Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: Bloom report



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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.


Tom Chester made a couple of great pages with more specific data: Tom Chester bloom reports

The 2022-2023 bloom report:

February 5 2023 Best spots right now

Recent rain was good, probably enough to extend the bloom.
There are a lot of good places right now with bloom, basically places with sand that stores water.
All cars:
In the sunflower field along Henderson Canyon Road.
At the end of Di Giorgio Rd.
South along Vallecito Creek, which requires a little hiking..
Easy flower locations with maps

For an easy hike Henderson CanyonThe access road is now closed, adding about 40 minutes. Bloom is good the first hour of the hike on a good almost marked trail.


4x4: June Wash and all sandy washes south of it.
Vallecito Wash, Carrizo Creek, Indian Canyon. Basically from Aqua Caliente up to the Sweeney Pass.


June 22-23 2022

Monsoonal rain, bringing in substantial local precipitation.
Over 3 feet of water flowed along the Sweeney Pass Road.
Water in Clark Dry lake.

Sept 9-10 2022

Monsoonal rain, bringing in substantial precipitation.
A gentle rain brought in 1.5" in Borrego Springs to over 4" in the southern part of the desert.

Febr/8/2023 Sweeney Pass South Canyon loop

Hard to believe that the late June thunderstorm and about 4" of rain that followed in early September had such an effect on the bloom around Sweeney Pass.

The bloom is super for the first and last part of the hike, dropping off considerably at the top of the hike.
Perityle emoryi, Emory's rock daisy, responded like crazy to the monsoon rains, plants are incredibly numerous and as large as it gets.
Our second sighting of a Tegrodera erosa | blister beetle that seems to prefer Fagonia laevis.

Very numerous and huge:
Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown-eyed primrose,
Mentzelia involucrata | Sand Blazing Star.

A little less numerous and as huge as it gets:
Eremothera boothii condensata | Woody bottle washer,
Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower,
Trichoptilium incisum | Yellow head.

Our first couple of blooming Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five-spot of the year, surprisingly close to the end of bloom.

Bloom: Bloom is very good, diversity is moderate.


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Febr/7/2023 Henderson Cayon

We explored one of Henderson Canyon's less accessible forks.
Unfortunately, the road up to the canyon is closed, which adds about 40 minutes to the hike.
Bloom up to Henderson Canyon is good, maybe even better than in Henderson Canyon proper.

Bloom: Bloom is very good, diversity is moderate.


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Dec/12/2022 Henderson Cayon Road -> Zero crossing

A stroll around one of the best flower areas right now.
We looped back along the hillside, that turned out to be not interesting with little bloom, so we headed back to the wash.
Our first two blooming Hesperocallis undulata | Desert lily of the season.

Bloom: Bloom is very good, diversity is low.


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Dec/10/2022 Palo Verde Smoke Tree Loop short

Trichoptilium incisum | Yellow head are blooming exceptionally well, here and in many other places we visited the previous weeks.
Other good bloomers: Dalea, Phacelia crenulata ambigua | Notch leaf phacelia (in some good spots) and Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush.

This is one of the most scenic hikes in the park. The many natural tanks in a drainage are still rather full of water, the reason the trail we followed is were it is.
A single Crossosoma bigelovii | Rock crossosoma in bloom.

Horsfordia newberryi | Newberry's velvet mallow really like rocky canyons, here they are present in high number and better looking than average.

One of the goals on the hike: Finding more small Peucephyllum schottii | Pygmy cedar to check the ID and that worked out great.

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: Bloom is normal and germination is present.


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Dec/09/2022 Moonlight Canyon - Inner Pastures

Bloom is not bad up Moonlight Canyon, but in the shade and rather cold.
This is the only part with shade and otherwise pleasantly warm.

Once in Inner Pasture a good show of Diplacus bigelovii bigelovii | Bigelow's monkey flower and Eriophyllum wallacei wallacei | Wallace's woolly daisy.
Bloom drops as we enter Inner Pasture Canyon.
The large number of illegal motor cycle track doesn't help, bloom is practically gone in the middle of the wash.
It also seems to be on the list of illegal immigrants canyons, as we found a cache of water bottles.

This is one of our less favorite canyons to hike in, going downhill isn't too bad, and the wash feels more solid than usual.
One of the unusual events in the canyon, large Mohavea confertiflora | Ghost flower, hillsides covered with Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy, a good number of Mentzelia | Blazingstar and Petalonyx linearis , Narrow leaf sandpaper plant.
Petalonyx linearis on a known location, recently reported in bloom by group Tom Chester, we haven't seen many younger plants, so this was a must see.
Petalonyx linearis is an annual at this location and shows itself only in a good monsoonal year.

Looking down into Vallecito Creek a pink glow of the unusual amount of blooming Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena.
We are still mapping the range of Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant and found the last of the last recognizable monsoonal plants.

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: Bloom is good and germination is good, way above normal for the time of year, a spring bloom is often more divers and more abundant.


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Dec/08/2022 Torote Canyon Loop

The Eucnide rupestris | Rock nettle plants are certainly big enough to spot by car.
The shiny appearance, like wet from rain and the inflorescence makes it easy to see them from far away.
This is by far the biggest population we and Tom Chester ever found Now that the plants are bigger than a couple of weeks ago we added even more. There is something about the canyon that the plants like. The crushed granitic soil that probably absorbs a good amount of water and a flat area above that results in even more water.
Rocks that the plants like and there is more shade in the steep canyons.

It's likely a different climate in parts of the Indian Canyon and Torote canyon that brings more monsoonal rain.

Many Perityle emoryi , Emory's rockdaisy in Torote, but drops off in the fork we went up and into Indian valley.
Finally our first blooming Mentzelia hirsutissima | Hairy blazingstar of the season, big and many.
Acamptopappus sphaerocephalus sphaerocephalus | Desert goldenhead responded to the monsoonal rain, here and in other locations. We noticed more plants in bloom than in any spring.
The same for Marina parryi , Parry's dalea that we've never remember blooming this abundant before, in so many locations.

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: Bloom is good and germination is good, way above normal for the time of year, even as good as in many spring years.


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Dec/06/2022 Truckhaven Rocks

Our favorite Asclepias subulata | Rush milkweed at the start is long gone, but there are more up in the canyons.
Many of the Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster are almost out of bloom.
The boulder passage was more severe now, but we could still crawl around.
In a lot of locations Psorothamnus spinosus | Smoketree now responds to the monsoonal rain, not as good as in spring, but still good and nice smelling.

Bloom: Bloom is low, close to average.


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Dec/05/2022 Slot Loop north of Olla Wash

A loop in an obscured fork of the South Fork, that starts as a small slot canyon.
One of the few places Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster, grows far outside of the wash on sandstone.

