Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 3, 2015

Death Valley Wildflower Report 12/2/15

Death Valley reports on Dec. 2, 2015

Dec 2, 2015 Death Valley Reports: Exciting things are happening here in Death Valley! Everywhere you look, little green shoots are sprouting up. The October flood events, although devastating to manmade infrastructure in the park, may lead to an INCREDIBLE wildflower season. If the winter rains of the current El Nino cycle provide enough water to keep these seedlings alive until spring, we may even have a superbloom this year! It’s looking good, we’re all very hopeful. To celebrate the eagerly anticipated bloom, we will be posting Wildflower Wednesdays, highlighting a different Death Valley wildflower every week, to get you jazzed about the spring wildflower season and to keep you updated on what is blooming.

This week I’m really excited about a flower that is currently blooming, Pagoda Buckwheat (Eriogonum Rixfordii). This plant has LOTS of flowers, but they are teeny tiny. Get your magnifying glass out! The Eriogonum family is the most common wildflower family in the Park, with 48 species. Many species are commonly called Skeleton Weed, because of the interesting sculptures left behind for months, sometimes even years, after the plant has died. Eriogonums are also beloved by bees. I guess I can see why, each plant has so many little flowers to choose from! Many species are endemic to Death Valley, with very limited ranges. One species, Robust Hoffman’s Buckwheat ( eriogonum hoffmannii var. robustius), occurs only in Furnace Creek Wash and its tributary washes.

 


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