Chaparral is best known as a thick coating of shrubs and small trees inpenetrably covering an area. Some plants which often make up chaparral are chamise, scrub oak. manzanita, chinquapin, ceanothus, baccarus and sage. Chaparral is one of the most dominant and widespread vegetation types of California and I am sure it exists elsewhere as well. Chaparral prefers rather dry areas, although it does need a certain amount of winter rain to keep it going. It is generally found on slopes of the San Bernadino Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Ana Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains, the Central Coast Ranges and lower western slopes of the Sierra. Chaparral is charactarized by plants with waxy small leaves full of various oils. This makes chaparral extremely flammable. Most of these plants are very adapted to fire; after a fire they will sprout from the roots and resume growing as if nothing has happened. However these fires are rather hot-burning and fast moving and are detrimental to human habitation. Keep this in mind before you buy a house nestled in chaparral.

chaparral areas can be pleasant places to visit, but you have to do it at the right time of the year. Stay away from chaparral in the summer, most places it grows get pretty damn hot. If you are there in the fall and see any smoke , get the hell out of there, especially if a santa ana wind is blowing. I suggest visiting in the spring or late winter between storms when the ceanothus is blooming. At these times its really nice. But forget traveling cross country because you wont be able to get more than 3 feet off of the trail.

Cha`par*ral" (?), n. [Sp., fr. chaparro an evergeen oak.]

1.

A thicket of low evergreen oaks.

2.

An almost impenetrable thicket or succession of thickets of thorny shrubs and brambles.

Chaparral cock; fem. Chaparral hen Zool., a bird of the cuckoo family (Geococcyx Californianus), noted for running with great speed. It ranges from California to Mexico and eastward to Texas; -- called also road runner, ground cuckoo, churea, and snake killer<--; it is the state bird of New Mexico -->.

 

© Webster 1913.

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