So far we've seen hundreds of ever larger Malperia tenuis | Brown turbans, but non in bloom, until today.
Our first blooming Eremalche rotundifolia | Desert five spot this the season.

Of the 3 hikes today, bloom here tops all others.

This was a very short hike see below for hikes on the same date.

Bloom: Bloom is good and germination is good.


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Dec/05/2022 Fork north of Olla Wash

Just an obscured fork of the South Fork, with lots of Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster.
Bloom is actually better than the Mud Palisades below.

This was a very short hike see above and below for hikes on the same date.

Bloom: Bloom is good and germination is good.


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Dec/05/2022 Mud Palisades

We parked a bit higher into the canyon at the point the loop starts.
An larger field of probably over 50 Astragalus crotalariae | Salton milkvetch, some in bloom.
In bloom in higher numbers: Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose and Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.

In the Fish Creek South Fork, between the loop road exits, our first ever fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
Once we came closer to the Abronia villosa villosa, we were welcomed with a pleasant smell.

This was a very short hike see above for hikes on the same date.

Bloom: Bloom is good and germination is good.


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Dec/03/2022 North of Clark dry lake loop

Achyronychia cooperi | Frost mat is everywhere along the route we took.
Bloom and germination is concentrated in the sandy areas, a rather large area with a high number of very large Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
In the same area lots of Baileya pauciradiata | Laxflower, Stillingia spinulosa | Annual stillingia and large fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena.
We even found one Phacelia ivesiana | Ives phacelia in bloom.

In the rocky area closer to the mountains huge Dalea mollissima | Downy dalea and nice blooming Marina parryi | Parry's dalea
There aren't too many bad plants out here yet, except for what seems to be a new Volutaria tubuliflora | Knapweed location.

Bloom is good in the sand dunes.

Bloom: good in the sandy areas, in the same location germination is good.


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Dec/02/2022 Box Canyon East Fork Loop

There is still a closed off sign, that closes off Lower Willows, probably because some tourist had problems with the slippery mud.
Hiking a bit to the east should be fine.
First of all, this is probably the rockiest hike we've done this season.

It's in the sixties, cold enough for the Mirabilis laevis retrorsa | Wishbone plant (a night bloomer) to show its full glory.
Psorothamnus spinosus | Smoketree often bloom here at the end of the year, now all of them are in bloom.
A couple of nice blooming Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush.

There are plenty Boerhavia triquetra intermedia | Fivewing spiderling, some Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed and once in a while a couple of nice Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed amaranth.
Euphorbia eriantha | Beetle spurge is present in very high numbers along the hike.

Bloom isn't even that bad, but much less then in other places, even a blooming Prunus fremontii | Desert apricot.

Bloom: low, normal, germination spotty.


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Dec/01/2022 Fossil Cayon

The first goal was to find Eucnide rupestris | Rock nettle on a known voucher location.
Carla stepped out of the car and the first plant she checked was a tiny Eucnide rupestris. You never know with vouchers, how accurate the location is, but we are certainly in the right place.
We checked the main canyon systematically and found 37 plants. On our search we scrambled up the canyon sides and some drainages and forks, but weird enough we only found plants in the rocky main wash.
This might be the whole population, or we missed a whole population somewhere hidden in a fork or up a drainage.
It's so incredibly green wherever you look.
Plants are difficult to spot as they look almost identical to the thousands of Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy, both varied in leaf shape and plant color.
Within 10 meters it was possible to spot the right plant to check. Most Eucnide rupestris, look wet and in effect more shiny, in doubt the rough touch of Eucnide rupestris was evident.
In flower as many were, the ID was really simple.

The second goal was to check on the Lepidium fremontii | Desert pepper grass population, only a couple of plants (3), with some in bloom and best of all a seedling (1).

The canyon and its walls are unusually green, we've never seen it like this before and certainly not by the end of the year.
Diversity is low and many mono cultures on the hill sides, like:
A hill covered with Chylismia cardiophylla cardiophylla | Heart leaf suncup.
Many flattish areas covered with Fagonia pachyacantha | Sticky fagonia, many must be very young, most likely germinated this year.
The plant in most abundance overall and by a very wide margin Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy.

This is also the highest concentration of Echinocactus polycephalus polycephalus | Cottontop cactus we know.
Most look happy and with fruit and best of all we found 2 young plants.
We feared it would be difficult to distinguish them from a possible Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus, but it turned out we had a very positive ID on Echinocactus polycephalus polycephalus.

All the blooming plants we found, responded very well to the monsoonal rain, that's might have resembled a good late spring rain, with a probably 4"+ rain.
We've seen most plants in bloom, except for the cacti, 47 in all.
Bloom is better than any spring bloom we've seen in the area, certainly in abundance and maybe in diversity.

Bloom: very good for the area, germination good, plant diversity low.


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Nov/29/2022 Alma Wash

Bloom is mostly gone, we picked up some of the last.
A bit of a surprise as the bloom was good roadside with fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed.

In Alma Wash,
Bloom on the Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills must have been good.
Some Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed dotted around the area.

The mouth of Alma Canyon is generally one of the better flower spots, but not today.
On other occasions we found Johnstonella racemosa, now the plants seem to be gone.

On our return, we went all the way down the 78, to the highway intersection to check out a reported Asphodelus fistulosus and we found it in bloom.

Bloom: low, germination low.


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Nov/28/2022 Diablo Dieguenos Loop

The bloom, while driving down the Vallecito Wash is still very good.
Up the Arroyo Seco del Diablo "road", frequently whole wall segments broke off, making you realize, you don't want to be there when this happens.

We took an alternative maybe shorter route in a smaller wash.
Bloom for this otherwise barren area is spectacular and germination is certainly good.
Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena is present in abundance.
Many: Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose, Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower and Aliciella latifolia latifolia | Broad leaf gilia.
We even found blooming Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.

This is even better than a good spring bloom.
We have to revisit in February to see how long the bloom lasts.

Bloom: very good, germination very good for the area.


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Nov/27/2022 Bighorn Canyon - Blue Spring - Nolina Canyon Loop

The goal was to revisit Johnstonella racemosa | Bushy cryptantha, Bush Milkvetch | Astragalus pachypus pachypus and find Petalonyx linearis | Narrow leaf sandpaper plant.
We only found Bush Milkvetch | Astragalus pachypus pachypus, happy but without fruit or flower.

The best bloomers on our trip Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Epilobium canum latifolium | California fuchsia, Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush and Condea emoryi | Desert lavender.
Almost no germination in Bighorn Canyon, some as we entered Nolina Canyon, but only for some short stretches.

