Amanda Guevara | The Poly Post

Spring has sprung as the California super bloom paints the hills

By Fabiola Aceves, May 9, 2023

After weeks of continuous rain, the phenomenon known as the super bloom decorated the Lancaster hills with hues of orange, red, yellow and green. The vibrant colors created Lancaster’s own garden that attracted many visitors. 

The super bloom can be very important to our environment due to the native species that grow and the nutrients they can provide to nature’s life cycle. 

Valerie Mellano, a plant science professor, explained what the super bloom is and how it occurs. 

“There are some seeds that land on the ground and it doesn’t germinate, so it builds up, then suddenly it gets the rain and seeds pop open,” said Mellano. 

The super bloom might happen sporadically, but the plants are not ones that are new to the area. The species that bloom are ones native to the area which were dropped in the soil throughout the year.  

“It is plant growth in a bloom, so it is not like they are coming from somewhere else,” said Mellano.  

The super bloom is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but also very crucial to the environment and atmosphere. The events of a super bloom can help the atmosphere due to the carbon cycle and how we receive our oxygen.   

“They pull carbon out of the atmosphere in order to grow and to maintain themselves through the season and that is helpful for us with regards to climate change,” said Mellano. 

The events of a super bloom are not only beneficial to us and our life cycle, but also to pollinators and species that feed off native plants. 

Anna Soper, an associate professor in the plant science department conducts work focusing on invasive species and bees. Soper explained the effects of the super bloom and its benefits for the pollinators and their own life cycle. 

“The honeybees do benefit from that because they have lots of food around when there are lots of flowers,” said Soper. 

The super bloom is known for helping native species grow, but that does not stop unwanted visitors like the garlic mustard from taking over their territory. Garlic mustard not only affects the territory of the native species but also the food supply of the pollinators.  

Amanda Guevara | The Poly Post

“They only have that food for two weeks, and then that food is gone, and the biomass stays behind so the flowers can’t grow,” said Soper.  

Although the super bloom was an event that mostly happens in the Lancaster area or in the freeway heading towards Lake Elsinore, a mini version of a super bloom can be seen in Cal Poly Pomona’s backyard at the BioTrek garden. Michelle Terrazino, a technician at the BioTrek garden explained the influence that the rain had on the wildflower garden. 

At the wildflower garden located in the back of the BioTrek, near the rainforest, members planted their own California Poppy Seeds. 

“We threw out a bunch of California poppy seeds during the rains earlier this year and they’re popping off like crazy,” said Terrazino. 

The California super bloom is an event that does not occur often and should always be protected. Some parks have acted towards this and have not permitted any visitors to the site. 

“It’s better if we just look at it or at least stay on the maintained trails because we are not disrupting things and it is pretty easy to disrupt some of these systems,” said Mellano.  

In protecting the native land from the outside sources, the species that live there are also protected. Which in exchange, protects the pollinators that need those plants as food to survive. 

“These are beautiful native ecosystems that we should be able to look at and enjoy and provide that for our native insects and our native bees,” said Soper. 

Feature image courtesy of Fabiola Aceves

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