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 Your updated guide to flowers and plants in the Anza-Borrego Desert.


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Fred Melgert has sent us word that he has developed an Anza-Borrego Flower App.    It is available free for Android phones in the Google Play Store.  He says an app for iPhone will be ready by the end of the year.


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May 5, 2016
Pinyon Wash
While Pinyon Wash did indeed have Ironwood trees blooming today, they were not nearly as magnificent as those in Quartz Vein Wash two days ago.  Today's stars were brilliant yellow spikes of agave flowers.  Desert willow and mesquite were also in bloom, as well as small patches of Gold poppies and Pygmy Gold poppies.

Agave - Marcy Yates

May 2, 2016
Quartz Vein Wash - Ironwoods starting to bloom
Marcy Yates
This morning the entrance to Quartz Vein Wash had several Ironwood trees in bloom, with bees abuzz all around.  There was also one coming up out of the Texas Dip heading toward Borrego on the right side of the road.  I imagine that Pinyon Wash would be pretty now, too, as there are a lot of Ironwoods there.

We also saw a lot of agave still blooming in Quartz Vein Wash, although they are starting to wilt.  We found a few poppies dotted here and there, plus one blooming yellow ground cherry and one cluster of ghost flowers.

Ironwood in Bloom  Photo by Marcy Yates


Agave by Marcy Yates

April 15, 2016
Fages Monument to Banner   View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla

One of our best flower hikes so far, the recent rain made for some interesting pictures. We expected to hike about 5 hours, but the last part of the CRH turned out pretty but unmaintained. So what should have been an easy stroll turned into finding the trail and some bush walking.


H
airy ceanothus, Ceanothus oliganthus Fred Melgert

Silver puffs, Uropappus lindleyi Fred Melgert

April 11
Hawi-Vallecito - Storm Canyon Loop   View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
Storm canyon looked so inviting, so green. This time I planned a loop that follows another drainage, that turned out to be the best flower wash of them all. What a difference, this is what part of the low desert looked like a couple of weeks ago, nice.

Hawi-Vallecito-Storm Loop  Fred Melgert

Fringed spineflower, Chorizanthe fimbriata laciniata Fred Melgert

April 4
Flatcat Canyon   View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
Returning to one of the best locations now. The purpose was finding more Arizona Wrightwort, Carlowrightia arizonica and we did. This is by for the largest bunch we've seen so far in close proximity.  The Intermediate larkspur, Delphinium parishii ssp. subglobosum was like a magnet. While I was taking pictures, Carla was excited to find a whole bunch of Long capsule suncup, Eremothera chamaenerioides So we had to return to see the latter in bloom, so just over an hour before sundown we where back. The flower opened slowly and 15 minutes later there it was on our third try to find one in bloom. Only one of the many plants in bloom, but I need only one. While I was busy Carla found more Carlowrightia, much more accessible and good looking plants, with signs of recent bloom or bloom just about to arrive.

Arizona Wrightwort, Carlowrightia arizonica Fred Melgert

April 1
Carrizo Canyon East Fork Loop  View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla

Time to visit the Carrizo area, we expected dry, but this was even worse than we expected. Hardly any annuals and sometimes only in the single digits. Our goal was to count and check Carlowrightia, we found none in bloom. Another was finding Wolfs cholla in bloom and we did.

Wolf's cholla, Cylindropuntia wolfii Fred Melgert


March 29
Glorieta Canyon  Loop2 - View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
This is an alternate route in the popular Glorieta Canyon.  We skipped this route for years, but last season I changed the route slightly to avoid one nasty steep stretch and now it's one of the favorite.  Spiny senna, Senna armata is spectacular this year, blooming all over Yaqui meadows.  The bloom appears to be peaking in this area right now. 

Spiny senna, Senna armata Fred Melgert

Engelmann's hedgehog cactus, Echinocereus engelmannii Fred Melgert

March 29
Henderson Canyon - View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
This trip to Henderson Canyon was long overdue. We encountered the first Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis, but it was no longer attached to the ground and parts of the plant where all over. This happened very recent as we missed the plant on our return trip. In tumble weed mode these plants could originate from a much larger area. The route we took is obvious the place for Wandsage, Salvia vaseyi. We found the prettiest one of all, Desert nemacladus, Nemacladus rubescens. We counted about 10 Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia.

Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia Fred Melgert

Desert nemacladus, Nemacladus rubescen Fred Melgert

March 29
Nolina Canyon - View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla

Borrego bedstraw, Galium angustifolium ssp. borregoense Fred Melgert

March 26
Rockhouse Canyon - View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
We set out to find a couple of plants we've seen years ago, Prince's plume, Stanleya pinnata, and  Desert sage, Salvia eremostachya.  I knew the road would be much worse than a couple of years ago, but it was even worse than expected , so we had to hike even further. It took us 7 1/2 hour return. This is the place for Sweetbush, Bebbia juncea aspera, can't remember a place with so many huge plants. This may be the first time we where overwhelmed by a sweet smell and it took some time to realize, sweetbush. Good flowering on the bank of the canyon, the canyon wall all yellow, wow. At the springs Fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum, lots of them. The Southern cattail, Typha domingensis seem to have died off. We where so early that a lot of plants where still closed up. Carla was pleased to see the Desert sage, Salvia eremostachya in bloom and later on a couple of much better plants. Later on Prince's plume, Stanleya pinnata, on our way back, recognizing the leaves, we found one plant inside San Diego county. 

Rockhouse Canyon Fred Melgert


Star Gilia, Gilia stellata By Fred Melgert
 
March 26 update: 
Annual flowers in the Borrego Valley are now pretty much gone now but higher elevaton areas should see trees, aloes, cacti, and shrubs in bloom for the next couple of weeks.  There are also a lot of flowers in bloom in town, palo verde, ocotillo, and many different species of cactus.

Monday March 21
Borrego Valley
Right now the best places for flowers in the Borrego Valley seem to be in Glorieta Canyon and at the north end of Borrego Springs Road into the mouth of Henderson Canyon. 

The fields of flowers are gone now but the area around the Father Font statue at the mouth of Henserson is very pleasant with dispersed small flowers and some cactus in bloom.  Just pull into the short dirtroad at the north end of Borrego Springs Road, you will see the Father Font statue, and walk around.   

Glorieta is very nice with lots of shurbs in bloom along with cactus and it is a great short hike.  The route into Glorieta is hard to find if you have never been there before.  From Christmas Circle go south on Borrego Springs Road 3.6 miles and turn right onto the dirt road.  The road continues perfectly straight for about 1.3 miles and then you turn right.  The road gets a little rougher and then turns to the left.  Before long you are in to some really beautiful rock formations with lots of plant life. You can continue to the end of the road where there is a circular parking area and a trail that leads upwards to a beautiful overlook.  People drive to the trailhead in cars but use caution if you have low clearance or don't have experience on sandy roads. 


Monday March 21
Thanks John Hobbs for this excellent shot of a verdin nest in a flowering honey mesquite tree.  Photo taken during the recent Borrego Desert Birding Festival.

Wednesday March 16
Alma Wash   View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
This is our third visit to the Alma wash this season, this time to find the Pink Fairy duster, Calliandra eriophylla. The canyon is a rough one, so having good shade and low temps is always a good thing. At around ten we arrived at the GPS point, we expected the plants along the canyon wall, so we made a search loop. Almost done with our loop and no plants in sight, one false alarm when Carla found a young Elephant tree, nice to have, but not what we came for. Then Carla found nice healthy plants, yes with flowers. 4 plants with good flowers and flowers about to go. Most other plants, good looking with leaves, but not happy enough to flower.

Pink Fairy duster, Calliandra eriophylla Fred Melgert

Wednesday March 16
Yaqui Meadows - Southwest side of Borrego Valley   View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
Yaqui meadows is in prime bloom.  I set out to check out the Desert five spot, Eremalche rotundifolia population we found 10 days ago.  Wow what a bloom everywhere, Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa and Spiny senna, Senna armata everywhere in full bloom.  The smell of the hundreds of Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii in full bloom is overwhelming.  Fields of Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii everywhere.  And all species of cacti are in bloom except the Fishhook, Mammillaria dioica.  Once at the Desert five spot location I found 20 in bloom and 1 on my way back to the car.  All except number 21 with open flowers. 

Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii  by Fred Melgert

Bigelow's monkeyflower, Mimulus bigelovii var. bigelovii  Fred Melgert

Wednesday March 16
Ant Hill Dunes Loop   View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
Note: This is an area close to Borrego Springs that is often overlooked and receives very little visitation.  The dune habitat in this area is the perfect environment for Dune Evening Primrose.  This location is listed on our current flower map.

