Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: Bloom report



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Data are collected following the hiked path shown below and includes the immediate area.
One fertile flower (male or female), is all it takes to count a species in bloom.

We try to visit a lot of different areas, but areas with a better bloom may be visited more often.
It makes a huge difference if the bloom count is from a very dry badlands area, or from a place with a good rainfall or along a creek.

The data in the graph are averaged out over a couple of days, to show the actual daily bloom count in the graph, click on the legend on the right until only one is active (black).
With only one selected bars will pop up representing the daily bloom count.


Tom Chester made a couple of great pages with more specific data: Tom Chester bloom reports

The 2022-2023 bloom report:

June 22-23 2022

Monsoonal rain, bringing in substantial local precipitation.
Over 3 feet of water flowed along the Sweeney Pass Road.
Water in Clark Dry lake.

Sept 9-10 2022

Monsoonal rain, bringing in substantial precipitation.
A gentle rain brought in 1.5" in Borrego Springs to over 4" in the southern part of the desert.

Sept 18 2022

Wide spread germination and green plants. Most of it south of Scissors Crossing along the S2.
Fouquieria splendens splendens , Ocotillo are the first to respond, most very green.
Along the S22 from Borrego Springs to the Salton Sea, most visible evidence of the recent rain; very green Fouquieria splendens splendens | Ocotillo and sand piled up along the road.
Along the S2 south of Scissors Crossing, green especially around (Hawi) Vallecito, with fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed at Smuggler Wash (S2 Vallecito).

Sept 30 2022

Wide spread germination and green plants. Most of it south of Scissors Crossing along the S2 up to Ocotillo.
The further south you go the more water from the monsoonal rain.

Sept/30/2022 Fossil canyon

The temps are a little bit lower, but with a high of 97 at the end of our hike, it's still dangerously warm.
Carrying large amounts of water makes you top heavy, resulting is a less controlled hike.

After the monsoonal rain there was a very low change of flowering Echinocactus polycephalus polycephalus | Cottontop cactus.
This is the highest density location in easy hiking reach that we know of, unfortunately non of them bloomed, some showed signs of bloom weeks ago.

In bloom in high numbers: Euphorbia, Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills and Hoffmannseggia microphylla | Hoffmannseggia.
Germinating a massive amount of Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy, a large amount of Fagonia.

A couple of good blooming Lycium parishii | Parish's desert thorn.

There is enough interesting germination that warrants a follow up.

Bloom: Low, germination very good.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
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iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/29/2022 Big Laguna - PCT - Red-Tailed Roost Loop

A nice forest hike checking Dieteria asteroides lagunensis and look a likes.
We were surprised to see so many Linum lewisii lewisii , Prairie flax still in bloom.
An abundant bloom of Eriogonum wrightii membranaceum | Wright's buckwheat (membranaceum).
Probably the best larger blooming plant Hymenothrix wrightii | Wright's thimblehead.

Along the Thing Valley Road Keir Morse posted several Dieteria asteroides lagunensis on CalFlora, that was a great help confirming our ID.

At our furthers point, thunder, not directly above us and we are moving away. A few drops before we reached our car.
Some rain close the the S1 - 79 intersection, and the road was wet until we closed in on Banner.

Bloom: Low, germination good.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/27/2022 West Mesa - Azalea Spring loop

From the start, it looks much dryer than expected.
A complication, the West Side Trail is closed due to fire damage, take the Cold Stream trail instead.

The first great spot with a lot of Hymenothrix wrightii | Wright's thimblehead.
Several clusters of Symphyotrichum defoliatum | San Bernardino aster along the route.
A lot of Grindelia hallii | San Diego gumplant, with hardly any flowers and what made our day one big Grindelia camporum | Common gumplant, we've never seen before.
The fire road was partially graded and widened, removing most of the plants.
Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush are mostly past their peak bloom, that seems to be much earlier than before.

Not much going on at the Azalea Spring.

The "road" down luckily had very little maintenance, it was rather dense with a large number of Verbena lasiostachys | Western vervain always blooming with a flower ring and never spectacular.

Now we are really puzzled about what they did with the hillside. The plants were shredded, leaving an almost barren landscape.
Before the area was 99% Ceanothus, right now it's 99% Ceanothus.
Not much has changed and it looks exactly like the hillside that was undisturbed.
We spotted what looked like young pine trees, but wait a minute, that are Eriodictyon parryi | Poodle dog bush, probably hundreds dotting the hillside.
Maybe they performed a prescribed burn, or disturbing the ash worked just as well.

Bloom: Divers, spotty, dry.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/26/2022 Garnet Peak

Our target, finding more Ericameria cuneata macrocephala | Laguna mountains goldenbush in bloom.
They bloom from September -> November, right now it seems to be the beginning of bloom.

