Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 7, 2019

Anza- Borrego Wildflower Updates 2/7/19

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports

Looking for places to find flowers right now?
There is still a beautiful bloom taking place east of Borrego Springs, in the Borrego Badlands, where October rain has given us an unusual winter bloom.  The easiest place to see the flowers is along S22, roughly between mile marker 31 and 38.  The road is paved and there are pull-offs for parking and nearby washes to explore. Those with 4WD can explore additional areas.  See our Borrego Badlands Map for the best places to go. Meanwhile, around the Borrego Valley, the desert is very green from recent rain and flowers are reported in Coyote Canyon, about one half mile in.

In general, the area around Borrego Springs is not yet in bloom

Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers reports updated February 7 2019

Indications are positive for a normal “spring” bloom in the months to come, while we already have a very good winter bloom.
The second wave (December 2018) of germination plants is wide spread, February/March bloom is expected all over the park.

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 and over 150 in the whole park) 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 still one of the best spots right now, with hundreds of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom.
Most visible bloom: Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower, Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose (hundreds early in the day), Abronia villosa villosa| Desert sand verbena.
A good number of 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 (the best flowers) 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

Feb/07/2019 Military Wash South

Time to return to the great bloom, to see what happened in a month time.
WOW this looks even better than we expected and our expectations were high, what a big blooming plants.

Great fields of Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower , Oenothera deltoides deltoides, Dune evening primrose, Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primros, Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena.
This is about as best is will ever get in the desert.
Like everywhere else many Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily in good bloom.
Striking to see the small Rafinesquia neomexicana | Desert chicory grown into huge plants.
Finally, it’s time for Cistanthe ambigua, Desert pussypaws to go into general bloom.
Aphyllon cooperi cooperi, Broomrape are getting ready to pop up, the first are in bloom in a couple of places, like here.

We lost count of the many Astragalus Aridus, easily > 100 plants in bloom.
Many small Astragalus Aridus germinating from the December rain and maybe even later.
The whole area is a hot bed for Astragalus in general.

The bad: At places Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard made dense forests, out competing most of the native plants.
Not sure how long the bloom will continue as this might be the longest continues bloom we’ve ever seen.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 65.

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