Those Wildflowers You 'Grammed From The Santa Monica Mountains Are Actually Dangerous Weeds
Raise your hand if you've driven up the 101 or the Pacific Coast Highway in the past few weeks and seen hillsides full of beautiful lemon, lime and gold colors and silently congratulated yourself for hacking a view of the wildflowers when all those other suckers were waiting in two-hour lines for shuttles out in Lake Elsinore.
Well, we are sorry to be the ones to break it to you (and to ourselves), but those wildflowers aren't the good kind of wildflowers. Sure, you can still put them on the 'gram, but what you're actually posting is a photo of a non-native species that may result in more fire damage to the area as the weather heats up.
According to a statement from the National Park Service, the plants that appear to look like wildflowers throughout the Santa Monica Mountains are in fact a weed called black mustard, whose thick stalks tend to grow in clumps.
"In a couple of months, the mustard will dry out, turn brown and become tinder for wildfire," said Joseph Algiers, a restoration ecologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in the statement. "Sadly, newly burned sites are more subject to invasion."
Black mustard has been making itself at home there for decades, and efforts to remove it have not been wildly successful. As Milt McAuley, author of Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, once told the L.A. Times, "You can do what you want to mustard, but next year, it's going to come back."