Fred says, "The Dune primrose, Oenothera deltoides ssp. deltoides where blooming by the thousands when we started the hike early in the morning. Most of them small one flower plants. Surprisingly the Brown-eyed primrose, Chylismia claviformis ssp. peirsonii where still going strong. Regretfully this area is also home to Brassica tournefortii, the plants are not big, but enough are flowering and skeletons enough to suggest they where here before. This is the landscape, most people think what a desert should look like, so a lot of sand. Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata are almost end of bloom, but a few still show nice flowers. Flowering is otherwise sparse, as this area is very dry.  Close to the the car, there they were, small Annual stillingia, Stillingia spinulosa, at least 22, that was the best find of the day."


View of the dunes with Dune Evening Primose, by Fred Melgert

Tuesday March 15
General Borrego Springs Update
The best places to see a variety of blooming flowers right now in the Borrego Valley include: - Around the State Park Visitor Center, a variety of shrubs and annuals. Very nice.
- The junction of Borrego Springs Road and Henderson Canyon Road, north of Christmas Circle.  Just park along the dirt road that heads north from the curve in the main road and walk towards the mountains, in the vicinity of Indian Head Ranch.   This area is just great right now
- Henderson Canyon Road - About one mile east of the intersection with Borrego Valley Road.  Desert Sunflowers on the north side of the road continue to have a nice bloom.
 

There are free maps to these areas at the Borrego Desert Nature Center, 652 Palm Canyon Drive.

Desert Chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana by Fausto Palafox
State Park Visitor Center March 13, 2016
Thanks for this wonderful shot, Fausto!

Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schotti. Beautiful, Fragrant, Bees love it by Fausto Parafox
State Park Visitor Center 3/13/2016

Aside from these areas, the focus of this year's bloom is now shifting from the annual flowers in the valley floorto the shrubs and perennials in the washes and canyons.  Indigo is in full bloom by the Horse Camp Road and out Coyote Canyon towards the desert garden area, to the north of town.  There is a spectacular bloom of brittlebush and cacti along the road to the Glorieta trailhead on the southeast side of town.  The "Ocotillo Forest" along west side of Borrego Springs Road is in bloom as well, with bright red flowers against the background of the Laguna Mountains.  The place for Chuparosa is reported to be Mine Wash, iwth a couple of very unusual yellow Chuparosa plants near the end of Mine Wash road, where there is a fork to the right.

File photos: Hedgehog & Barrel Cactus, Glorieta Canyon, Yellow Chuparosa, Ocotillo, Indigo Bush, Chuparosa, Brittlebush.  

Saturday March 12
Bisnaga Wash Loop View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
It was very windy today but the plant life wasn't as bad as we feared.  Hairy climbing milkweed, Funastrum hirtellum everywhere in bloom.  Plenty of San Felipe dogweed, Adenophyllum porophylloides and Odora, Porophyllum gracile close to a second bloom.  Jumping Cholla lived up to it's name, hard to avoid them all.  On our way back one lonely Woody Crinklemat, Tiquilia canescens var. canescens. 

The biggest colony of Parish's desert-thorn, Lycium parishii we know of, more than  50.  I was taking a picture of a fishhook and noticed a plant with opposite leaves.  The plant was weird looking nothing like the 50+ we investigated in Flatcat canyon, the leaf color was off as well.  Looking better at the bleak plant, seeds, we had a positive ID, Carlowrightia arizonica.  Carla found one flower, we where looking for small flowers all the time, these flowers where huge, more than a cm.  Carla recognized it as the flower on top of her most wanted list YES. A single flower, was all we needed.  What a weird looking plant and all 10 looked more or less the same.


Parish's desert-thorn, Lycium parishi Fred Melgert

Arizona carlowrightia, Carlowrightia arizonica Fred Melgert

Friday March 11
Bighorn Canyon - Blue Spring - Nolina Canyon Loop View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
Our goal of today was to find fruit of the Bush Milkvetch, Astragalus pachypus var. pachypus So within 15 minutes we stumbled on a small plant and it was indeed a Bush Milkvetch, Astragalus pachypus var. pachypus, so that completed our trip. But on we went, to find larger fruit. This is by far a better time of year than the last visits early February. We've never seen Narrowleaf Suncup, Eremothera refracta and now we see it regularly. We found nice fruit and still some bloom in the fork with by far the largest Bush Milkvetch, Astragalus pachypus var. pachypus. Species in bloom: 83 yes the highest number so far.

Narrowleaf Suncup, Eremothera refracta Fred Melgert

Bush Milkvetch, Astragalus pachypus var. pachypus Flowers & Fruit  Fred Melgert


Friday March 11
Borrego Valley Bloom Report
Conditions are great right now for viewing flowers in the Borrego Valley.  Here are some of the species in bloom, with easy-to-reach locations.  Updated flower maps of these and other locations are available for free at the ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center, 652 Palm Canyon Drive, one block west of Christmas Circle
Beavertail Cactus
Many locations, including, west side of Borrego Springs Road, Tilting T to Countryclub
Sand Verbena & Desert Sunflower
End of DiGiorgio Road, Henderson Canyon Road.
Desert Dandelion
Henderson Canyon
West side of Borrego Springs Road at Tilting T and south.
Ocotillo
The Ocotillo Forest , west side of Borrego Springs Road, Tilting T to Countryclub
Dune Evening Primrose
End of DiGiorgio Road, S22 west of Pegleg, Sand Dunes east of town.
Desert Lily
End of DiGirogio, Arroyo Salado
Photos by Fred Melgert, Mike McElhatton, Joy Ziemnick
Friday  March 11
Stone Wash  View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
Stone wash was on our to-do list for a couple of years, last year we got stuck in the Fish Creek north fork, so it takes time to retry. The drive up to the Lycium wash is interesting, very close to the ground clearance of my car. Stone wash, really deserves it's name, a very different canyon indeed. After only a short while the wash ended in a huge fall, later we determined it as a series of falls. Time for the backup route that brought us halfway Stone wash. Brown turbans, Malperia tenuis, we found a couple of them on previous hikes, but this is it's true home, we found thousands this time. One Bristly langloisia, Langloisia setosissima setosissima, nice to see it again. Good blooming scrubs, like  Pima rhatany, Krameria erecta and Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa. Now into Stone wash from above, what a nice canyon. Our way back went just above Stone canyon, but far enough for a safe hike. A couple of Devil's spineflower, Chorizanthe rigida in bloom. On our way back Prickly poppy, Argemone munita we haven't seen this season.


Narrow-leaf sun-cup, Eremothera refracta Fed Melgert

Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii Fred Melgert

Thursday  March 10
Flat Cat Canyon  View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
We went back to the entrance of the Flatcat canyon, just a 2 hour return hike.  This time we started at the visitor center parking and hiked up the Hellhole wash.  Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii are blooming at the visitor center, but they get extra water.  They where blooming in the wild at the Flatcat canyon, the smell is overwhelming.  Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata are probably as good as last year, nice fields in bloom.  I took a couple of shots of the tiny California ayenia, Ayenia compacta flower.  Whey you look at one out of bloom, you see more of it's buildup.  A good display of Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii.  The main goal was to find Arizona Wrightwort, Carlowrightia arizonica in bloom, we think we saw something developing, we will check again in a week or 2.  Our count is now 54 plants, but we expect many many more. 

Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii   Fred Melgert

Tuesday March 8
Very nice Desert Lily and Sand Verbena photo sent to us by Janice Skeels

Janice Skeels

Monday March 7
Yaqui Meadows Loop  View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
This Yaqui loop route is just a couple miles outside of Borrego Springs.  Sunday was a windy day, but conditions during the hike where unexpected good, a lot of sun and sometime no wind at all. This looks like prime bloom, Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa everywhere close to or in prime bloom. Beavertail, Opuntia basilaris basilaris are almost in prime bloom as are Rock hibiscus, Hibiscus denudatus. Wow a big surprise  Gander's cholla, Cylindropuntia ganderi in bloom and in good bloom, they are close to prime bloom in this area. We even found some flower fields of Bigelow's monkeyflower, Mimulus bigelovii var. bigelovii. On the side of the canyon we found the highest number of Desert five spot, Eremalche rotundifolia this season if not ever, not too far from bloom, certainly a spot to check out. We found 78 species in bloom on this hike, the highest number this season.

Yaqui Meadows Loop Hike Sunday March 6, Fred Melgert


Beavertail in bloom, Opuntia basilaris basilaris Fred Melgert

Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana Fred Melgert

Friday March 4
Borrego Valley
What a difference a couple of days can make!

