Monday, November 29, 2010

California Native Plants Flowering in Late Autumn

While cold weather and snow are settling in across the country, late autumn is awakening the California natives.

The native wild currant has burst its first blooms. Our rain comes in autumn and winter, so now is the time for our native plants to produce fruit or blooms for a summer crop. Many like the toyon have been holding their fruit in a green stage for months and are now ripening just in time to feed winter migratory birds.

The wild currant lost its leaves in the summer heat and now has regained its green adornment. The natives are bursting to life while the exotic plants are dropping their leaves and going dormant. It is a strange mixture really. Perhaps this is why so many people don't think we have seasons in California, they don't realize that the green of summer and the green of winter are provided by completely different plants.

On New Year's Day, people see our green hills rising behind the Rose Parade and they think that we have beach weather all year round. The reality is that we have cold winter days, but this is the only time we have real rain. Plants that want to survive in our climate have to be frost and cold tolerant. The cold season is the only time they can really grow.

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