Little Pine Mountain

On Memorial Day (Yes, this post is late), Cynthia and I hiked up to the top of Little Pine Mountain, which I have never done before. I gather the summit used to be covered in pines, but there was a fire and there are just snags now.
Little Pine Snags There’s a grassy meadow on top instead (invasive grasses, sadly), and amid the grasses are wildflowers, some of which I’ve never seen before.
Little Pine Summit

For instance Douglas’s Fiddleneck looks just like a normal fiddleneck — except the flowers are twice as big.

On the way down I thought it would be fun to keep track of the elevation at which I first saw various species. Possibly getting an upper bound on their habitat… If the plant was not blooming then I added a little note in parentheses:

  • (P) Just saw the plant
  • (B) The plant had buds but wasn’t flowering yet
  • (S) The plant had seeds (fruit, etc.) but had finished flowering

To get to Little Pine you start from Upper Oso and take the Camuesa dirt road for about a mile to the start of Santa Cruz trail. After another mile on it you pass the turn off for 19 Oaks on your right. Then you climb. When you get to the old burn the trail goes through a field of black mustard. I had never realized how fragrant black mustard flowers could be.
After about 3.5 miles from 19 Oaks you reach a saddle. Santa Cruz trail continues down the other side (to Santa Cruz Creek) while the Little Pine trail leads to the right. After about half a mile of this you reach a flat place that looks like a campsite. The trail continues for about 1/8th mile to a dirt road, while to your right a little path makes the final climb to the summit.

Little Pine Summit

Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla) 4360ft
Douglas’ Fiddleneck (Amsinckia douglasiana) 4430ft
Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata) 4410ft
Silver Lupine (Lupinus chamissonis) 4430ft
Cream Puffs (Platystemon californicus) 4460ft
Variable Linanthus (Leptosiphon parviflorus) 4460ft
Butterfly Mariposa Lily (Calochortus venustus) 4470ft
Waxy Leaved Soap lily (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) 4470ft
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) 4470ft
Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra-caerulea) 4380ft
Phlox-Leaved Bedstraw (Galium andrewsii) 4380ft
Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus) 4370ft

Little Pine Camping Area

Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) 4350ft
Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) 4330ft
Flowering Ash (Fraxinus dipetala) 4350ft
Scarlet Bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) 4340ft
great berry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca) 4350ft
Sticky Potentilla (Potentilla glandulosa) 4350ft
California Dandelion (Agoseris grandiflora) 4320ft
Broad-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) 4320ft
California Thistle (Cirsium occidentale-californicum) 4320ft
California Tea (Rupertia physodes) 4320ft
Fringe Pod (Thysanocarpus curvipes) (S) 4310ft
Many flowered Eriastrum (Eriastrum pluriflorum) 4300ft

Little Pine Trail

?Slender Tarweed (Madia gracilis) (B) 4350ft
California Dodder (Cuscuta californica) (P) 4270ft
Chia (Salvia columbariae) 4240ft
Sawtooth Goldenbush (Hazardia squarrosa) (P) 4220ft
Punchbowl Clarkia (Clarkia bottae) 4180ft
Chaparral Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) (B) 4170ft
Common Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii) 4170ft
California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) 4160ft
Locoweed (Astragalus filipes) 4160ft
Pale Yellow Mariposa Lily (Calochortus clavatus) 4160ft
Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla) 4160ft
Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria) 4160ft
Chaparral Honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata) 4130ft
Silver Puffs (Microseris lindleyi) 4130ft
Graceful Bedstraw (Galium porrigens) 4120ft
Giant Wildrye (Elymus condensatus) 4100ft
Coast Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja affinis) 3760ft
California Chickory (Rafinesquia californica) 4070ft
Fremont’s Phacelia (Phacelia fremontii) 4060ft
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) 4060ft
White Sticky Phacelia (Phacelia viscida-albiflora) 4060ft
Pale Larkspur (Delphinium parishii) 4030ft

Upper Santa Cruz Trail

California Mustard (Caulanthus lasiophyllus) 3970ft
Coastal Sagebush (Artemisia californica) 3950ft
Threadleaf ragwort (Senecio flaccidus) 3940ft
Chaparral Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) (P) 3830ft
Longstem Buckwheat (Eriogonum elongatum) (P) 3820ft
Prickly-Phlox (Leptodactylon californicum) (P) 3780ft
Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus succulentus) 3680ft
Collarless California Poppy (Eschscholzia caespitosa) 3670ft
Menzies’ Goldenbush (Isocoma menziesii) 3660ft
California Peony (Paeonia californica) (S) 3550ft
Popcornflower (Cryptantha sp.) 3450ft
San Luis Blazing Star (Mentzelia micrantha) 3430ft
Whispering Bells (Emmenanthe penduliflora) 3410ft
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) 3410ft
California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) (P) 3410ft
Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) (P) 3400ft
Spotted Hideseed (Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia) 3370ft
Heartleaved Penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia) 3350ft
Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) 3340ft
Holly-Leaved Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) 3330ft
Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) (S) 3330ft
Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides) (P) 3290ft
Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina) (P) 3250ft
Coastal Lotus (Acmispon maritimus) 3150ft
Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) 3120ft
Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria) 3080ft
White Sticky Phacelia (Phacelia viscida-albiflora) 3070ft
Rock Lettuce Dudleya (Dudleya lanceolata) 3050ft
Yellow Pincushion (Chaenactis glabriuscula) 3050ft
Western Rye (Elymus glaucus) 3000ft
Chia (Salvia columbariae) 2990ft
Bigelow’s Coreopsis (Leptosyne bigelovii) 2990ft
Purple Nightshade (Solanum xanti) 2940ft
California Suncup (Eulobus californicus) 2810ft
Wild Carrot (Daucus pusillus) 2800ft
Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) 2780ft
Clustered Tarweed (Deinandra fasciculata) 2770ft
Pale Larkspur (Delphinium parishii) 2770ft
Four spot Clarkia (Clarkia purpurea-quadrivulnera) 2760ft
Clustered tarweed (Deinandra fasciculata) 2760ft
Sandysoil suncup (Camissonia strigulosa) 2680ft
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) 2680ft
Pale Larkspur (Delphinium parishii) 2660ft
Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus) 2700ft
California Maidenhair fern (Adiantum jordanii) 2680ft
Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata) 2510ft
Heartleaved penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia) 2500ft
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon trichocalyx) (P) 2480ft
California Suncup (Eulobus californicus) 2470ft
Chicory-Leaved Wire-Lettuce (Stephanomeria cichoriacea) 2350ft
Catalina Mariposa (Calochortus catalinae) 2290ft
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon clevelandii) (S) 2280ft
Chick Lupine (Lupinus microcarpus) 2070ft
Common Goldenstar (Bloomeria crocea) 2020ft
Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) 2000ft
Deerweed (Acmispon glaber) 1960ft
Woolly Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja foliolosa) 1880ft
Western Morning Glory (Calystegia purpurata-purpurata) 1770ft
Stinging Lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus) (P) 1720ft
Common Sow-Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) 1650ft
Mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) 1610ft
Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus indicus) 1610ft

19 Oaks Campground

?Turkish Rugging (Chorizanthe staticoides) (B) 1710ft
Silky Tarweed (Hemizonia congesta-luzulifolia) 1660ft
Narrow-leaved milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) 1730ft

Lower Santa Cruz Trail

White Fairy Lantern (Calochortus albus) 1600ft
Stream Orchid (Epipactis gigantea) 1390ft
Splendid Mariposa (Calochortus splendens) 1260ft


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