trying to find them in bloom for over 5 years, with over 20 failed trips, but today some of the plants are in good bloom.
A hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, temperatures in the seventies, but it feels much warmer because the sun is still pretty strong.
The most abundant bloomers: Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed Epilobium canum latifolium | California fuchsia and Corethrogyne filaginifolia | California aster.
Bloom is good at the start and drops off halfway up Middle Peak, a bit the opposite of what we expected.
Much better closer to the summit.
We took a slightly different route along the Sugar Pine Trail.
We were very pleased to see small trees, so we could finally see fresh leaves.
The goal was to find Pycnanthemum californicum | Sierra Mint and we did, some of the hundreds of plants were a bit in bloom.
In the same area an unusually high number of strange Verbascum thapsus | Great Mullein, Fasciation seems to be very common with these plants.
We also hoped to find some Asclepias fascicularis, Narrow-leaf milkweed in bloom, and we did find some nice looking plants along our route.
Bloom: Mixed, ranging from not bad to almost non-existent.