Perennials look happy and the Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus filled with water.

We did encounter two Aphonopelma eutylenum | California Ebony Tarantula.

Bloom: low, germination low.


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Nov/25/2022 Hawi Vallecito - Lower Storm Canyon loop

We wanted to check out one of our favourite areas, bloom is way past it's peak, but still divers.
The big surprise, a high number of good blooming Acamptopappus sphaerocephalus sphaerocephalus | Desert goldenhead.

Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye is still somewhat in bloom and among the thousands of Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush only a few are in some bloom.
One of the better native bloomers, Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed and certainly Eriogonum wrightii nodosum | Wright's buckwheat (nodosum).

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: good in number of different plants, but low on abundance.


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Nov/24/2022 Rattlesnake Lute Fault loop

In other years we would say the bloom is good, now we have a higher benchmark, making the bloom with 20 different plants, not too bad for the time of year.

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: low, but not too bad for the time of year.


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Nov/23/2022 North of Canebrake loop

The goal was to visit two canyons that look similar to Indian Canyon, looking for Eucnide rupestris | Rock nettle.
We found nothing, but we did find an excellent November bloom.
Maybe the best find today: blooming Eremothera refracta | Narrow leaf suncup.

Many blooming Mentzelia involucrata | Sand blazing star.
And like in many places almost too many Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy.

Most of the blooming plants are in the links below.

Bloom: very good for the time of year, germination good.


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Nov/21/2022 Sweeney Jojoba Wash Sin Nombre loop

A thunderstorm at June 22-23 and about 4" at Sept 9-10 shows.
Wow, something we've never seen here, canyon walls green from Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy.
This is November, if it were spring this would still be a good bloom.

Our first blooming Mohavea confertiflora |Ghost flower and Eulobus californicus ,|California suncup;False mustard of the season.
Many very large Mentzelia involucrata |Sand blazing star, many in bloom and more to come.

Bloom of the Cylindropuntia ramosissima | Diamond cholla must have been very good, a massive amount of fruit. Wow a fully yellow Euphorbia polycarpa | Small seeded spurge, we see them rarely.

And the best of all many plants are going to bloom soon.

Bloom: very good for the time of year, germination good to very good.


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Nov/19/2022 Harper Dams

Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush are all in bloom, along the Pinyon Wash Road.
A lot of Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard along the "road" and into the canyon liked the rain.
Germination is very good, especially in the partially sunny canyon.

Manny Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush are in full bloom and Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye are blooming just fine.
The many Senna armata | Spiny senna are still in bloom, but certain past peak bloom.

In Harper Canyon, in the shade, many Ericameria teretifolia , Green rabbitbrush in bloom.
Our first blooming Salvia apiana | White sage of the season.
A single blooming Acamptopappus sphaerocephalus sphaerocephalus | Desert goldenhead.
Our seasons first in bloom, Malacothrix glabrata | Desert dandelion and Nama demissa demissa | Purplemat.
All in all the bloom is surprisingly good.

Bloom: good for the time of year, germination good.


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Nov/18/2022 Tarantula wash San Felipe creek loop

This time we went all the way to the Carrizo Wash and following the Carrizo Wash back.
The Carrizo Wash is a jungle of Tamarisk, not very interesting.
In between some very interesting flower spots.

Bloom: spotty, sometimes not bad for the area.


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Nov/17/2022 EC085 Sand Loop

Wide fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and some blooming Oenothera deltoides deltoides , Dune evening primrose.
Bloom: very good for the time of year and certainly for the terrain.


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Nov/17/2022 Loom Lobby Range Loop

We passed wide fields of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena on our way in. It was good enough that we hiked here as well, but that's for another report, see above.
The bloom is interesting and good.
Really pleased to see blooming Atriplex elegans fasciculata | Wheelscale.

Not so long ago the area was covered with Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, some still remain in bloom.
The washes could be easily named Hilaria rigida | Big galetta, it's really lining the washes for a long time.

As expected we found plenty of the widespread Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge.
And so far as we can tell Atriplex canescens macilenta and Atriplex canescens linearis, distinctly different.

Bloom: good for the time of year and certainly for the terrain.


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Nov/15/2022 Bow Willow Rockhouse Canyon Loop East

Bow Willow reported a good bloom, time to check out our new loop.
There even was a very late blooming Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant close to the start.
Check the photos in the link below.

Our best finds of the day: Our first seedling of Senna armata | Spiny senna, we've been looking for them for a very long time.
Many more Proboscidea althaeifolia on our way back in Rockhouse Canyon.

Bloom is less in the Rockhouse Canyon Wash, good further towards Bow Willow Wash.

Bloom: good for the time of year.


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Nov/12/2022 Little Clark dry lake loop

We didn't expect much bloom, but we were pleasantly surprised by the densest field of not yet flowering Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose.
Next really huge fields as far as we could see of Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, mixed with huge numbers of larger Achyronychia cooperi | Frost mat.
This might be the first time we noticed the strong sweet smell of Abronia villosa villosa.

The bloom and green plants continued all the way up to Little Clark Dry Lake.
Huge fields of large Sphaeralcea angustifolia | Narrow leaf globemallow.

Close to the lake, huge fields of larger Lepidium lasiocarpum lasiocarpum | Hairy podded pepper grass.

So far the number of Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard was low, until now.
Close to Little Clark Dry Lake, large fields of solid green, mostly Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard.
This certainly looks like a possible habitat for Lepidium flavum felipense | Blair Valley pepper-grass.

Bloom: very good, huge flower fields, not divers.


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Nov/10/2022 South Carrizo North loop

We had to check out the area with one of the best bloom, before it's gone.
Our goal was to find more Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant in this area and we did.
It's amazing that some of these plants are still in bloom.

We went into Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy overflow, its everywhere in the washes and covering the hillsides.
Hillsides not facing the sun are generally the best right now.

Our first blooming Eschscholzia parishii | Parish's poppy, Mentzelia involucrata | Sand blazing star and Cuscuta denticulata | Desert dodder of the season.

Bloom: good certainly for November.


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Nov/08/2022 Thimble Palo Verde loop

Wide Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed fields, mostly close to the end of bloom.

Spotty Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and most of the Xylorhiza orcuttii | Orcutt's woody aster in bloom.
There certainly are a lot of Dalea mollis | Silky dalea, many in bloom.

The good, there are certainly a lot of small Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, but not many larger happy plants.
But this will most likely change after the winter rains, but some annuals certainly had a head start.

Bloom: in the sandy areas, not bad, good for the time of year, germination plants. In the badlands almost no bloom or germination.


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Nov/07/2022 San Sebastian Marsh West

While driving down the 78, the desert looks very barren, nothing in bloom, this looks bad.
On the other hand the water from all the thunderstorms eventually ends up here.

