Noble Canyon
Tue, 21 Jun 2005 09:12:56 PDT
Dear all,

On Father's Day, I hiked in Noble Canyon to get away from Yuma's 175F heat.  :-)
It's located about forty miles east of San Diego.  The chamise bushes (Adenostoma fasciculatum) were in full bloom, but the truly spectatular sight were the summer beardtongues (Keckiella ternata) and catchflies (Silene laciniata).  They formed swaths of red that I'm sure had the hummingbirds in a frenzy.  Accompanying the Keckiellas here and there were colonies of Delphinium cardinale.  They were still budding, not quite in bloom, but were still spectacular, despite the fact that every single colony's largest plants had be crushed; otherwise they would have been pushing seven feet in height.  The ones near the trail I'm sure were whacked by mountain bikers, but that doesn't explain the crushed plants well off the trail.  It was almost as if a bear was going around bedding down in all of the larkspur colonies.

Three mariposa lilies were conspicuous, sometimes growing side by side.  One species was very common and I'm pretty sure it was a variety of Calochortus weedii.  I think the other two were C. splendens and C. concolor.  There was a peony in fruit (probably P. californica) and one radiant Frasera parryi in bloom.  The Dudleyas scattered about matched D. saxosa (ssp. aloides ?), although their flower stalks were different than shown in the Peterson field guide.  In general, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the amount of blooming that was still in progress.

Shawn Pollard
Yuma, AZ

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