Mini-Bloom in Borrego
Last updated 12/3/2018 at 9:40am
It now seems but a distant and faded memory, but back on Oct. 13, Borrego Valley got some rain. Not a lot, but enough to produce the germination of annuals in five locations between the Salton Sea and Borrego Springs.
Fred and Carla Melgert, who provide regular updates on flower blooms in their Anza-Borrego Wildflowers Bloom Report (borregowildflowers.com), were diligent in gathering the info and data. Also, Tom Chester, Kate Harper, and Don Rideout "first saw leafed-out ocotillos and annual germination driving west of S-22 and on SR-78 on Nov. 18."
The bloom of annuals can be viewed along both S-22 and SR-78 (see map).
While the ocotillos have yet to bloom, many annuals in the area did, according to the Melgerts and the other spotters. A thunderstorm near the Salton Sea brought only 0.3 inches in Borrego Springs, but the Ocotillo Wells and Badlands/SR-22 adjacent areas had 0.5 – 2.0 inches, enough to initiate germination. The good news, however, is tainted with a little bad: "Along the immediate roadside," according to the report, "the annuals were unfortunately nearly 99% Brassica tournefortii (a flowering invasive weed – ed.). However, away from the roadside, Brassica tournefortii was only an estimated 10 to 20% of the annuals. This probably means that we will have one more good year in which natives are dominant in that area."
Invasive weeds, including Sahara Mustard and Volutaria, are a problem in the Valley, as they displace the natural blooming annuals if not rooted out – by hand.
The mustard plants were all but wiped out by a combination of Drought years and weeding by volunteers. UCI's Steele-Burnand Desert Research Center associate Sicco Rood is part of the Sahara Mustard and Volutaria Eradication Task Force in Borrego Springs, helping to rid the Valley of invasive species.
So with rain come the flowers, from mini-blooms to super-blooms, but also the invasive flowering weeds.
If any of our readers wish to join the Task Force, there is a two-day weed manager training seminar to be offered at UCI Dec. 5 – 7. Call the UCI office for times and schedules of events at (760) 465-2656.