Here in Laguna Canyon, we‘re tucked right in the middle of coastal sage scrub, an abundant plant community rich with diverse plants and wildlife. On the trails, we hike through the aromatic slopes of California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) and hear the songs of birds tucked in the evergreen shrubs of lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifololia), and laurel sumac (Malosma laurina). We take breaks under the shade of California scrub oaks (Quercus berberidifolia) and admire charismatic cactus sculptures like prickly pear (Opuntia littoralis) and coast cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera). Year–round, we watch this plant community grow and thrive. But it’s spring, an especially exciting time in the wilderness as the wildflowers begin to appear. It’s a brief display, but one of great beauty that continues to spark inspiration for many who visit the local trails.
Although it‘s been a relatively dry winter, we‘re starting to see the hills green and some early flowers unfurl. It‘s not likely that we’ll experience another “super bloom” this spring, but there‘s still so much beauty to explore in the South Coast Wilderness. Because of last year’s wildflower frenzy, the interest in wildflowers has spiked. Of course, everyone enjoys the sight of colorful blooms, but there‘s a new way you can be involved with this season’s tidings…join our wildflower watch on social media!
This season, tune in on Wednesdays for #wildflowerwatch. We’ll be partnering with OC Parks to share our latest blooms. But we need your help! First, follow us on Instagram @lagunacanyonfoundation, and when you find a flower (or cool plant), tag us and @OCParks and use #ocparksblooms.
It’s important to remember that the wildflowers serve an important role in this ecosystem. They are an essential food source for our pollinators (butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bees, and so many more). Always explore responsibly – stay on the trails, take only photos, and of course, don’t pick the flowers!
Check out some of the early blooms we‘ve been seeing this past week. This yellow flower is showing up all over the place! Spotted in dense patches around the Nix Nature Center, the Common Fiddleneck (Amsinckia intermedia).
Littered along the trails of the Dilley Preserve are the white blooms of California popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys californicus)! This flower is a low grower commonly seen in bloom March through May.
These whimsical purple flowers grow tall through the surrounding vegetation and can often be seen visited by butterflies. School bells (Dichelostemma capitatum) are commonly seen this time of year all over the parks. Pictured here in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.
Remember to share your wildflowers with us on social media. #ocparksblooms
Photos by Cameron Davis