How to catch this year’s Californian flowers

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“Leading into Warner Springs, the hairy ceanothus is in full bloom along I-15 between Fallbrook and Temecula,” Joe Spano said.

Mr. Spano, the Emmy-winning actor, is the voice of the Thomas Payne Foundation’s wildflower hotline (yes, a real hotline!), Which offers free weekly updates every Friday in March. through May, on the best places to see wildflowers in southern and central California.

With spring in full swing and idyllic super blooms like the ones that took place in 2017 still on people’s minds, you might be wondering how the state’s wildflowers will fare this year.

For now, with the drought conditions returning, there will be no super blooms this year, said Casey Schreiner, founder and editor of the Modern Hiker website. But that doesn’t mean the flowers don’t bloom at all, of course.

“Things are still blooming all over California and will be for months and months,” said Mr. Schreiner. “You just won’t get those perfect endless fields of California poppies, most likely, this year.”

[See images of the super bloom in 2019.]

If you’re on the hunt for these native flowers and curious about where to start, the answer isn’t always set in stone. With California’s wide array of microclimates and dozens of factors that can influence whether or not a bloom occurs, Schreiner said it could be difficult to determine exactly which canyon or area is certain to have a bloom. show. But even if you aren’t sure of these Instagram-worthy flowers, poppies as far as the eye can see, don’t be discouraged.

“If you limit yourself to that, like what you’re looking for in wildflowers, you’re going to miss it so much,” he says. “We just have this amazing diverse array of native California plants that all put on a show, really, throughout the year.”

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One way to stay on top of blooming wildflowers is, of course, the wildflower hotline. There are other resources as well, Schreiner said, such as DesertUSA.org. It also includes information on neighboring states, but also keeps track of flowers in Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley, and Mojave National Preserve, to name a few.

But even if you don’t try to plan ahead, you can be sure that you will find beautiful native plants wherever you go.

“When you hike,” Mr. Schreiner said, “open up to the flowers you are looking at and try to learn a little more about them if you can.” He recommends using an app like iNaturalist, a free app that lets you take photos of plants and tag them so other users can help you identify what you see.

Mr Schreiner, who has lived in Southern California for 18 years, said he had the most fun this time of year not doing any research and just checking out the trails he wanted. “For me, with that, you get the element of surprise, you learn what you see, and you’re always more thrilled that way,” he said, instead of setting expectations and being then disappointed.

And while the state may be on track to lift coronavirus restrictions, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Mr. Schreiner recommends checking with the city or park you plan to visit, but count on wearing a mask (some places require it, while others only do if you pass people) and keep your distance from others on the trail. .

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Beyond the pandemic, there are also other no-no’s if you’re heading for flowers. Staying on the track is essential, Mr. Schreiner said.

“When these flowers arrive, these are the plants that will be screened next year,” he said. “So if you pick them up, if you stomp on them, if you lay down on them to get a really cool picture for your Facebook friends, you can look cool, but you’re really destroying the habitat.”

“Most of these flowers only last, you know, a week or two before they’re gone,” he says. “So let them be there.”


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Priya Arora was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from UC Irvine. They are currently social media editors on the Audience team and also write about South Asian pop culture for The Times.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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