Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 13, 2019

Borrego Wildflowers Report 3/12/19  reports

Bloom prediction for the Anza-Borrego Desert:

Will we get a Super Bloom this season? We think not, all indications point to a normal bloom or slightly better. Some isolated areas may have a significantly better 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 are new plants from the February 2019 rain.
March and April bloom will be more wide spread and probably cover most of the park.

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 by the end of March – beginning of April, depending on temperature and rain.

Easy access flower sites:

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 and most cars can probably get 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.

Fields of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish’s poppy:
Texas Dip on the south facing slopes, still faint, but might get better.
Very good fields on the 78 at mile 83.4, another field a bit west towards the substation.
Mile 83.4 includes Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow’s monkey flower and Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower.
Even better fields are developing on a lot of canyon walls like along the 78.

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.
Remember these fields are in bloom since December 2018 and winding down.

The best flower fields, 4×4 high clearance only:
This fields is winding down.
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.
Vast fields of Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower a bit east of the wash.
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, among them an area 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.

Henderson Canyon Road is getting better but not in 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.
The Canebrake area (Ironwood canyon, June Wash, Vallecito wash) it’s not as spectacular as a couple of weeks ago, but stil good.
Most visible bloom: Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose, Abronia villosa villosa, Desert sand verbena, Lupinus arizonicus | Arizona lupine.
Torote canyon is one of the other better flower spots in the south.
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.

Check out Tom Chester bloom report

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

Mar/11/2019 Military Wash South East

Going in hiking speed and only stopping for very interesting plants.
The flower fields are sure past peak freshness and probably at peak (variety) bloom.

Finally a big Langloisia setosissima setosissima | Bristly langloisia in good bloom.
Aphyllon cooperi | Broomrape are popping up left and right in high numbers, all the host seem to be Ambrosia.
The fields of Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower are still impressive, even on a cloudy day when the flowers aren’t fully open.
Big Hesperocallis undulata , Desert lily blooming in the hundreds.
Finally the small often one flower Monoptilon bellioides | Desert star are now turning into big plants.

Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard isn’t even that bad here.

A side trip to check if the ID for Eriastrum harwoodii | Harwood’s woollystar was correct. It seems that way, only the plants aren’t erect, as in another location.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 66.

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