Superbloom 2019

Text and photos by Juergen Schrenk

This year's "superbloom" continued through the end of June in our local mountains. We have never seen the Lagunas this floriferous in late June. The chaparral along Sunrise Highway was in full bloom, dominated by Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum) and California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium), interspersed with quite a few Weed’s Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus weedii var. weedii), and Shiny-leaf Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon trichocalyx var. trichocalyx) by the roadside. The short Kwaaymii Trail had plenty of the usually less common Golden Bowl Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus concolor), with Mojave Prickly Pear (Opuntia phaeacantha) competing for attention. One of my favorites, Summer Snow (Leptosiphon floribundus ssp. glaber), was at its prime, while Western Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana var. demissa) was already beyond. The equally short Kwaaymii Point Trail was outright lush, and even the slopes towards the desert were still green. Further up the road, along Lake Cuyamaca, the numbers of Cuyamaca Larkspur (Delphinium hesperium ssp. cuyamacae) were stunning in many places; its blue rivaled by that of Dwarf Brodiaea (Brodiaea terrestris ssp.kernensis). For the way back down to I-8 we chose Viejas Grade with a spectacular display of Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii), lots of Weed Mariposa lilies, and pink added by Canchalagua (Zeltnera venusta) accompanied by Fringed Spineflower (Chorizanthe fimbriata var. fimbriata).