Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 18, 2020

Detailed Anza- Borrego Wildflower Report 3/18/20

from:  borregowildflowers.com

2020-March-18 We had significant rain in 2019

But after that everything stopped, essentially for months
Yes on 2020-March-10 a uniform high amount of rain in the 1″” – 3″” range, followed by rain on 2020-March-18.

This season we have an above average bloom and good to very good around Fish Creek and South of Bow Willow, that includes Carrizo Canyon and the Sweeney Pass area.
The mid March rain will result in widespread bloom that will extend far into April.
Some badlands areas are lost to millions of Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, mainly south of Borrego Springs up to the Palo Verde Wash.

Best flowers:

In the south the bloom is far above average. That said, it involves some walking.
Starting at Bow Willows and crossing the Sweeney Pass.
Bow Willows and Carrizo Canyon (soft sand), here we found over 100 different plants in bloom and on a canyon wall we counted over 200 Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot in bloom.

Fish Creek is far above average, but the bloom is always low to begin with.

Easy to reach confirmed locations:

South 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. Further in, just south of the Alma Wash entrance the bloom is much better, like spectacular.

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 is certainly above average for the area.

The south:
Carrizo Canyon (south), here we found the highest number of different plants in bloom this season, close to 100.
In Bow Willows and Carrizo Canyon the plants are much fresher and way more abundant than anywhere else at the moment.
We broke our record with over 200 Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spots in bloom.

March/17/2020 East Butte Loop
We were on our way to Fish Creek Mountains, but the road was closed at the Elephant trail.
So we choose East Butte and this was a pleasant surprise. Fields of Lupinus arizonicus | Arizona lupine and Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion
The big surprise, finding far more than 100 Nemacladus tenuis tenuis | Slender threadplant, mostly larger plants.
The bloom diversity even surpassed the good 2019 bloom, that said the abundance is now much lower.
Species in bloom: 69.

March/16/2020 Diablo Dieguenos loop 2
The goal was to check out a couple of odd Eriogonum trichopes | Little desert trumpet that are almost certainly something else.
Unfortunately we were still way to early for bloom
Bloom is actually good, better going east and will probably get better after the recent rain.
Species in bloom: 60.


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