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.
The Anza Borrego Desert had a normal bloom this season, but unfortunately there was a (partial) closure starting March 2020 and a partial opening June 4.
In the south the bloom was exceptionally good, you could certainly call this a local super bloom.
As of the end of March 2020, higher elevation parks are starting to open.
As of June 4 the park is partially open to day activities.
June/26/2020 Golden Queen mine lake loop
This might be the area we visited most frequently this season and we are still finding new interesting plants.
Really surprising was the high number of Calochortus weedii weedii (Weed's mariposa lily), probably in the hundreds.
Another great find, a large field of Monardella breweri lanceolata (Mustang mint).
The goal was to find Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush) in bloom, but as suspected it was long out of bloom. In itself a good thing, meaning we can catch it in a another season by the end of May.
June/25/2020 Chico Ravine - Laguna - Agua Dulce Loop
A last minute change after finding a plant on our wanted list, Leptosiphon floribundus floribundus on iNaturalist in bloom.
In all our previous hikes we just missed their habitat, here the were blooming by the hundreds, covering hillsides.
This also the epicenter of Castilleja miniata oblongifolia (Giant red paintbrush), plants are everywhere.
We added two plants from our most wanted list Penstemon rostriflorus and Penstemon labrosus.
All in all a nice forest hike with a detour along the lake.
A loop along Sweetwater Creek, first along the rapids, along fire roads and following two creeks.
New to us: Astragalus oocarpus, Hypericum scouleri and Diplacus australis.
Along the route many Calochortus weedii weedii (Weed's mariposa lily) and our new friend Navarretia atractyloides.
A pleasant hike, but a bit busier that close to the just opened campground.
The feeling is the bloom is dropping rapidly, but the diversity is still very good.
On our previous trip May/15/2020, we found plenty of Lilium humboldtii ocellatum | Humboldt's lily along the creek, so this was the time to find them in bloom.
We found the first blooming plant much sooner than expected, just before the first creek crossing.
While heading down the creek, we found at least 50 more.
We normally see Elymus condensatus | Giant wild rye out of bloom, now most are in good bloom, on countless locations.
This is time for Stephanomeria exigua deanei | Slender wreathplant deanei to start the bloom cycle. The number of these tall green plants is staggering.
Many of the large Cucurbita foetidissima | Stinking gourd are in bloom and smelling early in the morning and done before noon.
Along the creek we were pleasantly surprised with a couple of blooming Erythranthe cardinalis | Scarlet monkeyflower and Zeltnera venusta | California centaury.
On the rocky canyon walls many blooming Dudleya pulverulenta | California chalk dudleya, we noticed less Dudleya than on our last trip as we were now more closely following the stream as the water dropped a bit.
The creek is still going strong and a guarantee to get wet feet.
At the start of the hike, we found some Dudleya saxosa aloides | Desert dudleya that looked so different from the desert plants we know.
Another goal was to get an id on the Physalis hederifolia palmeri along the trail and to check out the Navarretia atractyloides that was posted on iNaturalist.
The hunt was on for another Piperia, Piperia transversa, we had a couple of voucher locations and iNaturalist points.
We were afraid we wouldn't find Asclepias fascicularis | Narrow leaf milkweed in bloom this season, but here was a good blooming plant.
It's certainly time for Monardella macrantha macrantha.
Part of the hike around the peak is only spot interesting.
The heavy equipment that passed the road for the prescribed burn probably didn't help and many scrubs that put up a good display are now out of bloom.
The bloom improved considerably as we entered the wetter passage next to Boulder Creek. The frequent fog we noticed over Boulder Creek already gave us the impression that it should be wetter in that part or the park.
As every day lately, we added a couple of new and new blooming plants.
We didn't find any Piperia, until we hit the iNaturalist point. Soon we found one plant, but not in bloom yet.
There were several deer on our path and that worried us, remembering all the eaten Piperia on one of our previous trips.
But the plants tend to grow in groups, so we found several more and some in early bloom.
We planned another loop, this time along Noble Canyon.
Heading down the asphalt.
Calochortus weedii weedi | Weed's mariposa lily is common on this loop, we picked up > 100 blooming plants.
Castilleja miniata oblongifolia was very high on our most wanted list, in the Jepson its only known as Castilleja miniata miniata.
We found our first one in a dried creek and many more along Noble Canyon Creek.
Aquilegia formosa is a very common plant along the Noble Canyon Creek, but nothing compared the hundreds if not thousands of big Epipactis gigantea | Stream orchid
We got even more confused by the different looking Opuntia phaeacantha | Desert prickly pear.
Great to see an easy to ID Delphinium for a change, Delphinium cardinale, a couple in good bloom.
Collinsia concolor | Chinese houses is a tricky plant out here, we didn't expect it to be Collinsia concolor, but it was, there goes the gut feeling.
The creek is also an ideal place for blooming Dudleya pulverulenta | California chalk dudleya.
The goal was to check on the Piperia unalascensis we found 2 weeks ago.
A bit surprise, the flowers in bud looked white, but turned out completely green.
Of the >12 plants only one remained intact. One was cut in half, and another was stripped of its flowers.
The rest of the flower stalks were completely gone.
Our second bunch of nice flowering Collinsia heterophylla | Purple chinese houses.
Lining the trail many Silene laciniata laciniata | Cardinal catchfly.
Still going strong, the many blooming Penstemon heterophyllus | Foothill penstemon.
The bloom is certainly dropping, but the the number of different plants in bloom is still very high.
Early May we had the feeling that the bloom would go down from now on.
What a pleasant surprise by how it looked, different but still pretty good.
We were glad to fine Cryptantha flaccida, probably the last Cryptantha we had to see in this area.
Big Linum lewisii lewisii | Prairie flax are in full bloom and some are making fruit.
Getting wet shoes to photograph nice blooming Persicaria amphibia | Water smartweed.
A couple of days ago we were frustrated by failing to find Delphinium hesperium cuyamacae | Cuyamaca larkspur, now we find them by the hundreds.
Right now when you come within a couple of meters of a blooming Cucurbita foetidissima | Stinking gourd, it has a very strong smell, not that unpleasant once you get to know the plant.
Right now > 100 Asclepias eriocarpa , Woollypod milkweed; Indian milkweed are going into bloom, we've waited a long time for them to fully bloom and now it's finally happening.
The primary goal today, was to find blooming Rupertia rigida, we adapted the route to find as many as possible.
No way, they are out of bloom, with a single flower on some plants.
Finally after a lot of checking, an easy to spot plant in good bloom.
The goal was to find blooming Rupertia rigida, that's why the route is shaped like a 8.
We did find plants, but none in bloom.
Pleased to find blooming Asclepias californica | California milkweed that's rare in our area.
We likely found a blooming Opuntia engelmannii engelmannii | Engelmann prickly pear, that said this is a very tricky plant to ID.
We are checking Collinsia for some time and until now non matched Collinsia heterophylla, at home a perfect match, luckily we took some good shots of the 'new' plant.
Close to the start the most common milkweed that we've never seen in full bloom before until now.
We already visited this area several times and we still missed an interesting creek with a lot of granitic rock.
Ideal for interesting plants, like many blooming Dudleya abramsii abramsii | Abrams' dudleya and some blooming Dudleya pulverulenta | California chalk dudleya.
The loop turned out completely different than planned, spending almost 2 hours on a stretch that would take us 15 minutes along the dirt road.
Nice blooming Zeltnera venusta | California centaury and in de creek hundreds of Castilleja minor spiralis | Lesser paintbrush and Erythranthe guttata | Common monkeyflower.
One of the many highlights a large field of > 100 Nemacladus longiflorus longiflorus | Long flowered threadplant.
Another best find, stumbling upon a Aphyllon tuberosum in bloom a not impressive rather dark plant, but after putting on the flash the plant looks much more like the regular Aphyllon.
Yes another great find, a larger field of Delphinium hesperium cuyamacae within the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
We followed the narrow asphalt road, not our first choice, but the only way to complete the loop.
Our first ever good flowering Eriastrum densifolium austromontanum | Southern mountain woolly star.
Manny Crocanthemum aldersonii are starting to bloom and another beautifully blooming Frasera parryi | Parry's green gentian.
Yes our last to find Calochortus, Calochortus weedii weedii, an impressive 4 different kinds on one hike.
All in all an interesting loop, with flies that dropped below the annoying level and a varied landscape, with creeks and seeps.
Adding water to the mix gives an impressive bloom count.
