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Cachuma Lakebed Vegetation
updated: Apr 10, 2014, 8:23 AM

By Mesa Jim

OK, all you EdHatter botanical enthusiasts, this one's for you: what's all the greenery currently growing in the dried lake bed areas of Cachuma Lake? (Sorry, no photo this time--I didn't want to risk getting in or causing an accident). As I drive by there these last few days, I've noticed it's quite lush--looks almost like a field of grass at a distance. But I'm sure there's no way enough time has elapsed for "normal" grass seeds to spread over such a large area. It occurred to me that it could be quite unique if it can grow both submerged and...well, not. Or, is this current bloom from some seed that has remained dormant in the silt, waiting for these rare conditions to allow it to germinate? Or is it just some typical lake grass and I'm reading way too much into it? Just curious. Thanks in advance for humoring me.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 510051 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 08:36 AM

I'm interested in knowing too as I've also noticed it. It has really proliferated with this 85+ degree weather in the valley the last several days. The blades look too tall and wide to be normal grass. I've never seen it before. Very pretty.


 COMMENT 510075P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:07 AM

a good question for the naturalists stationed at the lake...why not ask them? Gee I think I will.

Ranger Naturalist Liz (688-4515) says the weeds vary at different locales in the receeding lake bed but some are: 'mixed aquatic species', Curly Doc, White and Yellow Clover, and species of Pigweed among others. Their seeds germinate as the moist soil is exposed to sunlight, and they flower, reseed and the cycle begins again.

Visit Lake Cachuma soon! The native grasses and some wildflowers are blooming near the campgrounds, and the bird life is in full spring mating/nesting swing! It's all good. Take a picnic and maybe an Eagle Cruise--an inexpensive way to enjoy the beautiful area.


 COMMENT 510076 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:11 AM

As a hay fever sufferer I can attest to the wind driven mechanism for the dispersal of grasses and the like. Not all grasses are like the grains we cultivate that drop their seed nearby and thus get carried off in silt during a downpour. These guys pollinate in the wind.


 COMMENT 510088 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:45 AM

I was talking to one of the Urban Hikers a month or two ago, who had the opportunity to walk along the receding lake shore with a ranger, and he said the plants were really interesting to look at, in that the were lined up in rows that were created by the receding water, basically creating contour lines around the lake.


 COMMENT 510093 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 09:58 AM

It's very windy frequently in SY Valley/Lake Cacuma area, so seeds from any local garden or agricultural plantings could also be mixed in! Lichen is probably also growing there and is edible :)


 COMMENT 510098 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 10:22 AM

Yes, Patrick is right, and they create very interesting hues of color.


 COMMENT 510106 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 10:57 AM



 COMMENT 510114 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 11:13 AM

Would love to see a photo. Spent many summers camping there as often as possible.


 SMARTYPANTS agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 01:41 PM



 COMMENT 510220 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-10 07:47 PM

It's weed!


 COMMENT 510255 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-11 06:43 AM

State Fodder


 COMMENT 510323 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-04-11 10:04 AM

Where there is water there is life.


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