Soon after we hiked down, the densest fields of Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose we've found this season, a single plant in bloom.

Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed are dotted along the creek and many Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.
Many Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose, some in bloom.
Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, like where not is blooming good.

We added a Atriplex lentiformis lentiformis | Big saltbush seedling to our collection.
Unusual to find both Fagonia pachyacantha | Sticky fagonia and Fagonia laevis | California fagonia close together.
No mature Psorothamnus spinosus | Smoketree, but not for the lack of trying, there are plenty of seedlings.
On our hike the seasons first Aphonopelma eutylenum | California Ebony Tarantula, except for encounters by car.

A couple of blooming Lycium brevipes brevipes | Common desert thorn on our return.

Wondering why we didn't find Eriogonum deserticola | Dune buckwheat, this is a typical habitat, we found a small plant in the wash, not a typical place.
It's probably because it's habitat, small dunes are occupied by mostly dead and dying Prosopis glandulosa torreyana | Honey mesquite.

And last but not least yet another location of Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge, now a far from rare, widespread plant.

Bloom: good since this is November.


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Nov/06/2022 Sin Nombre Carrizo East Loop

We wanted to be absolutely sure the South Carrizo Creek trail was dry.
The "road" is a bit sandier than usual, a good sign indicating flash flooding.
A lot of emergency stops along the road to photograph Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant, still recognizable from the car by its circular appearance.

Wow, this is a flower hot spot, in spring we would consider this a good bloom, in November this is super.
An Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena overflow along the creek and on the hike and on our way back along the Vallecito Creek Wash Road, really spectacular.
This is one of the best Abronia villosa villosa displays ever, much better than we've seen around Borrego Springs.
At least some of this must be the result of the June 2022 thunderstorm, that washed away part of the S2 at Sweeney Pass.

A lot of first of the season bloomers, shown in the links below.

Bloom: very good, a good number of Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, germination good to very good.


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Nov/04/2022 Vallecito Creek below Campbell Grade

Many like us will pass The Campbell Grate without thinking about the Vallecito Creek / Wash, hidden behind a hill.

We were curious about the most northern range of the Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant Vallecito population and we found several.
This is also one of the densest concentration of Cylindropuntia fosbergii | Mason valley cholla, we mapped some of the hundreds of more plants here.

This are is now covered with sometimes huge Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple.
One of the first areas we've seen a more general Encelia farinosa farinosa | Brittlebush bloom.

The creek is dry and at first easy to follow, but getting dens.
There is some sort of wildlife trail in the middle of the creek, making hiking a bit easier.
We stopped as we expected nothing more interesting happening this time of year.

Bloom: not bad, germination spotty, sometimes good, too many non-natives close to the "creek".


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Nov/03/2022 North of Alma Wash

The area looked promising, seeing the vast fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed.
Starting on our hike the wash was gone, replaced by a wide dirt road, following the wash.
The "road" seems to turn more south as our destination is in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

The whole area was covered in Boerhavia wrightii | Wright's spiderling, now out of bloom.
Still in good bloom Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills.
All the Psorothamnus spinosus | Smoketree in the canyon are in bloom, some in full bloom.
Starting to bloom and in abundance Perityle emoryi , Emory's rockdaisy.

Bloom: Low, good germination on the canyon walls, but only on the south side (in the shade) and almost nothing on the north (sun facing) canyon walls.


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Nov/02/2022 Thimble - Short Wash Loop

We had to deviate because of the dark clouds and some rainbows.

The goal was to relocate the seedlings Krameria | rhatany we found a year ago. One was dead and the others were probably buried in sand.

Along the Thimble trail Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed close to the end of bloom and one patch of Helianthus petiolaris canescens | Gray desert sunflower.

Some Fouquieria splendens splendens | Ocotillo are in bloom and Cylindropuntia ramosissima | Diamond cholla might still be in bloom.
A very unusual Phoradendron californicum | Desert mistletoe (if that what it is) on Psorothamnus spinosus | Smoketree, it took over the appearance of the host plant.

A large number of larger Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower, some in bloom.
The best find of the day a patch of about 50 Cleomella obtusifolia | Mojave cleomella.
In the sandy areas you find some Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena in bloom.

Driving back along Short Wash and down Fonts Point Wash, plenty of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed but fainting.
The Isocoma acradenia eremophila | Toothed leaved alkali goldenbush are in good bloom, better than on our hike.

The Badlands look promising.

Bloom: Above normal, germination good.


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Oct/30/2022 Golden Queen mine lake loop

One of the last opportunities for a higher elevation visit.

One of the best bloomers is Helianthus gracilentus | Slender sunflower.

Bloom: low, normal.


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Oct/29/2022 The Potrero hill loop

Stepping out of the car right in the middle of one of the densest Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed fields your can find right now.
The smell is overwhelming, the strongest of the season.
Huge blooming Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple.

Closer to the main wash, Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed fields everywhere.
With many Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant, some still in bloom.
Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge is all over.

Going up towards the hills in a sometimes too dense Prosopis glandulosa torreyana | Honey mesquite, but mostly it's a forest of Larrea tridentata | Creosote bush.

The hills are still pretty, but not even close to what it must have been a week ago when Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye were in full bloom. Now some are still blooming, but turning white and sometimes looking weird.

In the sandy areas good blooming Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena and some Allionia incarnata villosa | Large flowered trailing windmills.

Bloom: above average for the time of year, very good flower fields.


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Oct/28/2022 Pena Spring - California Loop

The Pena Spring area seems to be one of the best places to look for happy plants.
Driving up the dirt road most Salvia apiana | White sage completely lost their flower stalks.
A couple of weeks ago Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye bloom spectacular in this area, now it's back to some individual plants.
Now the one of the best yellow blooming plants is Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush.

Senecio flaccidus monoensis | Shrubby Butterweed;Mono groundsel are blooming good along our hike.
The Erythranthe cardinalis | Scarlet monkeyflower population hidden in Pena Spring is doing great with a lot of flowering plants.

One of the best bloomers right now are Epilobium canum latifolium | California fuchsia, they are in very good bloom.
And not to forget Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock having one of the best end of the year bloom in recent years.
Another happy bloomer right now Brickellia californica | California brickellbush, with a nice smell.

Cordylanthus rigidus setiger | Bristly bird's beak out of bloom almost everywhere, are blooming higher up the canyon.

All in all the bloom on our previous hike, in the area felt a bit better.

The CRH is in bad shape, eroded, narrow and slippery.

Bloom: above average for the time of year, germination good.