We planned this hike to see the Eriodictyon parryi | Poodle dog bush that was posted on iNaturalist.
This was one of our top to see plants and here there are > 100 big blooming plants.
We added some new plants, some very tiny.
The top of the hike was along Azalea Spring, bringing us along the single flower Monardella macrantha macrantha, we found a couple of weeks ago.
In the confusion of finding a new plant we failed to get good photos, this time I was ready.
West Side Trail was in a pleasantly shade, but that also means less plants.
Luckily we hit the jackpot again with over 6 feet tall, vine like, nice blooming Aquilegia formosa.
One goal was to take detailed pictures of Physalis hederifolia palmeri, we found them in good bloom and fruit.
Another goal was to see blooming Delphinium cardinale, unfortunately not yet, but very close.
A good display of > 100 blooming Calochortus concolor | Calochortus concolor.
It's also time for smelly Cucurbita foetidissima | Stinking gourd to bloom early in the day.
Cylindropuntia californica parkeri | Cane cholla is the dominant cactus here and most are in bloom.
We just failed to find Delphinium cardinale in bloom, if we don't find it someplace else a revisit is warranted.
We made a right turn loop hike, not visiting Eagle Rock.
Bloom dropped in half since our last visit a month ago.
This might just be one of our least favorite hikes. It's a long in and out hike with plenty of rocks and softer sand.
That said, this is the largest (known to us) population of Nolina bigelovii | Bigelow's nolina that we wanted to see in bloom.
We had no idea when to expect the bloom as the other Nolinas live at a higher elevation and are out of bloom or blooming now.
The first Nolinas were not promising, no sign of any bloom, but reaching the main population, bingo a lot of nice blooming plants.
Not sure why, but we found many male plants and finally a single female one.
A big surprise, we found many Carlowrightia arizonica | Arizona carlowrightia that appeared to have bloomed recently.
The plants are green but mostly leafless and back home we found a fresh flower on our pictures, BLOOM.
Weird, in general the flowers drop on touch, but these didn't and stayed put as if the heat dried the flowers solid.
Bloom as expected was low but surprisingly higher than our previous trip in March.
The fog has lifted so we could check out the Eriogonum saxatile | Rock buckwheat.
We've never seen it in bloom and the signs are hopeful, other Eriogonum are blooming.
It's cool enough for the Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock to be in great bloom.
There are plenty of blooming Monardella nana | Little monardella along our route, the best in full shade.
Yes Eriogonum saxatile, most just out of bloom, but one is still blooming.
Another Monardella, Monardella linoides linoides | Narrow leaf monardella in good bloom, the best we've ever seen.
The Erigeron foliosus foliosus | Leafy daisy are starting their bloom.
Most of the Cylindropuntia ganderi ganderi | Gander's cholla are in bloom, some Diplacus longiflorus | Hairy bush monkeyflower are still in bloom and one Agave deserti deserti | Desert agave.
June/05/2020 Cold Stream - Stonewall Creek - Upper Green Valley loop
This is a bit of a temperature shock from 110 degrees to 55 - 65 today.
On the hike, mostly blue sky, with a sudden fog drifting in and even a short drizzle.
The display of Antirrhinum coulterianum | Coulter's snapdragon is still amazing and there are plenty of big Penstemon spectabilis spectabilis | Showy penstemon along the trail.
Stonewall Creek is a granitic accessible stream, with many interesting plants.
We noticed many inactive insects inside flowers, like Calochortus, they didn't move even when I moved the flower for a side shot.
Again many butterflies along the water and while driving.
A repeat hike.
While Asclepias eriocarpa | Woollypod milkweed; Indian milkweed is very common we've never seen it in bloom until now.
Azalea spring is actually artificial and water is drawn for domestic use, making the place that much drier.
Along the creeks, huge fields of blooming Castilleja minor spiralis | Lesser paintbrush.
Not only the flowers are attractive, in fruit some are even more impressive, like the Agoseris retrorsa | Spearleaf mountain dandelion.
The butterfly (Nymphalis californica | California tortoiseshell) season started here, right now every water source attracts plenty.
June/02/2020 Pacific Crest S22 South - Barrel Spring
We wanted to check out the Calochortus Tom Chester found a couple of weeks ago.
On the part we hiked there were several Calochortus concolor in bloom.
Great fields of Chorizanthe fimbriata laciniata | Fringed spineflower, the only carpet plant at the moment, covering some hillsides.
The PCT wasn't interesting enough to continue all the way to our normal turn around point. We decided to take the scenic route down a drainage.
A great bloomer in the area is the often huge Salvia apiana | White sage.
The rocky drainage is an ideal home for the 100+ blooming Dudleya saxosa aloides | Desert dudleya.
It happened before, some areas seem to be an ideal habitat for a single Dudleya species and not for another.
A new place to explore on the southern edge of the park.
We found several new plants, close to bloom like an orchid, so we need to revisit in a couple of weeks.
The feeling was a bloom that is winding down, but the bloom count diversity is still very hight.
A very interesting area to explore. Here you find many interesting plants in close proximity, rare to find anywhere else in the area.
We were driving around and in the morning there are pretty yellow flower fields and at the end of the day almost nothing.
Madia elegans | Common Madia behaves unusually for a yellow flower as it doesn't close but seems to wither in the afternoon and looking fresh again the following morning.
May/29/2020 Noble Canyon - Indian Creek - Pine Mountain Pct loop
A loop to explore the Laguna area.
Bloom is spotty and the flies plenty full. The flies are pretty harmless but very annoying and stopped once we followed the PCT.
The flies made photographing a lot more challenging and less appealing, stopping attracts a lot more flies.
Here we finally found plenty of Plain mariposa lily | Calochortus invenustus that we almost missed on our previous trip.
Here we probably have seen the highest concentration of Diplacus brevipes | Wide throated yellow monkeyflower this season.
And the highest concentration, by the hundreds of Allium parryi.
It's hot, close to 110, so we needed to go as high as possible.
This is an interesting loop, following a hilly wooden area with some great views.
Looping back along the 'lake'.
Finally a simpler Erigeron to ID, our first Erigeron divergens | Spreading fleabane.
Our first Calochortus invenustus, that looks surprisingly like Calochortus splendens, except when seen from the side.
Got a bit wet photographing Stemless mudwort | Limosella acaulis along the waterline.
It's hot, but this might be our last chance to get some vouchers.
Chlorogalum parviflorum was one of our goals, there are plenty of plants, but not that many in bloom.
We noticed plants completely browsed, basal leaves and all, still the plant managed to form a new flower stalk.
Bloom is way past it's peak, except for larger monocultures of Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush and the big Helianthus gracilentus | Slender sunflower.
It seems that all Encelia are very good fire followers.
We planned another loop in an area with a good and very interesting bloom.
Best of all we added several new plants to our list, like the nice Abrams' dudleya | Dudleya abramsii abramsi.
Most interesting are the larger fields of tiny Mimetanthe pilosa | Downy monkeyflower, never seen them this small and dense.
The highlight the > 100 Frasera parryi | Parry's green gentian, most in bloom on a sun facing slope.
Look carefully at the Large water starwort | Callitriche heterophylla bolanderi and you notice the plants are in bloom.
This is a wonderful, but longer overlooked hiking area.
Bloom is good, most noticeable the many fields of Eriophyllum confertiflorum confertiflorum | Golden yarrow.
Last time we found remains and seeds of what should be Calochortus concolor and that turned out to be correct.
Right now Clustered broomrape | Aphyllon fasciculatum is blooming and found on several hikes.
Maybe the best find of the trip, blooming Monardella breweri lanceolata | Mustang mint and Monardella nana | Little monardella.
Or was it the pretty Sidotheca trilobata | Three lobed oxytheca.
The bloom in the area is good and very interesting right now even though, the bulk of the annuals are out of bloom.
The goal was to find Chlorogalum parviflorum in bloom and we found them pretty quick, for a short while we almost confused them with Stephanomeria.
Weird, some insects seem to spend the day in the flowers of Diplacus brevipes | Wide throated yellow monkeyflower.
A surprise, Keckiella ternata ternata | Whorled leaf penstemon already in bloom.
We were most pleased with some pretty Calochortus concolor.
We found many Nemacladus in the washes, and it took us a while to realize these were all Nemacladus pinnatifidus | Comb leaved nemacladus.
This is one of the densest fields of non native plants.
Luckily there is seasonally marked loop 'trail', for measuring the water level at the Willows.
