Thursday, April 13, 2017

Red Car Property: Looking For Wildflowers?

Photo: S. Bartron, March 22, 2017.  The north end of the Red Car Property, above the City of Los Angeles Historic Landmark Viaduct Footings (looking toward the Menlo Property and Griffith Park), has long been a healthy ecosystem where native wildflowers and wildlife can be found.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 9, 2009Tomcat Clover above the historic viaduct footings.

Even though the non-native grass and flowers are tall, it's time to look for native wildflowers low to the ground, particularly at the base of the slope going up to Adelbert, among the viaduct footings and along the edges of the trail.  Many of the native flowers bloom after the non-native, invasive grasses have gone to seed, so there is still time to start looking for the native plant communities.
Photo: Diane Edwardson,  February 2, 2013.  Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia) near the viaduct footings.

What blooms on the north end of the Red Car Property?  Natives include: Blue Fiesta Flowers, Miner's Lettuce, Tomcat Clover, Golden Stars, Arroyo Lupine, Spanish Lotus, California Fuchsia, Doveweed, Kotolo Milkweed, Cudweed, California Poppy, Toyon, Native Dandelions, in addition to protected native Coast Live Oak and Black Walnuts.  There are others we've not yet identified.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 6, 2016.  Mystery plants near Adelbert have green flowers that apparently create pink to red seeds.

Non-native grasses are more diverse than you might thinkNon-native Wild Radish flowers are widespread, scenic and attract a variety of butterflies.

California Harvester Ants were thriving and helping to diversify the plant population by harvesting and inadvertently planting seeds.  Prior to the devastation of the urban forest on the Red Car Property and the the Riverside Drive Lots now being graded, Harvester Ants thrived in either a super colony or multiple colonies between the Coast Live Oak Tree and Fletcher.  Harvester Ants are an "indicator species."  Their presence is a sign of a healthy and diverse environment.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 21, 2016.  Native Dandelions attract a variety of pollinators including tiny beetles.

Unusual bugs to look for: mod-looking Flower Flies, Funereal Duskywings, swarming Green Darner Dragonflies, Trapdoor Spiders and in June, look for Tarantula Hawks
Photo: Diane Edwardson, August 8, 2014.  Red Shouldered Hawks tend to hang out in the protected native Black Walnut Trees  

Red Tailed Hawks ride the updrafts of Fletcher at Riverside, often landing in the power line towers off the public staircase coming down from Waverly.  Neighbors report hearing owls after dark.

Rarely seen, but present in the neighborhood: Bobcats and Gray Foxes.

In the early mornings you're likely to see coyotes on this part of the Red Car Property, even crossing Fletcher near the ARCO Station.

Click here for all our neighborhood native plant posts.