Wildflowers in the Park

 

This winter season may have been full of rainy days, flooded streets, and closed backcountry trails, but if we wait out the storms and let our trails recover, our patience will be rewarded with some spectacular scenery. The consistent rainfall coming to Southern California this winter is a positive sign that a wildflower bloom is in store.

Crystal Cove is home to the unique coastal sage scrub plant community. This ecosystem is considered a biodiversity hotspot because so many of the plant species here are found nowhere else in the world. For much of the year, the diversity of coastal sage scrub can be hard to truly appreciate as shrubs die back and go dormant, and annual wildflowers wait for their moment to emerge. During summer and fall the landscape of Crystal Cove’s backcountry is dominated by shades of gray and brown. It’s only after the rainy winter season that coastal sage scrub truly comes alive. Plants that seemed all but dead spring back to life, and annual wildflowers pop up along the trails. The monochromatic landscape of the summer is replaced by green hillsides dotted with purple arroyo lupines, orange sticky monkeyflowers, and bright yellow California bush sunflowers.

If you’re planning a visit to the park to see the wildflower display, don’t forget to check crystalcovestatepark.org for the most updated trail conditions. While rain does wonders for our plant community, it can close many trails for both safety and resource protection. If backcountry trails are closed, check out the Environmental Study Loop in Moro Canyon, or the paved bluff top trails where there are an abundance flowers to admire.

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