Wildflowers are blooming in California as a result of the unusually large rainfall in the desert. The event, termed super bloom, is bringing vivid colors and stunning beauty to the desertscape. The flowers, mainly dandelion and a small purple flower, are taking over the landscape in some pretty gorgeous ways.
Cameron Barrows, associate research ecologist at the Center for Conservation Biology said, “After five years of drought the deserts are in bloom again. Seeds stored in the desert sands for 5, 10, or even 30 years have responded to the wetter than average conditions creating carpets of yellow, white and purple flowers – if you know where to look. The bloom has begun, but will likely continue for the next weeks with waves of new color as each species takes its turn. The flowers will then begin blooming at increasingly higher elevations, ensuring colors across our otherwise brown desert landscape for the next month or more.”
“We are seeing a large bloom of wildflowers because rain has followed a long period of drought. Drought gets rid of weeds that compete with flowers, says Richard Minnich, a professor of geography who has written a book on California’s wildflowers. We had five years of drought, then rain, and so wildflowers have taken off.”
Douglas Yanega, is a senior museum scientist in the Entomology Research Museum, notes that despite the heavy rains this past winter, finding a lot of bees on the wildflowers this season is unlikely. This is because there is a yearlong delay in the emergence of bee eggs. Since last year was dry, he says, a lot of bees are not likely going to be emerging this season. “There are going to be a lot of wildflowers this year, but the bee populations are going to be pretty thin. It’s next year – if we have a lot of rain again – that we should have a ton of bees,” he says.
Some other sources think that the “super bloom” could be due to the extra cold winter conditions that California saw earlier this year which help keep moisture in the ground longer.
Where to see the super bloom
The flowers can be seen in many locations across California and the flowers are moving and the best time to see them is in the morning. Henderson Canyon Road, near Pegleg, (junction of Henderson County Road and S22) is an easy spot to reach right now. The “Ocotillo forest” area along Borrego Springs road, south of Tilting T, will be gorgeous when it comes into bloom, (probably by next week).
For daily updates on where to snap the best picture check out the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association’s wildflower updates page here. The 630,000-acre Anza-Borrego State Park is brimming with cheerful colour.
If you are going to go it is advised to go as soon as possible because the flowers are already being consumed by caterpillars and other desert creatures and daily traffic to get into viewing areas is rising.