Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reported on 1/23/17
And what a week we’re havin’! Nearly a year’s worth of rain fell since last weekend, and the desert is responding with a surge of greenery, from tiny sprouts to ocotillo forests bursting with possibilities. There’s snow in the peninsular range, but the Brittlebushes (Encelia farinosa) near the Discovery Center are leading the wildflower pack with their cheerful yellow.
Ocotillo canes (Fouquieria splendens) have morphed quickly from prickly sticks to green fireworks, exploding within three days after a rain. These plants absorb most of their water through their canes rather than through their roots – a great adaptation for the Colorado Desert. Here in the park, ocotillos prefer soil dominated by granite particles. There’s a splendid granite-inspired patch at the foot of East Butte along the Goat Trail.
We’ve seen a bumper crop of wavy-leaved Desert Lily plants (Hesperocallis undulata) along Pole Line Road. The bulbs of these rough-and-tough plants send up blooms only in wet years. Their bulbs may be two feet below the surface of the sand to avoid hungry rodents and even summer monsoons. No flower stalks yet, but we’ll be watching to see how tall they grow after so much winter rain – possibly up to six feet!
See photos at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update