News & Articles

Desert Wildflower Report-3-15-2017, Cactus City

Beavertail cactus and Parish's Poppy near Cactus City
Parish's Poppy and Ocotillo near Interstate 10 east of Indio
Rock Hibiscus with bee east of Indio

The dirt road along the Colorado River Aqueduct near Cactus City was a new area for me, and I figured out quickly why it was called Cactus City. It is densely populated with Beavertail Cactus Teddy Bear Cholla and California Barrels in very rough deposits of talus. The Beavertail were all in bloom, bright pink splotches of color everywhere. Most of the hillside was covered with Parish's Poppy, lending a yellow swath of color as a backdrop for the pink. Rock Hibiscus was sprawling among the large rocks along with Rock Daisy. Rush Milkweed also grew along the road.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-14-2017, Box Canyon Rd.

Brittlebush along Box Canyon Rd.
Sand Blazing Star growing in gravelly embankments
Jones Linanthus just south of Joshua Tree National Park

The bloom on Box Canyon Rd. had amplified in the few weeks since I had last visited. Just south of Joshua Tree along the flat portion of the road, specimens of Notch Leaved Phacelia were super-sized--larger than I had ever seen them before at almost 3 ft. tall. Very impressive to see what a year of good rain can do! Parachute plants that are often on the tall side were nearly 5 ft. The Brittlebush buds were just starting to open in some places and fully in bloom in others. Jones Linanthus were found on gentle sandy slopes just below Joshua Tree National Park.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-14-2017, Chuckwalla Mountains

Yellow Cups in the Chuckwalla Mountains
Apricot Mallow in a sandy wash at the Jaeger Nature Sanctuary
Parry Dalea growing along Red Cloud Mine Rd.

I visited the northern edge of the Chuckwalla Mountains in three areas. Near Chiriaco Summit, Yellow Cups made a big appearance. On Red Cloud Mine Rd., Chuparosa blooms were coloring the landscape red. Also, Parry Dalea was found along with Desert Eucrypta, Narrow Leaved Cryptantha, Desert Plantain and Desert Five Spot. At the Edmund C. Jaeger Nature Sanctuary, I found Apricot Mallow, Bigelow's Monkeyflower, Brittlebush, Cheesebush, Common Fishhook Cactus and Narrow Leaved Primrose.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-13-2017, Black Eagle Mine Rd, Joshua Tree

Parish's Poppies in near Black Eagle Mine Rd, Joshua Tree
Desert Starvine creeping along shrubs in Joshua Tree National Park
Coulter's Lupine at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon, Joshua Tree

The sandy basins along Black Eagle Mine Rd. in Joshua Tree National Park are a wonderful place to find abundant blooms in years with good rainfall. This area had burst into color and walking around revealed a good number of species. It is approximately 3,500 ft. in elevation so it was still a little early and not yet peak bloom. However, there were many Parish's Poppies  along with some Desert Bluebells. White-Stemmed Stickleaf seedlings were plentiful and many were in flower. We found two vine-like plants, Desert Starvine and Twining Snapdragon in the area, and both were in bloom.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-13-2017, Amboy Crater

Desert Five Spot at Amboy Crater
Hairy Desert Sunflower with Amboy Crater in background
Small Leaf Nama growing in sandy areas between lava flows

The area around Amboy Crater has burst into bloom with Hairy Desert Sunflower, Desert Five-Spot, Rock Gilia and Narrow Leaved Cryptantha and the ever-present Clavate Fruited Primrose. It was a nice to find Small Leaf Nama, a plant that is not all that common in many areas but is not considered rare. It was rather abundant in this area. There were many small seedlings of Hairy Desert Sunflower so this area will be much more colorful in the next week or two.