It would appear that things are suddenly popping along Henderson Canyon Road in Borrego Springs and at the end of Di Giorgio Road, two very popular flower viewing areas in Borrego Springs. The bloom is just getting started and there are significantly more flowers than just a couple of days ago.  Nearby Borrego Palm Canyon, in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is another good area. In town along Borrego Springs Road south of Christmas Circle the ocotillo are blooming, and more set to bloom.  Desert Lilies are going strong in Arroyo Salado as well as the end of Di Giorgio Road. If you are not familiar with these areas, stop by ABDNHA's Borrego Nature Center, just a block from Christmas Circle on Palm Canyon Drive, and we have some free flower maps to show where the flowers are appearing.

Rain is forecast for the days ahead.  If there is significant rain (even 1/4 inch would be significant here in the desert) this would be outstanding and the bloom will expand and last longer. There is a lot of germination covering the ground in the northern part of the Borrego Springs valley. Only a small portion of that is now in bloom and a little rain would pump a lot of life into those plants and really get things to come on strong.  But rain in the desert is never a certain thing.  We will see how that unfolds in the days ahead. 


Hairy desert-sunflower, Geraea canescens, with a little bit of Desert Sand Verbena mixed in.   Photo taken today by Fred Melgert

Henderson Canyon Road, March 4, 2016.  Desert Lily, Sand Verbena, Desert Sunflower in the background.  Photo by Fred Melgert

Dune Evening Primrose and mixed Sand Verbena, Desert Lily, and Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose - end of Di Giorgio Road. McElhatton

An added bonus to the flowers
in the north end of the Borrego Valley is that the citrus orchards in those areas are now in full bloom and the entire area is blanketed with their sweet and delicate fragrance.  A great way to experience that fragrance and to see the flowers too is with a bike ride through those areas.  The fragrance is strongest in early evening.

Sweet smelling grapefruit (left) and lemon blossoms (right)  McElhatton

Plus ... a couple shots from today in the ABDNHA Garden, blooming Claret Cup Cactus on the left and Desert Canterbury Bells on the right.  The ABDNHA Garden features desert plants from around the world.  McElhatton


Thursday March 3
Borrego Valley
We are getting reports today that flowers are beginning to appear along Henderson Canyon Road, desert sunflower, some sand verbena, and lots of lilies still being reported in the area near the new hawk watch location, end of DI Giorgio Road and in towards Coyote Canyon.   Prime time to spot lilies is in the morning; their flowers closeup in mid day.  Arroy Salado is mentioned again as another good spot for desert lilies. 

There is a chance of rain late Saturday  - early Monday.  San Diego looks to get a good soaking from this storm but there are no guarantees that it will generate much over the desert.  If it does, however, that would be a very good thing for flowers.


Wednesday March 2
Grapevine - Pacific Crest Trail - View Hike Details Here
Back again in the Grapevine area, now from the S2 up the PCT. As usual this looks bad at the start of the hike , we had 2 species is bloom for a couple of minutes. But things got better and better, but not the flower density we had yesterday from Angelina spring up to the Wilson trail. It's time for the Coulter's lupine, Lupinus sparsiflorus, they are starting to bloom in the washes. This is one of the better places to find Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum and we found many in bloom. It's still early in the season for this area, but still a good number of bloomers. My favorite picture of the day Cooper's desert thorn, Lycium cooperi Blooming below 3000 Feet,  42 different plants found today. Blooming above 3000 Feet, 26 different plants. Total blooming today: 46 different plants.

Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum Fred Melgert

Cooper's desert thorn, Lycium cooperi Fred Melgert

Fringed Spineflower, Chorizanthe fimbriata var. laciniata Fred Melgert

Tuesday March 1
Pinyon Spring Wash-Wilson Trail  View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla

We started early on one of the hottest days so far. This is Grapevine week and we skipped this one last year, time to go up again. A bit of a steep climb up to the Wilson trail. This hike starts out fairly easy, but after an hour a climb starts with some boulders. Below 3000 feet the plant life wasn't bad, but above that level it jumped up by a lot, I guess by a factor of 10.

Perceptions are deceiving as we counted less different species in bloom above 3000 feet, but many more plants in bloom. Plants need boulders! The Wilson trail was rather bleak, but as soon as we hit the boulders, the bloom returned.  Blooming below 3000 Feet 27 different plants. Blooming above 3000 Feet 23 different plants. Total blooming 45 different plants.

Payson's jewelflower, Caulanthus simulans Fred Melgert

Monday February 29
Borrego Valley
There has been good germination of plants in many areas, including the popular Borrego Palm Canyon, but we have not been treated to a valley wide bloom, at least not yet.  There are many flowers to be found be in washes and canyons in places that received good rainfall during this winter's two storms, but it will likely be another couple of weeks before nature lets us know the extent to which this will spread across the valley floor. 

Rainfall in the desert varies dramatically from one place to another and flowers grow where the rain has fallen. The flower reports on this page all come from contributors "on the ground" so they provide the best suggestions of places to go to catch flowers in bloom. For those who are heading out, it is important to note that many flowers close during the heat of the day so early morning is the best time to see them. 

One sure bet seems to be the ocotillo which are coming into bloom along Borrego Springs Road, a couple of miles south of Christmas Circle.  This area also has a nice backdrop of the Laguna Mountains so it's a very good place for pictures.  Also see the reports below on Desert Lilies.
 

Monday February 29
Grapevine Loop  View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
A loop up to the Pacific Crest Trails and back into another fork. Probably our best documented hike. Mojave yucca, Yucca schidigera are starting to bloom in Grapevine canyon. What a green area this is once again, even with so little rain. We where still hunting for female Jojoba, Simmondsia chinensis in bloom and along the Jasper trial we found one.

Wow a White fiesta flower, Pholistoma membranaceum with purple striping. Wishbone plant, Mirabilis laevis retrorsa are starting to bloom. Wild cucumber, Marah macrocarpus var. macrocarpus are everywhere in full bloom. We still found only a handful of Whispering bells, Emmenanthe penduliflora penduliflora.  The one Bush poppy, Dendromecon rigida was already in bloom, so not later than usual. Redgland spurge, Chamaesyce melanadenia blooming by the hundreds. Some Common fiddleneck, Amsinckia intermedia in bloom. Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua (var. rugosa?) about to go in full bloom. Bladderpod bush, Peritoma arborea are still blooming in Grapevine Canyon Not that many Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium as we've seen in Culp Valley. Big Wild Canterbury Bells, Phacelia minor plants in bloom. Still missing Chia, Salvia columbariae, we found one with single flower, we did find germination. Carla was pleased to find baby Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii. In total, we found 38 different flowers in bloom.



Wishbone plant, Mirabilis laevis retrorsa Fred Melgert

California goosefoot, Chenopodium californicum Fred Melgert

Woolly Indian paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa Fred Melgert

Sunday February 28
First, Second, Third Crossing ; Coyote Canyon  View Hike Details Here
Fred and Carla
While driving early up to first crossing the Desert lily where easy to spot as they where completely open.  Water is still streaming in First Crossing and about 400 meters down stream, where it is still flowing underground as the ground is wet for another couple of hundred meters.  This is always an interesting area where low desert meets water. 
The dominant bloomers:  Brown-eyed Primrose, Chylismia claviformis ssp. peirsonii  Spectacle-pod, Dithyrea californica  Desert Sand Verbena, Abronia villosa  California suncup, Eulobus californicus  Spanish needles, Palafoxia arida arida  London rocket, Sisymbrium irio  Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa  Some Desert-Dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata and Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana, but it's probably too early for full bloom. 
We couldn't ID the huge wooden skeleton plants, until we found a live one, Hooker's evening-primrose, Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima, what a big wooden plant.  We found our first ever white Palmer's milkvetch, Astragalus palmeri.  Our first Blue palo verde, Parkinsonia florida  tree of the season, partially in bloom, but this one gets plenty of water.  All in all more than 50 different species in bloom were spotted.


Palmer's milkvetch, Astragalus palmer (white) Fred Melgert

Heart-leaved Primrose, Chylismia cardiophylla ssp. cardiophylla  Fred Melgert


Saturday  February 27 
Arroyo Tapiado, Arroyo Seco del Diablo
Carolyn
Carolyn reports "Yes this is a superb year for desert lilies. Today we took a jeep ride up the Arroyo Tapiado then came back down via Arroyo Seco del Diablo. Hundreds and hundreds of lilies, a few blooming. Also saw Spanish Needles, lupine, Salton Milkvetch, and some brittle bush in bloom. A number of ocotillos is this area are showing their red now, too"

Borrego Springs
by Fred and Carla
Henderson canyon rd: Sunflowers are close to bloom, but still rather small, we found one in full bloom, the number should increase by the day. A couple of lilies in bloom along the road. Digiorgio end of the asphalt: A few Lilies in bloom, less than along Henderson cy rd (up to the end of the aspalt), but certainly not the thousands mentioned earlier.. Around noon most of the Lilies are closed, so a lot of visitors will see Lilies (almost) closed up. Further on the Digiorgio dirt road a lot more Lilies, the best part is off asphalt. We checked this morning at 8 a.m., the Lilies are easy to spot along the road (at that time they are fully open), but you have to drive another mile on the dirt road, not much of a problem for most cars.


