After a fire, seeds of various plants are stimulated to grow because of richer soil enhanced by ash and/or rain water that leaches from burned wood. Other seeds are stimulated to grow in areas that have been cleared of brush allowing access to more direct sunlight. Whatever the reason, or a combination of all of the above, some plants are known as fire followers.
On a trip out along Manzana Creek, the edges of the Zaca fire were reached after about a mile. Many of the standard fire followers were seen, of which the most interesting were:
- Twining Snapdragon – Antirrhinum kelloggii
- Popcorn Flower – Cryptantha intermedia
- Whispering Bells – Emmenanthe penduliflora
- California Chicory – Rafinesquia californica
- Yellow-throated Phacelia – Phacelia brachyloba
- Caterpillar Phacelia – Phacelia cicutaria
- Sticky Phacelia – Phacelia viscida
- Chaparral Blazing Star, San Luis Stick Leaf – Mentzelia micrantha
- Common Eucrypta – Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia
(Twining Snapdragon – Manzana Creek, May 11, 2008)
(Sticky Phacelia, white version – Manzana Creek, May 11, 2008)
(Chaparral Blazing Star/San Luis Stick Leaf – Manzana Creek, May 11, 2008)
The third plant is in the same family as the Grass Blazingstar, a photo of which is in the “Zaca Fire Follower” post. Because of the sticky curved hairs on the leaf, it has the alternate name of San Luis Stick Leaf.
(Seep Monkeyflower – Manzana Creek, May 11, 2008)
At last I understood where the name Monkey Flower came from for the mimulus species, after seeing this photo of Seep Monkeyflower.