A Few Plants at Famosa Slough

famosa slough featured image

Last month, on November 23rd, my girls went over to Famosa Slough because I wanted to check out and see how the plants were doing. I knew that the toyon and buckwheat were in bloom, but what other surprises were we in for? Well, I can tell you upfront that I saw my very first California boxthorn bush! Have you ever seen one in the wild?

So today, I wish to keep things casual, seeing that I have written more in-depth about almost all of these plants.

Please see the links down below if you would like more information.

A Few Famosa Slough Facts

Famosa slough map google maps

button-map-Famosa-Slough-Google-Maps

First and foremost, the Famosa Slough is a living wetland preserve as well as a Marine Protected Area, which means nothing is to be touched or taken. It survives as a wetland by the tidal flow from the culvet pipes that connect it to the San Diego River Channel.

It consists of two sections: the Northern Channel,, which is 12 acres, and the southern portion of 25 acres of mixed wetlands. The more south you go, the less saline the water.

I have been here four times now and have written about Famosa Slough before, only concentrating on the southern section. Well, today,, we explored both.

North Channel of Famosa Slough

famosa slough pano san diego saltmarsh

The North section connects to the San Diego River Channel to the north,, with the southern portion just across the street.

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Plants at the Beach-San Onofre

San Onofre State Beach May Trails Beach

Boy, was I excited to finally go to the beach on May 24, 2020? Anyone else happy to get out of their houses, too? Well, I was so happy that I actually went to San Onofre State Beach twice in one week. You see, because of the lockdown in California, I could not witness the beginning of wildflower season. So my main objective on this first day back to the beach was to see as many plants as I could! The first time we headed to Trestles, and the following Friday, I explored the southern section, just under San Onofre Campground at Bluffs Beach (or Trails Beach). Below, I would love to share with you what I saw, in other words, all of the plants at the beach that I encountered.

Previous to this beach adventure, I had just finished a post on Southern California Native Plants. Within this post, I have documented all of the plants and wildflowers I encountered in the chaparral and Southern Oak Woodland behind my neighborhood during Quarantine 2020.  After hours and hours of research, I sure learned a tremendous amount!

Plant Names Given by San Diego Native Inhabitants 

I have recently been fascinated with Native American uses of the native plants in the area (Ethnobotany), so I thought I would continue with the same format I followed for my previous native plant post.

The Kumeyaay people were the first known original inhabitants of San Diego. Kumeyaay translates to ‘those who face the water from a cliff.” (Click on the link to hear the correct way to pronounce Kumeyaay)

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Five More San Diego Hidden Gems

Ocean sunset san diego hidden gems

San Diego, otherwise known as  “America’s Finest City,” has one of the most beautiful coastlines, if I may dare say, in the world. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, over 35 million people visited San Diego in 2018 and 36.5 million in 2019. I am afraid to see the numbers for 2020, but I digress. One of my favorite things to do on this website introduces you all to the many, many San Diego hidden gems. I will be the first to admit that I am biased as I have been exploring the San Diego coastline for over thirty-five years. So today, I would like to share with you a few more, in fact, five more San Diego Hidden Gems, so you too can experience San Diego as a native.

When I say San Diego, I refer to the entire 70 miles of the San Diego coast. From San Onofre State Beach down to the US/Mexico border, the coast of San Diego has something for everyone!

Let us now take a look, shall we?

#Click on any photo in the gallery to view a larger image


Old Man’s Beach at San Onofre State Beach

Old Man Secret Spot Hidden gems San Diego

button map Old Mans San Onofre State Beach

I wasn’t sure if I would share this little gem because this has been my little secret for years, but here we go. Old Man’s Beach is found over at San Onofre State Beach and is one of my favorite places. Locals refer to this beach as  San O and San Onofre Surfing Beach.

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Wardholme Tree You Took My Breath Away!

