Chaparral Mallow in Bloom at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

Posted July 26th, 2011 by John Callender

If you haven’t been to the Carpinteria salt marsh in a while, this is a great time to visit. The chaparral mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) is in bloom, making the walk to the amphitheater a fairly surreal experience:

I traded docent shifts with Rob Denholtz this month, so I was there on the third Saturday in July, rather than my usual second Saturday. No one showed up for the tour, though, so I took a stroll through the marsh myself, and was rewarded by a breathtaking profusion of purple flowers.

I’m on record as having a crush on coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis). Linda attended a recent talk by Carol Bornstein, author of Reimagining the California Lawn, and Linda told me coyote brush was among the plants Bornstein discussed.

Bornstein wrote in her book about coyote brush’s “utilitarian” character, and Linda said she called it “fairly drab” during her talk, which of course makes me want to rise to its defense. But I admit that its flowers are not the showiest.

Chaparral mallow is another story. If I have a crush on coyote brush, I felt a temporary transfer of affections to chaparral mallow as I walked past the wall of flowers at the marsh. You really should visit while they’re in bloom.

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