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 Highlights From Comet Fire Image Pages 1 - 9:      Most Noteworthy Plant & Animal Images 
Ashes To Wildflowers: Image Page 7 (2021)
Post-Burn Plant Succession Following Comet Fire East Of Palomar College,
Including Remarkable Leaf-Litter Ant, Other Insects, Spiders & Rattlesnakes
Compiled by W.P. Armstrong During Winter & Spring Months Of 2021
Plant names follow Checklist Of The Vascular Plants Of San Diego County by
Jon Rebman & Michael Simpson, San Diego Natural History Museum, 2006.

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Unfortunately, the perennial mustard (Hirschfeldia incana) is taking over some areas of the burned area. This troublesome mustard can spread very fast in disturbed areas and can reseed and resprout the following year. It was previously placed in the genus Brassica (B. geniculata), but was moved to Hirschfeldia. Without a concerted campaign to eradicate these aggressive weeds (including Eucalyptus seedlings & resprouts), recovery of the natural coastal sage scrub faces some serious obstacles in my opinion.

A Few More Images Of This Vanishing Plant Community

Chaparral yucca (Yucca whipplei), a member of the agave family (Agavaceae). Like so many other botanical revisions, this species is now moved to a different genus Hesperoyucca. The above view shows what the local unburned hillsides of mature coastal sage scrub once looked like before the area was urbanized. This plant is pollinated by a symbiotic yucca moth (Tegeticula maculata) in one of nature's most remarkable examples of mutualism.
  The Yucca & Its Pollinator Moth  

Southern California clematis or virgin's bower (Clematis pauciflora) climbing down granite boulders near the burned area (south of Arboretum). It is sometimes called "ropevine clematis." There are 3 species native to San Diego County. They belong to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) along with columbines (Aquilegia), larkspurs (Delphinium), and buttercups (Ranunculus).

Thursday 6 May 2021

Nuttall's Snapdragon (Antirrhinum nuttallianum ssp. nuttallianum)

I only found of few of these lovely little native snapdragons. They were once placed in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae), but now reside in the plantain family (Plantaginaceae) along with penstemons (Penstemon), Chinese houses (Collinsia), and plantains (Plantago). The white-flowered snapdragon (A. coulterianum) and climbing snapdragon (A. kelloggii) occur on nearby Owens Peak. A yellow climbing snapdragon (A. filipes) occurs in the Anza-Borrego Desert region.

I have walked the 40 acre burned area twice a week since last February. Today's walk was especially noteworthy because I found the lovely native Nuttall's snapdragon. I also shared a charred, monzogranite outcrop with a sizeable red diamond rattlesnake. I always sit on this outcrop to drink water and consume a nut-fruit health bar. Mr. Crotalus ruber had no reason to feel threatened and vice versa. We got along just fine. In fact, we had a little photo session!

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