Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports on 3/18/15
Still wildflowers in the Borrego Valley, particularly the northern park of the valley but fading. As that area fades out the best places to see annual wildflowers will be in the washes and canyons and higher elevations. Ocotillo are spectacular in Coyote Canyon right now. Montezuma Grade below Culp Valley is on the verge of a magnificent bloom of brittlebush. The rock formations are just beautiful with all those yellow flowers. Brittlebush are just magnificent, perfect little domes that look like they have been groomed, with grey-green leaves and bright yellow flower stalks rising six to eight inches above the plant. They do really well in the rocky formations that rise out of Borrego Springs.
March 18, 2015 Cool Canyon: Chia, Tobacco plant, Checker Fiddleneck, Wishbone, Whispering Bells, lots of Canterbury bluebells, lots of Vetch’s blazing star, lots of Palmer’s Milkvetch, ground cherry, desert rock pea, Ephedra/desert tea, and at least 1 larger display of wooly indian paintbrush.
March 18, 2015 Butler Canyon Hidden Spring Rockhouse Canyon Hiking Details We went up Rockhouse Cayon first and then back into Butler Canyon. That is indeed a recommended loop for those without a GPS. And with the flowers right now it was a real treat, a repeat from most places: we have never seen so many flowers on this hike.
Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata were here, as you can see the seed pods right now. White-lined Sphinx Moth Catepillar have arrived, but Brown-eyed primrose, Camissonia claviformis ssp. peirsonii are still plentiful. Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana , very common right now. Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata are in huge fields especially on the mesa at the end of Butler canyon.
On our way from the Mesa into Butler canyon we started counting and checking Threadplants, we found two kinds in abundance. Tiny but once you know what to look for rather easy to spot. Purple mat, Nama demissa var. demissa are doing great in Butler canyon, a lot of larger plants. My favorite Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia, we found only one.
It took us 50 minutes more than usual taking pictures, so it turned out another long 5 hour hike. The road up to the trailhead is rocky with deep soft sand, a high clearance 4×4 is essential. And so many I didn’t mention
March 17, 2015 Coyote Canyon We have several reports that the Ocotillos in Coyote Canyon are just spectacular right now. It’s a sea of bright red flowers. Just south of town, and on the west side of Borrego Springs Road, the “ocotillo forest” is getting ready to pop.
March 17, 2015 Little Blair Valley loop We went up where I found a small dry lake on the satellite pictures. And we found Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia right in the middle of that dry pond, hundreds of them, still rather small for now. Another plant that Carla had been trying to find and now we know why we didn’t find them. The seem to like more alkaline soil as we found lots more in Little Blair Valley Dry lake.
Not so long ago I thought Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis where rather rare in the park. We found them all over the place including the Pictogram trail up to the Smugglers drop. Along the boulders we found one of the biggest California fish-hook cactus, Mammillaria dioica we’ve ever seen, huge but in a hard spot to get my camera in. Pringle’s Woollysunflower, Eriophyllum pringlei we where missing in our photo collection.
And Carla was probably most pleased with a couple of rather rare Lemmon’s Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii, nice flowers for such a small plant. A honorary plant that is rather faithfull blooming when we check at the pictograph parking Cleveland’s beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii. I don’t think nobody even notices it but it’s a rather nice bunch of them.
Se photos at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update.