Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Here Come the Flowers


Last updated 2/14/2023 at 12:46pm

Jim Van Matre

Desert Sunflowers (Geraea Canescens) in the June Wash Area of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Various flowers made their appearance quite early in the beginning of December, and it looks that these flowers are continuing to sprout in many regions around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. So what does this mean?

The long anticipated flowerfest is arriving in our small town of Borrego Springs, as Mother Nature has been doing its best to give us semi-perfect conditions. However, many are not ready to use the "S" word just yet.

Rain has scattered throughout the last couple of months, creating portions of blooms in many parts of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Ocotillo Wells.

As of Jan. 26: Areas of sand verbena, desert sunflowers and desert primrose can be found along the eastern portion of Henderson Canyon Road.

If you are going to visit the northern end of the park, you may want to stop along Henderson Canyon Road between S22 and DiGiorgio, being sure to pull off the side and not stop in the road, to view remaining sand verbena, desert sunflower and desert primrose.

If you are heading to the south end of the park, you may wish to visit June Wash to see some sand verbena. We do recommend 4WD if you are going to explore June Wash. If you have a 2WD vehicle, you can park at the entrance and hike to the flowers.

Remember to help preserve the flowers for the next visitor and do not trample or pick.

Those hunting those flowers can also visit, sponsored by the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association or can call the Wildflower Hotline at 760-767-4684 for the latest bloom information and road conditions.

There are a lot of factors that go into a wildflower bloom including receiving the proper amount of rain at the proper time, temperatures, and desert winds. If all holds up and goes well, March and April should be great months to appreciate the certain wildflower bloom.

How will this bloom compare to the Super Bloom in 2017 and 2019? We will have to see. Stay tuned.

Here are a few tips to enjoy your wildflower visit. (From Ernie Cowan back in 2019, prior to the last Super Bloom Borrego had).

- Come early and consider bringing a picnic. Local restaurants will be swamped on weekends, and what could be more enjoyable than lunch in a field of flowers?

- Carry a comb. It's not just to look pretty but serves a far more important task if you happen to encounter the prickly ball of a cholla cactus.

- The barbed spines are difficult to remove, and if you try to flick the cactus ball off or remove it with gloves or your fingers, you will only spread misery. A comb does a great job of removing the cactus ball and many of the spines. It's then easier to get the last few spines with tweezers or pliers.

- Be adventurous, but not thoughtless. A road that looks good for your sports car won't be if you need to pull over for other traffic. Cars will quickly sink in Soft sand and towing from remote places gets really expensive. Check at wildflower information booths for road conditions. Better yet, hike.

- Getting away from the crowds is easy with even just a short hike. You also move much slower and will discover so many more flower species and perhaps some of the unique and interesting creatures of the desert.

- Beware of snakes. Snake encounters are rare, but spring is a time when temperatures are moderate, and snakes can be active.

- Avoid putting your hands into places you can't see. If you do encounter a snake, let everyone around you know, especially if you think it could be a rattlesnake. Simply back away, and the snake will leave you alone.

From (As of Jan. 28):

We can report that there is a very unusual winter bloom taking place right now, with colorful pockets of Sand Verbena and Dune Evening Primrose, the normal stars of a good spring bloom, and they are blooming right now, at the end of January! This winter bloom can be found in Coyote Canyon, June Wash, The Old Spring Reserve, along the Truckhaven Trail, and likely other areas not yet reported. ABDNHA has free flower maps at our store at 652 Palm Canyon Drive.

One of the question marks in predicting this year's spring bloom has to do with the fact that is very unusual to have these plants blooming in winter. It is not known how this will affect the bloom in February and March, which are the typical bloom months. Will this bloom continue onward, right into the spring, expanding along the way? Will these flowering plants drop more seeds that will germinate and contribute to a larger bloom in springtime?

One complication is that wildflowers are not the only plants growing right now. Grasses, and many other plants, including some invasive weeds are growing rapidly too. With more rain in the forecast.

These undesirable plants can crowd out spring wildflowers. Nobody knows for certain how that will play out. But what we do know is that water is the lifeblood for all living things in the desert, and plants and animals take advantage of water whenever it is here. So the water seeping into the ground right now will be put to good use, and right now this is encouraging lots of plant growth.

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