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Oct/26/2022 Stone wash

There is a road closed sign just past the Elephant Tree exit.
A clearly forgotten sign, because the Gypsum mine truck was driving behind us.
The road washed away at the Fish Creek crossing, now repaired with gravel.

There sure is evidence of flash flooding and the "road" shifted a bit, but is still not worse than previously.

The North Fish Creek Fork, is always a rocky one, in some years we can drive all the way, now we stopped 1 1/2 hour (in and out) before the original parking.
This gives us time to explore the Lyceum Wash.
Leaves on the Lycium fremontii | Fremont's desert thorn are especially large, the recent rain brought the plants back from the brink of dead.

The best bloomer in the Lyceum Wash, Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills with some germination mainly in the shade.

Up a rocky drainage to enter the Rock Canyon from above.
Along the way some dotted Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed and in abundance Boerhavia wrightii | Wright's spiderling.

Finally several blooming Geraea canescens | Desert sunflower.

Bloom: above average for the time of year, germination average.


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Oct/25/2022 Chimney Rock Loop

We picked one of our older hikes in the area that went past Amaranthus torreyi | Torrey's amaranth a plant that was rather uncommon to us for at least a decade, until now.
Finding hundreds of plant indicates, this is an unusually good end of the year.
Off course Amaranthus fimbriatus , Fringed amaranth is present in far higher numbers, but fairly easy to separate.
Both are close to the end of bloom.

Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock are exceptionally good blooming, in some years, you almost see none.
There is some Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed and more Cuscuta californica californica | California dodder, mostly along the California trail, than we've ever seen before.

Unusual to find many Phacelia minor | Wild canterbury bells in bloom in October.
Even some blooming Eriophyllum wallacei wallacei | Wallace's woolly daisy and Lasthenia gracilis | Common goldfields.
Germination of native plants is good and we may have a bloom in a month, if it stays warm enough, otherwise they will probably bloom in spring, or both.

We are just in time for prime bloom of Ericameria cuneata spathulata | Wide leaf rock goldenbush, that love boulders.

This is the year that Sorghum bicolor | Sorghum pops up in many places, like here.

Bloom: good for the time of year.


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Oct/24/2022 Ant hill loop

We started a bit further up the wash, not much going on up to the park boundary.
The rain skipped a stretch, there is enough Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed around the landfill and towards town.

Hundreds of blooming Abronia villosa villosa | Desert sand verbena, closer to the end than the beginning of bloom.
Huge fields of Kallstroemia californica | California caltrop, not much in bloom, because of the cold or most are simply past bloom.
Large numbers of grasshoppers, that will most likely remove the Kallstroemia californica.

Fouquieria splendens splendens | Ocotillo are starting an end of the year bloom.
Some Helianthus petiolaris canescens | Gray desert sunflower are already in good bloom.

Caterpillars Danaus gilippus | queen are fighting, for what is left of the Asclepias subulata | Rush milkweed flower buds. Only 5 buds left for at least 3 Caterpillars.
That's why we often find Asclepias subulata with stems eaten and no flowers.

Germination is not bad, we found plenty Oenothera deltoides deltoides | Dune evening primrose, Baileya pauciradiata | Laxflower, Chylismia claviformis peirsonii | Brown eyed primrose and Eremothera boothii condensata | Woody bottlewasher.

The good, almost no Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard along our hike.
The bad, to many Brassica tournefortii | Sahara mustard;Asian mustard closer to the landfill.
Bloom: good for the time of year.


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Oct/22/2022 Mason Valley Salt Creek Loop

The goal of the day was to find out what happened to the Penstemon spectabilis spectabilis | Showy penstemon seedlings.
They did grow, but still far from bloom.

Like many places right now, it seems like every Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye is in full bloom.
Everything yellow, combined with fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed (still fresh) and good blooming Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed.
An overwhelming smell from the many Pectis and a nice smell from Bahiopsis parishii.

Finally Hibiscus denudatus | Rock hibiscus seem to start their bloom, we found many in bloom.

The middle of Salt Creek is the Pectis papposa papposa divide, almost no plants east.
Some Malacothamnus enigmaticus | Enigmatic bushmallow in bloom around the spring and lots of seedling along the slope.

Still many Argemone munita | Prickly poppy, but few in bloom yet and already some died.

Spectacular along the hike a huge number of often enormous Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge.
It's rare to see more than a dozen blooming Menodora scabra glabrescens | Broom twinberry.

The mobile water trailer is still there, metal with wooden spokes in the wheels, a nice mix of new and old.

Bloom: good for the time of year.


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Oct/21/2022 San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area

We had the idea that Proboscidea parviflora parviflora | Pink devil's claw was only present along the 78, in fact they wander far into the Wildlife area on both sides of the 78. Very early in the morning Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock are especially pretty. In the morning they gradually close.
Also flowering in the morning Datura wrightii | Jimson weed, forming large fields with huge flowers.

Unfortunately, this used to be a farming area, with an excess of non-native plants.
Further up to Vulcan Mountain and to the south, native plants are more prominent.

This is an overlap area where Cucurbita palmata | Coyote melon and Cucurbita foetidissima | Stinking gourd grow next to each other.

Good bloomers right now are the yellow flowering Encelia actoni | Acton brittlebush and Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed.

You see Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed amaranth after monsoonal rain, a plant here and there, but here they grow in large high density fields.

Germination is very good, but 90%+ are not native.

Warning: A reminder, you are ONLY allowed to enter from the S2.

Bloom: not bad.


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Oct/20/2022 Tule and Parks Canyon

A long 4 hours return from our home, the dirt road into Upper Coyote Canyon is getting worse by the year.
We barely made it to our parking spot, certainly not a road to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Still hard to believe, that a couple of years ago we made it into Horse Canyon by car.

Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye is blooming great, as it does all over the Borrego Desert.
Another Cuscuta then lower in the canyon a nice blooming Cuscuta subinclusa | Canyon dodder.

Parks Canyon has one of the largest Hilaria rigida | Big galetta fields you can find in the Borrego Desert.

Smelling a dead deer? in Parks Canyon, the same smell was present in Coyote Canyon, from the blooming Lepidospartum squamatum | Scale broom;California broomsage.
Lepidospartum squamatum , Scale broom;California broomsage are the first to bloom, closely followed by Ericameria paniculata | Blackbanded rabbitbrush, going in full bloom soon.
You can separate Lepidospartum squamatum (bad smell) and Ericameria paniculata (nice smell) by smell right now.

One of the goals was to revisit the Dieteria asteroides asteroides | Hoary aster we found by accident, the last time we went up horse canyon.
The same single plant is still doing fine.
Fun part, on our way back towards Anza we were pretty sure the plants were lining the road, but too dangerous to stop.

Bloom: not bad.


