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May 23
Report by Bill Sullivan
Tuesday was busy this week. I took my first picture along the Sunrise Highway at 6:23 a.m., not quite an hour's drive from my San Diego home. The Sunrise Highway is on the west side of the mountains that keep the rain clouds from heading east from the Pacific Ocean. It's because of the mountains that we have our desert, that and the sandstone, mudstone and claystone that for one reason or another have moved here from Arizona and Mexico.

At this time of year, the flowers down in the desert have to be able to survive summer heat. In the mountains, along the Sunrise Highway, the flowers can be a bit gentler. And prettier.

San Diego Pea - Taken along the Sunrise Highway   by Bill Sullivan

Lupine and Penstemon - Taken along the Sunrise Highweay   by Bill Sullivan
Prickly Poppy - Taken along San Felipe Valley Road   by Bill Sullivan

Prickly Pear in bloom by Bill Sullivan.

April 28
Besides the sea of yellow Palo Verde, Ironwoods and Desert Willows are starting to put on a show.  These pictures were taken at the park visitor center this morning. By Marcy Yates

Desert Willow  Marcy Yates

Ironwood  Marcy Yates



April 9
Several species of cactus now blooming in the ABDNHA Garden.

ABDNHA Garden Palo Verde in Bloom

ABDNHA Garden  Hedgehog in bloom

ABDNHA Garden Prickly Pear in bloom

 April 7
We are finally getting some color in Anza-Borrego and around Borrego Springs! Shades of ocotillo red, palo verde yellow, apricot mallow, and magenta of cactus blossoms. 

Ocotillo, Palo Verde, Hedgehog cactus

March 30
Marcy Yates reports the ocotillo forests from Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Rec. Area west to the turn to Borrego Springs Road are awash in a sea of red right now.   There are also some really pretty specimens blooming along Borrego Springs Road after the Texas Dip to the Air Ranch.

Feb. 20, 2018
Bill Sullivan reports to us that on a recent trip to the desert he was impressed by the abundance of Chuparosa in flower in Plum Canyon and Glorietta Canyon, especially Plum Canyon.  He also reported lots of the germination at the southern end of the Coyote Canyon Jeep Trail, across from the citrus groves. Bill says we may be two or three weeks away from flowers, but we will have some flowers for visitors to see this season.  

On a wider scale, we have not had the rain this winter that gave us the widespread super bloom last year.  Unless there is a major storm in the next few weeks, this flower season will consist of more dispersed blooms, pockets of flowers here and there, wherever the ground moisture holds  enough water to support the annual plant growth.

Jan. 9, 2018
Rain in Borrego Springs
The winter storm that brought heavy rainfall to the coastal areas and mountains has also given Borrego Springs the first rain of the winter season.  Rainfall in January and February is the main driver of spring flowers. 

According to data from the ABDSP weather station  .94 inches of rain were recorded in the past 24 hours.  That’s a good January rainfall for Borrego Springs. 

For comparison, the same weather station recorded a total of 2.53 inches of rain during all of January 2017 and another 1.99 inches in February of 2017.  The flower season cannot be predicted from one rainfall, but the rain during the last 24 hours was a good start to the winter season.

Nov. 13, 2017
California Riding Hiking Trail  Soapstone Grade - Upper Green Valley - La Cima trail
Hiking Detail
Fred and Carla
Welcome back to Fred and Carla.  This is their first report of the new desert season.

California fuchsia, Epilobium canum latifolium

Slender wreathplant exigua, Stephanomeria exigua exigua Fred Melgert

September 21, 2017
Sent to us by Bill Sullivan
Summer in our desert ended with a significant (for the desert) rainfall on September 7. Good-by to fall colors, like in the attached 5970_BlairValley photo. Hello to greenery, like the leaves of the Ocotillo plant in 5906.  The September 7 rain contributed to the greenery. The rain brought water down Coyote Creek from the Santa Rosa Mountains. A jeep trail crosses the creek in a few places. Photo 6008 shows the mess the rains made of the First Crossing. When we walked to the Second Crossing on September 20, it looked peaceful.

Second Crossing - By Bill Sullivan

First Crossing - By Bill Sullivan

Ocotillo - By Bill SUllivan

Blair Valley by Bill Sullivan

April 10, 2017
Fages-Cal Riding & Hiking Trail - Pacific Crest Loop 
Hiking Details
Report by Fred and Carla
On a return visit to this higher elevation hike they report s
mall fields of Douglas' violet, Viola douglasii, California buttercup and Ranunculus californicus.  Larger fields of California goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis and Erodium.  From the scrups Cup leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus perplexans was in excellent bloom, at higher elevations.
Our favorite Bush poppy, Dendromecon rigida dotted the area.

California goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis Photo by Fred Melgert


Some photos taked during the peak of the bloom 2017:

Glorieta Canyon - 3/27/2017 Andy McElhatton

Flowers from today in Rockhouse Canyon by Fred Melgert - Englemanns Hedgehog cactus, Desert Willow, Indigo Bush, Globe Mallow.  3/27/2017

Brittlebush at Glorieta Canyon by Judy Stweart.

Some flower shots from the Moonlight Canyon Trail, Agua Caliente County Park, by Fred Melgert. Desert fivespot, Desert Threadplant,  Stream orchid, and ghost flower. 3/24/2017

This is a fascinating vide of a white-lined Sphnix Moth caterpiller eating a flower by Fred Melgert.  The speed is amazing. It is easy to see how hundreds of thousands of this species can quickly turn a field of flowers into a field of stubble.

Beautiful shot of ocotillo in bloom, from state park visitor center,  with Indianhead in the background.  3/21/2017 By Niall Fritz.

Brittlebush in bloom by Fred Melgert 3/20/2017

Bighorn sheep surrounded by spring flowers  Photo by John Zarem 3/19/2017

Rockhouse Canyon Photo by Fred Melgert.  Fred Reports that Rockhouse Canyon has an excellent bloom right now. 3/19/2017

Flower shots from Rockhouse Canyon by Fred Melgert 3/19/2017  Desert Threadplant,
Purplemat, Beavertail Cactus, Desert Senna.

Dandelions along DiGiorgio Road 3/19/2017

First Crossing Coyote Canyon - 03/16/2017

Coyote Canyon - approx 2 miles beyond the end of DiGiorgio - 03/15/2017

Golden Poppy and Lupine - Photo by Steve Cobert.

Desert Sand Verbena Clark Dry Lake - Photo by Fred Melgert

Desert Sunflowers Henderson Canyon by Steve Cobert.

Sweeney Pass and Carrizo Overlook. Photo by Judy Stewart  3/11/2017

Side Canyon off of Coyote Canyon.  Photo by Amy Brewster 3/11/2017

Side Canyon off of Coyote Canyon.  Photo by Amy Brewster 3/11/2017

Along Henderson Canyon Road Photo by Fred Melgert 3/10/2017

Desert Sunflowers along Henderson Canyon Road by Fred Melgert 3/10/2017

By Tesa Silvestre

Desert evening primrose, Henderson Cyn Road, this morning, 5:45am
by Carolyn McIntyre 3/9/2017

Not a flower picture but magnificent shot of bighorn sheep as they hear a noise off
to the side.  Bighorn sheep are now fredquently being seen along the Palm Canyon
Trail at the edge of town in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. 
This photo is by Dean Curtis. 3/9/2017

Lots of green and color in this shot by Amy Brewster 3/9/2017

Wild Canterbury Bells, Pacific Crest Loop Trail photo by Fredi Melgert 3/8/2017

Other Notes:
Best recommendation for Drive-By/Easy Access Flowers: Starting at the ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center to pick up a free flower location map, you’ll see our blooming Botanical Garden; then head north on Borrego Springs Road to see the metal statues.

Recommended: Drive DiGiorgio Road to the end of the pavement, park, and get out to see up close Desert Lilies, Spectacle Pod, Sand Verbena, Desert Sunflowers. For those who want to drive the (2WD accessible) dirt road beyond the end of DiGiorgio Road into Coyote Canyon for a couple miles to “Desert Gardens,” you will see even more blooms (Poppies, Desert Dandelions, and just beginning to bloom are the Ocotillo and Beavertail Cactus).

Recommended: Drive north on Borrego Springs Road to the point where it turns sharply to the right and heads east.  Pull onto the dirt road on the left side of the road right at the turn. Park and walk around to see blooms and scultures.

Arroyo Salado Campground: East on S22 to the Borrego Badlands and Arroyo Salado Campground to see lots of Desert Lilies beyond the last campsite.

Easy Hiking:  In Full Bloom: Henderson Canyon at the west end of Henderson Canyon Road (See Desert Lilies, Chicory, Phacelia, a variety of cactus, metal statues, and mountain views).

Easy Hiking: Little Surprise Canyon on the west end of S22 about one-third mile south of Palm Canyon Drive (Ghost Flowers, Barrel Cactus, Desert Lavender, beautiful rocks and views on the return walk).

Desert dandeliona along Borrego Springs Road by Tesa Silvesre

Desert Floor covered  with Monkey Flowers bu Amy Brewster.

March 7, 2017
Collins Valley - Box Canyon - Hiking Details
Fred and Carla
A trip to a tiny dry lake between Collins valley and Box canyon, in our second try to find Lepidium flavum felipense. It's very busy with all the tourist driving in Coyote canyon. Water in second crossing is still rather deep, we noticed the large number of cars parked before second crossing, a lot didn't want to try the crossing. Destination Box canyon and than climb up the rocky wall up to the playa. What we noticed from above the playa was very very green, but not the good kind of green. No trace of Lepidium flavum felipense and other plants that should grow besides it. That was very strange as on our previous hike we did find Sphaeralcea leaves, but now none to be found. Down the very steep and rocky drainage and down Lower Willows. The signs of the recent rain are very clear, the gully that is the hiking trail gets deeper and deeper. WOW what a high bloom count, we are getting closer to peak bloom.

Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii By Fred Melgert

March 5, 2017
Yaqui Meadow Loop - Hiking Details
Fred and Carla
A hike to one of our favorite spots. Starting on the "Yaqui Meadows Loop" and as the drainage narrows skipping over to the "Yaqui Meadows - Glorietta Wash" and finally completing the "Yaqui Meadows Loop". Trying to get the best of both hikes. Staggering fields of Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii (10000+), Ghost flower, Mohavea confertiflora (500+) and Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii (1000+). Never seen such large fields of monkey flower and Ghost flower before. Most flower fields on the sun facing slopes and some on the flat rocky area's.

Bigelow's monkey flower  Photo by Fred Melgert

Photo by Fred Melgert

General Flower Update
March 3, 2017
Betsy Knaak - ABDNHA Executive Director
For the full bloom, we are looking at mid-March, but will be watching each week.  Flower location maps are now available at our ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center at 652 Palm Canyon Drive.

Photo by Judy Stewart posted to FB BorregoInSpringtime

With over 7 inches of rain this season, the Borrego Desert is verdant green with flowers in stages of both bud and early bloom. We are on the "uphill side" of the peak bloom and experiencing more open flowers with each passing sunny day. We note a few locations where open flowers can be seen, especially for those willing to wander among the mix of buds and blooms. A top location is anywhere within a two-mile stretch of the Coyote Canyon Jeep Road, north of the north end of DiGiorgio Road with abundant Peirson’s Primoses and others, including a few remarkable Desert Lilies.

Another worth a look is the Henderson Canyon Road with patches of pink Sand Verbena,  Dune Evening Primroses with their wide white petals, yellow Desert Sunflowers beginning to bloom, and a few Desert Lilies.   Around Borrego Springs, roadsides are lined with yellow Desert Dandelions and other wildflowers. These flowers are best seen in the morning, as some blossoms close in the afternoon.  

Tickets for our popular annual Borrego Desert Garden Tour on March 18 are now on sale.  We have seven private desert gardens on the tour, along with several of the homes open to viewing. Tickets are available at the ABDNHA Nature Center and online at Early bird pricing is still in effect.   While at the ABDNHA Nature Center, be sure to visit our Borrego Botanical Garden, where blue-purple Desert Canterbury Bells and two species of pink and coral Penstemon are in full bloom this week.   Check out  BorregoInSpringtime of Facebook - it's our online photo festival of Smartphone photography. We hope you’ll post your photos!   The weather is still cool for hiking, and the blue skies and mountain views round out a day in the beautiful Borrego desert.  

March 1, 2017
Blow Sand Canyon Loop -
Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla

n Fault wash we found a big flower field of Notch leaf phacelia, Phacelia crenulata ambigua.
We cut accross, Una Palma time for a short hike. Unfortunately the singe palm died in 2015.
The goal was to find Mojave cleomella, Cleomella obtusifolia and we found plenty of those along our trail and the big surprise some in bloom.
Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata are there in high numbers as everywhere else.
Desert sunflower, Geraea canescens, some in bloom, hundreds ready to go in the next weeks.
Comment"  The flower fields of Notch leaf Phacelia, crenulata ambigua, in the Borrego Badlands is a very rare event.  To get there: Fonts point to short wash to Fault wash.  4WD preferred to get to the startiing point.

 Notch leaf phacelia, Phacelia crenulata ambigua by Fred Melgert

Notch leaf phacelia, Phacelia crenulata ambigua by Fred Melgert

Down the very wet Tule Wash, that was interesting driving a wash for the first time with no tire tracks and sinking a bit in the mud.
Tule wash was filled with Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii, so that begs for a hike.
Turning right on Pole line, HWY 78 west.
The goal of this long drive was to find Western Sea-purslane, Sesuvium verrucosum in bloom, YES only the one plant we found before, in good bloom.
What puzzled us was the bad bloom in the San Sebastian wash, bloom was much better last year.
Later back to the linanthus jonesii and close to 5 p.m. we found one plant in bloom, added another blooming plant to our list.

February 28, 2017
A very nice shot of Dune Evening Primrose in the area along Henderson Canyon Road.  The Henderson Canyon Road area is often one of the most popular areas during major blooms because of the fields of flowers.  This area is not "there" yet, just isolated plants in bloom, but there are lots of plants set to pop whenever the weather turns hot.

