Photographs by Michael Charters

I was introduced to this really neat area because of a CNPS hike led by Roger Klemm of JPL and the Sunland Welcome Nature Garden. Subsequent visits led me to map all the trails which at first had seemed like a confusing maze. The almost flat terrain makes exploring this area quite easy, and the large number of native plant species means there's almost always something new just around the corner. The wash area covered by this gallery extends generally west to east from Foothill Blvd to Oro Vista Street and is bisected by Big Tujunga Wash, a channel that carries a considerable amount of water in wet seasons and is often dry at other times. On the south side of the wash is Oro Vista Park and the 111-acre parcel purchased by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority which is in part adjacent to the Angeles National Golf Course. On the north side is an extensive area owned by the County of Los Angeles. There are a number of trails that crisscross both sections. The wash, a tributary of the Los Angeles River, comes down out of Big Tujunga Canyon and flows under Foothill Blvd and the 210 freeway continuing to Hansen Dam. The word "Tujunga" means "old woman's place" in the language of the indigenous Tongva peoples which according to Wikipedia refers to an ethnohistorical narrative in which the wife of the chief of the region, Khra'wiyawi, is consumed by the loss of her daughter and retreats to the mountains where she is turned to stone. Between May and August I made 18 visits, took 2,500 pictures, compiled a plant list of some 150 species, and did my best to be as accurate as possible with the identifications. There are a few taxa that remain to be confirmed or are as yet unidentified. Next year I plan to survey the lower part of the wash. As always an asterisk next to the common name indicates a non-native species. Thanks to Naomi Fraga, Tom Chester, Helena Bowman and Roger Klemm for their contributions.

Giant woolstar
Eriastrum densifolium ssp. elongatum

California croton
Croton californicus

Bush poppy
Dendromecon rigida

Big-berry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca

Caterpillar phacelia
Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

California chicory
Rafinesquia californica

[Named for Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, 1783-1940]

Blue dicks
Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus

Common muilla
Muilla maritima

Bristly ox-tongue *
Helminthotheca echioides
  Wild oats *
Avena fatua

Lamb's quarters *
Chenopodium album


Copyright © 2023 by Michael L. Charters.
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Comments and/or questions may be addressed to: mmlcharters[at]calflora.net.