MALIBU CREEK GRAND TOUR, SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS
FEBRUARY 2012 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




It has been over 2-1/2 years since I last hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains, and I was eager to see whether there was much in the way of blooming flora at this early stage of what is likely to be a fairly dry season, so I joined my hiking companions Jerry, John and Chris to hike most of what has been referred to as the Malibu Creek Grand Tour, and then went back a few days later to hike the entire loop, which goes from the Malibu Creek State Park parking area over a ridge to Tapia Park and the Piuma Road trailhead, thence up the Backbone Trail, the Mesa Peak Motorway and the Castro Motorway to the Bulldog Motorway and back down past the M*A*S*H site, returning after 14 miles to the parking area. As this photo gallery demonstrates, there is currently a surprising number of blooming species, although most not in any profusion. It is my hope to cover this area several times to record the progression of the flora as the season goes on, although if I do it will likely be as a series of two hikes each, as I found the 14 mile distance coupled with 2000' of elevation gain to be too tiring. An asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native species. Thanks to Hartmut Wisch for the spider identifications.


   
Milkmaids
Cardamine californica
Brassicaceae
 
Wild peony
Paeonia californica
Paeoniaceae
 
Purple nightshade
Solanum xanti
Solanaceae


 
Yellow pincushion
Chaenactis glabriuscula var. glabriuscula
Asteraceae


 
 
 

Hoaryleaf ceanothus
Ceanothus crassifolius var. crassifolius
Rhamnaceae

 
 
 



 
 
California maidenhair fern
Adiantum jordanii
Pteridaceae
 
Large-flowered cryptantha
Cryptantha intermedia var. intermedia
Boraginaceae
White-flowering currant
Ribes indecorum
Grossulariaceae
   


   
Winter vetch *
Vicia villosa ssp. villosa
Fabaceae



 
 
Woolly lomatium
Lomatium dasycarpum ssp. dasycarpum
Apiaceae
 
 
Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry
Ribes speciosum
Grossulariaceae
Chaparral currant
Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium
Grossulariaceae
Longstem buckwheat
Eriogonum elongatum
Polygonaceae
Golden yarrow
Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum
Asteraceae


 
Bush monkeyflower
Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens
Phrymaceae



   
Greenbark ceanothus
Ceanothus spinosus
Rhamnaceae