Mar 162017

A first out­ing for the Wild­flower sea­son. Click on any of the images for a larg­er view com­plete with com­ments then scroll below the image gallery to read the March 16th For­est Ser­vice wild­flower report.

Los Padres Nation­al For­est
Figueroa Moun­tain Wild­flower Update — First Update of the 2017 Sea­son
March 16, 2017

Greet­ings and hap­py almost spring! Wel­come to the 2017 wild­flower sea­son! Because of the much need­ed rain and the cold­er weath­er on Figueroa Moun­tain, the wild­flow­ers are get­ting a late start. This is very com­mon for a wet year. With this said, while the wild­flow­ers are start­ing to bloom, there real­ly aren’t that many yet, but final­ly enough for a short report. Keep in mind that most of the wild­flower that are cur­rent­ly bloom­ing are in the low­er ele­va­tion, below 3,000 feet, with the excep­tion of the south fac­ing slopes, which get the sun shine most of the day.

A friend­ly reminder before we begin. When you stop to look and take pic­tures of all the beau­ties, please make sure that you park on the shoul­der of the road and not on the road itself. If there isn’t a place to stop, find a turn-out and walk back to the area. Please do not block the road at any time as this will be enforced.

Ready to start our tour? Let’s go!

Start­ing at the first cat­tle guard, shiny but­ter­cups, milk maids, blue dicks, delight­ful fies­ta flow­ers, fid­dle­necks, John­ny jump-ups, fil­la­ree and min­ers let­tuce are in bloom. In fact, I even spied a lomatium, 2 lupine and gold­en yarrow hid­ing among the tall grass. These same flow­ers can be spot­ted all the way through to the enchant­i­ng tree canopy area, only add pop­corn flow­ers to this love­ly mix.

As you con­tin­ue up the hill, beau­ti­ful Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies are begin­ning bloom. In fact, look to your left and see the stun­ning orange patch work on the top por­tion of Grass Moun­tain. Grass Moun­tain put on quite a show last year. Let’s see
what it does this year. Right before you get to the rusty gate, look to the right and find some tiny cream cups in bloom, along with fil­la­ree and a few pop­pies.

Oth­er wild­flow­ers to look for as you con­tin­ue your uphill climb include, Cean­oth­us, but­ter­cups, fid­dle­neck, fil­la­ree, blue dicks, a few lupine, car­pets of gold­fields, stun­ning orange wall flow­ers along the rocky hill on the right, shoot­ing stars, and core­op­sis.

At Vista Point (large grav­el turnout about 11.4 miles from the bot­tom), everyone’s favorite, the exquis­ite choco­late lilies are in bloom, be care­ful not to step on them so that oth­er may enjoy them. Also look for shoot­ing stars, gold­fields and fil­la­ree. I even spot­ted a cou­ple of wild onions. In the ser­pen­tine area across Vista Point and along the road lead­ing to the sta­tion, you’ll see Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies, but­ter­cups, blue dicks, core­op­sis, gold­en yarrow and wild onions.

As you pass the sta­tion, fields of gor­geous shoot­ing stars can be seen, rang­ing in col­or from deep magen­ta to pur­ple to the occa­sion­al white blooms. But­ter­cups can also be spot­ted here.

In the field to the right, before Tun­nell Ranch Road, look for pop­pies and but­ter­cups.

About a half mile fur­ther, the infa­mous pop­py hill­side is about one quar­ter filled. This year the pop­pies in this area appear small­er, but still beau­ti­ful. It also seems as though they will be shar­ing the spot­light with love­ly lupine this year.

As we con­tin­ue on Figueroa Moun­tain Road to the Davy Brown trail­head, there is lit­tle to see. Look for a few pop­pies, Cean­oth­us and a cou­ple of pur­ple night­shades, which can be seen on the hill­side, right before the trail­head.

About one half mile fur­ther, you will find some col­or­ful fields, hous­ing beau­ti­ful shoot­ing stars, lomatium and but­ter­cups.

From this point, there is very lit­tle to report. From Ranger Peak to Cachu­ma Sad­dle, because of the high­er ele­va­tion, the flow­ers are just start­ing to bloom. One might see an occa­sion­al bush pop­py, few Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies, a cou­ple of bush lupine, some wild canyon peas can be spot­ted in a few loca­tions and some pur­ple night­shade towards the Cachu­ma Sad­dle side. While just start­ing, the bush lupine should be putting on quite a dis­play in about 3 weeks or so. Stay tuned!

Sun­set Val­ley has even less to report for right now.

As for the flow­ers on Hap­py Canyon Road, like Sun­set Val­ley and the stretch between Ranger Peak and Cachu­ma Sad­dle, the wild­flow­ers are just wak­ing up. One can see a few Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies, an occa­sion­al bush pop­py and pur­ple night­shades. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the sec­tion of road that real­ly is spec­tac­u­lar is the two mile dirt por­tion of Hap­py Canyon that is only rec­om­mend­ed to high clear­ance vehi­cles. Because this two mile sec­tion is at around 2500 feet ele­va­tion and is south fac­ing, one can see Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies in both bril­liant orange and bright yel­low. The yel­low ones can be seen in large patch­es towards the top of the hill­sides. There are also core­op­sis, blue dicks and shoot­ing stars bloom­ing in this area.

That’s all for this update. Look for our next wild­flower update in two weeks. Until then, hap­py view­ing! If you would like to be added to the Figueroa Wild­flower Update email list, please con­tact Helen Tar­bet by e‑mail at

 Posted by at 2:26 pm