SPRING IS BLOOMING IN OC PARKS
Fiddleneck in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
“April showers bring May flowers,” the saying goes. In Southern California, that doesn’t necessarily hold true, and some years we may start seeing wildflowers popping up as early as mid-March.
Along with all the other challenges 2020 brought, it also brought a very dry winter, with just a fraction of the rainfall we would typically have by April. But all hope is not lost!
"While we likely won't see hillsides of flowers this season, there should be nice concentrated pockets of wildflowers in most of our open spaces over the next couple of months," OC Parks' Natural Resource Manager Jennifer predicted.
Wild hyacinth in Irvine Regional Park
Already, scattered blooms of wild hyacinth, fiddleneck, California wishbone bush and more are popping up in Irvine and Santiago Oaks regional parks, Caspers Wilderness Park, and many of our other facilities. These are early-season flowers, so stay tuned to see what blooms in our parks as we move through April into May. Patches of lupine and California poppies can also be seen on hillsides along major thoroughfares in South Orange County.
California wishbone brush in Irvine Regional Park
Last year’s wildfires may also affect this year’s wildflowers.
Orange County’s native wildflowers evolved with fire as a natural part of our unique Mediterranean climate ecosystem. To adapt to the historically large but infrequent fires, flowers and shrubs called “fire followers” developed specialized responses to charred soil, smoke, and increased sunlight.
With sufficient winter rains, these species can take advantage of these responses along with the increased soil nutrients and lack of competition to germinate in the year or years following wildfire. Examples of wildflowers we might see after the Silverado and Bond Fires include the well-named fire poppy, Catalina mariposa lilies, and Parry’s phacelia, so keep your eyes peeled in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.