A photo of the berries of Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) taken on the Garapito Loop trail run on Thanksgiving Day. Also called Christmas berry, the plant is protected by a California law.
The Garapito Loop is a pleasant 7.5 mile figure eight course that starts at the south end of Reseda Blvd. at Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park, goes up to near Eagle Rock via Fire Road #30 and Eagle Rock Fire Road, and then returns via the Garapito and Bent Arrow Trails. Here’s a Google Earth image of a GPS trace of the route and a 3D, interactive view of a slightly longer variation of the loop that visits Eagle Rock.
Also see: Ferns Along the Garapito Trail
A native of the Mediterranean, Milk Thistle is an invasive weed that appears to be increasingly profuse in roadside areas of Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. Generally considered detrimental in the wild, the plant has been used medicinally for at least 2000 years, and is cultivated in Texas, Canada and Argentina.
According to the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) produces about 190 seeds per flower, and over 6000 seeds per plant. Dense stands are reported to produce 1.4 million viable seeds and four tons of vegetation per acre! Here is a closer look at an individual Milk Thistle seed.
This photograph was taken on a run at Ahmanson Ranch on July 13, 2006. The posting Convoluted includes a photograph of the white-veined leaf, and a photo of a dense stand of Milk Thistle in Las Virgenes Canyon. Additional information regarding Milk Thistle, including its history, laboratory studies, clinical trials, and adverse effects can be found in the National Cancer Institute’s Milk Thistle (PDQ®).
Cucumber Beetles (Acalymma trivittata) munching on the pistillate blossom of the wild gourd Calabazilla (Cucurbita foetidissima). The photograph is from Sunday’s Ahmanson-Cheeseboro run.
If somehow you were to miss the bright yellow of this lily amid the greens of a mountain meadow, its arresting fragrance would certainly draw your attention.
In terms of its habitat niche, the Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi) is a higher elevation analogue to the Humboldt Lily, occurring in meadows and near seeps and springs in pine and fir forests up to an elevation of about 9000 feet.
The Lemon Lily is listed by the California Native Plant Society as being rare, threatened, or endangered.
The photograph was taken on the Three Points – Cooper Canyon – Mt. Waterman loop described in Manzanita Morning.
In this case, Indian Paintbrush (prob. Castilleja affinis), Scarlet LarkSpur (Delphinium cardinale), and Indian Pink (Silene laciniata) in the Cheeseboro Canyon area of Southern California.
As is the case with many wildfires, one of the side effects of the 2005 Topanga Fire has been to promote a population explosion in many species of wildflowers. Scarlet Larkspur has been especially prevalent in some areas, such as upper Cheeseboro Canyon.
These photos were taken on a run to Simi Peak from the Las Virgenes Rd. trailhead of the Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve on June 11, 2006. I like to go out via upper Las Virgenes Canyon, and come back through Cheeseboro Canyon. This variation is about 16 miles, with an elevation gain and loss of about 2000 ft. The run can be extended to about 21 miles by starting at El Scorpion Park, near Vanowen and Valley Circle. Following are links to trail maps for Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve and Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons.
Related post: Simi Peak Out & Back
When the hills and valleys of Southern California turn golden brown, and temperatures reach into the nineties or beyond, mixed in among the desiccated grasses, enjoying the heat and the sun, may be the delicate pink to purple of a Plummer’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus plummerae).
Previously listed by the California Native Plant Society as being rare, threatened, or endangered, the Plummer’s Mariposa is now listed as uncommon and fairly endangered in California.
Note: Plummer’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus plummerae) and Foothill Mariposa Lily (Calochortus weedii var. intermedius) are closely related species that have intersecting ranges and similar characteristics. C. plummerae is more frequently reported in Los Angeles County.