We made this into a loop hike (Route A1) from Penny Pines and back along Noble Canyon Trail.

This is an exposed trail with the best views of the Anza Borrego Desert.
The only blooming plants Ericameria cuneata macrocephala | Laguna mountains goldenbush at the start of bloom and Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush at the end of bloom.

On our route we found what might be the largest concentration of Eriastrum densifolium austromontanum |, Southern mountain woolly star we've ever seen.

We checked some Ericameria cuneata macrocephala at Kwaaymii point, blooming a bit better.

Bloom: Low, dry.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/23/2022 Chico Ravine - Laguna - Agua Dulce Loop

In the low desert it's way above 100, so the mnt Laguna area is a good place to be, with a max of 77 on our hike.
It's Sunday, so a bit busier, especially with mountain bikers.

Our goal was to find Dieteria asteroides lagunensis | Mount Laguna aster and the many look a likes.
We took a wrong turn and while getting back on track we added Petunia parviflora | Wild petunia, we had not seen before.
Another new plant in bloom and fruit: Rumex salicifolius, Willow leaved dock.
All in all a nice hike with lots of shade on a warm day.

Bloom: Divers.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/23/2022 Santa Ysabel Loop - Coast to Crest Trail

It's way to hot in the low desert, so we went to Santa Ysabel: Temperatures from 64 at the start to 87 at the end.

We had plants on our most wanted list Trichostema lanceolatum | Vinegar weed and Deinandra fasciculata | Clustered tarweed.
It turned out the extremely smelly Trichostema lanceolatum is very common out here, blooming everywhere in the lower grassland.
Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed is another general bloomer, with an less abundant bloom as usual.

We had several observation points of Deinandra fasciculata, but non there.
But finally on our way back, close to the dry Santa Ysabel creek, a whole bunch of plants at the end of bloom.

Bloom: Very low, looking extremely dry.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/22/2022 Sweeney Pass South Canyon loop

On our trip along the S2 a lot of blooming Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant early in the morning.
Countless Hypertelis umbellata | Carpetweed many in bloom and fruit.
Fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed along the road at Smuggler Canyon wash.

The hike: Temperatures are warmer from 80 at the start to 90 3 1/2 hours later.
On June 22-23 2022 there was a substantial thunderstorm in this area and 4"+ Sept 9-10 2022.

Leaves on Justicia californica | Chuparosa about 4 times bigger than normal and very green.
Lots of huge leaved Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple.

The thunderstorm with a couple of feet, erased most of the seeds in the wash that is rather barren. Germination on the walls and at the edges are good.
We finally found our first ever blooming Atriplex polycarpa | Cattle saltbush.
Many blooming Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills, Boerhavia wrightii | Wright's spiderling, Kallstroemia parviflora | Warty caltrop and some Justicia californica | Chuparosa.
Our first blooming Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus this fall.

We were pleased to find very fresh Krameria erecta | Pima rhatany fruit.
And another cactus in bloom, Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook.

Bloom: Low, but good for the time of year.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Sept/21/2022 Cool Canyon and Church Spur

Temperatures aren't bad from 70 at the start to 85 3 hours later.
Our goal was to find some blooming Mammillaria tetrancistra , Common fishhook. This is one of the densest areas on our record.
On our previous visit the plants looked very stressed, maybe the reason we couldn't find any in bloom, or we were just too late.

Hillsides are a bit green, mostly Bouteloua aristidoides aristidoides | Needle grama.
An abundant number of monsoonal plants, like Bouteloua, | grasses, several Euphorbia | spurge, Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed amaranth, Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, Kallstroemia parviflora | Warty caltrop, Boerhavia triquetra intermedia | Fivewing spiderling.
Most of the monsoonal plants are already past peak bloom.

Responding to the rain, many green and blooming Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye and Bernardia incana , Western bernardia, the latter often in fruit.

A lot of very green Carlowrightia arizonica | Arizona carlowrightia, but all grazed, probably by the many rabbits we noticed.

On our return we checked Church Spur in Borrego Springs, on Facebook we found a cluster of 3 flowering Mammillaria tetrancistra.
It's a bit warmer here, but a nice refreshing breeze helps.
We didn't have an exact location, only an estimate, so we checked all the trails.
The plants bloomed 2 days ago, that might be out of the 2 day blooming window and we didn't find anything.
The area looks very dry with hardly any germination or happy plants, but a lot of rocks and boulders, so the plants get more water than the 1.5" rain.
We did however find a blooming Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook.

Bloom: Not bad.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
Please wait, it can take a while for the page to load.
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Reports from previous seasons

Season: 2021-2022 Season: 2020-2021 Season: 2019-2020 Season: 2018-2019 Season: 2017-2018 Season: 2016-2017