This was our final sunrise in Anza-Borrego – we made the long drive to Arizona. So, I thought I would offer one final update on the desert wildflower conditions.
The wildflowers are definitely running late this year – experts in the local newspaper are saying they are at least two weeks late, and cold weather this week won’t help. In 2005, there were poppies all over the hills near Lake Elsinore, and wildflowers throughout Anza-Borrego and the Southern end of Joshua Tree by the last week of February. Even in 2008, by the first week of March there were many flowers in Borrego, Southern Joshua Tree and thick poppies around Escondido. This year I haven’t seen or heard of very many poppies yet, and there isn’t anything happening in the Sonora region of Joshua Tree. Anza-Borrego is hit and miss, but there is plenty of potential and many photo opportunities. I read somewhere that 50 different species are blooming right now in Hellhole Canyon, a dream for macro photographers and pedal peepers, but I will stick to the big bold wildflowers favored by landscape photographers. Here are those hits and misses:
Without a doubt this is the year for the beautiful Desert Lily – Far better then even 2005! I’m usually excited to find a few – this year I have found fields of hundreds. And the plants have more blooms then I’m used to seeing as well. These should get better in the week or two to come.
In many areas, Lupine and Hummingbird Bush (Chuparosa) are also looking as good as they did in 2005. The Chuparosa are particularly vibrant- rich red leaves with bright red blooms.
Barrel cactus also seems to be blooming early and looking as good as I can remember.
Brittlebush. You can usually count on this bright wildflower and it is starting to appear, but not in big numbers. This could still change.
Sand Verbena and Evening Dune Primrose. There were a few nice patches of these popular wildflowers early on, but they are starting to show some wear and tear and recent winds won’t help. The mustard has over taken much of their habituate, but even some of my favorite, more remote dunes that aren’t effected by the mustard are lacking blooms.
Desert Gold. It was starting to emerge amongst the mustard along the famous Henderson Canyon Road, but the mustard is getting so tall, I think it may be a losing battle.
The weather forecast was for much warmer weather next week – that could be the boast the area needed – as long as it doesn’t get too hot!
Hopefully tomorrow I can share my observations for Arizona.