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Oct/18/2022 Sunrise Trail Head to Rattle Snake Valley Ridge

We haven't been here in October, one of the goals to see Ericameria cuneata macrocephala | Laguna mountains goldenbush in bloom.
There are likely more Ericameria cuneata macrocephala than we found, but they are impossible to spot in this terrain, even in bloom unless you are real close.
We did find a lot, but only one larger plant, hanging from a crack, in the shade, at least most of the day.

Bloom was good for Epilobium canum latifolium | California fuchsia, Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed and Erigeron divergens | Spreading fleabane, the last only close to the start.
There are plenty of Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush but (no longer) blooming faintly.

We did find Limosella acaulis | Stemless mudwort that we've only seen once before, here a lucky find as a couple of these tiny plants are almost invisible.

Strangely enough, we found no evidence of the recent rain, in the two man made pools along our route.
Bloom: low.


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Oct/17/2022 Culp Valley Jasper Trail

Our goal was to find Tobacco plants that we've never seen before, because of the rain this seems to be a good year.
Germination is very good, but 95% not native, like Erodium cicutarium | Red stem filaree and mustards.

Mirabilis multiflora pubescens | Giant four o'clock are blooming extremely well, at night and early or late in the day.
These are among the best blooming Eriogonum wrightii membranaceum | Wright's buckwheat (membranaceum) we've ever seen.
Some Sphaeralcea ambigua | Apricot mallow in bloom, a high number will follow.

A very common plant out here Scrophularia californica | California beeplant, growing in the many rock formations.
Really spectacular are the huge Datura wrightii | Jimson weed plants, mainly around the rocks.

A group of what might be Euphorbia albomarginata | Rattlesnake spurge, weird looking and growing unusually erect, they seem to be infected.

Unfortunately we found no Tobacco plants at all on our trip. They might have been fire followers or just invisible in the fields of not native plants.

Bloom: annuals low, perennials some.


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Oct/16/2022 San Felipe East loop

Here we broke one of our first rules, never drive a wash after rain.
It did rain, about 0.l5" and the wash was indeed muddy.

Some of the Cylindropuntia echinocarpa | Golden cholla;Silver cholla are in bloom, most plants show recent full bloom.
Huge carpets of Kallstroemia californica | California caltrop at the end of bloom.
Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed are most likely past peak bloom, not sure what the recent rain will do.

The number of Asclepias subulata | Rush milkweed is high in these washes and most of them are in bloom.
Most of them with one or more Danaus gilippus | Queen eating the buds.

A good number of Cuscuta californica papillosa | Chaparral dodder are starting to bloom, following the return wash down.
Most of them have Psorothamnus schottii | Indigo bush as host.

Bloom: past peak bloom for now.


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Oct/14/2022 Warner Springs - California - PCT Loop

It's unusual green at the start of the hike, with many blooming Stephanomeria exigua deanei | Slender wreathplant deanei.
Heterotheca sessiliflora echioides | Bristly goldenaster in a lot more places than before.

A nice blooming white Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum | Sapphire woolly star.
As a surprise one blooming Erythranthe cardinalis | Scarlet monkeyflower, in the dried out creek.

Finally in the drier looking part we went looking for the reason of this trip, Proboscidea louisianica louisianica | Common devil's claw.
YES one good blooming plant and two with battered flowers. A total population of 2 larger plants and 30+ smaller plants.

On our way back the grassland is rather barren and reddish from the grazed Portulaca oleracea | Common purslane.

Next stop the second voucher location and here we went into overload, dozens of big good blooming Proboscidea louisianica louisianica | Common devil's claw.

Bloom: greener than usual, not bad.


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Oct/13/2022 San Felipe Borrego Sink Loop

Driving down the San Felipe Wash the ground is covered by Kallstroemia californica , California caltrop.
Patches of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed.

It's warm, 93 at the end of our 3 1/2 hours hike.
A surprise at the start, a blooming Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant, later we found 2 more down the San Felipe Wash.

Blooming Boerhavia wrightii , Wright's spiderling, extra small Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills, and Kallstroemia californica | California caltrop along our hike.
Strong pleasantly smelling Encelia frutescens frutescens | Button brittlebush.
Some good blooming Lycium brevipes brevipes | Common desert thorn.

The goal of the day, checking on the playa we found last year, it was carpeted with monsoonal plants like Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed.
We could now confirm the ID of the blooming Sphaeralcea angustifolia | Narrow leaf globemallow.

At the end we cut our hike short as we were already 3 1/2 hours underway and it was getting warm.

Bloom: good for the time of year, but winding down.


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Oct/12/2022 Domelands wind caves Loop

We've seem Psorothamnus polydenius | Nevada indigo bush barely in bloom once and tried for years.
It seems a monsoonal rain does the trick, > 100 plants in good bloom.
Previously our best bloom of Psorothamnus polydenius was three.
It's still way to warm for this 4 1/2 hour hike at 80-92 degrees, but we didn't want to wait any longer and miss prime bloom.

Bloom is better than we've ever seen, in this generally barren area.
Fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed is a treat.

An overwhelming butterfly activity focused on the many blooming Bebbia juncea aspera | Sweetbush.

Really surprised to see Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills, closing flowers around noon.
Even Fagonia pachyacantha | Sticky fagonia was fully closed on our way back around one o'clock.

Germination is strong, we are tempting to return in a couple of months.

Bloom: as good as it gets in this area, germination strong.


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Oct/09/2022 Cherry Flat

We hiked up Conejos trail and went towards the known location of Ericameria nauseosa bernardina | Bernardina rabbitbrush and Aspidotis densa | Serpentine fern.
The planned route should take us along the plants, but it's hard to know what to encounter from Google Earth.

It was a real bush walk, dense scrubs, fallen trees, burned down shrubs, boulders combined with steeper terrain.
Halfway up looking at the GPS, I was missing the plants as I forgot to update the plant database.

Now we were hiking a bit blind, but after studying the route at home, it should still work.

We found the Aspidotis densa | Serpentine Fern easily, a plant in some abundance and recognizable.
The Ericameria nauseosa bernardina | Bernardina Rabbitbrush was on a strange location according to an iNaturalist observation.
A very hard to get to location, with no plants. Eventually an abundant number of plants in very easy terrain.
We missed prime bloom, if there was any, but any flower works just as well.

The return route was more difficult as we were getting somewhat tired and the stretches of dense scrubs and very rocky terrain were much longer and frequent than we remembered going up.

Bloom: not bad, but mostly winding down.


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Oct/08/2022 Blair Valley Mason Valley overlook loop

Bloom in Blair Valley is good with fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed.
The end of the hike is just across one of the best flower places in Vallecito.
Bloom is good and will get better, as many plants are still in bud.