Without these 'trails' the hike would be an almost impossible trip.
The goal was to find the plants we found last year in bloom. And YES we did find Cressa truxillensis | Alkali weed and Alkali heath | Frankenia salina in bloom.
We added Lepidium latifolium (non native) to our list, with nice fields of blooming plants.
Another great find Amsinckia menziesii menziesii and Amsinckia menziesii intermedia next to each other.
One of the goals was to check out plants that were close to bloom, but unfortunately both were done after 3 weeks.
We started with a fog cover at 50 degrees and ended in full sun just below 70.
The mountain stream (Bergstrom) is almost not existing at this point a little bit less than Buckhorn Canyon Creek.
Weird, Bergstrom only has 100+ Dudleya saxosa aloides | Desert dudleya and Buckhorn Canyon only has Dudleya pulverulenta | California chalk dudleya.
The good thing about the low temperatures, Mirabilis laevis villosa | Wishbone bush, in full open bloom.
Really interesting to see all Mirabilis variation within 2 days.
A pretty big bunch of Penstemon spectabilis spectabilis | Showy penstemon.
As always this late in the season, we added plants we've never seen before.
The other thing is seeing plants more mature, like Antirrhinum coulterianum | Coulter's snapdragon, we've never seen them with twinning branchlets before.
We wanted to explore the area north of Salt Creek, in the hope to find Lastarriaea coriacea a spineflower.
The annuals are mostly toast and starting to pulverize.
We did find interesting plants like two pretty Zeltnera venusta | California centaury and best of all onions that we couldn't readily ID.
In the rocks a couple of nice blooming Dudleya arizonica | Arizona chalk dudleya.
The otherwise bleak Krameria bicolor | White rhatany look pretty.
This time we planned a loop following the creek and back along the PCT.
There was enough water in the creek to make hiking in the creek difficult, so we mostly hiked on the sometimes denser sides of the creek.
Leaves of 3, so we needed to be extra careful.
Bloom is normal and the creek flows above normal.
Along the creek there were many Diplacus longiflorus | Hairy bush monkeyflower blooming on the walls.
Phacelia ramosissima | Branching phacelia blooming in very high numbers along the creek.
We think we found our friend Mirabilis laevis crassifolia.
It took is almost 6 hours to complete this loop, with a record bloom count.
May/12/2020 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop Far North
The first part is grassland and the bloom much lower than expected.
Once out of the non natives the bloom increases a lot.
The fields of Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush are just about to go.
There are nice fields of larger Clarkia purpurea quadrivulnera | Purple clarkia.
One of the first Opuntia phaeacantha | Desert prickly pear are starting to bloom.
Not to long ago we were searching for Phacelia ramosissima | Branching phacelia, right here they are plentiful.
Today we recorded our highest bloom count in the area.
A nice hike over fire roads and trails.
The temperature pleasantly cool, below 70 degrees.
We didn't expect the bloom to be better on the other side of the road.
The bloom was significantly better and very different. We added at least a dozen new plants we've never seen before.
The dominant bloomer right now is Ceanothus palmeri | Palmer ceanothus, covering hillsides and the hiking trail.
Even on a trail we were going slow, just above 1 mile / hour.
It's still 100+ degrees, so we needed a cool spot.
The temps here are a nice 60-80 on our hike.
It sure is wetter than we can remember from previous hikes.
We added new pants to our list one after the other.
A lot of the new plants live in the shade, making it that more interesting to photograph them.
Some in full sunlight, like Chorizanthe polygonoides longispina | Longspined spineflower .
This is one of the busier hikes we've done lately, encountering one hiking couple.
Our goal was to hike Upper Green Valley, not realizing that the road was closed by a sign, prison area. We almost missed the sign, why not just put a universal no entry sign.
Next stop Kwaaymii Point, a bit too busy for our taste, with all the (motor) bikes.
It turned out to be a very interesting stroll along pastures and interesting plants.
Time to visit a part of the PCT we don't frequently visit.
Bloom is good and we added many new plants we've never seen before. .
One of the most abundant bloomers right now is Collinsia concolor | Chinese houses.
The flower fields in the grasslands are gone except for the fainting Castilleja exserta exserta | Purple owl's clover.
We hiked back cross country and found one of our most wanted Aphyllon fasciculatum and a bit further impossible to miss a big Rumex hymenosepalus.
These hills are closed to the general public.
This is a very different area then the rest of the wildlife area, hilly and drier.
Plant life is certainly more diverse, with not too many none natives.
A lot of Cylindropuntia californica parkeri | Cane cholla are in bloom.
The best sight, the many big and blooming Dudleya saxosa aloides | Desert dudleya, growing only on top of the ridges.
The sandy washes are carpetted with Diplacus fremontii | Fremont's monkeyflower.
We had a short scare that the Eriophyllum wallacei rubellum | Wallace's woolly daisy(white) might be something else, that would mess up the distribution map.
The plants had more linear leaves, but luckily all of them turned out be Eriophyllum wallacei rubellum.
It sure is a lot of work, taking vouchers, dragging around the portable press and sorting things out back home.
The goal was to visit our friends Linanthus maculatus emaculatus.
To our surprise the wash wasn't as good as the previous year and no Linanthus to be found.
Otherwise, the bloom count is almost identical.
The Argemone munita | Prickly poppy is still in bloom and best of all the Cuscuta denticulata is now in bloom.
On our trip we again found a record number of 4 Nemacladus in bloom.
Don't think we've ever seen the Horsfordia alata | Pink velvet mallow this happy in bloom before.
Very pleased with the full blooming Diplacus aridus | Low bush monkeyflower.
Psorothamnus schottii | Indigo bush are in full bloom and we could still smell them by watching the photograph.
It's finally time for Chilopsis linearis arcuata | Desert willow to start blooming, much later than the previous years.
The only bad thing about this hike, is the rather long in and out part in the mustard jungle, combined with soft sand.
This time we started a bit further south, to cover the area between San Felipe and Carrizo Wash.
It's warm, but not too, between 80-95 degrees on our almost 4 hour hike.
We were very surprised to find a larger field of big blooming Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose, not eaten or toasted.
The goal was to find more Eriogonum ordii and take a voucher. The plants are easy to ID by the leaves and flower and we estimate the population over 100.
Just from the start a Crotalus atrox surprised us with a loud noise, now we were less eager to follow the wash with it's denser non native vegetation.
We found the westernmost observation of the genus.
The whole area is just one wide wash, with a lot of drainages and some clear bigger washes.
We still found some Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge
Our goal was to hike Laguna Lake, but despite the website stated it was open, the trail was closed.
So Garnet peak was our second choice.
Up to the peak and loop back towards the car.
Bloom was interesting as we added two plants we've never seen before.
Some fields of Limnanthes alba parishii | Parish's meadowfoam, Lasthenia gracilis | Common goldfields and Platystemon californicus | Creamcups.
A lot of plants were certainly as abundant if not more, but too small for most to notice, like Microsteris gracilis | Slender phlox and Collinsia parviflora | Blue eyed Mary.
April/28/2020 CRH - Soapstone Grade - Upper Green Valley - La Cima trail
Up to one of our favorite trails.
No park closure signs here, but just in case, we did a bike shuttle from outside the park.
This was probably unnecessary as the trail head parking is outside the State Park.
As always, there are no hikers on this trail.
Bloom is good and the smell is sometimes overwhelming, with so many different shrubs mixing their scent. Probably the strongest smell from the many Cercocarpus betuloides betuloides.
Nice fields of Common linanthus | Leptosiphon parviflorus and Lasthenia gracilis | Common goldfields. Still a bit early for some, like lupines to go into full bloom.
It's so much better than expected, water is still abundant and the temperature pleasant compared to the 100+ back in the low desert.
Bloom variety is great and should get better and best of all new plants.
Hard to imagine that the huge Phacelia minor | Wild canterbury bells are the same as the small desert plants.
Great fields of Lupinus hirsutissimus | Stinging lupine and later when they warm up Gilia and Leptosiphon parviflorus | Common linanthus.
We are glad to be able to botanize the otherwise restricted Banner Creek area.
If you forget the many non native plants and grasses the bloom is better than expected.
Most striking the fields of Malacothrix californica | California dandelion and in the washes Diplacus fremontii | Fremont's monkeyflower.
An unusual number of white Diplacus fremontii, the white plants never look as fresh as the normal colored plants.
Again two new plants we've never seen before.
It's above 100 degrees, so a higher elevation hike is in order and one without parking in the State Park.
