Take a hike to worship the diva of wildflowers

Matthew Jaffe

For the giant coreopsis, only the coast will do. With a taste inreal estate that a Hollywood legend could appreciate, this memberof the sunflower family grows naturally only in coastal areas fromMalibu to the Central Coast, as well as on the Channel Islands. Andas plants go, it's a bit of a drama queen, veering from hottie tohas-been depending on the season. See it during the summer, and thestringy brown remains of the plant's leaves hang forlornly from itslimbs. The coreopsis looks irrevocably dead. An ex-plant.

But with winter rains, the giant coreopsis springs back to life,filling out with succulent, rubbery leaves. Rejuvenated, itblossoms with brilliant, daisylike flowers whose yellow jumps outagainst coastal slopes and canyon walls. A good spot to pay homageis La Jolla Canyon in Point Mugu State Park, 5 miles west of theVentura County Line. Here, a short walk will leave little doubtthat the giant coreopsis is ready for its close-up.

Wander a mile up La Jolla Canyon to see the fleeting sunshineblooms of the giant coreopsis.

INFO: On the La Jolla Canyon Trail ($4 parking fee; PointMugu State Park, 9000 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., 22 miles west ofMalibu Canyon Rd.; 805/488-1827), the best stands of coreopsis canbe seen about 1 mile in from the trailhead.

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