IMG_0821 Over at San Diego Hiker, they’ve started doing a series of botanical posts called “What is THAT?

It’s a series of concise, helpful entries on common trail plants we hikers will come across in Southern California, and so far they’ve written entries on California Buckwheat, Ceanothus, and Sage (which is especially handy if the dog you’re hiking with gets sprayed by a skunk an hour into your backpacking trip).

I’m much more of a geographer than a botanist on the trail, but it’s always good to know what the plants are in your area – especially the ones you can eat in a pinch and the ones that can make your skin burn or itch – and the San Diego Hiker does a good job of keeping track. And of course, as he also states, knowing more about your local surroundings will give you a greater appreciation for the intricate diversities all around us.

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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Modern Hiker
Since founding Modern Hiker in 2006, Casey's work on the site has appeared in regional and national publications, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, CNN, New York Magazine, High Country News, and others. He has broken several national news stories about outdoor vandalism and policies and his first book "Day Hiking Los Angeles" is available for pre-order.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on January 21, 2010


  • Marc says:

    Funny you should mention jumping Cholla, because the person who commented before you, Zevensphin, and I were geocaching in a canyon in Chula Vista this summer, and she got a nice little ball stuck in her heel. I had to loop a string around it to pop it out. Might be a good future entry…

  • If you ever come out to the desert to hike, the Chollo cactus is one you better watch out for. They don’t call it the jumping cactus for nothing. Only plant I’m almost afraid of and I have met a lot of plants in my time.

  • Zevensphin says:

    San Diego Hiker’s “What is THAT?” series is articulate and informative, and has most definitely enhanced my appreciation of my surroundings as I hike in Southern California. Thanks for highlighting it here!

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