Great fields of Limnanthes alba parishii | Parish's meadowfoam and Lasthenia gracilis | Common goldfields.
And best of all we added several new plants to our list like, Erythranthe androsacea and Leptosiphon pygmaeus continentalis
April/22/2020 Tarantula wash San Felipe creek loop
We started the hike from the pole line road (BLM).
This is supposed to be a conservation area, but vehicle tracks are everywhere.
Bloom is very interesting, plants seem to be one month later than on our previous visit.
Our goal was to find more Astragalus sabulonum | Gravel milkvetch, and we did in a couple of other locations.
Stunned by the huge Atriplex elegans elegans | Wheelscale, Nama hispida spathulata | Rough purplemat and Stillingia spinulosa | Annual stillingia, maybe the largest we've ever seen.
There is even enough water at a spring for a canoe trip.
YES, plants that key to Eriogonum ordii, but might be something else, we plan to explore more and revisit when the plants are more mature.
Next another surprise > 100 Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge in excellent bloom.
We repeated the March/14/2020 hike.
The goal was to find fruit on Funastrum utahense | Utah vine milkweed. We were still a bit early, but found one plant in fruit.
Fruit is bigger than we expected from such a small flower.
The second goal was to check on the Eriogonum trichopes | Little desert trumpet, that are different from what we normally see in the badlands.
They turned out Eriogonum trichopes, not that we truly like the ID, this needs more study.
At least they are not Eriogonum ordi that we are now finding in a much wider area.
A bit surprising that Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily are still in bloom and some are even in bud.
But this is a dense population of over 200 plants.
We had to be creative to access one of our favorite areas from outside of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
This worked very well in this new hike, along the mostly dry Willow Creek.
The bloom is good, considering it's still cold at night.
We almost missed the clearly visible fields of Eschscholzia californica | California poppy.
The bloom is going to be much better in the weeks to come.
After the report that Walt Fidler found Leptosiphon aureus ssp. decorus in the Volcanic hills, we were eager to see them.
We planned a little detour to reach the Prenanthella exigua | Brightwhite reported by Walt.
The bloom is still incredible, huge Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot everywhere, fields of Lupinus arizonicus | Arizona lupine, Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower.
Many huge green Salvia columbariae | Chia and a couple of exceptionally large Physalis crassifolia | Thick leaf ground cherry.
This is also the place to see Cylindropuntia wolfii | Wolf's cholla and right now most are in bloom.
Here you find fields of Calycoseris wrightii | White tackstem, typically on slopes and a smaller amount of Calycoseris parryi | Yellow tackstem.
We found Walt's, Prenanthella exigua and many many after that. We now consider them wide spread and fairly common.
Finally, we arrived at the Leptosiphon aureus ssp. decorus, at least a hundred if full bloom, yes.
It took us over 6 hours and a lot of rocks and boulders to complete this extended loop.
No way we just broke our all time bloom record by 3 plants and in the most unlikely place.
It's very windy, so this seemed to be a good place and it was, no wind at all.
The goal was to visit the Leptosiphon floribundus hallii | Santa Rosa Mountains Leptosiphon posted on iNaturalist.
We had no idea how steep or difficult the route would be.
It's the domain of Dudleya saxosa aloides | Desert dudleya and Salvia eremostachya | Desert sage.
The route just out of the drainage wasn't too bad, just a lot of rocks, boulders and more rocks and boulders.
In the steep drainage with a cascade of dry falls we found at least 15 plants on one spot, unfortunately none in bloom as we expected.
The bad, it took us well over 6 hours on a hard climb.
The good, a very good bloom count and like in a lot of places and and incredible number of bigger Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower.
Bloom is actually good right now with 101, while we didn't check everything on our trip, so we sure missed some.
Evidence of recent flash flooding and the washes are almost void of annuals.
Most of the Krameria | rhatany are in bloom right now and the Parkinsonia florida | Blue palo verde are starting to bloom.
Amazing to see some Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose in bloom this far into April.
In the rocky terrain some nice blooming Dalea mollis | Silky dalea.
We've never hiked Cactus Valley before, after so much rain this is the time to go.
It's basically an extension further east of yesterdays hike.
The differences, more narrow rocky washes with some dry falls and slightly dryer.
One of the goals was to find the eastern boundary of the Spermolepis lateriflora population and we found it to be close to the San Felipe Wash / Hwy 78.
It's an unusually cold (60 degree) day for April.
Not that many Salvia columbariae | Chia here, but a couple of pretty large plants, that smell like sage.
A pleasant surprise, the best blooming Malperia tenuis | Brown turbans (night bloomer) we've ever seen.
Not sure why this is called Cactus Valley, there sure are enough Cacti, but that goes for most of the desert.
There sure are many big Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook in this area and the Fouquieria splendens splendens | Ocotillo are exceptionally happy and blooming.
After the late rains, most bigger washes are void of annuals, the same goes for the San Felipe Wash.
The bloom count is a big surprise, it's even higher than the better looking washes a day ago. The highest bloom count we've ever recorded in the area including Glorietta Canyon.
It was never a good year to visit the area east of the S3, but now the timing is perfect, enough rain and we had to stay out of the rain.
We didn't completely evaded the rain, but didn't get soaking wet.
Bloom is good as expected, but a bit less than on the other side of the S3.
Nice flower fields of Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii , Bigelow's monkey flower.
Spermolepis lateriflora, a plant we've never found until this year and now it's everywhere in very high numbers and easy to spot.
Even Delphinium parishii subglobosum | Intermediate larkspur on this dry part of the desert.
You are kidding me, a plant we've looked for far away is here close to home, a population of Prenanthella exigua | Brightwhite, enough plants to take a voucher.
Wow again, Spermolepis infernensis and Spermolepis lateriflora next to each other in the Anza-Borrego Desert, we took a voucher to be sure of our ID.
Again an amazing bloom count for this otherwise dry area.
A couple of days ago we had the feeling that the recent rain had little effect.
But after this hike, plants look much more alive.
There are enough Salvia columbariae | Chia around to actually smell them.
One of the goals was to see Scutellaria mexicana | Paperbag bush;Mexican bladder sage in bloom and there are maybe 50+ in bloom right now.
Great Mirabilis laevis retrorsa | Wishbone plant on this unusually cold day.
We had to stop and measure the Mammillaria dioica dioica | Fishhook with gigantic flowers.
Nice to find Allium fimbriatum fimbriatum | Fringed onion in bloom on the top of our hike.
On our way back we found larger Spermolepis lateriflora, not single plants but on almost any stop and even in the wash. The population must be very large going at least all the way towards the S3.
The bloom count may well be the best we've ever recorded in the area.
It's hard right here to keep our 1000 feet comfort zone, we manged but had to go to 100 feet twice.
This is the busiest trail of the season with 20+ cars, not that we encountered more than 5 groups of hikers, while going cross country whenever the opportunity presented itself.
WOW this is very good in abundance, large fields of Lasthenia gracilis | Common goldfields and Platystemon californicus | Creamcups.
Lupinus bicolor | Miniature lupine is just as abundant, but the flower carpets are less visible.
In between nice patches of Nemophila menziesii menziesii | Baby blue eyes, Linanthus dianthiflorus | Ground pink and Castilleja exserta exserta | Purple owl's clover.
And not to forget the great fields of Eschscholzia californica | California poppy.
The bloom count is good after a rather cold month.
Bloom look terrible from the trail head and all the way up to the hill.
Like magic things come very much alive, bloom in abundance.
We are getting careless, almost on top of a rattlesnake, luckily it rattling was very very loud.
The wash is filled with Leptosiphon aureus | Golden linanthus all the way around the hill.
One of the abundant bloomers Sphaeralcea ambigua | Apricot mallow.
An impressive number of plants in bloom.
The goal was to check the Prenanthella exigua | Brightwhite locations and a couple of voucher pants we've never seen before.
No Prenanthella exigua outside of the known location, they seem to stay put. Except for one new location with only one plant.
Bloom is really really good, most exceptional the many fields of Calycoseris wrightii | White tackstem.
The count is the highest this season.
The bloom in the south is good, so it's a good time to revisit Fossil Canyon.
Goal of the visit was to take additional details from Lepidium fremontii | Desert pepper grass.
The plants live close to a steep fall, somehow the plants get more water at this spot.
Here is the largest population of Echinocactus polycephalus polycephalus | Cottontop cactus known to us (2020).
