Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 25, 2020

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Updates 2/25/20

 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Reports

While we haven’t had enough rain to bring on a “superbloom” in the Park this year, there are a few areas where you can find a sprinkling of annual wildflowers. Desert Gold Poppies, Phacelia, and a variety of tiny “belly flowers” are starting to make their appearance near the Visitor Center and on low rocky hillsides. Little Surprise Canyon, the Yaqui Well Trail, and Cactus Loop Trail are worth exploring. Fishhook cacti are especially abundant (and in bloom!) along the Yaqui Well Trail.

Park at the end of the pavement at the north end of DiGiorgio Road and walk up the 4WD Coyote Canyon Road for a few lilies and a decent showing of annuals. And a small pocket of wildflowers is blooming near the east end of Henderson Canyon, just west of the “PegLeg” area.

Click here for a Wildflower Map. Check back in a week and see what has developed!


Anza- Borrego Wildflower Guide  reports 2020-February-25

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.

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

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.

Easy to reach confirmed locations:

Glorietta Canyon and Yagui Meadows (washes/drainages just east of Glorietta Canyon) bloom normal.
Along the S3 in Borrego Springs, large fields of Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion.
Coyote Canyon starting along the asphalt, up to third crossing, bloom normal. Large fields of Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion, mixed with pincushion, lupines and more.
Coachwhip / Ella Wash don’t expect flower carpets, but you will find interesting flowers.
Alma Wash a.k.a. Elephant Tree Natural Area is above normal, as are washes to the north, bloom above normal for the area.

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 Second and Third crossing, at second crossing water is a bit deeper than usual.
Bloom is best between the end of the asphalt and Third 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.
Some fields of Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower forming.
A lot of non-native plants, by the thousands, covering a large 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.
We checked out washes to the north and the bloom

Read more: Bloom report out of the Anza-Borrego Desert

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