Off In The Weeds

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The local coastal sage and chaparral is all greened up.  We took a walk.  California in a brief lush springtime:
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A lovely Mimulus, right by the trail:
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Black sage, Salvia mellifera, with new flowers just opening.  The common name describes the old seed heads, which turn black as they dry.   The flowers are a pale blue--the light was too bright and the delicate color is washed out here:
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Marah macrocarpus is having a banner year probably due to the heavy rain of December.  It's everywhere around here, and luxuriant.  A neighbor's chain link fence is completely engulfed.

The carpus is indeed macro:
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The foliage:
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Native invaders are having a good year too.  Pampas grass, milk thistle, Fennel, and what from a distance I hoped was California Golden Poppy turned out to be freeway daisies, perhaps a Dimorphotheca or Osteospermum hybrid.

A rare sight for Southern California, actual water.  Unfortunately fan palms were taking advantage of it:
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Silybum marianum, "blessed milk thistle".  Quite dramatic and ornamental variegation, but the park ranger was alarmed to see it.  A baddie for the native coastal sage scrub, apparently:
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Pampas, O evil one:
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Exotic daisies:
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Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, which can be aggressively invasive in this area.  Last year's flowers dried brown:
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A mass of Eucalyptus saplings.  The park ranger said they were slowly removing them all and restoring the native coastal sage scrub. They have a long way to go.
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Lovely, but possibly another exotic invader, perhaps Rubus armeniacus?
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More heartening to see were some native shrubs that looked to be thriving.  This grand old Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia, looked like a beautifully laced-out specimen tree,  though this is its natural shape after decades of growth.  

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And a Lemonadeberry, Rhus integrifolia, holding up well even though surrounded by Eucs:
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A happy Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) seedling.  Nice to see native seedlings.
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Even the poison oak looked great--from afar, very afar: 
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What a good walk that was!  Get out and have a look before it gets too hot.  There are more than just weeds.  It's beautiful out there.

Comments

  1. Those first two macro shots are really something, but I think the second is my favorite. And I'd take that silybum off the ranger's hands anyday. Looks like the natives and exotics are going neck and neck.

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  2. Great photos. It's so good to have spring coming at last! I'll have to get me some of the monkey flower, beautiful and so different from the soft greens and grey-greens of some natives...lucky you found such a great example so close. The Brittle bush seedling looks so much like lamb's ear, leaves look so furry.
    Sue

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