Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 1, 2019

Anza- Borrego Wildflower Updates 1/29/19

Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association has this new report

January 31 The bloom in the Borrego Badlands is absolutely worthy of a visit right now.
The easiest place to see it are along Highway S22 between mile markers 31 and 38, about about 25 minutes (20 miles) east of town.  Additional pictures from this area are shown directly below.  See our Borrego Badlands Flower Map for information.

See photos at and older reports at Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association

Bloom prediction, updated February 1 2019

Indication are positive for a normal bloom in the months to come, wait we already have a very good winter bloom.
WARNING: The word Super Bloom is often misused by the news and others to attract visitors.
A very good bloom (Super) is generally a once in a 10-20 year event, not every other year.

That said, it takes rain at the right amount/moment in time, this years timing is very good for a great winter bloom.
Unfortunately these plants don’t live forever, some flowers only bloom once a day.
We have big plants and flower carpets in a couple of areas, from the October 2018 thunderstorm and a next wave of plants from the December 2018 rain.
To get a really good bloom, we need additional rain, lots of it.
We still have a way above average bloom (> 50 different plants) in the badlands and some other areas mentioned below.

Easy access flower sites:
Drive from Borrego Spring -> Salton sea on the S22. Start looking past the marked Palo Verde Wash but stay on the S22. The center is around Ella Wash, Arroyo Salado (camp) exit.
Drive into Arroyo Salado (camp), here the flower fields are great or drive into Coachwhip canyon on the north side of the S22.

Along the Henderson Canyon Road hundreds of large Geraea canescens, Desert sunflower, some already in bloom. The band of flowers is narrow, but better hiking farther North.
Coyote Canyon: Fouquieria splendens | splendens Ocotillo in good bloom along the road.
Along the creek more than 50 plants are in bloom, like Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush, but further away from the creek the area is rather barren.
The area between Henderson Canyon road and Zero crossing looks promising as there is a lot of germination.
The Canebrake area (Ironwood canyon, June Wash, Vallecito wash) a lot of plants don’t look that happy. The frost and lack of rain are probably the cause, but with the recent rain.
Most visible bloom: Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose, Abronia villosa villosa, Desert sand verbena.
From and including Rattlesnake canyon along the S22.
One of the highlights along the S22 close to Arroyo Salado (camp), Ella Wash.

Confirmed germination and flowering plants:
Ocotillo Wells, Blow Sand Canyon, Cut Across Road, Military wash, 17 palms, Arroyo Salado (camp), east of Ella Wash, Palm Wash, Big Wash, Travertine Wash.
Palo Verde Wash, Smoketree Canyon, Rattlesnake canyon.

San Felipe wash ‘road’ along East Butte, is one of the best spots right now, with hundreds of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom.
Most visible bloom: Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose (hundreds early in the day), Abronia villosa villosa| Desert sand verbena.
Hesperocallis undulata, Desert lily are in bloom.
Another great spot, one of the best, is the south end of Fault Wash, on the East and West side. !!This is the off-road area!!!
Rain effects are visible east of the line Thimble trail (S22) up to Ironwood resort (78).

Check out Tom Chester bloom report

Additional info:
Anza-Borrego Desert SP Bloom page
ABDNHA Bloom page

Jan/30/2019 Fault Wash east

A trip east of Fault Wash with a detour along East Butte.
One of the goals was to find out if the bloom continued further east and it did spectacularly.
We found more Astragalus aridus, a lot in the left over tiny sand dunes close to the San Felipe Creek, we expect the population to go further east.

The bloom isn’t that divers but very good, with carpets of Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose, Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose and Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower
With not that many non native plants spoiling the bloom.
The best of all, we’re not overrun by off-roaders.

Our return trip along East Butte to check out the mystery plants that turned out to be Johnstonella holoptera a plant rarely seen.

The bloom count is restricted to our hike, otherwise the count would be at least 10 higher.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 52.


  1. You have any plans to travel to Anza Borrego area? If so, I can meet you at the visitor's center

    No plans at this time but if you are going I'll go as well.



    Sent: Friday, February 01, 2019 at 9:24 PM


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