February 28, 2017
North of Henderson Canyon -
Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
A revisit of the canyon north of the Henderson canyon.
Like most of the park it's very green and not that many bad stuff growing.
Flower fields:
Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii
Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii
Arizona lupine, Lupinus arizonicus
Desert star, Monoptilon bellioides
Desert sand verbena, Abronia villosa villosa
After the rain one day ago the small fields of monkey flower look a bit battered
Western Canyons: typical blooms right now: Parish's poppy and Arizona lupine. Photo by Fred Melgert

Western Canyons: typical blooms right now: Parish's poppy and Arizona lupine. Photo by Fred Melgert

General Flower Update by Betsy Knaak, ABDNHA
February 26, 2017

The Borrego Desert is verdant green with leaves and buds of wildflowers needing just a few more warm, sunny days before the buds open to show their springtime colors.  we note a few locations where individual open flowers can be seen for those willing to wander. A top location is anywhere within a two-mile stretch of the Coyote Canyon Jeep Road, north of the north end of DiGiorgio Road with abundant Peirson’s Primoses and others, including a few remarkable Desert Lilies. Another worth a look is the Henderson Canyon Road with patches of Sand Verbena and a few Desert Lilies. 

The weather is still cool for hiking, and the blue skies and mountain views round out a day in the desert.
For the full bloom, we are looking at mid-March, but will be watching each week.  Flower maps are now available at our ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center at 652 Palm Canyon Drive.

Check out BorregoInSpringtime of Facebook - it's our online photo festival of Smartphone photography.

This is a very nice shot of the ABDNHA Garden posted by Sandy Zelasko yesterday after doing a great "Smartphone Photography" program in the ABDNHA library. The garden is right behind ABDNHA, at the back of the parking lot between ABDNHA and Carlees.  Flowers are now in bloom and things are set to really pop over the next couple of weeks. 

February 26, 2017
Blow Sand Canyon Loop - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla

We started our route by exiting in the Texas dip, down the San Felipe wash. On the bank flower fields of Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii and Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishii. Along the route germination was staggering, but no great display in flowers. We've never had such a high plant and bloom count on this hike before, germination and plants about to bloom in very high numbers. Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii was of course present in high numbers.

Top left : Arizona lupine, Lupinus arizonicus, Top right:
Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata.
Lower left:
Desert star, Monoptilon bellioide, lower right: Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata
Photos by Fred Melgert

Some very nice photos submitted in recent days

Brown eyed primrose, Chylismia claviformis peirsonii Coyote Canyon by Fred Melgert

Desert Lily in Arroyo Salada by Jackie Sloan Delk

February 21, 2017
Ash Wash Loop - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
Time to check out Coyote canyon and we never hiked the Ash wash this month. We where surprised to see a good flow of water at zero crossing, this time they made a drainage, so the road was not longer muddy.
The first stretch has flower fields of smaller Brown eyed primrose, Chylismia claviformis peirsonii and some Dune evening primrose, Oenothera deltoides deltoides.

Parking at second crossing, hiking up Ash wash and looping back along the ridge, along the route California fagonia, Fagonia laevis in high numbers.  Going down we noticed the very high number of Woody bottlewasher, Eremothera boothii condensata.

Further to third crossing, the amount of water in second crossing is interesting and deep.
Parking just before the summer gate and hiking along the water adding a couple of flowering plants.
There always seems to be one Hooker's evening primrose, Oenothera elata hirsutissima in bloom at third crossing.
Last stop Henderson canyon rd, a couple of Dune evening primrose, Oenothera deltoides deltoides and Desert sunflower, Geraea canescens, plants are doing great and they keep on growing, expect bloom soon.

Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana  by Fred Melgert

Parish's poppy, Eschscholzia parishi  by Fred Melgert

February 21, 2017
Henderson Canyon
By Marcy Yates
What's prettier than drifts of monkey flowers among the rocks?  Monkey flowers with pygmy poppies and whispering bells!  We spotted lots of nice plants beginning to flower this morning in Henderson Canyon:  Chickory, trailing windmills, rock daisy, chuparosa, mammalaria, phacelia, desert dandelion, California suncup and even a few lupine in bloom, although most of the lupine plants do not yet even have buds.

Photo by Marcy Yates

February 21, 2017
Ocotillo Wells SVRA Flower Reports
By Jeff Price
Wildflower walks near the Discovery Center/Amphitheater began last week, and we’ve had colorful news flashes every day, both from blossoms and rainbows. Delicate pygmy gold poppy (Eschscholzia minutiflora) blossoms are joining white popcorn flowers to carpet the ground between small washes behind the Discovery Center.

Golden Poppy
A desert broomrape (Orobanche cooperi) has poked its flowered cone out of the soil right next to our Discovery Center. This amazing perennial herb is a parasite that leaches nutrients from other plants to survive. That is why you will not see any leaves or chlorophyll on this plucky parasite, as it doesn’t need either! 

