Sunday, February 1, 2009

Enlisting help

Another weekend, another hike on the Fire Road. This is the third weekend in a row I've taken that hike - I think it's eight miles, or four miles in and four miles back. You might think it's because I've started a new rigorous exercise regime, right?

Nope. It's because I'm obsessed.

See, at a certain place on the trail, I've seen an unusual wildflower in bloom in past years. It's about that time of year. So each weekend...I take my camera and go out there to see if I can capture it.

Two weeks ago
, we walked out there for the first time in a long time, and I found the site. There were a few shy plants that I recognized, but they were still just developing leaves. Last weekend, I went up there after a week of rain and mist that must have nourished the little plants, because I saw they were starting to put out bloom spikes.

On that trip, my second trip, I clambered up the face of the rock and found a couple more of the tiny plants. I had to slide down the damp rock on the seat of my pants to get back onto the trail.

We've had some very warm weather this week, so this morning I was excited, hoping that the flowers were out. I got out on the trail early, around 9:30 a.m. It was sunny and bright, but not too hot.

Again - I clambered up the rock and brushed aside the weeds covering the plants. There they were - still tantalizingly closed, buds emerging.

And here's where I need your help, Los Angeles residents, or visitors in the next week or two. The flowers will probably bloom soon. I have a couple of commitments that prevent me from hiking up to the Fire Road for the next two weeks. By the time I get a chance to go up again, I fear the bloom will be spent.

See how close it is? Almost ready to open, and I'm going to miss it. This is Fritillaria biflora, the Chocolate Lily, a shy native bulb that is a member of the lily family. It grows on grassy slopes and is quite rare.

Would some intrepid person go up there and find my little flower in bloom, and photograph it for me?

I can promise you the hike will be rewarding. Even if you can't find my little fritillaria, you will see lots of other beautiful flowers and a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.

Here's one flower that's already out. This is Leptodactylum californicum, or Prickly Phlox.

If you want to try to find it, email me and I will give you directions. You can send me the photo and I'll post it here, or you can post it on your blog and I'll link to you.


phd in yogurtry said...

Would love to do the honors. Let me see if I can scrape up some airfare : )

Hope some lucky adventurer takes you up on this opportunity.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Oh just gorgeous, but I am only visiting CA in my dreams!

Woman in a Window said...

How cool is that, you hunting an annual bloom? It aches me so to see the ground though.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

A worthy cause to support indeed.

Marina Capano said...


These photos are fantastic.

Marina Capano said...


These photos are fantastic.

Leenie said...

Will actually leave the ice of Idaho to be in the Longbeach area to see family this weekend. But I'm afraid my schedule is booked. Grandkids, beach, seafood. Know how an idea becomes an obession that causes you to go WAY out of your path. Good luck.

cactus petunia said...

Oooh! Oooh! I'll go! (She said, jumping up and down and waving her hand) Oh, crap. I'm 1200 miles away. Maybe next year?

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Oh G., I hope someone takes you up on your endeavor. I am so intrigued and want to see the little lily opened. I have a lily in a natural area on my back property that came up on it's own. It bloomed orange and black and looked like an orchid. I sent photos of it to all my friends that were in garden clubs hoping to find out the name of it. I Did! It's called a Blackberry Lily. I have saved seeds but can't get it to grown anywhere else except where it is now and where that dear little bird dropped that seed. ~ Happy Belated Pink Saturday. ~ Lynn

Briget said...

Oh, Lord - What They Said.

I'd be there in a heartbeat - if I had the $$$. HOW I would love to spend some time in Southern California just now! We're up to our Southern Ohio asses in snow & ice (and you remember, perhaps, the panic induced by snow & ice around here?) Now, of course, it's just all rutted, gray and brown and yuck. i could use some rare wildflowers!

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

I'm in Pittsburgh, celebrating our Super Bowl, while up all night while my 7 year old suffers with a tummy virus.
What a painful winter it has been for us.

I would SO love to escape to SoCal for a few and take those pictures for you. I couldn't think of any place else I would rather be right now.