April Wildflowers

April 19, 2017

All that rain has really gotten the wildflowers going this month. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

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California goldfields (Lasthinia californica) and Gray’s clover (Trifolium grayi), share a meadow at The Indians in the upper Arroyo Seco watershed.

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Monterey mariposa lily (Calochortus uniflorus) blooming at Ft. Ord National Monument.

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Denseflower owl’s clover (Castilleja densiflora) in Carmel.

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Tidestrom’s lupine (Lupinus tidestromii), a federally listed endangered species, attempts to assure its continued existence on the planet by setting some robust seed pods. Development of the beachfront dunes where it makes its home has brought this Monterey native to the brink of extinction.

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Monterey gilia (Gilia tenuiflora arenaria), an even more highly endangered species, is another struggling denizen of the Monterey Peninsula’s vanishing dune ecosystems.

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Pink sand verbena (Abronia umbellata) is holding its own better against the onslaught of houses, hotels and ice plant.

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Yellow sand verbena (Abronia latifolia) is also doing well.

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Orange sand verbena??? Probably the result of a genetic variation. Unexpected color schemes frequently complicate the task of identifying plants.

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Pacific silver-weed (Potentilla anserina pacifica) is salt-tolerant enough to grow right down to the beach.

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Beach evening-primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia). Imagine the lupine, gilias, verbenas, silver-weeds, and evening-primroses covering the dunes instead of houses and ice plant and you’ll get an idea of what the Monterey coast looked like 100 years ago.

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Pipestem clematis (Clematis lasiantha) along Paloma Creek.

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Western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) along the Carmel Valley Rd.

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Indian pink (Silene laciniata californica) in the San Antonio River watershed.

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Canyon liveforever (Dudleya cymosa) at The Indians.

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Mesa brodiaea (Brodiaea jolonensis), named for the bustling town of Jolon; also at The Indians.

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Indian warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) along the Arroyo Seco River.

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A Santa Lucia easter egg balanced on a ridge…

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And it’s not just flowers that like a little warm spring rain. How about highly prized white porcini (Boletus barrowsii) fruiting in a Carmel city park?

 


The Sorry State of Water Conservation on the Monterey Peninsula

February 5, 2016

For years local officials have waived off suggestions that the Monterey Peninsula could do more to save water by falsely claiming that “residents of the Monterey Peninsula use less water per person per day than anywhere else in the state.” They’ve even gone so far as to publish fraudulent figures purporting to support this claim.

The purpose of this grandiose bragging has been to promote approval of as large and growth-inducing a new water project, whether dam or desal, as possible. That effort appears to have succeeded, but at the cost of undercutting efforts to increase water conservation. Read the rest of this entry »


Will 2015 be Another 2013, or is January Just Not Part of the Rainy Season Anymore?

January 16, 2015

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As the flow of the Carmel River becomes too weak to resist the power of the sea, waves rebuild the sandbar.

Remember how in we got a lot of rain in the fall of 2012? Monterey logged 9.59 inches for November and December that year. The average for those two months is only 5.41 inches. Read the rest of this entry »


Mushroom Season on the Monterey Peninsula

December 19, 2012

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Porcini (Boletus edulis) emerging from the rain-sodden forest floor. Read the rest of this entry »


A Saturday on Rattlesnake Creek

January 28, 2012

A Saturday with no obligations! I head off to the Ventana Wilderness with no particular destination in mind …

The parking lot for the trailhead at Los Padres Dam is gated for some reason these days, so it’s necessary to park down the hill at the Forest Service Station. Read the rest of this entry »


The Fate of the Oaks

October 12, 2011

Trail under coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) on Big Sur’s East Molera Ridge. Quercus is derived from the Celtic quer cuez, meaning “fine tree.” Read the rest of this entry »


South Fork Little Sur

June 12, 2011

There’s no sign, but the Little Sur Trail begins at this easily recognized gate on the Old Coast Rd. Just take the Old Coast Rd. north, a little under 4 miles, from its south end at Andrew Molera State Park. Read the rest of this entry »