Friday, March 08, 2024

Early Spring Flowers in Southern California


Throughout the yard, winter rains are promoting early California flowers. The Mexican redbud (Cercis canadensis var. mexicana) showcases lush magenta blooms on naked branches.


Inflorescences of tiny bright blue flowers tip the spreading arms of the 'Ray Hartman' ceanothus.

These are the shapes and colors of the kinds of flowers we typically find beautiful, but they aren't the only flowers. 

The California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) unveils clouds of rusty-brown star-shaped flowers. They aren't the flowers of bouquets, but they will attract pollinators and hopefully produce fruit for birds and other wildlife. If you look closely you'll see specks of pollen spilled across the coffeeberry's leaves. 

This large mushroom is a fungi flower–the fruiting body of an underground web of life. 


Identifying mushrooms is challenging, but I think this is a giant leucopax (Leucopaxillus giganteus).

Since the beginning of the rainy season, we've had just under 28 inches of rain. Generally, in the Los Angeles area we hope for 12–18 inches over the course of a year. The abundant moisture has promoted the growth of pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum). Our north-facing garden walls look more like England than dry Southern California.

Mosses reproduce via spores rather than seeds. The fringe of tiny stems rising up from the moss are the sporangium, the pods holding the spores. They aren't your typical flowers, but these too will bring new growth.   

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