Borrego Springs
Report from Frank

The ocotillo along the west side of Borrego Springs Road about 2 miles south of Christmas Circle, are setting up for a spectacular bloom.  Some are already in bloom and most are just a few days away. 

Report from Joan
Beckman Wash
Went hiking today out and about around Beckman Wash, some nice desert lilies out there as well, plus verbena, primrose, California sunflower and attached photos of what I thought was called "deadman's fingers", but don't think that is correct. Sorry, I have not graduated yet beyond the common name for the plants. 


"Deadman's Fingers"
photo by Joan
Since posting your picture, there is this reply from Bill "As for your plant, try Cistanthe ambigua (Desert Cistanthe), which until recently was called Calandrinia ambigua, or Desert Red Maids"

Friday February 26 
Alma Wash - View Hike Details Here
Fred & Carla
A splendid flower day. While driving the temperature read 38 degree, that's still cold, 48 at the trail head 7:00, nice. Flowering was rather strong, much better than we expected, we just visited the area north of the Visitor Center and this was way better.

   Photos by Fred Melgert, Ghost Flower, Narrow-leaf Sun Cup, Arizona lupine

Carla spotted hundreds of Narrow-leaf sun-cup, Eremothera refracta at the entrance of the canyon, on the bank, very easy to miss among the tiny Brown eyed primrose, Chylismia claviformis subsp. peirsonii. The flowers where of similar size, but the leaves rather different.

I expect the Slender lobed four o'clock, Mirabilis tenuiloba to close during the day, but we need to check. Splendid blooming Cheesebush, Ambrosia salsola var. salsola and even prettier in fruit. Ghost flower, Mohavea confertiflora not too many, they liked the shade most and I was worried how this would affect the picture. Most California barrel cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus where starting to bloom. Finally a Beetle spurge, Euphorbia eriantha in bloom. Carla was pleased to encounter a couple of Brown turbans, Malperia tenuis, close to bloom.  And at the end one Beavertail cactus, Opuntia basilaris var. basilaris in bloom, more sure to follow. On the trip plenty of Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii, a couple of Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana and a handful Bigelow's monkey flower,Mimulus bigelovii var. bigelovii in bloom. Close to the car a whole bunch of Tarantula hawk in Sweet bush. A really splendid productive but very long hike.


Narrow-leaf sun-cup, Eremothera refracta by Fred Melgert

Thursday February 25  -  Desert Lilies
End of Digiorgio Road  Borrego Springs

Hal Cohen reports to us this morning that there are many flowering Desert Lilies at the end of DiGiorgio at the north end of the Borrego Valley.  This is very easy access, all on paved roads.  Just turn north onto DiGiorgio from Palm Canyon Road and go to the end of the blacktop, about 3 miles.
Go in morning or early evening as the flowers close up during the heat of the day.

Note about Desert Lilies: Lilies are hard to spot from the road as they blend in. They are not a good "car plant" as the flowers are white; you have to stop, get out and look around.  Lilies are more about the beauty of individual plants than an entire valley floor covered in blossoms.  In fact, a big part of their beauty is that they grow in such otherwise barren areas.  Once you have spotted a few you will know what to look for and finding more will be much easier.  They appear to be just coming into bloom at this time.

Wednesday February 24

Arroyo Salado & Fonts Wash  - Desert Lilies

It looks like this is going to be a good year for desert lilies

We have two emails this morning that lilies are about to pop in Arroyo Salado and Fonts Wash.  Both of these areas are in the Borrego Badlands, east of Borrego Springs and just south of S22 and in the same region where lilies were reported just yesterday.

 

We also have this report and photo from Caroline:

Hundreds of desert lilies all around "The Slot" including along Buttes Pass Road. Go to parking area for "The Slot" and then walk downhill or along the jeep road that goes west from parking area.

Amazing show! Today I also saw some sand verbena and brown eyed primrose. Desert Sunflowers are growing, too.

 

Dune Evening Primrose  S22 Just west of the Thimble Trail.  Visit before noon.

Photo by Fred Melgert.


Borrego Springs - Around Town

We have another 'around town" report from inside the town of Borrego Springs, a walk along the streets of town, that noted the following plants, some blooming now and some on the on the verge of blooming, maybe a week or so out. 

 

Desert Lavender, full bloom

Chuparosa, full bloom

Cheesebush

and the most beautiful full bud about to open….Fairy Duster,

full bloom Creosote in flower

Ocotillo, full green lush leaves, in bud, a few open flowers already

 Brittlebush, in bud and some early bright yellow full bouquets

Datura, coming up, blossoms forming Coyote Melon,

leafing out Desert Trumpet, with buds

Brown-eyed Evening Primrose, starting to flower

California Evening Primrose, about to flower

Spanish Needles, beginning to flower

Yellowheads, beginning to flower

Fishhook Cactus in bloom now

Beavertail Cactus, lots of buds

Apricot Mallow, blooming

Penstemon

 

Shown Below - Some shots from the ABDNHA Botanical Garden February 24

 

 

Tuesday February 23

Thimble Trail Loop - Borrego Badlands   View Hike Details here

Fred & Carla

The goal was to check on some flowers. Devil's spineflower, Chorizanthe rigida and Carla's other favorite,  Little desert trumpet, Eriogonum trichopes.   So I took my tripod along for the whole trip. We've never known that there where so many Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata, in the badlands. Normally you see a couple of them, but now every couple of meters in our first part of the hike, there are hundreds of them.  Not many in flower yet but we did find one with four flowers.  We also found lots of Brassica tournefortii, mostly small, but some with seed.

Note: Lillies are hard to spot from the road, as they blend in. Not a good "car plant" as the flowers are white; you have to stop, get out and look around.  Once you have spotted a few you will know what to look for and finding more will be much easier.  In general they are not quite in bloom just yet but it looks like this will be a good year for them. 

 Desert Lilly by Fred Melgert


Heart leaf suncup, Chylismia cardiophylla subsp. cardiophylla by Fred Melgert

 

 

Saturday February 20

Juergen Schrenk

Harper Canyon

Jurgen sends this very nice photo of cacti taken in Harper Canyon. Nine different species of cactus have been reported in Harper Canyon.  It is a great place to see native cactus.

 

Saturday February 20

Mine Wash East Fork Loop    View hike details here

Fred & Carla

Fred Says : We are returning to this area on a regular basis, to see it progress. Germination has slowed down.  Still there is always something interesting to be found. It's now prime bloom for Desert lotus, Acmispon rigidus. Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii while still looking fine is close to the end of bloom. One brave Palmer's milkvetch, Astragalus palmeri managed to put out a couple of nice looking flowers. Anderson's desert thorn, Lycium andersonii looking green and in full bloom.  It's definitely time for Fishhook, Mammillaria dioica, we found a couple of them in bloom on our trip.

Desert lotus, Acmispon rigidus Flower closeup - Fred Melgert

Desert lotus, Acmispon rigidus full plant - Fred Melgert

Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii Fred Melgert

 

Friday February 19

Henderson Canyon Road

Fred & Carla

Fred and Carla report that desert lillies ( not yet in bloom) are to be found in many locations throughout the badlands, and they are seeing many more plants than in previous years.  These plants are maybe a week to bloom time.  The photo below was taken in a sandy patch along Henderson Canyon Road at the north end of the Borrego Valley. 

Note from Mike: We'll post an update here as soon as we get reports that the lillies are blooming along with some locations where they can be found not too far from the roadway.

Desert Lilly - getting close to bloom.  This shot taken just off of Henderson Canyon Road by Fred Melgert.

February 19

Gert Wash Loop View hike details here

Fred & Carla

This was our second try to get up to Gert wash, the wall is pretty high.   This pre planned route took us where I wanted to go but a bit longer than expected,  a 5 1/2 hour hike. Interesting terrain,  home of the Emory's indigo bush, Psorothamnus emoryi. The shallow washes are perfect for Big galetta, Hilaria rigida. We encountered plenty of germination. At the start I predicted 100 Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii and we got 103, so that's pretty close. And again mostly in the more narrow washes.

Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii  Fred Melgert

Anderson's desert thorn, Lycium andersonii Fred Melgert

February 18

Borrego Springs

Betsy Knaak

Lots of buds on Beavertail Cactus, Cheesebush, Ocotillo; early blooms on individual plants seen on a walk around town include Groundcherry, Indigo Bush, Creosote, Spanish Needles, Chuparosa, Desert Lavender, Brittlebush; making their appearance above ground are Desert Trumpet, Jimsom Weed, Desert Lilies, and many others

 

February 18, 2106

Palm Canyon Trail   View hike details here

Fred & Carla

 Fred sends this beautiful shot of a Desert Five Spot Eremalche rotundifolia.  He says this is the second they have found, after not seeing any for several years. This one was at the  roadside exit of Palo Verde Wash (North of the S22)

Desert Five Spot Eremalche rotundifolia Fred Melgert

 

Fred and Carla also report finding a flower that was on their most wanted list; you have to look very closely as the flowers are super small.  This Devil's spineflower, Chorizanthe rigida was found on the Thimbal Trail Loop ( View hike details here).

Devil's spineflower, Chorizanthe rigida Fred Melgert

 

February 17, 2016

Borrego Palm Canyon Trail

Marcy Yates

Marcy says the area of Borrego Palm Canyon Trail is incredibly green right now.  The big bloomers right now are chuparosa and desert lavender.  Only a few brittle bush are flowering, but many have buds.  The beavertail cacti are getting nicely budded.  She saw 2 wishbone plants with flowers, and more with buds. Marcy says "What a beautiful time in the desert!"

Marcy sends this beautiful shot of a beavertail cactus about ready to bloom.

Beavertail cactus by Marcy Yates

 

February 15, 2016

Fish Creek  area - Windcaves trail 

Kelly Brengle

Kelly reports that there is an exciting stand of desert lilies on the trail from Fish Creek Wash to Wind Caves. Just over the first rise on the trail, look to the right.  32 plants counted.  From the photo it appears they are just on the verge of blooming.

 

February 15, 2106

Palm Canyon Trail   View hike details here

Fred & Carla

Fred and Carla report that germination is growing along the very popular Palm Canyon Trail and they found their first annual in bloom: Pale yellow suncup, Camissoniopsis pallida pallida.  Fred suggests a general bloom in Palm Canyon may start in a week or two. Scrubs like Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa and Chuparosa, Justicia californica are starting to get full bloom. Hesays it looks promising for next month

 

They also report that fishhook cactus are now blooming in many locations in the park.  The photo below is from Tarote Canyon Loop. View hike details here

Fishhook, Mammillaria dioica (2/14/2016) Fred Melgert

 

February 10, 2016

Grapevine area   View hike details here

Fred & Carla

The Grapevine area got some good rain; this is one of the wettest places in the park. Despite the cold weather at this elevation, baby plants are just as big or bigger than in the lower desert because they got more rain here. We saw our first blooming Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia intermedia of the season. A lot of Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii, they  survived the fire here and are starting to bloom, as in most other places in the park.

 

Always a treat to see Turpentine broom, Thamnosma montana in bloom, easy to miss, because the plant is nothing spectacular.  But the tiny flowers are quite beautiful as this macro shot shows.

Turpentine broom, Thamnosma montana by Fred Melgert

 

February 10, 2016

Fish Creek Wash

Marcy Yates

Marcy reports several Orcutt's Woody Aster are blooming in Fish Creek Wash near the Anticline.  The photo below shows a plant that reportedly has been growing in the rock face there since the 1990's.  Isolated Salton Milkvetch (Astragalus )were also found in bloom and with seedpods in other places in Fish Creek wash.  

We have been asked to put out the question of whether anyone has photos of this particular plant from years ago.  Email abdnhaprograms@gmail.com if you have anything.

 

Orcutt's Woody Aster, reportedly growing in this rock face since the 1990's - Marcy Yates

 

NOTE:  In response to our request for photos of this plant we had the following image submitted to us from Greg Vaughn of Eugene, Oregon.  This photo was taken twelve years ago, in 2004.  This is an outstanding images in many ways.  Thanks for sharing, Greg!

2004 Photo by Greg Vaughn : www.wandersandwonders.com/ 

 

February 9, 2016
Ocotillo Wells

From Fred and Carla

Today Fred sent us this great shot of desert five spot.  When asked where he found it, he replied: "Just outside the park, Ocotillo wells, from Borrego, just before the sign Main street (right). A small patch of land got a lot of rain, we've been following it for a while and found a lot of interesting plants there."

Desert five spot by Fred Melgert

 

February 7, 2016
Pinyon Wash-Harper Flats   View hike details here

From Fred and Carla

On this hike a couple of first bloomers for us this season. Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii Fish-hook cactus, Mammillaria dioica Coulter's lyrepod, Lyrocarpa coulteri Desert lotus, Acmispon rigidus.   We seem to have missed the abundant bloom of the Spiny Senna, Senna Armata. We hiked clockwise.... Some germination on our way in, wow what is this wash green, so many big happy plants. But on Harper Flat almost no germination, probably been too cold. On our way back Pinyon Wash, no happy plants here (yet).

 

Desert lotus, Acmispon rigidus (2/7/2016) Fred Melgert

California buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium by Fred Melgert

 

February 7, 2016
Font's Bowl   View hike details here

From Fred and Carla

The hike starts in the wide San Felipe wash, Carla had 2 plants on her list, so she was worried. Soon we added Brassica, not what we wanted and we got frustrated as hundreds, thousands showed up, most still tiny. As we entered the wash we wanted to hike up, more and more plants showed up and a lone Xylorhiza orcuttii, not the best, but it had some kind of bloom.

A winding wash, easy to hike, the last stretch some rocks and a good cluster of Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii, followed by probably Rush milkweed, Asclepias subulata (about 10). Up to the bowl, wow a place to visit again, plenty of germination and no Brassica. Going down turned out pretty easy in the soft sand, once in the wash, still narrow but easy to hike. Eventually turning in wide "road" wash, back to the car. On the way back in the soft sand again interesting germination. We decided to get adventurous and drive further into the Borrego Sink Wash back to town. Here we found a couple of not so common, Common desert thorn, Lycium brevipes var. brevipes, happy green.

 

Common desert thorn, Lycium brevipes var. brevipe Fred Melgert

Common desert thorn, Lycium brevipes var. brevipe Fred Melgert

 

January 29, 2016
Diablo - Diguenos Loop   View hike details here

From Fred and Carla

 Back into the badlands, this time entering the Diablo canyon. The trip itself is well worth it. We started the hike out of the Diablo canyon and into a fork of the Dieguenos wash. And almost at once a lot of germination, this area sure got very local rain. We encountered a number of Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii in full bloom, a sure sign of water. Lots of Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii in bloom. And our first Desert sunflower, Geraea canescens is always in the Fish creek area, this could be considered part of it.

 

Our first choice fork almost worked, but a 30 feet dry fall is a bit too much. So we went around picking the next fork and that turned out a piece of cake. Finally a good blooming Frost mat, Achyronychia cooperi that wanted to get on film.

Frost mat, Achyronychia cooperi Fred Melgert

Alkali goldenbush, Isocoma acradenia var. acradenia Fred Melgert

 

January 28, 2016
Pena Spring - California Loop  View Hike details here.
we decided to check out Culp Valley, from Pena spring up the wash and head back on the California trail. There were a few bloomers, mostly along Pena spring. Good germination, mostly Erodium, but plenty of other plants. Everything is a good month later than the previous 2 years.

White-flowering currant, Ribes indecorum by Fred Melgert

Oak gooseberry, Ribes quercetorum by Fred Melgert

January 22, 2016
Mine Wash East Fork Loop  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
This is one of our favorite hikes: It has such a nice variety of different plants. It's Emory's rock-daisy, Perityle emoryi time, a lot of plants we noticed last month are now flowering. Not that much new in the wash, I expect again too much rain at once removed some previous germination.

We've been looking for Desert mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum female flowers for some time, and now we got a picture of it. But the bad thing is that the search is now over.

We hardly find fresh, fully yellow, blooming Arrow-leaf, Pleurocoronis pluriseta, this may just be bad luck. The Yellow-head, Trichoptilium incisum turned orange/red, I like it even better that way. Redstem filaree, Erodium cicutarium are now starting to grow bigger. This is also the loop of the Parry's dalea, Marina parryi, with flowers that are easy to miss.

A beautiful shot of Redstem filaree, Erodium cicutarium (1/23/2016) Fred Melgert

A very nice macro shot of Desert mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum by Fred Melgert

Arrow-leaf, Pleurocoronis pluriseta by Fred Melgert

January 15, 2016
Fish Creek  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Recent rains has caused about 1/2 foot of erosion in Fish Creek, so a lot of soft sand is now in the lower part of the wash. The sand, in a lot of places still wet makes the drive interesting. You definitely want to go in with a 4x4 right now. That said we made it without to much trouble into the South fork.