Bloom is very good considering, plant variety is low and most of them are in bloom.
Wow the bloom still looks very good around the Sweeney Pass, but less in the main Sin Nombre Canyon.
The smell from the fields of Lupinus arizonicus | Arizona lupine was sometimes too strong, almost unpleasant.
We checked the Funastrum utahense | Utah vine milkweed wash a bit further up and as expect found more plants.
The weirdest find of the trip a lone Castilleja exserta exserta | Purple owl's clover in Sin Nombre Canyon.
This whole area is the best anywhere in the park, so this should be good as well and it was above expectations.
Luckily just out of the more barren Volcanic area.
The visited canyon had and unusual high number of blooming Calycoseris parryi | Yellow tackstem.
One of the highlights, the weirdest Mammillaria dioica dioica | Fishhook we've ever seen.
We were on our way to Fish Creek Mountains, but the road was closed at the Elephant trail.
So we choose East Butte and this was a pleasant surprise. Fields of Lupinus arizonicus | Arizona lupine and Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion
The big surprise, finding far more than 100 Nemacladus tenuis tenuis | Slender threadplant, mostly larger plants.
The bloom diversity even surpassed the good 2019 bloom, that said the abundance is now much lower.
The route follows washes we didn't explore before.
Bloom is good as expected, with 90 different plants in bloom.
The highlight of the day, the many blooming Funastrum utahense | Utah vine milkweed, maybe more than hundred in all.
Many blooming Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily, fields of Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower and Lupinus arizonicus , Arizona lupine.
The southern part of the park is unusually good, so that's the place to be.
All over the park Opuntia basilaris basilaris | Beavertail are very close to or in bloom.
This is one of the rare locations with Fagonia pachyacantha | Sticky fagonia and Fagonia laevis | California fagonia next to each other.
Here many canyon walls are filled with Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower and Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower
The area is home to the pretty Cylindropuntia wolfii | Wolf's cholla.
Last but not least this is home to hundreds of Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily often hardly visible, except in a good year.
March/06/2020 Oyster Shell wash - Fish creek overlook
Bloom in Fish Creek is very good this season.
You generally don't find hundreds of blooming Eriogonum thomasii | Thomas buckwheat in a canyon wash.
Finding a variety of 3/4 of the plants in bloom is very good.
The bloom around Carrizo Canyon seems to be the best right now.
We did the 'regular' Rockhouse Canyon Loop very often, so it's time to explore a couple of other washes.
This might be one of the best scenic hikes anywhere close to and in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Despite the huge boulders, the hike is mostly easy, with some short exceptions.
The bloom is good from the start, with flower fields of Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower and Eriophyllum wallacei wallacei | Wallace's woolly daisy.
Our estimate, the bloom will get better the following weeks.
On our way back another Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot hotspot, with over 100 blooming plants.
Here we recorded the best bloom variety this season.
This time we headed more south. Closer to the dunes, the wind was picking up, this didn't look good.
We hiked mostly out of the sand and late in the day it got less windy.
The bloom is still great, but fading. Stunning are the huge fields of big Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
The huge fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena are almost done.
Unless we get additional rain, the bloom will fade rapidly.
As great as it is, after a couple of hours you have seen enough Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
Close to the parking we found the best plants of the whole trip, like a number of Nemacladus tenuis aliformis.
The bloom is not abundant, but we would probably considered it good if we didn't visited a couple of very good areas recently.
It was cloudy, so the Mirabilis tenuiloba | Slender lobed four o'clock were blooming very good.
Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower doing well, the biggest surprise to find Eriophyllum lanosum | White easter bonnets in bloom again.
We hardly if ever found so many of the otherwise rare Antirrhinum filipes | Twining snapdragon in bloom.
Still can't believe we found 100 different plants in bloom.
Alma wash is not bad from the nature trail, but gets better and better further in.
We took the grand loop, entering the Alma Wash only for a short while and looping back south/west.
Here the bloom is truly good, with huge fields of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish's poppy and on the flats a covering of Monoptilon bellioides | Desert star.
Opuntia basilaris basilaris , Beavertail are close to prime bloom, Cylindropuntia ganderi | Gander's cholla are starting the bloom, combined with many blooming Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook and Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus.
And of course our friend Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot, that we are seeing frequently these days.
This is about as good as it gets in this otherwise barren area.
The best find of the day, a couple of Nemacladus tenuis tenuis | Slender threadplant.
Carrizo Canyon was supposed to be good, but we didn't know any exact location.
Driving up towards Bow Willow Campground many Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily in bloom along the road.
Next we entered the Carrizo Wash road (south), a soft sand road, not advised without a 4x4.
To see more we looped clockwise to see plants we might have missed the last time we were here.
You are kidding me, blooming Nicotiana clevelandii | Cleveland's tobacco in high number, in their favorite spot.
Great bloom with fields of Eschscholzia parishii | Parish's poppy and Phacelia distans | Common phacelia.
Yes Antirrhinum filipes | Twining snapdragon a not very common plant.
Many Mentzelia hirsutissima | Hairy blazingstar and in the other canyon Mentzelia involucrata | Sand blazing star.
Mixed with hundreds of Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower.
Not to forget our favorite Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower in nice fields.
A couple of good blooming Lycium parishii | Parish's desert thorn another favorite of ours.
Interesting to notice the abrupt change of canyon wall the flowers prefer, always the south facing wall.
The bloom alternates from left to right to left again.
It's so far one of the few places we found Eriophyllum lanosum | White easter bonnets mixed with Eriophyllum wallacei | Wallace's woolly daisy (yellow).
This is a good Fagonia laevis | California fagonia year, nice finding our second completely white flowering plant.
A whole canyon wall covered with Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower close to the campground, but easily missed behind a mesquite barrier.
The icing on the cake, Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot, not by the usual handful in bloom, but by the hundreds. Interestingly they all had their flower in various stages of opening.
Some fully open, some partially open.
Wow the best bloom this season.
Our goal was to take a voucher of California satintail | Imperata brevifolia with inflorescence.
In abundance, bloom is far below previous years, but will probably improve a bit, as it's still early in the season.
Best bloom, the many Mirabilis laevis retrorsa , Wishbone plant in full bloom, ranging from white to faintly purple.
Always nice to see the frequently blooming yellow Justicia californica | Chuparosa.
There are some fields of Nama demissa demissa | Purplemat.
We immediately rescheduled our trip to Coachwhip to check out a spurge posted on iNaturalist.
This might be a Euphorbia ocellata arenicola | Contura creek spurge, but looked different from our previous find.
Our previous find is now gone, only the skeleton remains, maybe in another year.
Still an interesting area to visit, a lot of bloom originated from a October 2019 rain.
A lot of big flowering Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily around.
Yes some flower fields of Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower, nice, but nothing even remotely like 2017.
Always nice to find an albino plant.
Like here Simmondsia chinensis | Jojoba are in general bloom.
Many Emmenanthe penduliflora penduliflora | Whispering bells, but most not happy looking, the lack of rain is showing.
Even some Salvia columbariae | Chia.
This is one of the best Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot hikes, not too many this season, but there are scattered smaller plants.
To our surprise one blooming plant, unusual as they rarely fully open and so early, just before 11 a.m.
Probably the best display of flowers that we know of, right now..
Most striking are the thousands upon thousands of Sphaeralcea coulteri | Coulter's globemallow in bloom.
With this many in bloom finding a white/yellow version was expected, cool.
Huge Brandegea bigelovii | Desert star vine in full bloom, producing a very strong smell
From the sand dunes you can smell them from hundreds of yards away.
It gets competition from the endless fields of Cryptantha angustifolia | Narrow leaf cryptantha.
Our guess, plants germinated around October 2019, resulting in hundreds of huge Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
We were lucky to spot a Uma notata | Colorado Desert fringe-toed lizard, playing possum until I got a little bit too close.
A typical sand dune plant is Eriogonum deserticola | Dune buckwheat, growing all arround the dunes.
Time to check out the bloom around Coyote Mountain.
Bloom is good in the Rockhouse Canyon wash.
Wow many Encelia farinosa phenicodonta | Purple eyed brittlebush, by far the prettiest variation.
Fields of Malacothrix glabrata , Desert dandelion everywhere close to the Rockhouse Canyon wash.
Large fields of blooming Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills.
The hike is pleasant at first but turns into a rocky wash with little sand.
A good climb out of the wash up to the top of the loop.
Unfortunately another even rockier wash down.
