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Climate and Environment

SoCal's Beloved Wildflower Hotline Is Back For Its 40th Year

A cluster of bright orange poppies set against a backdrop of rolling hills in the distance.
Poppies at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.
(Photo by peggyarcher via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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It's March, and that means wildflower season in Southern California. Luckily for flower lovers, there’s a local hotline devoted to the Golden State’s beautiful blooms.

Starting today, the Theodore Payne Foundation Wild Flower Hotline makes its return with weekly recorded reports every Friday through May. Those who give it a ring will hear information about where flowers can be viewed in Southern California.

Oh, and you’ll be greeted by the voice of Emmy-award winning actor Joe Spano, who narrates the hotline. Just dial 818-768-1802 ext. 7.

Respecting wildlife

If this year’s rainy season is any indication, California could see a lot of flowers this spring. But while folks might get excited, it's important to respect wildlife by staying on the trails, said Evan Meyer, the foundation’s executive director.

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“I know it’s really enticing to go out and walk amidst the poppies and take a selfie, but it’s actually really, really destructive to the plants,” he said.

Meyer also urges people to pack any trash they bring along the trails, pay attention to designated parking areas, and be respectful to residents and local businesses that reside in blooming areas.

Local flower ‘magic’

Those viral superbloom sights you see online might catch your eye, but Meyer cautioned Californians not to overlook the beauty of smaller blooms.

“Just get out and experience the local magic and the flowers that you’ll find in slightly lesser qualities, but still equally beautiful and compelling to connect with.”

Wildflower viewing guidelines

Best practices
  • Here's guidance from the California Botanic Garden on how to responsibly view the state's spectacular flower blooms:

    • Stay on designated trails: real trails — not those newly blazed by the person before you.
    • Take photos only; leave wildflowers where they are.
    • Plant your own super bloom by sowing seeds from reputable nurseries such as the Grow Native Nursery at CalBG or Theodore Payne Foundation.
    • Volunteer with organizations to help maintain native ecosystems.
    • Avoid visiting the most vulnerable parks with high visitation (i.e., those that you may be hearing about on the news or social media). Instead, spread out to other areas. There is a lot to see in California!
    • Share these guidelines with others: your friends, family, people you see violating them.

More about California’s wildflowers:

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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