News & Articles

Desert Wildflower Report-3-18-2017, Antelope Valley

Freckled Milkvetch near Rosamond
Alkali Mariposa Lily in bud in the Antelope Valley
Yellow Peppergrass near Saddleback Butte State Park

The sandy flats around Saddleback Butte State Park near Lake Los Angeles and near Rosamond were starting to show some wide swaths of yellow from Yellow Peppergrass. Other species found in the Antelope Valley were Freckled Milkvetch, many specimens of Fremont Phacelia in white, none in their usual lavender color. Little Gilia were flowering and the rare Alkali Mariposa Lily was in bud. Must return to the area to see the Mariposa Lily in bloom as well as other blossoms when the bloom is near its peak in two or three weeks.

Species observed were:

Desert Wildflower Report-3-18-2017, Rabbit Springs, Lucerne Valley

Parish's Popcorn Flower growing at spring near Lucerne Valley
Parish's Popcorn flower at Rabbit Springs
California Hesperochiron closeup near Lucerne Valley

Things were looking good at Rabbit Springs after the wet winter. Parish's Popcorn Flower were healthy and in great numbers, and California Hesperochiron were beautiful in white. This spot will be worth another visit in a week or two as more plants pop up.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-17-2017, Pipes Canyon

Fremont Phacelia in Pioneertown, CA
Baby Blue Eyes in Pipes Canyon
Pinyon Rockcress on the desert slopes of the San Bernardino Mtns.

It was still relatively early for flowers in the high desert at 4,500 ft, though some plants were just beginning to bloom. Fremont Phacelia is always an early arrival as are Baby Blue Eyes and the tender Gilia genus. Two rare plants, Pinyon Rockcress and San Bernardino Milkvetch were both in flower. In 2 or 3 weeks this area will have many more blossoms.

The following plants were found in bud or bloom in Pipes Canyon near Yucca Valley.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-16-2017, Sand to Snow National Monument (Whitewater)

Douglas' Milkvetch in the Sand to Snow Nat'l. Monument
Wild Canterbury Bells near Whitewater River
Texas Paintbrush at Sand to Snow National Monument

Whitewater Preserve, now part of Sand to Snow National Monument was much cooler than Anza Borrego, and the plants were just getting started in this area. We found Douglas' Milkvetch, Sticky Monkeyflower, Texas Paintbrush, Deerweed, Narrow Leaved Willow, Sugar Bush and Silver Bird's Foot Trefoil. Most of these species are associated with chaparral rather than desert, but do occur in desert margins.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-15-2017, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Hairy Desert Sunflower explosion in Anza Borrego
Hairy Desert Sunflowers covering the landscape along Henderson Canyon Rd
Dune Primrose in Borrego Springs

The bloom in Anza Borrego was one I could not miss. National news reports were spreading far a wide about the spectacle, and it lived up to the hype. It was wall-to-wall blooms along Henderson Canyon Rd! Most obvious was the Hairy Desert Sunflower but Dune Primrose and Desert Sand Verbena made a good showing as well. This area was at peak bloom as I had never seen it before. A few caterpillars made an appearance and it won't be long before they have chomped many of these plants. We visited nearby Rockhouse Canyon Rd.