Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 30, 2016

Death Valley Wildflowers 3/30/16

Death Valley National Park reports a new wildflower update today

If you didn’t make it to Death Valley for the big fields of flowers at the lower elevations, don’t despair. All hope is not lost! Good things come to those who wait. Cactus is blooming!
The cacti are not the only things blooming. Instead of endless fields of Desert Gold, the mid-elevations are all about diversity. There are over forty different flowers blooming in Death Valley right now, and it is not unusual to find two dozen species on a single hike! But you DO have to get out of your car and look around a little to appreciate what is out there.
If you are in a standard vehicle, you may want to check out the Dante’s View Road, Daylight Pass, or the Scotty’s Castle Road. Coming into the park from the east, keep an eye open for Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) and Rock Nettle (Eucnide urens) for the first few miles into the park. If you are entering from the west, there are still some nice Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) as well as Prickly Poppy (Argemone corymbosa) on the curves around Father Crowley, and the Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is looking good as you travel up Towne Pass. If you stop to look at flowers, don’t stop on a curve with no visibility, and please make sure your tires are completely off the pavement so that you don’t create a road hazard.
The Greenwater Road is looking great. If you have high clearance four wheel drive, you can find out how Gold Valley got its name. Death Valley/ Big Pine Road and Titus Canyon are great drives for those with high clearance two wheel drive vehicles. The Golden Evening Primrose Camissonia brevipes) and Brittlebush are about done in Echo Canyon and Hole In The Wall, but are being replaced by Beavertail Cactus, Silver Cholla (Cylindropuntia echinocarpa), Indigo Bush ((Psorothamnus arborescens var. minutifolius), Rock Nettle and some amazing specimens of Death Valley Sticky Ring (Anulocaulis annulatus), an unusual plant that lives only in the Death Valley area. If you plan on doing any dispersed camping on our backcountry roads, please, please, PLEASE remember that it is designated wilderness out there. Your vehicle can be NO MORE than 50 feet from the centerline of the road. Please do not drive across the desert so you can camp in “the perfect spot” and leave your tire tracks marring the desert for years. Happy flower hunting! 

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