The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers title=
California Poppy
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By David Powdrell

In the course of a lifetime, we get an occasional spectacular display of bright color, bold blooms, and blankets of natural beauty. Thanks to the significant level of rainfall this year, the wildflowers in Santa Barbara County are already putting on quite a show. Bold yellows, deep purples, electric oranges, and soft blues line the local bluffs and local trails.

California poppies, canyon sunflowers, evening primrose, lupine, prickly phlox, purple sage, woolly blue curls, bush poppies, deerweed, bush monkey flowers, and the elusive Humboldt Lily are in full force.  Other previously dormant seeds are sprouting up too.

March to May is typically the best viewing window. With so many trails in our local foothills with varying levels of difficulty, I hope you’re able to get out and see some of the splendor. Keep an eye out for poison oak and poison ivy, watch for fallen trees, and stay on the marked trails, but catch this exciting display of natural beauty if you can.

There’s magic in rainwater.

David Powdrell - Co-author, "Wildflowers of the Santa Barbara Foothills" and "A Field Guide to Common Plants of Santa Barbara" with Hugh Margerum. 

Humboldt Lily

Wild Iris

Cactus Flowers


Canyon Sunflower

Chalk Live Forever

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EastBeach Mar 25, 2023 04:14 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Fig Mtn road is open according to Los Padres Forest Watch:

tagdes Mar 25, 2023 05:03 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

But as a County Rd. it's closed on Figueroa Mountain Rd. just past Ram Ranch and both entities agree that it's closed from 1/2 way up Happy Canyon to McKinley Trail Head. All of the campgrounds are closed there by LPNF.

EastBeach Mar 25, 2023 05:16 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Good catch Tagdes ... this county map shows the road is closed before the first hairpin:

EastBeach Mar 25, 2023 04:28 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Great photos Dave. I often see Canyon Sunflowers on the west side of Gaviota State Park (which is still closed). Didn't know you had two books published:

That looks like a chia sage in your field guide. I call them "Space alien death stars" haha.

Artemisia Mar 25, 2023 06:13 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Agreed, it's wise to watch out for poison oak, but no need to worry about poison ivy when hiking our local trails -- it doesn't grow in California.

Basicinfo805 Mar 25, 2023 06:29 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Hopefully, we’ll see. Thus far the hills may be too saturated. If it’ll be such a great year, it’ll be late. A lot of what I see this spring is pointing towards a delay.

tagdes Mar 26, 2023 09:58 AM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

And on another note, according to the BLM website, the Carrizo Plains Natl. Mon. has little to no wildflowers as of last week and it's extremely muddy with several people getting stuck. Waiting for yesterday's update.

lovesbalot Mar 26, 2023 10:30 AM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Thanks so much for your beautiful photographs. I appreciate your reminder about poison oak.... I learned mugwort is a natural antidote to Poison Oak exposure you can scrunch up some leaves and rub a poultice onto the affected skin. Just don't uproot the plant.

drimfairy Mar 29, 2023 03:06 PM
The Year of Spectacular Wildflowers

Carrizo plain has some flowers, bottom has many flowers next to lake area and hills just some slopes are yellow. All is very green. Soda Lake Road is just fine, and off road is fine too. 58/ 7 mile road intersection is closed.

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