The goal was to see more bloom, but bloom was almost absent higher up except for countless happy Fagonia laevis | California fagonia.
After reading Tom Chester's flower report from the Alma Wash, time to try out a wash close bye.
A for the area typical rocky/sandy wash, not that bad, enough sandy stretches to be found.
Bloom is good, better than average in this area as is probably most of Fishcreek.
Most pleased by the hundreds of flowering Malperia tenuis | Brown turbans.
After encountering a Rattlesnake it's time to be more cautious.
Time for an easier hike, from the start of Henderson Canyon.
Easy to get to and easy to hike.
Like in many other places Ambrosia salsola salsola | Cheesebush is smelling (too) strong, like goat cheese.
Bloom is OK, like a normal bloom.
Always great to find a couple of Antirrhinum filipes , Twining snapdragon in bloom.
A lot of rain was recorded at Clark dry lake.
Time to explore an area we've never visited before, just north of Clarke Dry Lake.
Google Earth didn't show what to expect, so we just followed the flowers and ended up high in a drainage.
It took us over an hour to get to some flowering plants, except for the faint fields of Amsinckia | fiddleneck.
Almost no germination from direct rain, close to the drainage there was enough for a good flower show.
Up the drainage the bloom is just above normal, with great patches of one of our favorite flowers Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower.
This is what peak bloom looks like. There will be more flowering plants in the following weeks like Chaenactis | pincushion, Nemacladus nemacladus and gilia.
The only thing holding the plants back and might result in short bloom, water/rain.
We knew from our previous visit that there was a nice patch of flowers at the start of this hike.
But not that the plants kept on going for miles.
West of the dunes endless fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
This is the first time the plants smelled overwhelmingly strong.
Mixed with Chylismia claviformis yumae, the huge Palafoxia arida gigantea and not to forget the plentiful and huge Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily.
The plant variation is unusually low, but makes up in it's abundance, producing huge flower fields.
In the drifting dunes itself the bloom drops to almost nothing, with Helianthus niveus tephrodes often the lone bloomers.
This is home of big Ephedra trifurca | Long leafed ephedra and huge Eriogonum deserticola | Dune buckwheat.
We like it that the later in the day bloomer Mentzelia longiloba is so easily identifiable.
The goal was to check and find more Petalonyx linearis | Narrow leaf sandpaper plant.
After 0.3 Inch of rain, it was interesting to drive into split mountain wash, being an actual creek.
The flow was mostly gone, but not the mud, I took a couple of kilograms mud back home. Luckily mud that washed off without too much effort.
Germination is pretty good, a lot of interesting plants are popping up.
I only found the Petalonyx linearis skeleton, but no germinating plants. Another waif, probably brought in by the sheep, that pass bye frequently.
It was pretty slippery after the rain up in the Gypsum area, but there was an old road, making things that much easier.
Bloom is pretty good for this area, with many Fagonia pachyacantha | Sticky fagonia and some Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower.
The best part, the nice folding sandstone formations, much better than the easy to access Anticline along the wash road.
We were finally able to taste fresh Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus, the plants probably washed down by the recent rain and cracked open at impact.
No traces of animal activity on the plant. The inner part tastes a bit like coconut, not really tasteful, but not real bad either.
We were hesitant to go into the mountain area, a lot of clouds are nearing Borrego Springs.
Luckily we had sunshine most of our hike.
We still can't believe that a 2 hour 20 minute hike turned into an almost 4 hour hike.
On our way up, bloom was low except like everywhere else an abundance of blooming Justicia californica | Chuparosa.
In Chuckwalla wash things changed, some bloom at last. The wash is lined with Lycium andersonii | Anderson's desert thorn, some still in bloom, others seem to have been in recent spectacular bloom.
Lycium andersonii | Anderson's desert thorn generally isn't a bright flower, here we found one of the prettiest we've ever seen.
Big surprise, some early blooming Coleogyne ramosissima | Blackbush.
And our first Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus of the season.
Down into Lizard Wash proper, Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard popped up in annoying high numbers.
Bloom count is lower as expected at a higher elevation, but things look very promising, good green.
Our first Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily in bloom this season, in/close to the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard is overwhelmingly present, not much room for the other plants.
Germination isn't bad in places that aren't occupied by non-natives.
Many small Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, around the 'lake' many blooming Amsinckia tessellata tessellata | Bristly fiddleneck.
Some Phacelia ivesiana | Ives phacelia are already in bloom, together with many tiny Yellow comet, Mentzelia affinis.
One of the general bloomers in the desert right now Rafinesquia neomexicana | Desert chicory.
The usual bunch of small Nicotiana clevelandii | Cleveland's tobacco in bloom in partial shade.
A surprisingly happy bunch of flowering Astragalus crotalariae , Salton milkvetch close to the lake.
We were pleased to add a couple of new seedlings with cotyledons like Monoptilon bellioides | Desert star.
Picking up a gradually growing bloom count, especially along the mountain slopes.
February/7/2020 Collins valley - Box Canyon Dry lake
The bloom isn't too bad up Box Canyon, we are gradually adding new blooming plants.
This is one of the potential locations of the lost Lepidium flavum felipense , Borrego/Blair Valley pepper-grass.
Lost in Borrego Valley, but still present in Blair Valley.
Last time we found the whole 'lake' covered in, Sisymbrium irio | London rocket. This time the 'lake' is pretty barren.
Some Sphaeralcea angustifolia | Narrow leaf globemallow are popping up.
Going down the steep drainage, many Salvia vaseyi | Wandsage in the wash.
This was the main reason we took this loop, we've never seen Lupinus microcarpus | Chick lupine seedlings with its fused cotyledons, now there are hundreds.
Wow another strange plant Astragalus pachypus jaegeri | Jaeger's milkvetch a long way from home, normally found in the north end of Coyote Canyon.
The trail/wash into Lower Willows changed beyond recognition and belief, it's so open and many new plants out here.
The bad, there is zero maintenance on the trail into Lower Willows.
It's unbelievable how fast the trail changes from good to almost impossible to pass.
We knew the exact route, so we push true, following the creek, much harder than we expected.
The creek crossing is the point the trail normally gets easy, not now, the trail now runs over a pond, impossible to cross without going into water too deep for hiking boots.
It took us an hour or so to find a route out of the jungle.
February/6/2020 Elephant Tree Natural Area by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 37.
February/5/2020 Algodones Dunes
While entering the park, fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose and some Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily.
This area is mostly void of non natives, weird as it's close to a road with a lot of farm trucks.
Finally we spot a Palafoxia arida gigantea | Giant spanish needle, wow that's something way way bigger in all respects compared to Palafoxia arida arida | Spanish needles.
Here both variations are present.
This is home to Algodones dunes sunflower | Helianthus niveus tephrodes.
Maybe the biggest surprise the huge Eriogonum deserticola | Dune buckwheat, some obviously old. Most bend by the wind, with exposed roots because of the ever shifting sand dunes.
Once we spotted the large blooming Astragalus magdalenae peirsonii | Peirson's milkvetch on iNat, we were on our way.
We finally found a new route out the Diablo canyon on an old road.
This opened up the possibility to explore the area between the Dieguenos and Gert wash.
The germination is pretty good, most of the time you can see a green glow.
Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily are present by the hundreds, some very close to bloom.
While germination is good, plants are still small and need extra rain for a really good bloom.
Here we could add more seedlings for our collection. it's that much easier here as the number of plants to choose from is rather limited.
We were pleased to find many very green and some blooming Lycium plants along the banks or the wash. Lycium fremontii | Fremont's desert thorn and Parish's desert thorn | Lycium parishii
In general, this time of the year, the sandy badlands have a higher bloom count than the rest of the desert, but that should change soon.
Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard is present, but certainly not overwhelming.
Our goal was to find more Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster and we found only 50 or so. These are sorry looking plants, just hanging on like population south of the Sin Nombre.
Rain is overdue and plants are forced to bloom often too early, the resulting plants so far are rather small in this area.
Phacelia distans | Common phacelia is by far the most abundant bloomer, mostly around shrubs.
A couple of Emmenanthe penduliflora penduliflora | Whispering bells and Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower.
The germination is strong, hundred of tiny plants waiting for the next rain.
Here the blooming Phoradendron californicum | Desert mistletoe is by far the strongest smelling plant around, often recognizable at over 30 feet away.
We checked on the Spermolepis infernensis | Hellhole Scaleseed population on our track. They are doing just fine like an estimated > 1000.
January/26/2020 Coyote Canyon second to third crossing Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 39.
