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Latest Poppy Reserve Researcher Field Notes

February 25th, 2015

Lancaster Road on the way to the Poppy Reserve has patches of poppies and Fremont pincushions. Looks like a border of poppies along Lancaster Road close to the entrance.

The beavertail cactus are producing their flower buds. The Joshua tree to the west of the Visitor Center has one bud. Cheat grass and red brome are going to seed.

Poppy Trail South Loop: flowers in bloom are poppies, filaree, fiddleneck, slender keel fruit, and tiny forget-me-nots.

Tehachapi Vista Point Trail - Flowers are on filaree, slender keel fruit, tiny forget-me-nots, pygmy-leafed lupine, locoweed and grape soda lupine.

Lightning Bolt Trail: poppies are in bloom but there are still young plants that have not produced their first flower bud. The more mature poppy plants are starting to form their seed pods. Instead of just a poppy here and there you can now see nice patches of orange. Along the trail the following plants are starting to bloom: lupine, blue dick, fringe pod, wild parsley, forget-me-nots (there is a hillside of white on the north side of the trail), rattlesnake weed, lacy phacelia, slender keel fruit, fiddleneck, filaree (starting to produce seed pods), red maids, silver puffs are starting to open their yellow flowers, California asters have new leaves at the base of the plant and wishbone/four-o¡¦clock have new green leaves but no flower buds as yet. Bunch grasses have new blades. When going up the trail, look to the west and you can see Fairmont Butte beginning to turn yellow with goldfields.

Poppy Trail North Loop: flowers in bloom are: filaree, fiddleneck, scattering of poppies, sun cups, fringe pod, goldfields, owl's clover, and cream cups.

Lancaster Road at 110th St. West has fields of slender keel fruit (starting to fade).
170th St. West from Lancaster Road to Hwy. 138¡XFairmont Butte is showing yellow of goldfields with a scattering of poppies.
The 14 freeway between California City and Red Rock has: apricot mallow starting to bloom, brown-eyed primrose, and bladder pod.
Red Rock Canyon State Park 
Hagen Canyon Nature Trail and Desert View Nature Trail: not much happening as yet. There is bladder pod in bloom and pepper grass in the campgrounds and by the visitor center. There is an enclosed desert tortoise habitat at the visitor center.
Red Cliffs Nature Trail: Flowers on this trail: peppergrass, forget-me-not, scale bud (looks a bit like desert dandelion), bladder pod, brown-eyed primrose, comet blazing star, locoweed, Fremont phacelia, unidentified sand verbena (dark purple).
Jawbone Canyon Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area: past the visitor center on Jawbone Road there were hillsides white with brown-eyed primrose. Other flowers in bloom are: lacy phacelia, Fremont phacelia, little golden poppy, coreopsis, and chia.
Highway 14 between Silver Queen Road and Backus Road: Flowers: coreopsis covering the hillsides, a tiny blue gilia, blue dick, tiny forget-me-nots. Joshua trees are starting to bud and bloom.

The A.V. Indian Museum and Saddleback Butte State Park don't have a lot of flowering plants but the area is very green with immature plants.

2/9/15: Mary Wilson

Poppies are starting to bloom! You can see plants along Lancaster Road going to the Poppy Reserve and there are a few poppies blooming in the park. There were three nice rain events that produced over an inch of rain:
1. December 2, 2014 (1.67 inches),
2. December 12, 2014 (1.84 inches) and
3. January 11, 2015 (1.20 inches).

Photo courtesy of Mary Wilson
I'm sure there was germination of poppies at other times but as I walk the trails I am seeing three different sizes of the plants that are pretty consistent with these rain falls.

There are poppy plants that measure 7 to 8 inches (starting to produce flowers), 3 inches and 1-1/2 to 2 inches (these smaller plants do not have flowers yet). This could mean an extended flowering season.

The Poppy Trail South Loop and Tehachapi Vista Point Trail are showing flowers on filaree, slender keel fruit, tiny forget-me-nots, locoweed, fiddleneck, poppies and the grape soda lupine.

Seeing insects like the Darkling beetles, painted lady butterflies, sulfur butterflies and bees. Spotted three ground squirrels on the way to the Reserve and eight horned larks.
The maintenance crews are busy cleaning the trails and getting rid of the tumbleweeds that were in front of the Visitor center, covering the picnic area and clustered on the trails.

Wildflower Sightings
Munz Ranch Road is starting to show poppies, mostly on the west side of the road. These are both annual and perennial poppies.

The flowers are just starting to show and you can spot them here and there. Hope for more rain, no hard freezes, no high winds that can blow off petals and dry out the soil and warm sunny days.

1/17/15: Mary Wilson

There are annual poppy plants that have their true leaves and are forming the rosette, but no flower buds yet. These are about 1-1/2 inches to 4 inches; there are a lot of them and they look healthy. 

Annual poppies have a one year season, starting from seed and ending the season with seedpods distributing seeds in the food bank for next season. There was some concern about the perennial poppies because last year there were none. These poppies come back in the previous years growth for about 3 or more years. I’m happy to report they are back.

The filaree has true leaves with some of the leaves turning red from stress of the cold nights and they have not formed any flower buds. The grasses are up to about 4 to 5 inches. Found a few pygmy leafed lupine and there were a few flowers left on the asters. Fiddleneck is up to about 2 inches.

In front of the Visitor Center the cacti pads have plumped up from the recent rains. There are 43 pads. Did not observe any new flower buds on the Joshua trees.

Ripley Desert Woodland

The rubber rabbit brush at the entrance has gone to seed. The beavertail cacti have plumped from the recent rains and are green. Grasses in the open are up to ½ inch but under the Juniper trees they are 3 to 4 inches. There is fiddleneck, and the filaree has true leaves but no flower buds. Observed some cots with two spiked leaves. These could be poppies but since Ripley doesn’t get many poppies they could be goldfields. Looked at several Joshuas and did not see any flower buds.

The male Juniper trees are producing their 1/4-inch cones which are starting to open and their pollen is airborne. I marked a 10 inch branch and counted 260 cones on it. Some of the male trees have so many cones that aren’t green but a light brown/orange color.