Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations
4/27/13: Mary Wilson
You are all painfully aware there isn’t much happening at the Poppy Reserve so here are some areas you may be interested in.
245th St. West and Ave. D (Hwy 138) there is a small field of poppies – not like last year but nice. Also as you get to the wash – look to the south east and there is another small field of poppies. The wash had a few poppies, grape soda lupine, fiddleneck, forget-me-nots, goldfields, desert dandelion, and brow-eyed primrose.
Lancaster Road between 110th St. West and Munz Ranch Road has some poppies along the roadside.
Tehachapi Willow Springs Road – past Backus Road to Highline Road at Tehachapi.
Joshua trees have gone from their flowers to seedpods
When you see areas of the yellow flowers along the roadside – find a place to pull over because you will find a lot of the small flowers you cannot see while driving by. Flowers found were linear-leaf goldenbush, coreopsis, comet blazing star, baby blue eyes, purple gilia, bitter bush, chia, Fremont pincushions, desert dandelion and lupine.
In the area approaching Highline Road there are scatterings of poppies. These look like perennials as they are growing in bouquets, the petal length is up to 2 inches and they are the vibrant poppy orange color.
Highway 138 past the 15 Freeway toward Silverwood Lake – Patches of poppies (they are a yellow color), bush poppies, linear-leaf goldenbush, mountain lilac, primrose, yucca (Lord’s candles), and Spanish Broom.
Silverwood Lake Vista Point – can pull off on both sides of the road.
Mountain side of road – Bush poppies, forget-me-nots, Yerba Santa. filaree, chia, mustard, purple nightshade and bush money flowers.
Lake side of road – Spanish Broom – smelled wonderful.
Can continue on to Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. There is a $9.00 entrance fee but you could picnic by the lake or take a short walk on the bike trail to a meadow picnic area.
Lone Pine Canyon Road from Hwy 138 to Wrightwood.
Lower elevation had – mountain lilac, linear-leaf goldenbush, elderberry, yucca (Lord’s candles), scarlet bugler, bush poppies and purple lupine.
2/18/13: Mike Powell
I first inventoried the monitoring plot near the Visitor Center. I found and marked 32 to 40 poppy plants (most with their first true leaves) in the entire plot; 1 square meter. I believe that is the most we have ever found in this plot. Also saw a few pygmy leaved lupine and even fewer blue dicks or wild onion along with the expected filaree and grasses.
Next plot. I found maybe 18 to 20 poppy plants (most with their first true leaves) in the lower half of the plot. Extrapolating to the full 1 square meter plot, there could be 40 poppy plants total but the upper half seems to have denser grasses and, I believe, normally fewer poppies. The plot has a good crop of goldfields, a bunch of blue dicks/wild onions and I found one fiddleneck cot.
Last plot. Again, I found 38 poppy plants in this entire plot and a few p-l lupine plants as well. If my counts are close to complete, it appears that the poppy plant densities for areas around the monitoring plots are amazing consistent this year; except for the middle east ridge with 4 to 5 times as many poppies. When I started doing field observations, the east ridge had some of the best poppy displays but the area has had fewer poppies the last few years. It looks like that area might be best again this year if the poppies survive and grow to maturity. It was easy to find poppy plants in the immediate areas around the monitoring plots so the plot numbers seem to be representative of the wider area.
I went looking for the colony of g-s lupine growing near the col at the head end of that valley. I only found one small, very healthy looking plant but maybe I missed the others. I also checked the colony of g-s lupine plants near the western end of the Tehachapi Vista trail. Only the plant that had a blossom stem starting to open on my last visit was blooming but the other large plants had numerous buds so there is still hope for the future; they're just developing slower than I expected.
The only other significant item to report is the Joshua trees by the Visitor Center. I think that each mother tree might have 3 or 4 buds forming.
Right now, the forecast calls for possible snow throughout Wednesday. Total snow fall could be as much as 7 to 10 inches. That is equivalent to almost an inch of rain so this could be the strongest storm of the winter, so far. To determine if the snow causes poppy plant mortality, we need to re-inventory the plots shortly after the snow melts to see how many, if any, of the marked plants have been killed. It appeared that a number of larger poppy plants died following a significant snowfall several years ago so I anticipate seeing more plant mortality this time but, this time, we have a chance to collect quantifiable data. It might take a few days for the damage to be obvious but we probably should do the re-inventorying within a week so any additional seed germination doesn't fuzzy the data.
01/12/13: Mary Wilson
This year we have had very little rain and temperatures have gone down to 10-degrees. Not looking good for this year’s wildflower season, but I’m going to be optimistic. Rains can still arrive and we will just have a later wildflower season.
Normally by this time of year there are grasses, filaree, and poppy cots up from rains that start at the end of October or in November. On my most recent research excursion, I could find no poppy cots or any other wildflowers coming up. Did not see any filaree coming up. There are very few grasses coming up alongside the sidewalk and even less along the trails. The Turkey mullein, mustard and tumbleweeds are all dry, breaking off and ready for the wind to move them. Did not see any insects.
A few California Aster than had a few gray-green leaves at their base. The Joshua trees are doing fine. The beavertail cactus has gone into its winter mode and the pads are slightly shriveled, turning a blue-gray to mauve color. The rubber rabbitbrush still has a few yellow flowers but the plants are going to seed.