January/22/2020 Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 20.
January/07/2020 Coyote Mtn Area by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 6.
January/03/2020 north of Henderson Canyon by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 2.
December/29/2019 Henderson Canyon by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 7.
December/19/2019 Truckhaven rocks by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 20.
December/14/2019 North West of Alcoholic Pass by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 5.
December/10/2019 Second Crossing / Ash Wash by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 20.
December/6/2019 Palm Canyon by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 8.
November/30/2019 Borrego Badlands by Tom Chester
Species in bloom: 4.
November/18/2019 Culp Valley - Bubbling Spring - Wilson Trail (route A1)
We decided to head up to the Wilson trail, when we noticed Dons iNaturalist posting of Erigeron foliosus foliosus | Leafy daisy.
A plant we've never seen in Culp Valley before.
Before we arrived at the point close to the Wilson trail, we already found 2 plants along the route we took.
So we were not disappointed when we couldn't find the iNaturalist plant as we added 2 more on our way down.
Along the route many Solanum parishii | Parish's purple nightshade and Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye.
And a surprise many blooming Clematis pauciflora , Few flowered clematis.
Especially pretty this time of year are the many Ericameria cuneata spathulata | Wide leaf rock goldenbush.
Still there are Malacothamnus enigmaticus | Enigmatic Bushmallow, many big plants, but also more recent germinated plants.
It's slowly replaced by Sphaeralcea ambigua | Apricot mallow.
Close to the Wilson trail, we did find the blooming Monardella linoides linoides | Narrowleaf monardella, posted by Don on iNaturalist.
We frequently see them, but it's rare to see them in good bloom.
On our last visit to Buck Canyon, we spend so much time there that we were unable to complete our trip.
Now it's time to visit Bergstrom Canyon, a very interesting canyon as we found many interesting skeletons.
Last time we found an Erigeron sumatrensis | Tropical horseweed in Buck Canyon, I forgot to make a flower closeup.
And glad we did, we found other very interesting plants in the same spot like Stachys rigida quercetorum, we've never seen in bloom before, at least not this pretty.
Along a steeper south facing hill, a high number of small blooming Kallstroemia parviflora , Warty caltrop.
Many Ericameria cuneata spathulata , Wide leaf rock goldenbus, still in bloom, mostly in the shade.
A Lonicera subspicata denudata , Southern honeysuckle in bloom, we don't see them in bloom very often.
We were very pleased to find many Eriogonum saxatile in their favorite spot, for now they seem to be rare in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
The many Monardella is another reason to return in spring.
Most striking this season, the unusual high number of annual Eriogonum | Buckwheat plants, probably due to the good spring rains.
A trip to explore Buck Canyon, close to Ranchita in BLM.
Mostly a hike following dirt roads, with lots of active springs and seeps along Buck Canyon.
It will take us weeks to explore this area in different seasons.
We added 3 new plants to our list.
Exploring the northern part of the San Felipe Wildlife area.
One of the main quests, to check on the Opuntia engelmannii engelmannii | Engelmann prickly pear and Opuntia phaeacantha | Desert prickly pear.
Almost impossible to keep apart on shape alone.
Species in bloom: 17.
November/09/2019 Blair Valley Granite Mountain Loop
Following the summer rain, close to the trail head a surprising number of blooming plants.
Several: Senna covesii | Desert senna, Krameria | rhatany and one Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus.
Scattered Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed.
Not a spectacular bloom, but the number of different plants in bloom is good for the time of year.
The goal was to hike up to Lower Willows.
The action is along the creek, so we followed the water whenever possible.
Trail, what trail, the changes here are massive since last seasons flash flooding.
The creek shifted, we were able to somewhat follow the stream, up to a real waterfall.
Next we went as north as possible following some sort of trail.
Clearly there are efforts to create a new trail, so far without much success.
The whole trip turned into a real bush walk, like going in blindfolded, sometimes there is no way to see what's going on in front of you.
The jungle is mostly of the none prickly kind. The real obstacles are several feet high, old flattened vegetation, impossible to pass.
In the middle of all that a great find Malacothamnus fasciculatus | Chaparral bush mallow, the only plant we knew existed, close to first crossing, is now gone, washed away.
Here are great fields of Isocoma acradenia eremophila | Solitary leaf alkali goldenbush.
All of a sudden, no way a real great blooming Erythranthe cardinalis | Scarlet monkeyflower in the middle of the creek at it's favorite spot out of direct sunlight.
On our way back, we encountered a hidden pool, impossible to get around.
We made our way to a great field of blooming Phragmites australis | Common reed and were able to get out of the jungle.
The goal was to get a better look at Nevada indigo-bush | Psorothamnus polydenius, as this might be the only place in our area with four plants in the genus Psorothamnus.
We did find Psorothamnus emoryi | Emory's indigo bush in bloom and did catch the leaves of Psorothamnus polydenius | Nevada indigo bush that we wanted to see.
This is one of the best and most scenic hikes around and not that many different plants, a dryer place is hard to find.
Even so we were busy checking out plants left and right, seeing all the old friends again.
One of the highlights, a group of Eriogonum deflexum deflexum | Flat topped buckwheat, with basal leaves, probably germinated 6-7 weeks ago.
We added many plants to one of, or maybe the shortest plant lists we have.
We hiked along a couple of Carlowrightia arizonica | Arizona carlowrightia populations, we've never seen these in bloom here.
These plants have the typical 'grazed' form, that means they hardly get a change to produce short lived flowers.
They did have some fresh fruit, so bloom must be fairly recent.
This is the domain of Prunus fremontii | Desert apricot, making the hike a bit more challenging.
Also one of the few locations with Heteropogon contortus | Tanglehead, blooming right now.
One of the highlights, a couple of weird Eulobus californicus | California suncup;False mustard, that we would have missed if they were out of bloom.
They somehow survived the summer and looked more like perennial plants.
About 6 weeks ago, Ella and Smoketree wash flash flooded.
We explored a new area of Ella wash.
Things look very green compared to other the rest of the badlands.
On our trip we picked up 9 different germinating species.
The main bloomers: Eriogonum deflexum deflexum | Flat topped buckwheat, Funastrum hirtellum | Hairy climbing milkweed and Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills.
Just after the last leaves are gone, some Fouquieria splendens splendens , Ocotillo are in bloom.
Unusual one Opuntia basilaris basilaris | Beavertail in bloom, very rare for them to bloom out of season.
On paper it looks like a short hike, but it's an area filled with deep canyons/gullies and steep falls.
We spend and extra hour finding an acceptable route.
Next our car trip took us down Ella Wash (good), into Palo Verde Wash (good), Cut Across (dry), up Fault Wash (slightly better), Short Wash (dry), Fonts Point Wash (dry except for the Desert Willows).
The goal, to find the boundary of the summer rain, that hit a small area north of Whale Peak.
And time is running out, the rain been long ago and the temperatures first high and later freezing, so most plants are winding down.
Certainly an interesting rough hike, some spotted Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, the good general bloomer is Ericameria brachylepis | Boundary goldenbush.
We've been hiking various parts to find Euphorbia revoluta and were certainly not expecting any here.
But all of a sudden no way there they were, small but very recognizable plants.
The first impression a few plants, not enough for a voucher, but after spending an hour at the location we were finding more and more and estimated the population at 30-100 plants.
In Fish creek the Desert willow | Chilopsis linearis arcuata are looking great, with a couple in good bloom.
The goal was to check on the Narrow leaf Sandpaper Plant | Petalonyx linearis.
We only found some might have been skeletons, zero plants alive.
Finding full blooming Krameria erecta | Pima rhatany and Fouquieria splendens splendens | Ocotillo was the highlight of the trip.
Surprisingly this is the home of hundreds of Pygmy cedar | Peucephyllum schottii one of the few plants that seem to be able to live in the Gypsum rich soil.
A survey of the San Felipe Wildlife area.
From the S2 the area is dryer than we've ever seen it.
Up a fork of Arkansas Canyon things improved some.
Heading back down another fork, things got better, here we found several plants in bloom.
The canyon creek probably stopped flowing a couple of weeks ago, according to the dried flowers, we most likely missed some interesting plants in bloom.
This part of Whale Mountain should be good, due to the recent rain.
Not as good as our previous loop, but the bloom is good for the time of year.
The most numerous bloomer right now is probably Euphorbia setiloba | Yuma spurge.
Most striking, we've never encountered an area with Opuntia chlorotica | Pancake prickly pear this numerous.