Brown-eyed primroses (Chylismia claviformis) are taking over the place (shhh – don’t tell the caterpillars yet). A relative, the “bottle-cleaner” evening primrose (Camissonia boothi) is not too far behind; look for the red spots on its leaves.  One of our fish-hook cacti (Mamillaria dioica) on the east side of the Discovery Center is overachieving with an early cream-and-scarlet bloom!

General Borrego Valley Flower Update
February 21

Germination is excellent in most areas around Borrego Springs and much of the desert is now covered in a thin green mat like we have not seen for many years. While a major valleywide peak bloom is likely to occur soon, it is probably still a couple of weeks away - first half of March.  In the meanwhile  there are plenty of flowers to be found in the side canyons and washes.

Borrego Palm Canyon is a really great hike to take right now, very green, a variety of annuals, and many reports of hikers seeing bighorn sheep.

We have heard there is a good bloom of desert five spot in Coyote Canyon on the side slopes along the roadway.   Reports indicate that the road is in good shape for the first few miles, it has recently been graded by the state park.

Desert Lilies are just about ready to pop and they seem to be wide spread this year.  There are some to be found at the end of Digiorgio Road, in Arroyo Salado, and in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA.

Fred Melgert reports that this is a good time to see Fishhook cactus in bloom.  His report today was from Bisnaga Wash.  Hike details are here

Fishhook, Mammillaria dioica by Fred Melgert

February 17, 2017
Ocotillo Wells SVRA Flower Reports
By Jeff Price
Beware of our blooming bonanza at the base of East Butte! Two of our featured wildflowers this week are relatives in the nightshade family, which contains fruits ranging from deliciously edible to poisonous to hallucinogenic. The yellow blooms of desert ground cherry (Physalis crassifolia) will eventually form tomatillo-like green fruits. Annual desert tobacco (Nicotiana obtusifolia) spreads like crazy in washes and disturbed areas.

Desert lilies are starting to bloom!  The one below was spotted near the intersection of Pole Line and Gas Domes Trail. Thanks to Mardee for being our alert bloom spotter this week! Several other flowers currently in bloom include: Popcorn Flower, Phacelia, White Rhatany, Dyeweed (shown below) , Brown-Eyed Primrose, Little Gold Poppy, and even our Palo Verdes. Join us for drop-in wildflower walks this coming Friday through Monday at our Discovery Center from 9am-noon and 1-4pm. You can join our Naturalist for a short walk, or just get directions to the best places to see flowers in the area. See you there!

Dyeweed and Desert Lily - OWSVRA

February 15, 2017
Carrizo West Fork Palms - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
We've never been in this Carrizo canyon fork, when there was any bloom, so it was time to correct this.  Glad we did, again the Carrizo canyon is good, with many interesting flowers we've been missing for a long time. And the Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii, generally only with one flower, are amazingly big for the desert.

Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii (2/16/2017)

February 15, 2017
Gloriieta Canyon - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
We noticed flowers posted from Glorietta canyon, so we changed our plans, go where the flowers are.
Within 10 minutes we found over 30 blooming plants, that's very good.
By far the biggest plants and best bloom is from where the road enters the wash up to the end of the road.
Further on along our route we added flowers gradually.  A good number of Rockcrosoma where in bloom, the lotebush smell was very strong and pleasant, finding the snapdragon in bloom made our day. The canyon entrance is close to prime bloom but the surrounding area is still a couple of weeks behind.  Finally we got the best bloom of this season.  With the expected rain we should have prime bloom in the low desert between the end of February and the middle of March.

Fishhook Cactus Mammillaria dioica Glorieta Canyon Fred Melgert

Chuparosa, Justicia californica Glorieta Canyon Fred Melger

February 15, 2017
Borrego Palm Canyon
By Marcy Yates
It was a beautiful morning in Borrego Palm Canyon today.  Things are starting to bloom; our background soundtrack included running water, canyon wrens and frogs; plus we saw lots of lizards and a few Bighorn ewes.

In addition to the flowers pictured here (poppies, canterbury bells and filaree) the trailside also showed blooms of wishbone plant, phacelia, white fiesta flower, brown-eyed primrose, desert lavender, whispering bells, chuparosa and cheese bush.

What a great day to be out in our desert!

Photo by Marcy Yates

February 12, 2017
Pacific Crest Loop - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
The previous hike was 12/7 this season, so time to revisit the same area.
A hike in the wetter part of the Grapevine area, following a wash up to the PCT and looping back in another wash.  The fire damage in the area is still very visible.  Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium now turned into flower fields.  Germination of other plants is good, but still weeks from prime time. The area got a little bit of rain the day before.
Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium  Fred Melgert

Desert agave, Agave deserti deserti  Fred Melgert

February 11, 2017
Clark Lake Loop - Hiking Details
By Fred and Carla
A loop around Clark dry lake and it's sand dunes. Germination is excellent, but still a couple of weeks from general bloom. Finding a lot of interesting germination for a follow up.
Next trip was along Henderson Canyon rd, where germination is very good, but again it will take a couple of weeks. We finally found a couple of lilies with buds, so bloom may start within a week or two, depending on the temperature. Next stop Coyote canyon zero crossing, with a little bit of running water once again, making a mud pool of the road.

