|Greater periwinkle, Vinca major.|
Beside the car I noted the unfortunately ubiquitous greater periwinkle, a nice looking garden plant but one that rapidly spreads and infests riparian habitats. This was though the first time I've seen them in flower. One patch was covered in a a powdery white mildew, which I determined is almost definitely Golovinomyces orontii, a species specific to this plant. A great start to the day was seeing black cottonwood growing in the valley along Piuma Road, where this portion of the Backbone Trail begins. The leaves of these trees are much darker than other cottonwoods, hence the vernacular, and it is a very localized species in the Santa Monicas. The western spotless ladybug (Cycloneda polita) was actually quite common here, and this was the first time I had seen adults. I sweep-netted the larva of this native species in my neighbourhood several years back. In our area it has a very erratic and uncommon distribution, although it is quite common further north.
|Golovinomyces orontii on Vinca major.|
|Black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa.|
At one point the trail disappears and turns into a car park for the California Wildlife Center! It took me a few moments to find the continuation, but as soon as I did, I was greeted with the yellow flowers of the native mustard, American yellowrocket. Success! On nearby California ash I scoped out some unfamiliar lichens, and with some outside help was able to identify one as a very likely candidate for Lecanora circumborealis. thanks to the substrate (bark) and black apothecia. The common name of this lichen is usually black-eyed rim lichen, and indeed it is one of the few species in the genus with dark apothecia.
|American yellowrocket, Barbarea ootheceras.|
|Lecanora circumborealis on Fraxinus dipetala.|
|Silver wattle, Acacia dealbata.|
|Cretan mallow, Malva pseudolavatera.|
|The golden hairs of Coleocnemis magna.|
|Lesser chickweed, Stellaria pallida, bearing the most flowery|
looking flowers you can expect to find in this species! Note that the
green "petals" are actually sepals, the part of a flower that supports the
petals...if it had any!
|Undescribed Gryllus sp. "rock chirper"|
|The terror that is Curicaberis peninsulans!|