Pleased to see one Ericameria teretifolia | Green rabbitbrush, just out of their main habitat around Pinyon Mountain.
Later in the day we found 99+ east of Pinyon Mountian and most if not all in bloom.
Here we searched for Eriogonum saxatile | Rock buckwheat and found several with fresh leaves, now we have to find out when they bloom.
The bloom was good just before the northern Whale peak trail head and reports from Blair Valley suggested rain a couple of weeks ago.
This was even better than expected, thousands of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed in bloom, producing an ever present distinct smell.
All kind of perennials in good bloom even the Sphaeralcea angustifolia | Narrow-leaved Globemallow in the tiny lake above.
Here we found our first blooming Mollugo cerviana | Carpetweed, a thread plant growing by the thousands.
Even in Little Blair Valley proper, while more cooked the bloom still continued, with blooming Kallstroemia parviflora | Warty caltrop and Hilaria rigida | Big galetta.
For us a new blooming plant, Digitaria californica californica | Arizona cottontop, likely introduced at this location and the only known location in San Diego County.
A survey between Pinyon Mountain and Whale Peak, to find Euphorbia revoluta.
The rain probably just missed the Euphorbia revoluta area.
Driving up the dirt road, things got better and better, many Bahiopsis parishii , Parish's goldeneye in bloom and Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed.
The bloom dropped reaching the Euphorbia revoluta locations.
Wow the best blooming Ericameria cuneata spathulata | Wide leaf rock goldenbush, we've ever seen.
Many good blooming Ericameria teretifolia | Green rabbitbrush up the many drainages.
Yes, we could add another new plants to our list, San Jacinto buckwheat | Eriogonum apiculatum.
Mount Laguna reported about half an inch of rain by the end of September.
This is probably the driest higher elevation place we visited this season. Temperatures are close to, or below freezing, that might have something to do with the lack of bloom.
So we able to do a "normal" hike around the meadow.
The highlight of the trip to add a new mistletoe to our list, Arceuthobium campylopodum | Western Dwarf Mistletoe, in bloom no less.
The wind was rather strong, so that made making flower pictures a challenge.
Would there be any sign of the recent rain in Oriflamme? Unfortunately not, we didn't find any water in the creek.
The highlight: perfect Oenothera elata hirsutissima | Hooker's evening primrose, not easy to find a fresh night bloomer, even when you are early in the morning.
Bees are very active in Ericameria brachylepis | Boundary goldenbush that are almost in prime bloom.
We hoped to catch some new plants in bloom and we did.
Finding fresh Hairy thyme leaf spurge, Euphorbia serpyllifolia hirtula in the very dry drainage was the highlight of the day.
A surprise, one Frangula californica tomentella , Hoary coffeeberry still in bloom.
We just missed a few bloomers, that we probably would have seen 2 or 3 weeks earlier, something for next season.
Up the PCT towards Lost Valley Rd.
On the bike down a single good blooming Adenostoma sparsifolium , Red shank.
The PCT looks as dry as it gets. No water in the creek for some time, but eventually it's a real creek.
A couple of Warner springs lessingia | Lessingia glandulifera tomentosa are blooming great.
Still some Eriastrum densifolium elongatum | Giant woolly star that survived blooming in the shade.
We never realized there were so many Ericameria pinifolia | Pine goldenbush on this part of the trail, most of them in bloom.
Finally some Epilobium canum latifolium | California fuchsia and Castilleja minor spiralis , Lesser paintbrush.
Along the creek a lone Erythranthe cardinalis | Scarlet monkeyflower, just past bloom.
October/17/2019 Hawi Vallecito - Storm Canyon Mountain loop short
Time to check out the area around Vallecito.
This looks dry except for a couple of Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed close to our parking.
This time we wanted to take a shortcut, to stay within a 4 hour hike.
A short panic attack with the camera that showed write protected and refused to do anything.
Euphorbia polycarpa , Small seeded spurge responded to the rain and some big Datura wrightii , Jimson weed in the washes.
Stephanomeria is blooming all over.
Otherwise the washes are void of plant life as it usually is out here.
Some pretty Eriogonum plumatella , Yucca buckwheat, some of the best we've ever seen.
A bit higher up towards the saddle plant life improved with some blooming Prunus fremontii , Desert apricot.
Down the shortcut a lot of boulders that were relatively easy to avoid. Below many Funastrum cynanchoides hartwegii , Climbing milkweed, starting to bloom.
This might be the densest collection of springs anywhere in the Anza-Borrego desert, year round water and a swamp.
The hike we took is a jungle tour, but an easy stroll is an option as well.
Always interesting, with some of the most spectacular Epilobium canum latifolium , California fuchsia we've ever seen.
Signs of summer rain, like Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed and many, too many, germinating Erodium cicutarium , Red stem filaree.
The Warner spring area didn't get too much summer rain and that's visible.
Bloom isn't very high along the PCT, except for the fields of Lessingia glandulifera glandulifera , Sticky lessingia.
Luckily there are a couple of springs in the drainages below the PCT.
Here we picked up a lot of bloom and a couple of new plants.
Like Cursed buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus and Western vervain, Verbena lasiostachys.
This must be prime time for Tribulus terrestris , Puncture vine.
Making this up to now, the highest bloom count of the new season.
Right now is time for Stephanomeria exigua deanei , Slender wreathplant deanei in very high numbers, an otherwise almost invisible plant
Beautiful Eriogonum elongatum elongatum , Long stemmed buckwheat and Corethrogyne filaginifolia , California aster.
Some Mirabilis multiflora pubescens , Giant four o'clock are still in bloom, but way past their prime.
Higher up the vegetation is growing back after the fire and covering the old roads.
Here the hike turns into a partial bush walk, still adding some blooming plants, but not many.
Most of the action is closer to the San Felipe Creek (active).
Here we added plants we've never seen before.
Perhaps the most abundant visual bloomer right now is Isocoma acradenia eremophila , Solitary leaf alkali goldenbush.
The smell of peanut butter from the hundreds of Datura wrightii , Jimson weed is everywhere.
One our way back many Tribulus terrestris , Puncture vine in bloom and even more big Boerhavia coccinea , Scarlet spiderling.
The goal is to find Lobelia cardinalis pseudosplendens , Cardinal flower in bloom. We knew a sure location, but last time they were no longer present
The dry Palm Canyon didn't make us very hopeful.
Coyote canyon looks extremly dry, no sign of the recent rain, the Ocotillo and Creosote might be a bit greener.
Once past first crossing plants looked much better, the perennials that is.
To be able driving the bypass road was the big question. Third crossing was interesting and slightly muddy.
Going great until the rocky stretch, it looked like no way.
While walking up the road, it seemed we should be able to make it. It beats a couple of hours hiking.
Barely over some small boulders and yes we arrived in Collins valley.
Here plants are even greener, not a bad sign.
As expected, we were able to follow the dry creek most of the way.
The best blooming plant: Epilobium canum latifolium , California fuchsia.
At the dry fall, the known location we suddenly noticed one Lobelia cardinalis pseudosplendens , Cardinal flower in bloom.
It was kept alive with a few drops of running water.
Now after the third try we finally found them in bloom YES.
Back along the bypass road was slightly easier, on brakes we can go a bit slower.
Plant life along Coyote Canyon isn't too bad, the water is still flowing at Third and somewhat at Second crossing.
We were eager to go back and check out the plants we couldn't ID last time around.
The 2019 spring rain caused the plants to explode, the once easy hike is now a hard and almost impossible hike.
Wanting to find Bassia hyssopifolia, a highly invasive plant and we sure did by the thousands, compared to zero the last time around.
Many first time bloomers for us on this trip, so it was well worth the effort.
This turned into an almost impossible hike, at our halfway point were we found a few Euthamia occidentalis , Western goldenrod last year.
Now there are hundreds if not thousands, forming an almost impregnable jungle.
For a route, even Cirsium vulgare, Bull thistle looked more inviting than everything else.
We did the unthinkable, trying to find the highway and even that turned out to be tough.
There is now a deeper gully towards Pana Spring, many Amaranthus fimbriatus , Fringed amaranth a clear sign of recent rain.
Last season we've noticed skeleton plants that might be monkey flower.
We were stunned to find many Erythranthe cardinalis, Scarlet Monkeyflower in bloom, a rare appearance in de Anza-Borrego Desert.
Bloom is pretty good with the less flashy Baccharis sergiloides , Desert baccharis in good bloom.