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Updated August 3rd, 2017
Available Reviews
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Topanga Canyon State Park
Zuma Canyon
Date of Review
7/19 & 7/10 & 6/12 & 5/17.
6/8 & 5/18.

Quick Links:
How To Submit a Flower Report - Anyone can participate!
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains - Photos of 1000 SMM plants.
Archive - Previous “What's Blooming” reports.
Outdoors - The Calendar of Events for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for the iPhone.
SMM WildFlowers - The Park's popular wildflower app for Android smartphones (Pre-Release Beta Version).

This site performs a public service that anyone can participate in. Let us all know what you are seeing! In general, if you are submitting a report I will get it much faster if you use the gmail account 'SMMWildFlowers' rather than my account. If you are new to submitting a report (or maybe even an old hand at it) be sure and read How To Submit a Flower Report
  — ed.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach
Misc. Paths & The Beach
         When it is just too hot to hike in the canyons it is good to remember that there are lots of interesting plants growing by the beach, at least some beaches. Malibu Lagoon was recently restored and has a lot of California native plants that you don't see in the hills and canyons. The California fuchsia is coming into bloom and was well attended by hummingbirds. There is alkali heath, bladder pod, wand buckwheat and wild heliotrope as well as other more familiar flowers. There are also a lot of interesting water birds to watch.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Topanga Canyon State Park
Hondo Canyon Trail
         This is a portion of The Backbone Trail that begins at Old Topanga Rd. and climbs to the radio towers off Piuma Rd. We went very early in the morning to beat the heat but it was still fairly intense and we only climbed a mile or so.
         The hike starts by crossing a nearly dry creek bed. We walked upstream and did find a few pools that were teeming with tadpoles. The areas around those pools are alive with multitudes of tiny hopping juvenile toads.
         But back to the trail. It goes ever upwards through patches of forest and swathes of meadow. The good thing is that when you have had enough it is all downhill. Most flowers are finished blooming but there was still a fair amount of sticky madia, slender tarweed and cliff aster. There were a few purple clarkia, honeysuckle and wild roses. There was one patch of blooming narrow leaf milkweed.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Topanga Canyon State Park
Santa Ynez Canyon
         Amazingly flowers can still be found in July. This is a cool shaded canyon but, with that in mind, be prepared for a lot of poison oak, it is the predominant ground cover.
         At the beginning of this trail there are the unsurprising laurel sumac, cliff asters and California buckwheat. But just a little ways down the trail you come to one of the special treats of this place, monardella, a lovely lavender mint that is not found in many places in the Santa Monicas. Taking the right turn to the trail for the waterfall you walk in and next to the dry creaked until you come to the first pool of water where, on the rock wall above the pool there is a spray of coast boykinia, another of the flowers that are not found in many places. Approaching the 'waterfall' which is currently more of a trickle, there are more and more pools of water. Look into the pools to see tadpoles and water striders, above the pools to see swallowtail and California sister butterflies and next to the pools to see lovely scarlet monkey flower and white hedge nettle.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Topanga Canyon State Park
Santa Ynez Canyon
         This hike is one of the best for late spring and summer. There are two distinct sections; the riparian, where you start and the chaparral that you climb up into. In the riparian section the Humboldt lilies are the stars, they are everywhere this year, many more than I have seen in past years. They are so large and so bright that they almost appear to be illuminated. There is a lot of heart leaf penstemon and California buckwheat and a little bit of a lot of other flowers but the Humboldts are what you get excited about. After walking through the riparian section, and being careful to avoid the plentiful poison oak, you climb up into the chaparral section. This section also has stars and they are the scarlet larkspur which is really tall and really plentiful and the plummers mariposas which are abundant and stunning. There are also some other lovelies to enjoy; white snapdragons, canyon dudleya, sapphire wool stars and twiggy wreath plant. It will do your soul good to visit this place.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Zuma Canyon
Ocean View/Canyon View Loop
         I have been meaning to get to this area for literally months. My the second week of June I figured that the flowers would be about finished but I went anyway. I could not have been more wrong about the flowers-the displays are stunning. Just pulling into the Zuma Canyon parking area you can see the entire valley floor carpeted with purple sage with sprays of bush mallow shooting out above with the whole thing punctuated by the occasional bladder pod bush. I took the Ocean View/Canyon View Loop, a trail that is a bit less traveled than the Zuma Loop Trail. I could not keep track of the flowers. There were bushes full of milkwort, there was sticky phacelia, lots of heart leaf penstemon, patches of perezia and slender tar weed, lots of cliff asters, sticky madea and white and golden yarrow. Climbing up the hill the mustard growing by the side of the trail gets a bit overwhelming-it is 10-15 feet tall. At first I enjoyed the sensation of being an ant traveling through grass and then I started feeling a little claustrophobic and resentful that I could not see the views this trail is named for. Fortunately the intense mustard falls away and the views return. There are entire mountainsides that a simply coated with purple sage, it is spectacular. Almost as breathtaking are the large number of plummers mariposas growing at the top of this trail, a great reward for steep climb up on the mustard choked trail.   — Dorothy Steinicke
  Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo   Contributer Supplied Photo  

Zuma Canyon
Backbone Trail
         The Backbone Trail section through upper Zuma Canyon is a garden right now, with over 80 species currently in bloom. In addition to the "usual suspects", some of the less common plants to be seen include: Checker Bloom, Stinky Gila (Allophyllum glutinosum), some white-flowered Elegant Clarkia, Large-flowered Phacelia, California Mustard (Caulanthus lasiophylllus), Pine Mat (Gallium andrewsii), and Mountain Dandelion.   — Jay Sullivan

Topanga Canyon State Park
Nature Trail
         This year's wonderful flowers are starting to diminish in many places but the Nature Trail in Topanga Canyon State Park, especially the chaparral portion out on the edge of the hillside is still pretty wonderful. It isn't that there are unusual flowers there, just that there are so many massed flowers. There are bush mallow and lots of bush sunflowers, yucca, wild rose, bush lupine, narrow leaf milkweed and California buckwheat, in great quantities. We saw alligator lizards and a California whip snake. The only downside is that there is a lot of yellow star thistle growing in and near the trail. The prickles easily penetrate most trouser fabric and I pity anyone wearing shorts.   — Dorothy Steinicke

Contact Information:

Santa Monica Mountains NRA
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

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