Hairy podded pepper grass, Lepidium lasiocarpum lasiocarpum  Fred Melgert

February 7, 2017
Fish Creek Wash North Fork
By Fred and Carla 
Hiking Details
Fred says good germination in the area. A few weeks of hot weather shoud make for good blooms in many places.

Fremont's desert thorn, Lycium fremontii Fred Melgert

February 6, 2017
Fred Melgert sends this great macro shot from the Smuggler and Bisnaga Alta wash area.

Coulter's lyrepod, Lyrocarpa coulteri by Fred Melgert

February 3, 2017
Weekly flower report from Ocotillo Wells SVRA
After our week of rain, mountains and bajadas all over the low desert appear to be coated with green velvet. Perennial bushes add much of this “five o’clock shadow” to faraway views. While not many specimens have been seen blooming yet at OW, several near the Discovery Center are leading the pack.

The spiky stalks of unassuming violet flowers of desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi), a member of the mint family, already hosts bees. Enjoy the fragrance – bees will move aside for you.

With the onset of extreme summer desert heat, many desert plants eventually shut down photosynthesis. Desert saltbush (Atriplex polycarpa) is a tough exception. It continue its metabolism even in the most hellish circumstances. Desert saltbush is also known as cattle spinach; it was a steady supply of forage in early ranching days. Its range has shrunk in the lower deserts as cultivated agriculture has expanded.

Saltbush (Curtesy of: 2005 Steve Matson CC BY-NC 3.0)

Mythbuster section:  Many discussions of the common chaparral plant, creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), suggest that its roots produce natural herbicides to prevent most other plants from growing too close. It turns out that this is true for some but not all that might want to move in on creosote. Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is much more likely to make life difficult for neighboring plants. The most common medicinal use of creosote bush in native cultures was to make a tincture to for soaking infected wounds.

January 26, 2017
Rockhouse Canyon - 4 Frogs Canyon Loop
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
Carrizo canyon is a good place to be right now.
After the reports of flowering monkeyflowers in Four Frogs canyon, we just had to go.
This loops enters Rockhouse canyon and follows a small fork up to Four Frogs canyon.  Only one monkeyflower in Rockhouse canyon, but plenty of them at the end of Four Frogs canyon.

Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii   Fred Melgert

January 26, 2017
Palm Spring Badlands Arroyo Hueso Loop
By Fred and Carla 
Hiking Details

This is a hike we haven't done for 5 years, the reason it's a very long hike. 
It turned out a very interesting hike, with a good variety and good bloom count. 
Rain was expected today, this area seemed to stay dry and it was mostly sunny during our hike. 

Germination is good in some places. Our guess, a lot of the previous germination has been washed away by recent rainfall. Lilies are popping up in high numbers. 

Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae by Fred Melgert

Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae by Fred Melgert

January 23, 2017
We have the following
flower report today from the Ocotillo Wells SVRA:

And what a week we’re havin’! Nearly a year’s worth of rain fell since last weekend, and the desert is responding with a surge of greenery, from tiny sprouts to ocotillo forests bursting with possibilities. There’s snow in the peninsular range, but the Brittlebushes (Encelia farinosa) near the Discovery Center are leading the wildflower pack with their cheerful  yellow.

Brittlebush blooming and snow on mountains in background. Photo by OWSVRA
Ocotillo canes (Fouquieria splendens) have morphed quickly from prickly sticks to green fireworks, exploding within three days after a rain. These plants absorb most of their water through their canes rather than through their roots – a great adaptation for the Colorado Desert. Here in the park, ocotillos prefer soil dominated by granite particles. There’s a splendid granite-inspired patch at the foot of East Butte along the Goat Trail.

Desert Lily making its appearance Photo by OWSVRA
We’ve seen a bumper crop of wavy-leaved Desert Lily plants (Hesperocallis undulata) along Pole Line Road. The bulbs of these rough-and-tough plants send up blooms only in wet years. Their bulbs may be two feet below the surface of the sand to avoid hungry rodents and even summer monsoons. No flower stalks yet, but we’ll be watching to see how tall they grow after so much winter rain – possibly up to six feet!

January 23, 2017
Water, Water Everywhere...and flowers sure to follow!

Here's a shot from today taken at the edge of the Palm Canyon Campground.  The weather station at the UCI weather station has recorded about four inches of rain so far this season.  All of this water makes for one of the best flower seasons in recent years.

Update: January 13
More rain today in Borrego Springs and the Anza-Borrego Desert.  This is shaping up as an excellent flower year!  Fred and Carl regport excellent germination in many areas.  But any large scale bloom will take warm temperatures.  The predicition?  Warm temps will happen when they happen, very hard to predice   ; historically this in February or March. 

