DEVIL CANYON, SANTA SUSANA MTS MARCH 2012 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




It has been at least six years since I was last in Devil Canyon, so I thought it might be worthwhile taking a look to see if there was much blooming in this area that does have a seasonal stream running through it. This is not the Devils Canyon up in the San Gabriels north of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River the trailhead for which is near Chilao, but a canyon in the Santa Susana Mts north of Chatsworth. I remember it as being a fairly nice 4-5 mile roundtrip hike up a shaded canyon whose steep walls on one or both sides are composed of carved sandstone similar to that exposed at Santa Susana Pass which was sedimented about 80 million years ago. I also remember that the trailhead was located at the Topanga Canyon Blvd interchange just north of the 118 freeway. Unfortunately the dirt parking area I used to use has now been fenced off and the entire mouth of the canyon has been more or less blocked by a huge condo and apartment complex called Summerset Village. I was shocked to find this to be the case, and only with some difficulty managed to find my way through the condo parking area to a set of steep concrete steps that leads down into the head of the canyon. The trail itself meanders along and frequently crosses a thin and semi-stagnant stream, and passes through a lot of broken vegetation and along muddy banks. There is very little evidence that this trail has been used much recently, although there was some sign of horse traffic. There is little in the way of blooming flora right now, no annuals at all, and little indication that this situation is going to change this year. Many of the things I photographed were present with only one or two plants. This is not a trail I would recommend at this point. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native species, of which because of its proximity to the housing development, there is quite a lot.


   
Chamise
Adenostoma fasciculatum
Rosaceae
 
Purple nightshade
Solanum xanti
Solanaceae


 
 
Coast paintbrush
Castilleja affinis ssp. affinis
Orobanchaceae
Prickly phlox
Linanthus californicus
Polemoniaceae
 


 
 
 
Southern California morning glory, Island false bindweed
Calystegia macrostegia ssp. arida
Convolvulaceae
 
 



   
  Coast live oak
Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia
Fagaceae
 



 
 
 
White nightshade
Solanum douglasii
Solanaceae
 
 



 
Canyon sunflower
Venegasia carpesioides
Asteraceae


   
Caterpillar phacelia
Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida
Boraginaceae
 
California goldenrod
Solidago velutina ssp. californica
Asteraceae
 
White sweetclover *
Melilotus albus
Fabaceae


 
Large-flowered cryptantha
Cryptantha intermedia var. intermedia
Boraginaceae


 
 
Red willow
Salix laevigata
Salicaceae
 
 



 
American dog tick
Dermacentor variabilis
Ixodidae

[Left: female, Right: male]