Winter Bloom

A California fuchsia in deep shade blooming in December in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Deep in shade on a north-facing chaparral slope, this California fuchsia (Epilobium canum ssp. canum) has not savored direct sunshine for weeks. Overnight temperatures in the Santa Monica Mountains have dropped to freezing several times this Winter, and frosts have been common. But this hardy plant continues to bloom.

According to the Jepson Manual this subspecies ranges up to about 5000 ft. in elevation, and the parent species up to about 10,000 ft. As a genus, Epilobium is well represented by species that grow at higher latitudes and elevations, and must have developed adaptations that help it flourish in cooler climes.

From a run on the Old Boney Trail on December 27, 2008.