January 10, 2016
Plum Canyon Loop

By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
Fred and Carla spent today in Plum Canyon where they report good germination of plants from earlier rains.  Plum Canyon is a very nice hike, not too far from the Tamarisk Campground.  They sent some very nice flower pictures; one of the nicest is the shot below.

Desert Apricot Prunus fremontii  By Fred Melgert

January 4, 2017
Fred Melgert sends us an interesting and beautiful photo today - fog - something rarely seen in the desert, and it speaks to the high moisture level in the ground.  We even had DEW this morning in Borrego Springs!  Fred reports a few flowers here and there and even the very first desert lilies of the season but this is not the beginning of any significant bloom,  that will happen when temperatures warm up in February or March.  In the meanwhile a continuation of the wet and cool weather pattern is exactly what is needed for a really nice bloom this spring.  We'll keep you all posted on that!
fog in coyote canyon anza-borrego desert
Fog over Clark Dry Lake Anza-Borrego Desert, an uncommon sight - Fred Melgert

January 3, 2017

Today we have this flower prediction from Betsy Knaak. 

Betsy has lived in Borrego Springs for more than 30 years in her affiliation with ABDNHA, she has watched many flower seasons, and her prediction now is......

We all know the saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” That same principle holds true for our desert region, “Winter Showers Bring Spring Flowers.”  Especially, slow-moving storms that hang over the desert for several days, including overcast skies, cool temperatures, and light or little wind, all of which we experienced over the holidays.  Nearly two inches of rain fell, and rather than evaporating due to heat and wind, favorable weather conditions gave the rain a chance to soak into the desert’s porous soil, providing the moisture to germinate the seeds of colorful spring wildflowers.   
Weather conditions remain favorable with continued cloud cover, cool day and nighttime temperatures, and light winds.  If we’re lucky, another storm or two will cross our western mountains yet this winter.
Plan your desert springtime visits, as we are expecting a good wildflower season.

Betsy Knaak
Executive Director
Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA)

As an illustration to what Betsy is saying, we have this photo by Fred and Carla which demonstrates how well the moistre has percolated into the soil, eight inches deep at this location.  This is just what's needed for a good flower season.

Moisture percolates into soil after recent rains Anza Borrego Desert - Fred Melgert

December  24, 2016
Rain! There was a total of 1.66 inches of rain reported at the state park weather station during the storms from 12/21-23.  It's way too early to predict anything but winter rains bring spring flowers.  The rainfall thus far bodes well for a good season. 

December  23, 2016
Inspiration Point Wash Loop 

By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
Interesting to hike in a wash after more than an inch of rain, an otherwise solid wash sometimes feels different.  Spanish needles,
Palafoxia arida arida where again the happiest looking plants, most in good bloom. Fred sends this striking close shot of Spanish Needles. Very nice!

Spanish needles,
Palafoxia arida arida  by Fred Melgert

December  10, 2016
Andrade Canyon Loop

By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
An adventurous hike in the Andrade canyon area, this may just well be one of the driest places in or around, the Anza-Borrego Desert. The mountain range is rocky so that may explain the fact that the canyons itself appear a bit less dry. Part of the hike is prime badland, hardly any plant life there, but in some washes close to a drop where water is more abundant, there is more alive, even a couple in bloom. The Andrade canyon is entirely different, a narrow rocky canyon with some sand, where most of the better looking plants of area are present. Always a surprise to find better bloom than expected.

Andrade Canyon Loop by Fred

Ancient Oyster Shells by Fed Melgert

Hoffmannseggia, Hoffmannseggia microphylla by Fred Melgert

December  6, 2016
Wind Caves Gypsum Peak
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details

A hike in Fishcreek along the Windcaves up to the Gypsum peak.
On of the goals was to check how many of the very rare Narrow leaf Sandpaper Plant, Petalonyx linearis where still alive.
We where pleased to find 2 alive and still blooming, but struggling.
Unfortunately we found 3-4 plants that where obvious dead, still attached to the ground, we are confident about the ID of the dead plants that where alive in 2015.
All dead plants where on the sun facing slope, the other plants (alive) seem to be in a slightly better spot.
In a new location, facing away from the sun, one possible alive (looking less dead).
Biggest surprises, one Smoketree in good bloom and one Pigmy cedar with a couple of nice flowers.
The dominant plant higher up and sometimes the only species present, Pigmy cedar and a young Desert willow, Chilopsis linearis arcuata, that didn't know when to bloom.
The number of species in bloom is very low, in many cases we only found a single plant in bloom

Wire lettuce,
Stephanomeria pauciflora pauciflora Fred Melgert

December  2, 2016
Box Canyon
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
This is one of our must do hikes.
We expected a lower bloom count as a lot of plants are way past their peak bloom.

