Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 11, 2020

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Reports 2/10/20

Anza- Borrego Desert Wildflowers just posted a number of new reports

2020-February-10 We had significant rain in 2019

But after that everything stopped, finally 2/10/2020 new rain 0.1 – 0.5 Inch.
Germination is good and wide spread. In the low desert a lot of plants are already blooming often VERY small.
The new rain might turn things around.

This season doesn’t look like a Superbloom, probably a normal bloom.
At slightly higher elevation

The bad news, Sahara Mustard, London rocket and other bad plants are thriving, by the millions, in some places 100% of the plants are non-native.
In the sandy areas Mustard is thriving, in general, the closer to cars/roads the worse it gets.
We had too many wetter seasons in a row, giving the non-native plants a good seed bank.
They generally don’t like a couple of dry seasons, but so do we.

That said, there are still many areas with less mustard, often thanks to the pulling effort.

What will be good:
Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily, Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus, probably all cacti, Delphinium | Larkspur and most perennials.

Coyote Canyon:

Water in First, Second and Third crossing, at second crossing water is a bit deeper than usual.
Bloom is best between Zero and First Crossing.
A nice display of Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion, mixed with some Phacelia distans | Common phacelia, the occasional Rafinesquia neomexicana | Desert chicory and small Abronia villosa villosa , Desert sand verbena.
The display is good but not spectacular, for this area it’s above average.

Lower Willows is still a problem, there isn’t a good route yet, maybe for this season.
Part of the route is a dense pack of arrow weed, others turned into a pond.
For now only for the very adventurous, with enough water in case you don’t find your way back.

Henderson Canyon Rd

This is one of the main flower tourist attractions.
Right now it’s green with non-native plants, by the thousands, covering the entire area.
Some Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.

Fish Creek:

Tom Chester reported a good bloom in the Elephant Tree Natural Area 2/6/2020.

Additional info:

Tom Chester Anza-Borrego Desert Facebook Anza-Borrego Desert SP Bloom page ABDNHA Bloom page


February/9/2020 Lizard Wash Chuckwalla Wash Loop

We were hesitant to go into the mountain area, a lot of clouds are nearing Borrego Springs.
Luckily we had sunshine most of our hike.
We still can’t believe that a 2 hour 20 minute hike turned into an almost 4 hour hike.

On our way up, bloom was low except like everywhere else an abundance of blooming Justicia californica | Chuparosa.
In Chuckwalla wash things changed, some bloom at last. The wash is lined with Lycium andersonii | Anderson’s desert thorn, some still in bloom, others seem to have been in recent spectacular bloom.
Lycium andersonii | Anderson’s desert thorn generally isn’t a bright flower, here we found one of the prettiest we’ve ever seen.

Big surprise, some early blooming Coleogyne ramosissima | Blackbush.
And our first Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus of the season.

Down into Lizard Wash proper, Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard popped up in annoying high numbers.

Bloom count is lower as expected at a higher elevation, but things look very promising, good green.

Species in bloom: 44.
All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
All or part of the iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.


February/8/2020 Little Clark Dry Lake

Our first Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily in bloom this season, in/close to the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard is overwhelmingly present, not much room for the other plants.
Germination isn’t bad in places that aren’t occupied by non-natives.

Many small Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, around the ‘lake’ many blooming Amsinckia tessellata tessellata | Bristly fiddleneck.
Some Phacelia ivesiana | Ives phacelia are already in bloom, together with many tiny Yellow comet, Mentzelia affinis.
One of the general bloomers in the desert right now Rafinesquia neomexicana | Desert chicory.
The usual bunch of small Nicotiana clevelandii | Cleveland’s tobacco in bloom in partial shade.
A surprisingly happy bunch of flowering Astragalus crotalariae , Salton milkvetch close to the lake.

We were pleased to add a couple of new seedlings with cotyledons like Monoptilon bellioides | Desert star.
Picking up a gradually growing bloom count, especially along the mountain slopes.

Species in bloom: 53.

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