After the Wildfire, +8 months

On March 14, we returned to the Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve eight months after the wildfire. Our hike was led by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS-SCV), in cooperation with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, to see how the fire impacted the landscape, how it will recover, and what fire follower plants are present.

The fire and this hike were in a preserve where going off-trail is normally prohibited. Please help protect the preserve by staying on the trails unless you are part of a docent-led hike like this one.

In the two months since our last hike, we got some rain at the end of February, but it’s been a very dry winter for California.

As usual, we started the hike at the corner of the burn area, which stretches up the hill.

corner of the burn area
corner of the burn area

In mid-March wildflowers are starting to bloom, with the February rain and warm winter. The lupinous bicolor, bicolor lupine, has blue and white flowers. All plants in this post are California native plants.

lupinus bicolor
lupinus bicolor

Eschscholzia californica, California poppy, is California’s state flower.

Eschscholzia californica
Eschscholzia californica

As in January, we saw Dudleya setchellii, Santa Clara dudley.

Dudleya setchellii
Dudleya setchellii

Two kinds of lupine here that haven’t bloomed yet.

lupinus
lupinus

Near the top of the ridge, this chaparral area on the south side of the ridge was covered with shrubs before the wildfire. Chlorogalum pomeridianum, soap plant, has sprouted.

chlorogalum pomeridianum
chlorogalum pomeridianum

We found mimulus, monkey flower, in the same area.

mimulus
mimulus

Salvia mellifera, black sage, appears to be resprouting.

salvia mellifera
salvia mellifera

Outside the burn area, we found sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass, in bloom. In the burn area, we only found small individuals that weren’t in bloom yet.

sisyrinchium bellum
sisyrinchium bellum

We found these in a burn area at the top of the ridge. Other folks on the hike identified this and many other plants, but I forgot the name. Arvind K. and Jean S. identified this as a zigadenus fremontii, Fremont star lily. But the name changed recently, and Judy F. has the current name toxicoscordion fremontii.

toxicoscordion fremontii
toxicoscordion fremontii

This symphoricarpos mollis, snowberry, was also in the burn area at the top of the ridge.

symphoricarpos mollis
symphoricarpos mollis

We hiked back on the north side of the ridge, out of the burn area. Some ferns. On the left, adiantum capillus-veneris, maidenhair, has fine black branches. Polypodium is in the middle. Dryopteris arguta, wood fern, is on the right.

dryopteris arguta, polypodium californicum, adiantum capillus-ve
dryopteris arguta, polypodium californicum, adiantum capillus-ve

And last but not least, dodecatheon, shooting stars are blooming. These summer-dormant plants add a leaf for every year of age. They start blooming at about seven years old, so it’s a real treat to see them in bloom.

dodecatheon pulchellum
dodecatheon
dodecatheon pulchellum
dodecatheon

Seeing all the wildflowers was a real treat, especially the shooting stars!

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Published by

charley280

I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

7 thoughts on “After the Wildfire, +8 months”

  1. Nice show. Thanks for sharing. I just photographed the wildflowers on Ring Mtn up here in a Marin a yr after a fire there. Shoot me an email if you want to see them – I post them on Flickr.

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