Some pictures from a 3-mile hike on Pulgas Ridge

that I took this morning. We've been here a few times. It's a nice trail, not very far from home, that proceeds through three different plant communities on one easy hike: oak woodland, coastal scrub, chaparral.

We start in the oak woodland.



Thalictrum, shooting up everywhere after recent rains.


And this little guy, that I'm struggling to identify. And by "struggling", I mean that I added it to the "ID please" group on Flickr and I'm waiting for someone to tell me what it is. Pedicularis densiflora, in a plant family I've never heard of before, Orobanchaceae.


There was a lot of it, growing alone and in small drifts.



I saw just a few mushrooms.


This one could be Amanita phalloides, the Death Cap.


Other fungi.


Streams a-streamin'. Yay, rain!

Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) Hillside gooseberry (Ribes californicum):

Ribes speciosum

I didn't get a good picture of the flowers, so enjoy the thorns instead.

Ribes speciosum

Leaving the oakwoodland, the trail rises into coastal sage.


I love it.


Here I saw (and smelled) lots of super-fragrant Lepechinia.


It was coming up everywhere, reminding me that I have one in a 4" pot that I grew from seed and need to do something with.


From here, you can see snow on Mount Hamilton (4,360 feet).


And big houses.


Up ahead, the chaparral is full of twisty manzanitas.





Still flowering.


Everywhere here I saw very vigorous stump-sprouting, a vital adaptation in a fire-prone ecosystem.



It's too soon for most spring wildflowers, but here's some Dodecatheon (Primulaceae), a geophyte.


We have six or seven species in California and I believe this one is Dodecatheon hendersonii. Relatively common in the Bay Area.


It was nice to get out... More rain on the way this weekend!



gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Love how those trees are growing. They look like trees you'd see in a scary movie. How lucky that you already are seeing that much in bloom!

Ewa said...

thank you for this tour! it was such a pleasure! this landscape is very beautiful. I keep wondering - will I ever see it with my own eyes? No answer yet, so I am happy to see it with your eyes - thank you. E.

Karen said...

Weirdly, although I lived in the Palo Alto area for many years, I never visited or even heard of Pulgas Ridge. My loss, what a beautiful hike! Thanks for the tour. Especially love the dodecatheon and gooseberry thorns, plus the gnarly old manzanitas.

Frances said...

Hi Chuck, I am still a little weak from Julia's descriptions, but this is much more to my sensibilities. The oaks are majestic, the manzanita bequiling and the wildflowers sublime. That dodecathon photo is outstanding too. A nice length hike near to you, how wonderful. The view looks like Italy, (only seen in photos).

Tatyana said...

I enjoyed touring with you, thanks!

Christopher C. NC said...

Nice hike. We have much in common. Native Ribes, Thalictrum, Dodecatheon and in the Orobanchaceae family, Conopholis americana which is scary compared to the Pedicularis densiflora.

gintoino said...

Very nice tour. I just love those manzanita's branches.
I was laughing about the name Pulgas Ridge (in portuguese pulgas means fleas). I wonder why is it called like that?

chuck b. said...

LOL! I don't know! I assumed 'pulgas' was Spanish for some kind of tree. Ha! We have quite a few things named 'Pulgas' here.

lisa said...

"Flea Ridge"...interesting. I have seeds for a pink dodecathon, thanks for reminding me to sow them. Very scenic walk!