12/5/14 - 12/6/14
People come to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from all over the world to see the annual wildflowers, which can start blooming as early as mid-February. Here is a guide on what to look for on your next visit to this fabulous California state park in San Diego.
Road Guide to Places to Look for Plants
Suggested Times for Enjoying the Flowers
Plants to Look for by Location
Other Plants to Look For
The Desert in Bloom
Why does the desert bloom so sporadically? Most spring wildflowers in the desert are annuals--they live out their brief lives in a matter of months, then die. They must be sown from seed anew each year like garden annuals. Seeds of desert annuals are quite particular in their requirements. If the soil is too dry because not enough rain has fallen, they won't germinate. If the soil is moist, but the winter has been too cold or too warm, they won't germinate either or may germinate only in low numbers.
During some years the combination of moisture and temperature is just right for certain wildflowers but not for others. In other years a small area will burst into gorgeous bloom while the surrounding countryside is relatively barren. But in the finest years, when the temperature and rainfall requirements of many species have (at long last) been fulfilled, entire counties seem a mass of bloom, and the air is filled with the buzzing of bees and the clicking of cameras.
It's said that such an ideal year comes once every five or ten years. Spring wildflowers have also adapted to the desert by growing only during the time of year when most of us love to be in the desert. Their brief lives are an adaptation to the harsh demands of survival in the desert.
It is important to know that many plants in the Southwest are protected by law and may not be cut or dug up. All cacti, yuccas and agaves are protected, as are ocotillo and many wildflowers that grow from the bulbs. In parks and monuments, all plants are protected. Remember, no plant will thrive in your hands the way it will thrive in its native soil. Enjoy, but do not pick.
For more information visit http://www.abdnha.org/