Some Plants are Optimistic

It rained, more than an inch, two weeks ago. Of course, from a human perspective the drought is not over, but the plants are optimistic.

A few chaparral currants have started blooming, and have also started putting out new leaves. These currants are always one of the earliest bloomers of the rainy season, starting just after the first rain. Other members of the genus, the gooseberries, are also starting to leaf out — but they aren’t ready to bloom yet.

The non-native, and invasive Cape Ivy has also started blooming.

But this is not a time for many blooms. A few summer blooms still linger, and a few winter blooms are opening but most plants wait until later to flower.

What they are doing, however, is putting out new leaves. Having been born and raised on the east coast it is hard for me to realize that Fall is a time of regrowth. Raindrops fall here (one hopes), but leaves do not, or not much.

Many small annual forbs (which I can’t identify yet) have sprung up. Perennials which have been dead sticks for months now have a few little green leaves on them. Even a few shrubs have bright green new leaves mingled among the dingy ones from last year. A few ferns are poking up new fronds, and old fronds suddenly look green again. The spikemoss has resurrected itself.

A few plants put out new leaves even before the rains. Rambling Phacelia started in late September and I saw new Chamise and Pacific Morning Glory leaves the day before the rains. But most plants needed the rain.

California Polypody fiddleheadBushy Spikemoss — Plant looks green and alive
Bird’s Foot Fern — Looks alive again
Coffee Fern — New leaves
Goldenback Fern — Tiny new fronds
California Polypody — New fiddleheads
California Lacefern — New leaves

Chaparral Currant — New flowers, new leaves (flowers first)
Hillside Gooseberry — New leaves
Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry — New leaves
Figwort — New leaves
Heartleaved Penstemon — New leaves
Southern Tauscia — New plants
Brickelbush — New leaves (a few old flowers too)
Bush Sunflower — New leaves (and old flowers)
Canyon Sunflower — New leaves
Cape Ivy — New flowers
Horehound — New leaves and flowers
Hummingbird sage — New leaves
Black sage — Leaves no longer look stressed by drought
Purple sage — New leaves
Coastal Morning Glory — New leaves (and old flowers)
Pacific Morning Glory — New leaves
Purple Nightshade — New leaves
Seacliff Buckwheat — New leaves (and old flowers)
Chaparral Lotus — New leaves
Deerweed — New leaves
Milkvetch — New leaves (one plant with new flowers)
Common Manroot — New vines, new buds
Chamise — New leaves
Poison Oak — New leaves
Chaparral Mallow — New leaves
Bermuda Buttercup (oxalis) — New plants

A week later I am able to distinguish some of the small forbs:
Fiesta Flower — New plants
Spotted Hideseed — New plants

After the second rain (two inches) in early December:
Coastal Wood Fern — New fiddlehead (only 1)
Bracken — New fiddlehead (only 1)
California Maidenhair Fern — New leaves
Miner’s lettuce — New plants
Coastal Morning Glory — New flowers
Golden Yarrow — New leaves
Venus Thistle — New leaf rosettes
Star Lily — New plant
Waxy-leaved Soap Lily — New plant
California Buttercup — New plant
Fendler’s Meadow-Rue — New plants
Pale Larkspur — New plants
Deerweed — New flowers
Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry — Flower buds
Common Manroot — New flowers, New leaves, New seeds
Checkerbloom — New plants
Purple Nightshade — New flowers
Wedge-leafed Horkelia — New plants
Bush Poppy — New flowers
Common Bedstraw — New plants
Wishbone Bush — New leaves, New flowers
California Buckwheat — New leaves
Woodmint — New leaves
Pacific Sanicle — New plants
Southern Tauscia — New plants
Shooting Star — New plants
Poison Hemlock — New plants
Milk Thistle — New plants
Cut-leaved Geranium — New plants
Red-stemmed storksbill — New plants
Bull Mallow — New plants


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