Tarantulas are rare on our hikes and I don't know who was more afraid, probably the spider.
It's amazing to see plants that appear near death starting to bloom, the many Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata in good bloom, are an amazing.

Desert trumpet, Eriogonum inflatum By Fred Melgert

Tarantula by Fred Melgert


November 28, 2016
Canyon sin Nombre Slot
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
This is one of the best hikes in the park, joined today by Tom Chester and a group of botanists.
For one of the driest places in the park, the number of plants in bloom and germination this time of the year is very good.

San Felipe dogweed,
Adenophyllum porophylloides  Fred Melgert

November 22, 2016
Cairn Pirate Wash Loop
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
While hiking the loop on 11/20, I noticed the wonderful canyon to the east, so I had to go back. We planed a zigzag route to cover a couple of new washes, the rugged Cairn wash and the more sandy Pirate wash. Hitting the jackpot choosing just the right fork and encountered a number of plants that where high on our to find list. What a difference a wash makes in this area, from dry to barren to excellent for the time of year. The rest of the route while impressive, added only a few more flowers to the list. Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 26 + 5 in the fish creek wash.

Fremont's desert thorn,
Lycium fremontii  Fred Melgert

November 20, 2016
Wind Cave Wash Gypsum Peak
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details
A loop up to the Gypsum peak going up in the windcaves wash. The plants looked much better than expected, finding Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus in bloom was a good indicator. There are a couple of nice canyons we could see on this hike, begging to be visited by someone.

Small flowered trailing windmills, Allionia incarnata incarnata Fred Melgert

November 17, 2016

Coyote canyon from First Crossing including parts of Lower willows.
By Fred and Carla 
Hiking Details
One of the goals was to photograph the only know location of a single Malacothamnus fasciculatus in the park. We were told it was in bloom, so this was the time to go. While driving into Coyote canyon, you don't expect to find many plants alive, let alone in bloom, but this area always surprises us. Of course there is a creek and running water up to halfway First and Second crossing. We where finding flowers, one after another, in amazing high number, we told each other no one is going to believe the number of plants in bloom. Just out of the car at Second crossing, a new find for us, Prickly lettuce, Lactuca serriola, not a native. Amazingly the flowers where all closed at noon at 70 degrees, they shouldn't do this, but we found several flowers all gone. Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 39

Desert Five spot
Malacothamnus fasciculatus (12/19/2015) Fred Melgert

Prickly lettuce,
Lactuca serriola (11/17/2016) Fred Melgert

November 13, 2016
Culp Valley Springs to Jasper Trail
By Fred and Carla 
Hiking Details
The terrain is diverse, with numerous springs and plenty of room and food from the fire a couple of years back. Still, we where surprised to find so many flowering plants along our route. A few Sapphire woolly star, Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum still in bloom, but the slightest touch will drop the flower. This is the place where Malacothamnus are happy, in very high numbers and starting to bloom. Bigger and more Mono groundsel, Senecio flaccidus monoensis that we've ever seen in the park. A couple of days back we went on a long hike, one of our goals was California brickellbush, Brickellia californica, here they where blooming, so much better and easier to reach. Last season wasn't the year for dodders, so a good blooming Canyon dodder, Cuscuta subinclusa was a great find. California aster, Corethrogyne filaginifolia are still pretty, but very close to end of bloom. Easy to miss Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus in bloom, it's not spectacular unless you look closely.

Mono groundsel, Senecio flaccidus monoensis Fred Melgert

Sapphire woolly star, Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum Fred Melgert

November 13, 2016
Borrego Palm Canyon Trail
By Marcy Yates
Marcy says there are some nice ocotillo blooms along the Palm Canyon Trail and sends this nice shot of a chuparosa.

By Marcy Yates

November 12, 2016
Culp Valley North of Chimney Rock
By Fred and Carla  Hiking Details

Time to check out upper Culp valley north of Chimney rock. This is interesting right now. Not looking good from the start, only one species in bloom, but the numbers picked up once we went beyond Chimney rock. Even though it feels dryer than last year, the number of Amaranth is much much higher. Last year we found only a handful of Amaranthus torreyi, this time we found 99+, easily. While taking a picture, Fred suddenly noticed a spurge in the viewfinder, hard to find it back, as the plant was less than a cm wide. It turned out a once in a month event, a plant of our most wanted list (Thyme-leafed spurge, Euphorbia serpyllifolia ssp. serpyllifolia), we where lucky to find a couple of plants this small. This is a tough hike, after 3 hours another steep climb is rather tiresome, so be warned. That said it's a great scenic interesting hike.

Wright's buckwheat, Eriogonum wrightii membranaceum Fred Melgert

Torrey's amaranth, Amaranthus torreyi Fred Melgert

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.

Hairy ceanothus, C
eanothus oliganthus Fred Melgert

Silver puffs, U
ropappus 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, A
stragalus 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.
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 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


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


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 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 : 

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

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

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

Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia Fred Melgert

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