Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 27, 2019

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers 2/26/19

Borrego Wildflowers report for Feb. 26

Bloom prediction for the Anza-Borrego Desert below. See photos at Borrego Wildflowers

Will we get a Super Bloom this season? We think MAYBE, all indications point to a better than normal bloom.
The amount of relevant rain is now a least equal to the good spring of 2017, what some called a Super Bloom.

The great winter bloom (first bloom cycle) from the October 2018 rain, sometimes surpassing the 2017 Super bloom is beginning to wind down, as most annuals have a finite lifetime, no matter how much water, sun and nutrients you give them.

The second bloom cycle from the December 2018 rain is growing and there will be new germination from the February 2019 rain.
March and April bloom will be more wide spread and probably cover most of the park.
The word Super Bloom is widely used for anything more than a couple of flowers, but this is going to be a good to a maybe very good flower season.

Very warm weather might spoil things.
Don’t forget the caterpillars, when they show up in force, whole areas may be DOOMED.

When will the bloom peak? Most likely middle of March – beginning of April, depending on temperature and rain.

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.

Just beyond the end of Di Giorgio Rd asphalt (0.5 mile further) is turning into a nice flower spot.
The Coyote Canyon is now open for 4×4 up to desert garden.

Colorful flower fields along the Hellhole Canyon trail, Hellhole Canyon wash and Flatcat canyon.
Hiking Flatcat with it’s rocks and small boulders takes some effort.
Phacelia distans | Common phacelia , Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow’s monkey flower, Phacelia minor | Wild canterbury bells, Nama demissa demissa | Purplemat, Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy.

The best flower fields, 4×4 high clearance only:
San Felipe wash ‘road’ along East Butte, is still one of the best spots right now, with hundreds of huge Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom.
From Butte Pass Rd drive south into San Felipe Wash for about 0.5 mile and park.
You might not see much from the ‘road’, but hike east and things change rapidly.

A place that might even be better is in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA, called Devil’s slide.
Here you find thousands of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom, mixed with huge field of Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.
Best check at the Ocotillo Wells SVRA Discovery Center, get a map and head out.

North:
Henderson Canyon Road is still a couple of weeks from prime bloom, you can find some interesting plants, like Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose and Geraea canescens, Desert sunflower.

Coyote Canyon from DiGiorgio asphalt is now open up to desert garden (4×4 only).
Zero crossing, just beyond the end of Di Giorgio Rd asphalt is turning into a nice flower spot.
South:
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.
Torote canyon is one of the other better flower spots in the south.
East:
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 (very good), Rattlesnake canyon.

Palo Verde Wash is very good about 2 miles south of the S22 close to were it meets the Ella Wash, 4×4 only or a nice hike.
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/26/2019 Hellhole Canyon – Flatcat Canyon loop

Time to check out area’s were plants germinated from the December 2018 rain.
Hiking along the Hellhole Canyon trail, the pleasant surprise fields of Phacelia minor | Wild canterbury bells. It’s not often you see so many plants together.

Flatcat Canyon and surrounding area is even better, fields of:
Phacelia distans | Common phacelia , Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow’s monkey flower, Phacelia minor | Wild canterbury bells, Nama demissa demissa | Purplemat and Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy.
In Flatcat hundreds of Gilia stellata , Star gilia are in bloom, they are too small to form flower fields but up close the flowers are pretty.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 71.

Feb/24/2019 Rattlesnake East Fork

This looks almost exactly the same as one month ago except for the larger fields of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy.
Maybe the cold weather makes the plants not that fresh looking, despite the rain.

The fields of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy are impressive, even when not fully opened.
We were happy to finally catch a good blooming Parietaria hespera hespera | Pellitory.
And we added a new grass to our list, Festuca bromoides / Vulpia bromoides.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 69.


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