This report has been updated with additional information later in the day. See below detailed report from Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations below
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR posted this report today:
It looks like we won’t have much of a wildflower season this year. Many of the poppy plants that germinated after the March rains didn’t make it through the recent hot days, and several of the ones that managed to squeeze out a single flower have desiccated from the winds mid-bloom (see Current Photos). There are about 60 poppy flowers in the whole park at this weekend’s count, but the plants that haven’t flowered yet may not make it much longer. The Joshua trees and Grape Soda Lupine have already started going to seed. We may not have a peak at all this year.
However, we do have rain in the forecast for this weekend. If it actually happens, we might get a little bump of flowers in a couple weeks.
We had very little rain this winter, so the poppies and other wildflowers were unable to germinate and put roots down early. There was a lot of late rain in March causing a large germination, but their shallow young roots are vulnerable to freezes and heat waves. Every year is different, so it looks like these last couple years have been low times in the cycle. Times like this make the good years even more special!
To see a very detailed report from Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations 3/25/13: Mary Wilson click on read more
Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations 3/25/13: Mary Wilson
There are oats going to seed around the parking lot and along the roadside by the kiosk.
Cheat grasses are up and going to seed. The locoweeds are starting to produce blossoms. There are no new perennial poppy plants. There are leaves at the base of the aster plants and there are several new plants. There are a few fiddleneck but no blooms. There are some filaree and they have flowers and seedpods.
The cacti are looking good. The Joshua trees in front of the Visitor Center are now starting to their seedpods.
The poppy plants are very small (1-3 cm) and are producing only one bud or flower. They may have a bud with the calyx starting to come off and I found one plant that had a (1/4 cm) seedpod. The largest leaves on a poppy plant were 4-1/2 cm. The buds are around 3/4 cm, the buds with calyx are 1 cm and the petals are around 1-1/2 cm. There aren’t as many poppies as there were on my last visit.
The old road toward Plot #5 has bindweed, no flowers.
We have recently had Santa Ana winds and a few of the picks have been blown over. The plot looks like it has been cleaned of any new vegetation.
White Picks – Poppies – all plants 33 plants are dried up or gone. There are just dried remnants by picks 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17.
The Yellow, blue, green and red packs that had unidentified plants – all the plants are either dried or gone.
There is nothing green in the plot – not even grasses.
Cross Over Trail
The larger lupine plants are starting to produce flower buds. There are several new plants that are up about 10 cm. The plant at the Cross Over Trail and Lightning Bolt Trail does not have buds.
Lightning Bolt Trail
There are some small poppies on this trail. Found a few pygmy-leaf lupines, Mediterranean grass and the bunch grasses have only a few blades. The wishbone bush is starting to produce new leaves through the old grown and there are new plants. The asters are growing leaves at the base of the plant and there are new plants.
At the top of Kitanemuk Vista Point there are no fiddleneck or lacey phacelia – the plants that were there on a previous visit are gone. The Acton Encelia does have gray-green leaves.
Seeing that the posts are in at the “Y” of the Antelope Trail North and South Loops. The eastside trails have been maintained and cleaned and look great.
Found one goldfield in bloom, there are leaves starting on mustard plants, and there are the beginning of tumbleweed plants. At the trail head by the parking lot I found three Jimson weed plants starting. I found one spurge plant on the trail.
See older detailed reports at: Latest Poppy Reserve Research Field Notes and Observations