There are an incredible number of Menodora scabra glabrescens | Broom twinberry in bloom.
Krameria erecta | Pima rhatany also responds to monsoonal rain with very good bloom.
We even found one Yucca schidigera | Mojave yucca in bloom and several Agave deserti deserti | Desert agave with flower stalks.

Bloom is significantly better than last years October.

Bloom: good, will get better in a week or two, germination is divers.


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Oct/07/2022 PCT along Combs Peak

We had two goals, first to find better blooming Ericameria nauseosa oreophila - Great Basin Rabbitbrush, no full blooming plants, but this is most likely as good as they normally bloom.

The second: visit the Heuchera rubescens - Pink Alumroot, reported on iNaturalist a couple of years ago.
A slight change of bloom, but it's way to dry now, we might give it another try in May.

The bloom along the PCT Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush past their peak and Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed starting to bloom.
At the Heuchera rubescens location with a lot of shade we encountered the best bloom and better germination.

Bloom: very low and almost no germination.


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Oct/05/2022 Ironwood Wash

We noticed seedlings Olneya tesota | Desert Ironwood one iNaturalist and our guess was, they are not correct.
To make sure we went hunting for the real seelings and we rapidly found them underneath a mature Olneya tesota.
Cotyledons are petioled, so that makes things a lot easier.

It's still 95 at the end of our trip, so we made a shortcut, even so the length was still just over 4 hours.

On our loop we went into Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant overflow, so many blooming plants.

Many Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus in bloom.
The most stunning and good smelling display Psorothamnus schottii | Indigo bush, most of them in full bloom.
Responding well to the rain: Krameria erecta | Pima rhatany and Allionia incarnata | Trailing windmills.

Cylindropuntia fosbergii , Mason valley cholla are unusually hard to detect from a distance, the Cylindropuntia ganderi ganderi | Gander's cholla in this area match their color nicely.
Luckily we were close to the canyon wall, so we could clearly see them.

On our way back along Vallecito wash a lot of green plants with large leaves, fortunately the good kind: Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple, nothing in bud yet.

Bloom: good for the time of year.


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Oct/04/2022 Oriflamme Canyon

This area is a hotbed for Funastrum cynanchoides hartwegii | Climbing milkweed, most of them in bloom.
Many Chilopsis linearis arcuata | Desert willow along the access road are in bloom.
Other good bloomers Senna covesii | Desert senna, Eriogonum elongatum elongatum | Long stemmed buckwheat, Allionia incarnata villosa | Large flowered trailing windmills, Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, Datura wrightii | Jimson weed and Boerhavia triquetra intermedia | Fivewing spiderling.

Our goal was further into the canyon, to find Malosma laurina | Laurel sumac in bloom. As expected they were out of bloom a long time ago.

So far we found Euphorbia abramsiana | Abrams' spurge in pooling water, but here we found them in two distinct locations, both outside of a wash.

On our way up we marked a plant we couldn't ID, it turned out to be a Abutilon incanum | Pelotazo, that might be the first recorded plant in California YES.

Bloom: not bad for the time of year.


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Oct/03/2022 Morteros Wash Loop

While driving towards Ocotillo, this seemed to be the best flower spot.
That turned out even better than expected, as good as it gets in October.

The loop is and area that looked similar to some of the Tiquilia canescens canescens | Woody crinklemat habitats, a somewhat rare plant in the Anza Borrego Desert.

To our big surprise, we found Tiquilia canescens canescens | Woody crinklemat close to the start of the hike, some of the happiest plants we've ever seen.
That raises the question if they are responding better to monsoonal rain.

Almost every plant out here has at least some bloom including the cacti.

Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye is probably the best bloomer in the whole area.
A lot of Funastrum hirtellum | Hairy climbing milkweed are in good bloom.
And the best of the best Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed is everywhere as is it's strong smell.

We tried to catch most of the bloomers in the links.

It would have been even more pleasant if the No See Ums were absent, like small bee stings that you notice after the fact and last for days.

Bloom: as good as it gets this time of year, there is germination.


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Oct/01/2022 San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area (south)

Access from the 78 is prohibited, access from the S2 is allowed.

We have a permit, so we crawled underneath the fence.
That was a good thing as we were on eye level of a nice blooming Funastrum utahense | Utah Vine Milkweed.

Bloom exceeded our expectations by a lot, wide carpets of Pectis papposa var. papposa | Chinchweed.
The largest fields and biggest Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed Amaranth, we've ever seen.

We had to watch our steps, Hyles lineata - White-lined Sphinx everywhere, in high numbers. We've never expected to see so many after a monsoonal rain.
Hyles lineata on almost every shrub, perennial and annual.
Hyles lineata are much cleverer than expected, grabbing plants and holding them up to feed.
They are even good climbers, getting high in the very green Prunus fasciculata fasciculata | Desert Almond.

Unexpectedly more than 25 Proboscidea parviflora parviflora | Pink devil's claw along our hike.

Bloom might get even better as a lot of perennials were in bud.

Bloom: flower fields, germination good.


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Sept/30/2022 Fossil canyon

The temps are a little bit lower, but with a high of 97 at the end of our hike, it's still dangerously warm.
Carrying large amounts of water makes you top heavy, resulting is a less controlled hike.

After the monsoonal rain there was a very low chance of flowering Echinocactus polycephalus polycephalus | Cottontop cactus.
This is the highest density location in easy hiking reach that we know of, unfortunately non of them bloomed, some showed signs of bloom weeks ago.

In bloom in high numbers: Euphorbia, Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills and Hoffmannseggia microphylla | Hoffmannseggia.
Germinating a massive amount of Perityle emoryi | Emory's rockdaisy, a large amount of Fagonia.

A couple of good blooming Lycium parishii | Parish's desert thorn.

There is enough interesting germination that warrants a follow up.

Bloom: Low, germination very good.


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Sept/29/2022 Big Laguna - PCT - Red-Tailed Roost Loop

A nice forest hike checking Dieteria asteroides lagunensis and look a likes.
We were surprised to see so many Linum lewisii lewisii , Prairie flax still in bloom.
An abundant bloom of Eriogonum wrightii membranaceum | Wright's buckwheat (membranaceum).
Probably the best larger blooming plant Hymenothrix wrightii | Wright's thimblehead.

Along the Thing Valley Road Keir Morse posted several Dieteria asteroides lagunensis on CalFlora, that was a great help confirming our ID.

At our furthers point, thunder, not directly above us and we are moving away. A few drops before we reached our car.
Some rain close the the S1 - 79 intersection, and the road was wet until we closed in on Banner.

Bloom: Low, germination good.


