Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 12, 2012

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Update 3/11/12

Two New Anza-Borrego Wildflower Updates from  Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  and Anza- Borrego Desert Natural History Association

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park published the following wildflower bloom report:

Wildflower Update for March 11th • Visitor Center area: brittlebush, chuparosa (most have red blossoms, but there isone in the Nierenberg Amphitheater that is covered with yellow flowers), and desert lavender are in bloom. A beautiful beavertail cactus has started blooming near the Nierenberg Plaza and Amphitheater, and has many more buds ready to go! Tiny cryptantha is just about the only annual so far, although one (1!) desert dandelion was spotted recently, and a few phacelia plants have started to grow, though they have yet to bloom. What can you find?

• Borrego Palm Canyon: chuparosa, brittlebush, viguiera, trixis, desert lavender, ocotillo, sweetbush, cheesebush, and creosote bush; scattered (and few) annuals such as monkeyflowers, pygmy poppies, whispering bells, rock daisy, cryptantha and phacelia. Look for the delicate white blossoms of fiesta flower in shady spots.

• June Wash: Located about an hour’s drive from Borrego Springs (near mile marker 41 on County Highway S-2), the entrance to June Wash is one of the best places to look for annual wildflowers, with plenty of brown-eyed evening primrose, along with desert chicory, phacelia, cryptantha, and pincushion. Drivers of two-wheel-drive vehicles should be careful to stay in the roadbed, especially near the entrance where there is soft sand. After about 1⁄4 mile, there is blooming ocotillo, and brittlebush in the south fork after the road splits.

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association published the following wildflower bloom update on March 11, 2012

11 March 2010 – It was impossible to walk into Hornblende Canyon, looking for flowers this morning, and not notice the geology. One assumes this narrow canyon was once a creekbed. Layers of sandstone, uplifted and twisted by millions of years of earthquakes, are the remarkable remains. The greatness of Anza-Borrego is that it is more than just one part like botany or geology or bumpy jeep trails. It is the sum of all its parts that make it so important to us.

Most of what little flower activity there is in the parks (the state park, the county parks) right now seems to be in canyons and washes at elevations of two to three thousand feet. There have been good sightings at Palm Canyon west of Borrego Springs, Mine Wash and Plum Canyon off of Highway 78, Hornblende Canyon, the California Riding & Hiking Trail, canyons of Agua Caliente County Park, and the canyon west of mile marker 41 off of Highway S-2.

The Ephedra is covered with tiny golden flowers. Yellow flowers are appearing on the tops of the Barrel Cactus. The Cheesebush flowers may go unnoticed because of their small size and unspectacular color but, when the flowers pop into fruit, the Cheesebush gets attention.

For us, color and fragrance were the first things that attracted us to flowers. After all these years, we still admire a flower’s color and fragrance. We are also happy on a day when we find a plant we’ve never seen or seldom see, or are seeing for the first time on a particular year. In this category on this day, it was a Few-Flower Wreath Plant in Hornblende Canyon and a Woolly Sunflower on a nearby stretch of the California Riding and Hiking Trail.


  1. […] Anza-Borrego Wildflower Update 3/11/12 ( Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeOne blogger likes this post. […]


  2. Thanks for the update and report.


  3. Thanks for this, and the link to Joshua Tree. The easy drive to Joshua Tree
    from Palm Desert is very tempting and well worth it right now. On Saturday
    I went in the entrance off HWY 10, and was well rewarded. Lowest areas there full of Chia, some even large, plus good blooming Encelia, Bladderpod,
    Desert Lavender , Cheesebush, Mesquite, and Cryptantha. Not the riot of color of a few years. Higher up in the washes before Cottonwood Springs, more of the same right against the beautiful rocks. Plus Cantebury Bells , a few Poppies,apricot Mallows lots of gorgeous Satin Blazing Star (all on report from park).
    Best and most beautiful was hike from Cottonwood Springs. Flowers all along the way, including Bigelow’s Monkey Flower. Perfect weather now,
    plus that evening sky is great.


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