Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: Bloom report



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Data is 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 different 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 is 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 2019-2020 bloom report:

Bloom prediction, updated August 21 2019


Bloom prediction for the Anza-Borrego Desert:

2019-09-25 A significant rain event, that covered most of the Anza Borrego Desert and even the badlands

An average rainfall of 0.5 inch will sure trigger a Perennial bloom and will sure get some germinating plants.
Obvious signs: Fouquieria splendens splendens , Ocotillo, many leafing out just 3 days after the rain. Even a very few in bloom.
Larrea tridentata , Creosote bush very quickly turning light green. Chilopsis linearis arcuata , Desert willow green and a few in bloom.

2019-10-11 Bloom is low, obviously higher around water, most of the action is above 3000 feet.

About a week after the summer rain, a very rare event: Mammillaria tetrancistra, Common fishhook in bloom. They aren't common and finding one in bloom, maybe a once in a lifetime event.
The summer rain may still bring a short burst of flowering plants by the end of October.
One of the best places for flowers right now is around Culp Valley Springs.


Additional info:

Anza-Borrego Desert Facebook

Anza-Borrego Desert SP Bloom page

ABDNHA Bloom page

October/12/2019 Culp Valley Springs


This might be the densest collection of springs anywhere in the Anza-Borrego desert, year round water and a swamp.
The hike we took is a jungle tour, but an easy stroll is an option as well.
Always interesting, with some of the most spectacular Epilobium canum latifolium , California fuchsia we've ever seen.

Signs of summer rain, like Pectis papposa papposa , Chinch weed and many, too many, germinating Erodium cicutarium , Red stem filaree.

Species in bloom: 50.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/11/2019 Pct Warner Springs to Eagle Rock


The Warner spring area didn't get too much summer rain and that's visible.
Bloom isn't very high along the PCT, except for the fields of Lessingia glandulifera glandulifera , Sticky lessingia.

Luckily there are a couple of springs in the drainages below the PCT.
Here we picked up a lot of bloom and a couple of new plants.
Like Cursed buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus and Western vervain, Verbena lasiostachys.
This must be prime time for Tribulus terrestris , Puncture vine.

Making this up to now, the highest bloom count of the new season.

Species in bloom: 54.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/10/2019 Marty Minshall - Los Vaqueros loop


Time to revisit, this is dryer than West Mesa further along the 79, that's for sure.
Things got better close to our half way point, adding new plants is always nice.

Species in bloom: 25.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/08/2019 West Mesa Monument Loop


It's hot so we were eager to go higher up, into Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
A pleasantly easy hike in perfect weather, bloom winding down and we catching the last of them.

Been a long time ago, adding this many new blooming plants.
One of the highlights Keckiella ternata ternata , Whorled leaf penstemon and Erigeron foliosus foliosus , Leafy daisy.

Species in bloom: 32.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/07/2019 San Felipe Wildlife area


This is our survey area for the next season(s).

Right now is time for Stephanomeria exigua deanei , Slender wreathplant deanei in very high numbers, an otherwise almost invisible plant
Beautiful Eriogonum elongatum elongatum , Long stemmed buckwheat and Corethrogyne filaginifolia , California aster.
Some Mirabilis multiflora pubescens , Giant four o'clock are still in bloom, but way past their prime.

Higher up the vegetation is growing back after the fire and covering the old roads.
Here the hike turns into a partial bush walk, still adding some blooming plants, but not many.
Most of the action is closer to the San Felipe Creek (active).
Here we added plants we've never seen before.

Perhaps the most abundant visual bloomer right now is Isocoma acradenia eremophila , Solitary leaf alkali goldenbush.

The smell of peanut butter from the hundreds of Datura wrightii , Jimson weed is everywhere.
One our way back many Tribulus terrestris , Puncture vine in bloom and even more big Boerhavia coccinea , Scarlet spiderling.

Species in bloom: 43.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/05/2019 San Felipe Wildlife area Banner Creek


Our survey along Banner Creek.

Warning: Banner Creek is a closed off area, accessible by permit only.

Species in bloom: 29.

All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/04/2019 Sheep Canyon


The goal is to find Lobelia cardinalis pseudosplendens , Cardinal flower in bloom. We knew a sure location, but last time they were no longer present
The dry Palm Canyon didn't make us very hopeful.

Coyote canyon looks extremly dry, no sign of the recent rain, the Ocotillo and Creosote might be a bit greener.
Once past first crossing plants looked much better, the perennials that is.

To be able driving the bypass road was the big question. Third crossing was interesting and slightly muddy.
Going great until the rocky stretch, it looked like no way.

While walking up the road, it seemed we should be able to make it. It beats a couple of hours hiking.
Barely over some small boulders and yes we arrived in Collins valley.

Here plants are even greener, not a bad sign.

As expected, we were able to follow the dry creek most of the way.
The best blooming plant: Epilobium canum latifolium , California fuchsia.

At the dry fall, the known location we suddenly noticed one Lobelia cardinalis pseudosplendens , Cardinal flower in bloom.
It was kept alive with a few drops of running water.
Now after the third try we finally found them in bloom YES.

Back along the bypass road was slightly easier, on brakes we can go a bit slower.

Plant life along Coyote Canyon isn't too bad, the water is still flowing at Third and somewhat at Second crossing.

Species in bloom: 17.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/02/2019 Sentenac Cienega


We were eager to go back and check out the plants we couldn't ID last time around.
The 2019 spring rain caused the plants to explode, the once easy hike is now a hard and almost impossible hike.

Wanting to find Bassia hyssopifolia, a highly invasive plant and we sure did by the thousands, compared to zero the last time around.
Many first time bloomers for us on this trip, so it was well worth the effort.

This turned into an almost impossible hike, at our halfway point were we found a few Euthamia occidentalis , Western goldenrod last year.
Now there are hundreds if not thousands, forming an almost impregnable jungle.
For a route, even Cirsium vulgare, Bull thistle looked more inviting than everything else. We did the unthinkable, trying to find the highway and even that turned out to be tough.

Species in bloom: 34.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

October/01/2019 Palm Canyon


WOW this is dry looking, no flowing water, only way past the first palms, past the boulders, at the narrow point of the canyon.
The plants are greener along the dry stream bed.

The highlight of the hike, a new location for Imperata brevifolia,California Satintail.

Species in bloom: 13.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

September/30/2019 Pena Spring

There is now a deeper gully towards Pana Spring, many Amaranthus fimbriatus , Fringed amaranth a clear sign of recent rain.
Last season we've noticed skeleton plants that might be monkey flower.
We were stunned to find many Erythranthe cardinalis, Scarlet Monkeyflower in bloom, a rare appearance in de Anza-Borrego Desert.

Bloom is pretty good with the less flashy Baccharis sergiloides , Desert baccharis in good bloom.

Species in bloom: 26.


Hike details, click on the photo's above


All our plants from this date on iNaturalist
iNat observations may be posted later-on, as our time is limited.

Reports from previous seasons

Season: 2018-2019 Season: 2017-2018 Season: 2016-2017