The ocean is warming, Mexican coral trees are in bloom along 94

The Horticult website features coral trees in Dennis V. Allen Park in southeast San Diego.

Sea water temperatures, in the last 50’s Fahrenheit, are finally on the upswing as the daylight hours get longer and the sun stands higher above the sky each day. It will take about five months of spring and summer sunshine for the ocean’s enormous mass and heat capacity to fully respond to the input of solar energy. A maximum water temperature in the lower to mid 1970s is expected by August or September.

March is the proverbial windy month here in San Diego, as in most places. From noon to late afternoon, the sun-warmed air expands and rises inland, drawing in cool air from the coast to replace it. This afternoon sea breeze lasts well into summer and provides reliable conditions for sports such as sailing, hang gliding and hang gliding.

Light green leaves on sycamore maple, liquidambar, and other decorative deciduous trees around San Diego. Drive 163 through Balboa Park to take in the spring-like splendor of the sycamore maples that grow in the landscaped center divider. Or walk across the El Prado Bridge and look down on it.

Mexican coral trees, or “bare corals” show their stuff this season by wearing flame-like flowers at the tips of their rotating, often leafless branches. These and other species of coral, commonly planted as parkland and highway landscapes, bloom along State Route 94, Interstate 5 through Oceanside, along Harbor Drive near the airport, at the San Diego Zoo, on the lawns in front of San Diego City Downtown college and on the San Diego State University campus. Flowering can continue into late spring, when the bare corals are covered with eight-inch leaves just in time to provide shade for the warm months.

Purple “Freeway Daisies” also known as African Trailing Daisies or Osteospermum Fruticosum.

African daisies they flourish around San Diego, especially along the freeway embankments. The name refers to a variety of species in the genera Arctotis, Dimorphotheca and Osteospermum with flowers ranging from yellow, orange and white to purple. These sturdy ground covers require little water unless they’re actively growing, and help keep the soil in place during heavy rain.

The stars of Canis Major in a moonless dark sky can be linked to form a beautiful dog profile, but through a lighter sky only its five brightest stars show up well. These form the unmistakable meat cleaver. Sirius and Murzim (to the right of it) are the broad upper end of the cleaver, with Sirius sparkling at the upper rear corner. At the lower left of Sirius is the other end of the cleaver, including its short handle made up of the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and Aludra. The cleaver chops down to the right.

The above is from the Reader’s Outdoors lists compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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