The ice plants have started blooming, here where I live, south of San Francisco, in the San Francisco Bay area. Ice plants are succulents which form a ground cover. The most common species in my area appears to be Carpobrotus edulis. They are very hardy, hold water (good for this dry area) and they have beautiful pink and yellow flowers in the spring. They were popular as ground covers for commercial spaces, and were planted along the highways to help prevent erosion. They grow well in our climate. Here’s a description and some pictures – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpobrotus_edulis
I like them, though, yes, I know that they are an invasive species. Ice plants are not native to this area. They are native to South Africa, which has a Mediterranean climate like our climate, so of course they grow well here. I realize that we need to get them out of natural habitats such as the Point Reyes National Seashore, and the San Francisco estuary, but I do enjoy seeing them bloom in my area, in the spring.
The ice plants are pretty along Bayshore Drive. I went there on Sunday, April 5, 2009, and took pictures.
The California Poppy (our state flower!) has also started blooming. I’ll have to go take pictures.