Where the South fork meets the end of the loop road, huge blooming Salton milk-vetch, Astragalus crotalariae, that looked promising. The wash starts out really wide and there was as lot of water in it recently. A nice variation of flowers, some not very common in the Fish Creek area, the whole wash was not what typically would be found in  Fish Creek. On our way back when Carla spotted a Penstemon. We also saw some Interesting rock features, a square hole is rather unusual, it looked just like an Indian village tucked underneath a cliff.

Beautiful closeup o Spanish needles, Palafoxia arida var. arida (1/14/2016) Fred Melgert

Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii by Fred Melgert

Anza-Borrego Cliff Dwellings?  No, just some interesting erosion patterns by Fred Melgert

January 14, 2016
Henderson Canyon & vicinity
Tom Chester
Look what a little rain will do
Tom says "Yesterday, 1/13/16, we stopped along S22 near the desert view nursery, and along henderson canyon road, to look for germination. on 1/9/16, 3 to 4 days after the two inches of rain, we found no germination at all along S22.  but on 1/13/16, 7 to 8 days after the rain, we found a lot of germination!! i thought you'd like to know.  (:-) here are more pix of the little tiny baby annuals: http://tchester.org/temp/160113/babies/

Germination after recent rain photo by Tom Chester


Fred Melgert has sent us word that he has developed an Anza-Borrego Flower App

 

It is available free for Android phones in the Google Play Store. 

He says an app for iPhone will be ready by the end of the year.


Jan. 6, 2016
Truckhaven Rocks  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
A nice day to hike in the Truckhaven area.  Sun and a light breeze, the latter not optimal for pictures.  We hiked clockwise and the first wash couldn't be more different from the return (wide) wash.  Leaves on the Smoke tree, Psorothamnus spinosus, I've been looking for those last year and here they are right in front of me.  Nice germination, so this area got some rain in the past.  And 3 kinds of milkweed. 

White-stemmed milkweed, Asclepias albicans (1/6/2016) Fred Melgert

Jan. 3, 2016
Harper Canyon  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Normally a very dry canyon as it was Sunday. Strange to see Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus so dry and Ironwood, Olneya tesota so good looking. Harper canyon holds our record of 3 sightings of Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis. I was just taking a flower picture when I heard the sound of falling rocks. So I had to do with the camera in hand, looking at the terrain they came down, this can't work all the time. Some blooming and germination in this high walled shaded canyon. Good place to take a look at Ironwood.

Bighorn Sheep Harper Canyon by Fred Melgert

Sweetbush, Bebbia juncea aspera by Fred Melgert

Jan. 2, 2016
Chuckwalla Wash Loop  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
A loop in an area we hadn't visited yet. (a part of it) Nice bunch of plants, some even fresh looking. A place to revisit after the rain.

Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium by Fred Melgert


Jan. 1, 2016
West of June Wash Loop  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
We simply had to go back to the best patch of germination of the season so far. So we made a new interesting loop.  The patch is less than 1 square km, concentrated on a diked area in the wash. There is some germination in the surrounding washes. We guessed before we arrived, how much would they have grown since our last visit (just over 1 week). Much more than we expected, with these low temps, it wasn't much above freezing when we started our hike.

Notch leaf phacelia, Phacelia crenulata var. ambigua by Fred Melgert

Dec. 26, 2015
West of June Wash Loop  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
We where well out of the sand storm hanging over Carrizo and Fish Creek. Not much wind here, but still a bit cold. I planned this route without knowing we did this last season, that was fun when we both realized at the turning point, this looks familiar. And strange that we photographed so many other flowers. The left wash is unusual for the area as it's dotted with Ironwood, Olneya tesota, some pretty old. The other fork held none of them. Probably the most overlooked flower Creosote bush, Larrea tridentata, this is one of the shots I liked most. Unusual to see a Pima rhatany, Krameria erecta, in full bloom. More then one Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii in good bloom and plenty of Chuparosa, Justicia californica in bloom. And this is obviously Colorado river deposit as Carla found a couple of Thurber's pilostyles, Pilostyles thurberi, none in bloom. A lot of germination further up in the left wash only, but in need of more rain. We just missed the bloom of Cheesebush, Ambrosia salsola salsola.

Catclaw acacia, Senegalia greggii (12/26/2015) by Fred Melgert


Dec. 22, 2015
Thimble View Trail  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
With rain and wind today, we went into the badlands. This nice loop is always interesting, Some plants were expected on the return loop, as there is a spot where dozens of plants had been seen much earlier. The wash sure had a lot of rain, but most just runs down the wash before it sinks in, the wash is like concrete. In one spot the water probably slows down and a nice collection of plants appear. And yes a Tarantula too, this one had no chance to run away, so it played possum as soon as it felt us. Finally  Desert holly, Atriplex hymenelytra in real bloom. We checked some plants that looked as they didn't have any bloom and yes female and blooming. Soon thereafter we found dozens of bloomers, that's why we missed them all these years, the blooming plants are not so showy before they start to bloom. Surely a place to go back and make another loop. The germination is good in some isolated spots only..... but with a good variation in species.

Such a nice tarantula picture by Fred Melgert we just had to share it, even though this is a flower page.

Desert holly, Atriplex hymenelytra (12/22/2015) by Fred Melgert
Dec. 20, 2015
Layer Cake Wash  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Fred and Carla send this nice photo from today's hike with ABDNHA.

Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii (12/20/2015) by Fred Melgert

Dec. 15, 2015
Mine Wash  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Fred and Carla send a couple of beautiful, and very  yellow, close-ups.

Yellow-head, Trichoptilium incisum by Fred Melgert

California trixis, Trixis californica var. californica by Fred Melgert

Dec. 15, 2015
First, Second, Third Crossing  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
"This is always an interesting place to hike and see other flowering plants; there was much more in bloom that we expected. Our first find of White sweetclover, Melilotus alba,  still in bloom Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata,  Bladderpod bush, Peritoma arborea.   We've already seen the Bladderpod blooming in November in a couple of places. When Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa is wet at the base, it really likes to bloom right now. Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia female, fruit is the ultimate proof. We've seen them blooming recently in Aqua Caliente Marsh and when you look carefully you find  California loosestrife, Lythrum californicum more or less hidden, because it's not prime bloom." 

California loosestrife, Lythrum californicum Fred Melgert

Hooker's evening-primrose, Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima Fred Melgert

White sweetclover, Melilotus alba (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 13, 2015
Elephant Knees area
From Fred and Carla

"We hiked farther south from the elephant knees, to check out the area. From what we saw, something happened recently we expect a flash flood of 4-6 feet in the main wash along the Elephant knees. Have never seen Russian thistle, Salsola tragus this big before. You see scrubs happier than in most other places in the park. Carla noticed a blooming: While is I was making a picture she found something more interesting; a blooming Four wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens canescens."

Fremont's desert thorn, Lycium fremontii (12-2015) Fred Melgert

Four wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens canescens staminate (male) flower (12-2015)  Fred Melgert
Dec. 10, 2015
Big Spring
From Fred and Carla
"
Not much in bloom now at Big Spring. But we did find nice White nightshade, Solanum douglasii and Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum in bloom. Yerba mansa, Anemopsis californica fruit is interesting and some California-fuchsia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium are still blooming, but the fruit is small."

White nightshade, Solanum douglasii (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 6, 2015
Culp Valley
From Fred and Carla
"
Our hike today was in Culp Valley. This is the place where all the springs seep. Yes female flowers form the Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia. Hundreds of fresh looking Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum. And a lot of other good looking plants as well."
 

Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia female flower (12-2015)  Fred Melgert

Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 4, 2015
Fish Creek
From Fred and Carla
"In fish creek we found one of our best flower spots with a lot of germination. We hiked this route because of the Desert milkweed, Asclepias erosa, so far the only spot we found them in the park and they where blooming. It is always full of all sorts of insects. Interesting to see a bulb what appears to be a Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata, we noticed several plants in the area (leaves only). Good blooming Button brittlebush, Encelia frutescens. Had to look twice when we saw the green scrub, indeed Burrobush, Ambrosia dumosa, so incredibly green. In Fish creek Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae is always blooming and will do so for a couple of months. Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata is close to the end of bloom. Best of all there is a lot of fresh looking germination, already spotted some we haven't seen in bloom before, definitely an area to return to."

