BURTON MESA, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY MARCH 2012
PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




Burton Mesa is just outside my normal area of Southern California, but having heard of this locality before as a place with a terrific flora, and since in this dry year it is getting more and more difficult to find places with much blooming going on, I signed up for a field outing organized by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and led by one of my favorite field botanists, Steve Junak, whose expertise is well-known on both sides of the Santa Barbara Channel. I was also very interested to see if there would be Central Coast species that I was not familiar with. The Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve is a biological transition area between Southern California and Central California, and a number of species reach either the northern or southern limits of their distribution here. The transitional biogeographic nature of this area, much of which is populated by a vegetation type known as maritime chaparral, accounts in large part for its relatively high rate of diversity and regional endemism. Other factors are the sandy substrates and the prevalence of regular summer fog. Our visit was confined to land belonging to La Purisima Mission State Park which is adjacent to the Reserve. Although we did see some regional endemics such as Amsinckia spectabilis var. microcarpa, Arctostaphylos rudis, Arctostaphylos purissima, Ceanothus cuneatus var. fascicularis, and Prunus fasciculatus var. punctata, the dry conditions affecting California generally have prevailed here also, and those annuals that were in evidence were not in particularly great numbers and were generally smaller than they would be in a wet year. I'm going to try to plan a return trip there in about a month when Steve feels that there should be many annuals up and blooming. An upside-down V next to the common name indicates a taxon new to me when I photographed it on this field trip. Thanks to Hartmut Wisch for the butterfly ID on page 3. Incidentally, 'purissima' is the correct spelling of the manzanita and 'purisima' is the correct spelling of the Mission, both deriving from the Latin pur for 'pure.'


   
California malacothrix
Malacothrix californica
Asteraceae


 
Douglas's silver bush lupine
Lupinus albifrons var. douglasii
Fabaceae
 



       
   
Indian warrior
Pedicularis densiflora
Orobanchaceae
   
    Leather spineflower
Lastarriaea coriacea
Polygonaceae


 
Small-fruited seaside fiddleneck ^
Amsinckia spectabilis var. microcarpa
Boraginaceae
 



   
Mock-heather
Ericameria ericoides
Asteraceae


 
 
California ground squirrel
Spermophilus beecheyi
Sciuridae
California spineflower ^
Mucronea californica
Polygonaceae
 


 
 
 
Hawkweed layia, Tall tidy-tips ^
Layia hieracioides
Asteraceae
 
 



 
Wedge-leaf horkelia ^
Horkelia cuneata var. cuneata
Rosaceae
 
   
Yerba buena
Clinopodium douglasii
Lamiaceae


   
Telegraph weed
Heterotheca grandiflora
Asteraceae
 
California blackberry
Rubus ursinus
Rosaceae