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Thursday

Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
High: 87 °F
Low: 61 °F

Friday

Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
High: 88 °F
Low: 62 °F

Saturday

Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
High: 88 °F
Low: 62 °F

SCV Outdoor Report: Are They Blooming Yet?

By Wendy Langhans

Sponsored By:

One problem I have with writing this weekly "Outdoor Report"
is that it's hard to answer a simple question without launching into a 3 minute
explanation.  So when a friend asked me
earlier this week, "What's the best time to see wildflowers?", I had to pause
and take a deep breath.  "Sometime
between March and May", I replied.  Then
I smiled, knowing I now had a topic for this week's report.

 

It's hard to predict a specific "best time" to see
wildflowers, because specific wildflowers bloom in response to a mixture of
predictable and unpredictable environmental cues.  Let's look at three of these cues.

 

Amount of light.  This
cue is a predictable as the sunrise and sunset. 
It doesn't matter if it was a rainy and cold winter, or a dry and warm
winter - it's the amount of (as in absence of) light.  For certain flowers, fewer hours of daylight
is the stimulus to start producing flowers. 
So flowers in the thistle family always appear around the same time,
regardless of the weather.

 

Image
Milk Thistle

 

Amount of water.  This
is an important but unpredictable cue, especially in our Southern California
Mediterranean ecosystem, with its wet winter and spring and dry summer and
fall.  For example, poppies do not
germinate until they receive a heavy rainfall.

 

Image
California Poppy

 

Temperature.  Another
important but unpredictable cue, especially in areas that are subject to
freezing temperatures, like the mountains around the Santa Clarita Valley.  It's important that the flowers (and fruit)
do not freeze and that the blossoms appear at the same time the pollinators
become active.  Flowers like Wild
Heliotrope begin to blossom in March, when the bees become active.

 

Image
Wild Heliotrope

 

As we all know, weather is a mixture of the predictable and
unpredictable.  So in the winter, I keep
an umbrella in the trunk of my cars, just in case.  And I listen to the local weather report (on
KHTS, of course).

 

Wildflower season is also a mixture of the predictable and
the unpredictable.  So between now and
May, whenever I head out for a walk, I take my camera along, just in case.  And I check the "weather reports":

 

What's Blooming in the Santa
Monica Mountains

http://www.researchlearningcenter.com/bloom/

 

Theodore Payne "Wildflower Hotline":  Updated every Friday, beginning March 6. 

(818) 768-3533 or  http://www.theodorepayne.org/hotline.html

 

Desert USA
- for an update on the Mojave, Death Valley, Joshua Tree
and Anza-Borrego

http://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/wildupdates.html

 

Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=627

 



 

Upcoming Outdoor Events: 

 

Saturday, February 21, 8:00-10:00
AM.  Morning Bird Hike in Towsley
Canyon.  Towsley
Canyon is a year-round home for
birds.  They like our Mediterranean
climate, the local bounty and the California
sunshine.  Bring your binoculars and meet
at the entrance.  Heavy rain
cancels.  For map and directions go here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority.

 

Saturday, February 21, 10-12
AM.  Wildflower hike at East
& Rice Canyons.

Heavy rain cancels. 
For map and directions go here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority.

 

Saturdays, February 14 and 28, and every Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.

Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie
and a heart-thumping workout.  For more information contact Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565.

 

 



 

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report",
brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

 

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for
trail maps, click here or go to www.LAMountains.com.