Wardholme torrey pine featured image me looking up

Just last month, my husband and I could visit his family up north to  Santa Barbara County. I was super excited because we would be able to stop by Carpinteria and check out the largest Torrey Pine tree in the world! The tree even has a formal name- the Wardholme Torrey Pine.

It may seem a bit dramatic, but when we were approaching the tree, I gasped! You can not deny the presence of this giant.

Let’s take a look close and personal, shall we?

Important Information
  • Scientific Name
    • Inland Population- Pinus torreyana
    • Santa Rosa Island- Pinus torreyana var. insularis
  • Habitat
    • coastal sage scrub
    • chaparral
  • Endangered
  • One of the rarest pine trees in the world as it only grows naturally in two places in Southern California.
    • A small strip of the coastline in Del Mar and La Jolla
    • Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara County
  • Very slow-growing and can live up to 100 years
  • Distinguished by the needles on the branches being in bunches of five
  • Six-inch (15 cm) pinecones

Map- 5100 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

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Southern California Native Plants

Pechanga River back country stream

So what did you do during Quarantine 2020? Well, I spent many, many hours exploring the fields behind my neighborhood. I went hunting for native plants and wildflowers! Would you like to see what I saw? Down below, I have listed all of the Southern California native plants that I observed from March to July.

I had a lot of time on my hands, and I thought now would be an excellent time to get more familiar with the native plants in my area. Did you know that San Diego County has the highest biodiversity anywhere in the continental United States?

Yes! California hosts over 6500 species, subspecies, and varieties of plants, with 222 of these that are designated as rare, endangered, or threatened.

I live about one mile from the San Diego Border,  so even though technically Temecula is in southwest Riverside County, let’s pretend.

So, where did I see all of these lovely plants? Behind my neighborhood, there is an undeveloped area that lies just outside of the Pechanga Indian Reservation. There is a dry riverbed that runs parallel to two golf courses owned by Pechanga.

Down below, I have provided a Google Map of the area that has become my second home these past 5 months.

Temecula plant ID trails native plants
Red Line=Observation Area

There are several biomes to explore here-

  • Grasslands
  • Coastal Sage Scrub
  • Chaparral
  • Southern Oak Woodland
  • Serpentine

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Desperately Seeking Torrey Pine Trees

Desperately seeking torrey pine tree featured image

I would have a bit of fun with this post today. You see, with all the exploring that I have been doing in San Diego County, I have been noticing the elusive Torrey pine trees while on my adventures.

I am so intrigued that the Torrey pine tree is endangered and is the rarest pine tree in North America. The Torrey pine tree only grows naturally on a tiny strip of land on Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (TPSNR). Because of this, I keep noticing them wherever I go around San Diego County!

I have tried to find any information on who planted all of these trees, but regardless I was ecstatic every time I saw a Torrey pine tree. So I did a little research, and let me tell you, it was not easy.  There is plenty of necessary information, but other than that, not so much.

Torrey Pine Tree Information

torrey pine tree scientific information

First and foremost, the Torrey pine tree only grows naturally in two places Del Mar and Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Santa Barbara, which is 175 miles away.

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California Super Bloom at San Onofre

Trestles Beach April 2019 California Super Bloom

Over three weeks ago, I had the supreme pleasure of taking the opportunity to get out and see what was happening on the coast of North County San Diego. Amidst all of the rain that we got this winter season, I was extremely excited to see how all of the plants on the coast looked. Did the California super bloom affect the coast?

So I grabbed my backpack and filled it with plant ID books, my iPad, water, sunscreen, and ran out the door.  Well, maybe not running, but I was super excited!

My two daughters and I headed first to Trestles Beach Trail and afterward, doubled back and explored Bluffs Beach at San Onofre State Beach.  I have to say, what I saw, took my breath away.

San Onofre State Beach Google Map
Trestles Beach Trail to the north- San Onofre Bluff Campground south

button map trestles beach trail google map

Ok, are you ready to check out all of the plants at San Onofre State Beach in North County San Diego!

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