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Sept/27/2022 West Mesa - Azalea Spring loop

From the start, it looks much dryer than expected.
A complication, the West Side Trail is closed due to fire damage, take the Cold Stream trail instead.

The first great spot with a lot of Hymenothrix wrightii | Wright's thimblehead.
Several clusters of Symphyotrichum defoliatum | San Bernardino aster along the route.
A lot of Grindelia hallii | San Diego gumplant, with hardly any flowers and what made our day one big Grindelia camporum | Common gumplant, we've never seen before.
The fire road was partially graded and widened, removing most of the plants.
Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush are mostly past their peak bloom, that seems to be much earlier than before.

Not much going on at the Azalea Spring.

The "road" down luckily had very little maintenance, it was rather dense with a large number of Verbena lasiostachys | Western vervain always blooming with a flower ring and never spectacular.

Now we are really puzzled about what they did with the hillside. The plants were shredded, leaving an almost barren landscape.
Before the area was 99% Ceanothus, right now it's 99% Ceanothus.
Not much has changed and it looks exactly like the hillside that was undisturbed.
We spotted what looked like young pine trees, but wait a minute, that are Eriodictyon parryi | Poodle dog bush, probably hundreds dotting the hillside.
Maybe they performed a prescribed burn, or disturbing the ash worked just as well.

Bloom: Divers, spotty, dry.


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Sept/26/2022 Garnet Peak

Our target, finding more Ericameria cuneata macrocephala | Laguna mountains goldenbush in bloom.
They bloom from September -> November, right now it seems to be the beginning of bloom.

We made this into a loop hike (Route A1) from Penny Pines and back along Noble Canyon Trail.

This is an exposed trail with the best views of the Anza Borrego Desert.
The only blooming plants Ericameria cuneata macrocephala | Laguna mountains goldenbush at the start of bloom and Ericameria parishii parishii | Parish's goldenbush at the end of bloom.

On our route we found what might be the largest concentration of Eriastrum densifolium austromontanum |, Southern mountain woolly star we've ever seen.

We checked some Ericameria cuneata macrocephala at Kwaaymii point, blooming a bit better.

Bloom: Low, dry.


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Sept/23/2022 Chico Ravine - Laguna - Agua Dulce Loop

In the low desert it's way above 100, so the mnt Laguna area is a good place to be, with a max of 77 on our hike.
It's Sunday, so a bit busier, especially with mountain bikers.

Our goal was to find Dieteria asteroides lagunensis | Mount Laguna aster and the many look a likes.
We took a wrong turn and while getting back on track we added Petunia parviflora | Wild petunia, we had not seen before.
Another new plant in bloom and fruit: Rumex salicifolius, Willow leaved dock.
All in all a nice hike with lots of shade on a warm day.

Bloom: Divers.


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Sept/23/2022 Santa Ysabel Loop - Coast to Crest Trail

It's way to hot in the low desert, so we went to Santa Ysabel: Temperatures from 64 at the start to 87 at the end.

We had plants on our most wanted list Trichostema lanceolatum | Vinegar weed and Deinandra fasciculata | Clustered tarweed.
It turned out the extremely smelly Trichostema lanceolatum is very common out here, blooming everywhere in the lower grassland.
Gutierrezia sarothrae | Matchweed is another general bloomer, with an less abundant bloom as usual.

We had several observation points of Deinandra fasciculata, but non there.
But finally on our way back, close to the dry Santa Ysabel creek, a whole bunch of plants at the end of bloom.

Bloom: Very low, looking extremely dry.


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Sept/22/2022 Sweeney Pass South Canyon loop

On our trip along the S2 a lot of blooming Proboscidea althaeifolia | Devil's claw;Desert unicorn plant early in the morning.
Countless Hypertelis umbellata | Carpetweed many in bloom and fruit.
Fields of Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed along the road at Smuggler Canyon wash.

The hike: Temperatures are warmer from 80 at the start to 90 3 1/2 hours later.
On June 22-23 2022 there was a substantial thunderstorm in this area and 4"+ Sept 9-10 2022.

Leaves on Justicia californica | Chuparosa about 4 times bigger than normal and very green.
Lots of huge leaved Datura discolor | Desert thorn apple.

The thunderstorm with a couple of feet, erased most of the seeds in the wash that is rather barren. Germination on the walls and at the edges are good.
We finally found our first ever blooming Atriplex polycarpa | Cattle saltbush.
Many blooming Allionia incarnata incarnata | Small flowered trailing windmills, Boerhavia wrightii | Wright's spiderling, Kallstroemia parviflora | Warty caltrop and some Justicia californica | Chuparosa.
Our first blooming Ferocactus cylindraceus | California barrel cactus this fall.

We were pleased to find very fresh Krameria erecta | Pima rhatany fruit.
And another cactus in bloom, Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook.

Bloom: Low, but good for the time of year.


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Sept/21/2022 Cool Canyon and Church Spur

Temperatures aren't bad from 70 at the start to 85 3 hours later.
Our goal was to find some blooming Mammillaria tetrancistra , Common fishhook. This is one of the densest areas on our record.
On our previous visit the plants looked very stressed, maybe the reason we couldn't find any in bloom, or we were just too late.

Hillsides are a bit green, mostly Bouteloua aristidoides aristidoides | Needle grama.
An abundant number of monsoonal plants, like Bouteloua, | grasses, several Euphorbia | spurge, Amaranthus fimbriatus | Fringed amaranth, Pectis papposa papposa | Chinch weed, Kallstroemia parviflora | Warty caltrop, Boerhavia triquetra intermedia | Fivewing spiderling.
Most of the monsoonal plants are already past peak bloom.

Responding to the rain, many green and blooming Bahiopsis parishii | Parish's goldeneye and Bernardia incana , Western bernardia, the latter often in fruit.

A lot of very green Carlowrightia arizonica | Arizona carlowrightia, but all grazed, probably by the many rabbits we noticed.

On our return we checked Church Spur in Borrego Springs, on Facebook we found a cluster of 3 flowering Mammillaria tetrancistra.
It's a bit warmer here, but a nice refreshing breeze helps.
We didn't have an exact location, only an estimate, so we checked all the trails.
The plants bloomed 2 days ago, that might be out of the 2 day blooming window and we didn't find anything.
The area looks very dry with hardly any germination or happy plants, but a lot of rocks and boulders, so the plants get more water than the 1.5" rain.
We did however find a blooming Mammillaria dioica | Fishhook.

Bloom: Not bad.


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Reports from previous seasons

Season: 2021-2022 Season: 2020-2021 Season: 2019-2020 Season: 2018-2019 Season: 2017-2018 Season: 2016-2017