Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Plants on Garcia Trail - 5-9-11

Garcia TrailSee Garcia Trail Description on Dan’s Hiking Pages

Plants See Plants and Wildflowers in the San Gabriel Mountains at Dan's Hiking Pages

What plants might you find along Garcia Trail above Azusa? Since this trail is so close to my house, it’s a convenient venue for me to observe plant life. I’ve photographed plants on Garcia Trail for several years now throughout different seasons, but below is a snapshot of the plants from a single day in May. Some of these plants are in the middle of their blooming season and others are at the beginning or end.

Fire Crew TruckI’ve not been on my local Garcia Trail since January, so I was eager to hit the trail for a little pre-vacation exercise and to scope out the plant life. The weather was cloudy and cool, making nice conditions and ideal lighting for plant photography. I started the hike at 11:34 and immediately starting photographing plants. Up the trail was a crew from LA County fire camp 16 performing much-need trail maintenance. I arrived at Azusa Peak at 1:22. Someone has attached a Christian flag to the cross and the mailbox that was used for a summit log is gone. Still cloudy and cool with some breeze. I continued to photograph plants on the way down and finished the hike at 2:54.

I’ve displayed the plants below in the order in which I photographed them, with the hollyleaf cherry starting the return trip just below Azusa Peak. For more information about any of these plants, simply copy the scientific name and Google it.

Fountain grass
Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) / Grass family (Poaceae)
Non-native, invasive. / Annual grass. Blooms July to October.

Moth mullein
Moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) / Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae)
Non-native (Eurasia) / Perennial herb. Blooms May to September.

Deerweed (Lotus scoparius) / Pea family (Lamiaceae)
Native / Perennial herb (shrubby bush). Blooms March to August.

Prickly-pear cactus
Prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia littoralis) / Cactus family (Cactaceae)
Native / Shurby, succulent. Blooms May to July.

Cliff aster
Cliff aster (Malacothrix saxatilis) / Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Native / Perennial herb. Blooms most of the year.

Golden Yarrow
Golden yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) / Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Native / Small perennial shrub. Blooms April to August.

Blue elderberry
Blue elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana) / Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae)
Native / deciduous tree or shrub. Blooms March to September.

Wild cucumber
Wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpus) / Gourd family (Cucurbitaceae)
Native / Perennial herb or vine. Blooms (tiny white flowers) January to April.

Western thistle
Western thistle (Cirsium occidentale) / Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Native / Biennial herb. Blooms April to July.

Everlasting (Gnaphalium spp.) Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Native / Annual or biennial herb. Blooms January to July.

Wild morning glory
Wild morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia) / Morning-glory family (Convolvulaceae)
Native / Perennial vine. Blooms March to June.

Showy Penstemon
Showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis) / Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae)
Native / Perennial herb. Blooms April to July.

Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) / Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Navtive / Annual herb. Blooms most of the year.

Caterpillar phacelia
Caterpillar phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria) / Waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae)
Native / Annual herb. Blooms March to May.

Southern honeysuckle
Southern honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata) / Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae)
Native / Vining shrub. Blooms April to June.

Brittlebush (Encelia farinose) / Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Native / Shrub. Blooms March to July.

Yucca (Yucca Whipplei) / Lily family (Liliaceae)
Native / Subshrub. Blooms March to June.

Blue dicks
Blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) / Lily family (Liliaceae)
Native / Perennial herb. Blooms February to May.

Hollyleaf cherry
Hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) / Rose family (Rosaceae)
Native / Shrub or tree. Blooms February to May
Seeds and leaves are poisonous.

Douglas nightshade
Douglas nightshade (Solanum douglasii) / Nightshade family (Solanaceae)
Native / Perennial herb. Blooms most of the year.

Clematis or Virgin’s bower (Clematis ligusticifolia) / Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae)
Native / Woody vine. Blooms January to June.

Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) / Mustard family (Brassicaceae)
Non-native / Annual herb.

Azusa PeakSome of the other plants blooming along Garcia Trail today which are not included here are mustard (yellow), filaree (purple), California buckwheat (cream), and tree tobacco (yellow). icon

See Garcia Trail Description on Dan’s Hiking Pages

Plants See Plants and Wildflowers in the San Gabriel Mountains at Dan's Hiking Pages


  1. Nice pics and thanks again for the identifications. I must be getting better because I'm either able to identify them from the pictures, now, or at least say, "Oh, yeah," when I read your i.d. :D

  2. Nice pics Dan I like the Showy penstemon the best.

  3. I just "discovered" Garcia trail. I note it's sometimes listed as "Historic Garcia Trail." I would love to know the history, if you would care to elaborate.

    Great pics and plant info

  4. Hey Johnny, I have a brief history of Garcia Trail posted here:

  5. Thankyou Dan! I have been trying to identify the Solanum!!

    1. You're welcome, Leah. Nightshades are pretty common. It's good to know them.