Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 27, 2017

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update 3/27/17

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports

The low elevation bloom in the Borrego Valley is well past its prime right now but scattered flowers can still be found in the areas where the bloom was heaviest over the past few weeks.  Coyote Canyon and the sunflower fields along Henderson Canyon Road still have some flowers but caterpillars and time are deteriorating them on a daily basis. There are still many scattered wildflowers along the trails in the vicinity of Borrego Springs, and this is a great time to hike, with the desert remaining much greener than it has been in years.   Glorieta Canyon, rising from the southwest side of the Borrego Valley is a great short hike, stunning right now and emerged in a bright yellow bloom of Brittlebush.  Yaqui Pass, at the south end of the Borrego valley, on S3, is also brilliant with its yellow display.  Beavertail cactus, with bright fuchsia colored flowers, are now in bloom in many locations around the Borrego Valley.   A good area to see flowers within a short walk of the car is the “ocotillo forest” south of Tilting T along Borrego Springs Road, with hundreds of ocotillo in full bloom and scatterings of desert dandelions covering the ground.

See photos at Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers Update

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers has these recent Wildflower Reports

3/26 A loop completely off the beaten track, off the busy pictographs trail.
The boulder rich terrain and south facing terrain are ideal for a good bloom.
This was our third try to find Thymophylla pentachaeta var. belenidium in bloom, so we had a pretty good feeling for the terrain, so this time we

recorded the route as a BorregoHiking.com hike. Finally we found T. pentachaeta var. belenidium in good bloom, we did a quick survey and found only 3 plants left all in bud and 2 in bloom.
We didn’t visit all known locations but it seems that the populations shrank considerably, not surprisingly after 5 very dry years.
Twining snapdragon, Antirrhinum filipes an otherwise rather rare plant is present in unbelievable high numbers > 99. The display of flowers is already very good on this elevation, it seems we visited very close to prime bloom.
Warning: For experienced rough/boulder terrain hikers only.
Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 92
Pictures: Smuggler Canyon Loop (upper)

3/24 This is our must do loop for the season, hiking in two very different canyons, with a good variety of flowers.
The first pleasant surprise was to find Epipactis gigantea in good bloom, they are a lot bigger than the plants in Hellhole canyon.
It took us a while to get out of the shade, so many interesting plants.
This sure is the time for Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa to bloom everywhere.

In Inner Pasture it was time for the tiny plants as we spent a considerable time very close to the ground.
Linanthus maculatus emaculatus was present in good numbers, probably just past peak bloom. Almost everywhere we stopped in the sand, we eventually found them, the populations must be huge as we probably found more than 1000 plants on our stretch.
The bonus being close to the ground was finding five kind of Nemacladus on this hike and one we’ve never seen before in Bitter Creek.
That means that most Nemacladus found in the park are present in this area.
Going back the Inner Pasture wash is never really pleasant, too many hikers transform the otherwise firm wash into a deeper soft sand wash. But it beats going up the wash.

The trip back parallel to the S22 was a dense Brassica tournefortii field on both sides of the wash, terrible.
We already had a good feeling about the bloom count, indeed the highest so far.
On our way back we made a stop at Bitter Creek, where we had seen baby nemacladus with different leaves, and yes we found a new one for us in the park.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 121
Pictures: Moonlight Canyon – Inner Pastures Loop

3/23 It’s cool today, so time for our planned longer hike up the Yucca Valley.
Our feeling was on our way back, we are definitely past prime bloom and the bloom count isn’t that good.
But after adding up all the plants we found in bloom, the bloom count was incredibly high.
One of the reason for a high bloom count, a long hike, following a creek. And one flower is enough to increase the bloom count.

The best highly visible plants in bloom on our hike, dandelion and pincushion.

On our way back out of Coyote Canyon the road was busy and very busy close to first crossing.
The flowering along Di Giorgio is still good, but is fading away.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 101+4
Pictures: Lower Willows Salvador Canyon Middle Willows


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