Wildflowers: Cold Spring to the Grotto, mid-October

First thing I noticed, looking very scruffy and pretty much over is Plummer’s Baccharis. This is quite common and is in full bloom between Forbush and the grotto, but is almost over in the front country. Still there are a few blooms left just after the stream crossing for West Fork.

Plummer’s Baccharis is interesting because it has two different flowers (male flowers and female ones).


Female
Pistillate

Male
Staminate

A little beyond that you will see Chicory-leaved wire-lettuce

Nearby are Cliff Asters.

Somewhere around here I saw one bloom of Southern Hawksweed. Yet another plant that looks like a dandelion. It’s got a little yellow bloom and very very hairy leaves in a basal rosette. It has pretty much finished blooming by now (I was surprised to see it myself as I hadn’t seen any blooms this month)

Maybe 100meters before you come up into the cleared area around the pylons, on the left side of the trail there are some Summer Holly bushes, and a few of these still have berries on them

Then on beyond the pylons, maybe 100m up the trail there are some more Cliff Asters.

Beyond that, but before the turn off to Hot Springs Connector is a patch of California Bricklebush. It’s a bush with some rather nondescript flowers at the end of the stems (a lot of the flowers have turned into dandelion-like puff-balls and those are much more obvious)

Jumping forward to just the turning below the Eucalyptus trees there is a single goldenbush poking out of the chaparral on the left of the trail. The blooms are above my head so I have to pull the plant down to actually get a good look at them. It’s the only Isocoma I’ve seen which is this tall…
Isocoma menziesii on CS

Then mixed in among the chaparral is saw-toothed goldenbush whose leaves really look (and can act) like nasty little saws that try to slice your legs open. Luckily these are far enough back from the trail not to be an issue, but on Arroyo Burro trail…

Then perhaps a 1/4 mile beyond the turn-off to Montecito Peak, a yard or two on the left of the trail, is the only patch of Golden Eardrops that I know of in this area. I think they are quite lovely

There might be a little Buckwheat left in bloom around here, but that’s also coming to the end of its flowering season:

Another quarter~third mile brings you to a patch of Dense False Gilyflowers. These are almost over now, but there were a few left in the patch if you peered carefully. The flowers are small, and difficult to notice (especially now when there aren’t very many left).

I saw a yellow star thistle or two still blooming, but you don’t need me to point those out!

Also in this area (and continuing on to the other side of Camino Cielo) are some Wand Chicories.

Then down in Forbush meadow there are still a few Elegant Madias blooming. A lovely yellow sunflower with a purple center about 1¼ inches in diameter.

Turpentine weed was blooming here a few weeks ago, but I only saw plants this trip. Let me know if you see any blooms, I might have missed one. It’s a small plant (at most a foot high) with odd blue flowers. Related to the wooly blue-curls, but smaller and with a stronger scent.

Also in the meadow, and scattered around the trail near here are fleabanes. I’m not entirely sure of the species. Little blue asters.

Then beyond the junction with Blue Canyon and a few hundred feet up Forbush trail are some California Fuchsias (they aren’t real fuchsias, they are related to evening primroses instead) on the left side of the trail. These recur about ½~1 mile later.

I saw a Coyote Bush near here. They are very similar to Plummer’s Baccharis (see first entry) but are a larger bush with smaller leaves. They also have two different flower types depending on sex (each plant only has flowers of one sex).


Female
Pistillate

Male
Staminate

Getting close to the Grotto, the first stream crossing was dry, but the next one contained a Coastal Indian Paintbrush. This is about a month or two later than what I’ve seen elsewhere (or 6 months early).

Also at this stream crossing and all through the creek are Dunn’s Lobelia. Little blue flowers with 5 petals, two of which are small and three large. Again we’re nearing the end of the season and most of the plants are without blooms, but there are a lot of plants and some have blooms.

Also growing just above the stream are a lot of California Maidenhair ferns:

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