Desert Pussypaws, Cistanthe ambigua Fred Melgert

Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae Fred Melgert
   
   
Dec. 1, 2015
From Fred and Carla

"We did Whale Peak today, a more difficult way, but a more interesting way.  We did see some Boundary Goldenbush in bloom but not much else.  Some patches of snow on the way back, as well as a coyote on the move"

Coyote seen on the way to Whale Peak  Fred Melgert

Boundary goldenbush, Ericameria brachylepis (12-2015) by Fred Melgert
Nov. 29, 2015
From Fred and Carla

"We went further into Palm Canyon but the fountain grass has found the canyon. Frost has reached the higher elevations and killed most flowers.  We did get some nice detail pictures for our guide."

Maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris (11-2015) Photo by Fred Melgert
Nov 27, 2015
From Fred and Carla: March Canyon Loop
.

The Agua Caliente area looked so promising that we checked out the Marsh Canyon Loop.  Along with some nice blooming Chuparosa, Brittlebush, beautiful Blackbanded rabbitbush, and many Coyote melons (because it was very wet),  we also spotted our first Bighorn Sheep of the season, never have seen then so close and unafraid

Bighorn Sheep - March Creek Loop - Agua Caliente area  Photo by Fred Melgert

Bighorn Sheep - March Creek Loop - Agua Caliente area  Photo by Fred Melgert

Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata. by Fred Melgert

Nov. 26, 2015

From Fred and Carla

Moonlight Canyon at Agua Caliente County Park to the Inner Pastures.

"Nice green area at this time of year.  A flash flood hit the Agua Caliente are and the effects are still visible."


Desert thornapple, Datura discolor (11-2015) Fred Melgert

Wire-lettuce, Stephanomeria pauciflora (11-2015) Fred Melgert

California-fuchsia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium (11-2015) Fred Melgert
Nov. 26, 2015
From Fred and Carla along the Pacific Crest Trail, north from Warner Springs.  "Our first blooming Pine goldenbush, Ericameria pinifolia. Still some of the common flowers right now California-aster, Corethrogyne filaginifolia My favorite for the day, another new flower,  Milk maids, Cardamine californica."
Milk maids, Cardamine californica Fred Melgert

Nov. 19, 2015

From Fred and Carla

Wind Cave Wash to Gypsum Peak

"From Fish Creek up to the peak, a tripod, 2 camera's and ourselves, We found a nice plant for the botanists: a Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis, tiny flowers. Tiny tiny flowers. On our way back I liked the craters in the mud and flower fields of Chinch weed, Pectis papposa papposa. This was not a large patch, about 200 yards, but nevertheless unusual for November. The look like goldfield, but with larger flowers."


Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Desert trumpet, Eriogonum inflatum (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Nov. 17, 2015

From Arroyo Salado north fork, Fred reports:
"This is one of our favorite areas and did not disappoint us. This area seems to be an excellent water trap. Carla mentioned we would be 3 hours but it took us at least 5, there was so much to see.

Most don't classify it as a wildflower, but it's very pretty closeup: Big galleta, Hilaria rigida.
 We stumbled upon a Dove weed, Croton setigerus, this time we where wiser and checked it for flowers. And indeed, hardly visible in full bloom. Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii are a sure bet, there is always some in bloom. A hardly recognizable flower of a Trailing Windmills, Allionia incarnata var. incarnata And not to forget, one of the most overlooked flowers, spurges, they sure are nice bloomers. Arizona honeysweet, Tidestromia suffruticosa var. oblongifolia , easy to miss that this plant is in full bloom. At the end of the trip an Emory's indigo bush, Psorothamnus emoryi. A textbook Flat-topped buckwheat, Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum. Not to forget Russian thistle in bloom, Salsola tragus mostly along the road of course, a reasonable flower picture."


Flat-topped buckwheat, Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum (11-2015) by Fred Melgert
Dove weed, Croton setigerus (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Fred at work!

Nov. 15, 2015

From the Collins Valley - Box Canyon Dry Lake, Fred reports:
"Carla was ecstatic finding a nice Desert brickellbush, Brickellia desertorum. In the lower willows area it's time for:  Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata and Alkali goldenbush, Isocoma acradenia acradenia."

Desert brickellbush, Brickellia desertorum by Fred Melgert
 
November 13, 2015
Fred and Carla send this report:
"Yaqui meadows, we think is the greenest place we visited so far. The best indicators are Lavender and Chuparosa, green with leaves.  Last season we went looking for Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana, this time they bloomed even better. Blooming Catclaw acacia, Senegalia greggii, A lot of small plants about to bloom like Thick leaf ground cherry, Physalis crassifolia and Emory's rock-daisy,
Perityle emoryi . Surprisingly many seed on Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii.  This is always one of the better places for plants."

Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana  November 2015 Fred Melgert 

 Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana  January 2015 Fred Melgert 

Catclaw acacia, Senegalia greggii (11-2015) Fred Melgert

 


Nov. 8, 2015

Fred and Carla hiked the Upper Culp valley, a nice but certainly not a casual hike; there is a lot of up and down. They report a variety of flowers in bloom. They say "Right now the Wide-leaved rock goldenbush are in peak bloom, you should see them in the area, mostly in the least accessible places. You will see the leaves of the Giant four o'clock and if you are lucky a flowering one. Some hard to find, but very nice California-aster And some Sapphire woolly-star one of the prettiest flowers around, normally blooming in spring. And of the seeds Birch-leaf mountain-mahogany is impressive."

Wide-leaved rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. spathulata  by Fred Melgert

Giant four o'clock, Mirabilis multiflora var. pubescens by Fred Melgert

 

Nov. 6, 2015

Fred and Carla send this nice closeup photo of a rush milkweed taken along the roadside close to Palo Verde Wash.

Photo by Fred Melgert

Nov 2, 2015

Marcy Yates says "Today the Borrego Palm Canyon trail could boast about something blooming, but only one lonely Rock Hibiscus.  The chuparosa are getting green and starting to form red buds, but not yet in full flower."

Photo by Marcy Yates

June 21, 2015

Marcy Yates passes on a tip she received from Bill Sullivan that elephant trees were blooming near the Elephant Tree Trail in the south part of the park. Marcy then checked the two trees at the park visitor center In Borrego Springs and found fruit on one (or so she thought).  Her photo was forwarded to Bill; he enlarged it and sent it back because there were actually some fading flowers near the fruits.  Such tiny flowers!  There is also a small elephant tree in the ABDNHA botanical garden, but no flowers there this year.

 

Interesting facts:  The elephant tree has very fragrant leaves and comes from a large family which includes such plants as frankincense and myrrh. This tree was and is important for a variety of practical and ceremonial uses of native people within its range.  The Elephant Trees in Anza-Borrego are at the northernmost part of their range.  The tree does not tolorate freezing temperatures.

Elephant Tree  Bursera microphylla Marcy Yates


May 4, 2015

Marcy Yates reports lots of ironwood trees in Pinyon Wash that are in various stages of blooming.

Ironwood  Olneya tesota Marcy Yates

 

April 5, 2015

This report from Combs peak by Fred and Carla  See hiking details.

Woolly Bluecurls,  Trichostema lanatum Fred Melgert

Chaparral whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis Fred Melgert

Mountain Phlox, Phlox austromontana Fred Melgert

California poppy, Eschscholzia californica Fred Melgert

 

April 12, 2015

Grapevine loop by Fred and Carla:  See hiking info.

Everything is weeks ahead of schedule and even dryer than last season if that's even possible. This is fine as the Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum is starting to bloom and will become more of an obstacle as it already is, but no thorns. The Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes seems to have spread to every single wash along both sides of the Pacific Crest trail. The prickly poppy, Argemone munita where everywhere last season, now not trace of them this year.

 

Golden yarrow, Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum Fred Melgert

Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum Fred Melgert

 

April 10, 2015

Carrizo Canyon east fork palms by Fred and Carla.  Hiking information here

We've been to the sweeney pass a week before, so we expected something alive over here.

 

 Coyote melon, Cucurbita palmata 99+ nicely in bloom in the Carrizo Creek as we where early. The smoketree look green,  that's always a good sign. But these canyons are special as they have good ground water. The canyon we hiked in looked as it had a good bloom, a lot of the plants where of course out of bloom, but far from all. Scarlet spiderling, Boerhavia coccinea by the hundreds. Hairy Blazingstar, Mentzelia hirsutissima in the hundreds, some still in bloom. Catclaw, Senegalia greggii starting to bloom. This is the year we find Broom Twinberry, Menodora scabra var. glabrescens, two more in bloom. What I noticed are many small California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera so that's a good sign. This time we didn't hike the loop but went to explore the other Palm clusters.

Coyote melon, Cucurbita palmata Fred Melgert

California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera Fred Melgert

Hairy Blazingstar, Mentzelia hirsutissima Fred Melgert

 

April 5, 2015

A shot taken earlier today of a queen butterfly caterpillar on milkweed.

monarch butterfly caterpillar on rush milkweed - anza-borrego

Rush Milkweed Asclepias sublata apocynaceae and queen caterpillar Mike McElhatton

 

 

March 31, 2015

From Fred and Carla, a loop from mile 14.3 on the Pacific Crest Trail

 

Strange enough this is the only place we found Thistle sage, Salvia carduacea in the Park. A nice bunch of 20 or so plants on one spot, very close to the start of the hike. We where almost too late, some of them where already out of bloom. Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes and a lot more than last year. We where looking for Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens for years now and finally found them. The same goes for Fringed onion, Allium fimbriatum var. fimbriatum.

 

Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower,  Mimulus brevipes Fred Melgert

Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens Fred Melgert

 

March 27, 2015

From Fred and Carla:Hawi Vallecito to Lower Storm Canyon

The hike starts at the parking of Hawi Vallecito but is otherwise completely out of the park.


The intention was to hike up Storm Canyon, to check out all the green stuff you can see from the road.  But we never came that far, one of the reasons, we encountered so many plants we hardly, if ever, encounter..

The terrain is grassy, with Big galleta, Hilaria rigida. The upper part of the valley is covered with one of the biggest fields of Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa we've ever seen. We basically went for the lower part of the Storm Canyon wash. The wash is partially sand with patches of rock, the wash is obvious wetter than most.  White rhatany, Krameria bicolor is blooming we found several plans in partial bloom.  San Felipe dogweed, Adenophyllum porophylloides in full bloom.  We saw our first Short-lobed phacelia, Phacelia brachyloba.


Some Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa are still blooming. It's time for Desert woolly-star, Eriastrum eremicum ssp. eremicum, you find them in town roadside.

Our third find of Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii in two locations of 99+ They seem to stay in one place and don't spread out much.A surprise was the second Coulter's snapdragon, Antirrhinum coulterianum we have seen in bloom this month (1 plant).
Finally another Gillia Caraway-leaved Gilia, Saltugilia caruifolia  And we where missing the Prickly poppy, Argemone munita as they where everywhere last year. So 3 plants was a good find. Showy Penstemon, Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis in my favorite for today, our first one this season.


And lots lots more.  All in all a great wash.

Showy Penstemon, Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis Fred Melgert

Prickly poppy, Argemone munita Fred Melgert

Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa Fred Melgert

Slender wreathplant, Stephanomeria exigua ssp. exigua Fred Melgert

Honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana Fred Melgert

 

March 26, 2015

Joy Ziemnick says there is a lot of color at Culp Valley Campground area and along the California Riding Hiking Trail west from parking. area. Goldfields, Nolina, Wooly daisies, Whispering bells, Veatch's blazing star, Hairy? lotus, Apricot Mallow, lots of Chia further up, Wishbone...and more species as well.

Parry's Bear-Grass, Nolina parryi Nolinaceae Joy Ziemnick

March 25, 2015

Fred and Carla from the Grapevine area:   Hiking details
This is our known area for flower fields and they didn't disappoint us. The only bad thing happening is that the mesquite and catclaw are growing back from the 2012 fire. And you are guaranteed to return somewhat black as there is plenty of black stuff out there.

 

A couple of fields of Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii Our favorite one Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes. Fields of Fremont pincushion, Chaenactis fremontii And best of all the only field we found anywhere in the park: White Tidy-tips, Layia glandulosa and Scalebud, Anisocoma acaulis.

 

We where a bit concerned as we didn't see any flowers as we came down the PCT, we where after all still early. But they where just in hiding and as we came closer, there they where!

 

Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii Fred Melgert

White Tidy-tips, Layia glandulosa Fred Melgert

Little-leaved chaparral beardtongue, Keckiella antirrhinoides var. microphylla Fred Melgert

 

March 22, 2015

Joy Ziemnick sends this shot of a brilliant indigo bush on the north side of Highway 78, about a mile west of Texas Dip Junction.  She says she has never smelled or seen such a full and fragrant Indigo Bush.  The color is very intense too.

Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schottii by Joy Ziemnick

 

March 22, 2015

Culp Valley - Wilson Mountain Loop by Fred and Carla

This time we explored a part of Culp Valley we haven't been before and we ended up far to the east in washes that eventually end up in the Glorietta Canyon.

A nice supprise to still find Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis everywhere, mixed with Narrowleaf goldenbush, Ericameria linearifolia they make it very yellow. Cleveland's beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii and Parish's purple nightshade, Solanum parishii along boulders. Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa are in the thousands, out there, some are already blooming.

We found our first ever Chinese Houses, Collinsia concolor, should be more out there. Veatch's blazing star, Mentzelia veatchiana are hard to miss, they are everywhere It would be a bad hike if we wouldn't find Hairy bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens and we found 8+ and they always grow in the most impossible places. This is Carla's favorite. We where looking for Lemmon's linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii before and found only a few now we found 100+ but only at one particular spot.

 

 

Lemmon's linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii Fred Melgert

Virgin's bower, Clematis ligusticifolia Fred Melgert

Woolly Indian paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa Fred Melgert

 

March 18, 2015

Sandra Lee Childs send these interesting photos of Wild Cucumber mara macrocarpus var taken near Stewart Spring.  She reports the largest one was five inches long.

 

March 18, 2015

From Cool Canyon, by Joy Ziemnick.  She reports Chia, Tobacco plant, Checker Fiddleneck, Wishbone, Whispering Bells, lots of Canterbury bluebells, lots of Vetch's blazing star, lots of Palmer's Milkvetch, ground cherry, desert rock pea, Ephedra/desert tea, and at least 1 larger display of wooly indian paintbrush.

Palmers Milkvetch  Joy Ziemnick

Wooly Indian Paintbrush Castilleja foliolosa Joy Ziemnick

 

March 18, 2015

Fred and Carla send this report: Butler Canyon Hidden Spring Rockhouse Canyon
Hiking Details

We went up Rockhouse Cayon first and then back into Butler Canyon.  That is indeed a recommended loop for those without a GPS. And with the flowers right now it was a real treat, a repeat from most places: we have never seen so many flowers on this hike.

 

Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata were here, as you can see the seed pods right now. White-lined Sphinx Moth Catepillar have arrived, but Brown-eyed primrose, Camissonia claviformis ssp. peirsonii are still plentiful. Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana , very common right now. Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata are in huge fields especially on the mesa at the end of Butler canyon. 

On our way from the Mesa into Butler canyon we started counting and checking Threadplants, we found two kinds in abundance. Tiny but once you know what to look for rather easy to spot. Purple mat, Nama demissa var. demissa are doing great in Butler canyon, a lot of larger plants. My favorite Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia, we found only one.

It took us 50 minutes more than usual taking pictures, so it turned out another long 5 hour hike. The road up to the trailhead is rocky with deep soft sand, a high clearance 4x4 is essential. And so many I didn't mention

 

Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii Fred Melgert

Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana Fred Melgert

Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia Fred Melgert

 

March 17, 2015

We have several reports that the Ocotillos in Coyote Canyon are just spectacular right now.  It's a sea of bright red flowers.  Just south of town, and on the west side of Borrego Springs Road, the "ocotillo forest" is getting ready to pop. 

Ocotillo.  Coyote Canyon by Joy Ziemnick

 

March 17, 2015

Report from Little Blair Valley loop by Fred & Carla:

 

We went up where I found a small dry lake on the satellite pictures. And we found Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia right in the middle of that dry pond, hundreds of them, still rather small for now. Another plant that Carla had been trying to find and now we know why we didn't find them. The seem to like more alkaline soil as we found lots more in Little Blair Valley Dry lake.

 

Not so long ago I thought Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis where rather rare in the park. We found them all over the place including the Pictogram trail up to the Smugglers drop. Along the boulders we found one of the biggest California fish-hook cactus, Mammillaria dioica we've ever seen, huge but in a hard spot to get my camera in. Pringle's Woollysunflower, Eriophyllum pringlei we where missing in our photo collection.
And Carla was probably most pleased with a couple of rather rare Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii, nice flowers for such a small plant. A honorary plant that is rather faithfull blooming when we check at the pictograph parking Cleveland's beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii.  I don't think nobody even notices it but it's a rather nice bunch of them. And so many others that didn't made it on film but are in Carla's notebook. We will check an area close by in a couple of weeks.  Photos:

 

 Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia Fred Melgert

Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii Fred Melgert

Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis Fred Melgert

 

March 16, 2015

Marcy Yates sends us this nice shot taken in Borrego Springs of a honey bee on Indigo Bush

 

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