__javascript__
Anza-Borrego Desert Wildflowers: Bloom report



Did it rain? Where did it rain? We collect data from most of the professional local weather stations, click on the cloud below.
Weather rain
Vist our Facebook page Join our Facebook group and post your own
iOS app Android app

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

Warning this is the archive and does NOT represent actual bloom

.

The 2017-2018 bloom report:


In retrospect


The 2017-2018 season was very very dry.
The September rain in Coyote canyon and Carrizo creek was an excellent start.
Unfortunately that was all for that year. The January rain was not enough, but did bring some additional rain further in the Coyote canyon. Coyote canyon and the Collins valley canyon brought us at least some flowers this season.
We are not complaining as we found more than 100 plants that were new to us and even some that were new to the area and San Diego county.

Bloom prediction


Where should I go (3/4/2018):
Most of the desert is turning to it's usual barren state.
There will be some canyons that are less bad that others, so here and there you will certainly find some flowers.

Right now the best place to be is in Coyote Canyon, from first to third crossing (including Box canyon) and Collins valley (including Indian, Sheep, Salvador).
The area around Third crossing creek, still has some interesting blooming plants.
That said, the bloom there seems to be past peak bloom already and a lot of plants are fading away.

Good spotty germination at the end of di Giorgio asphalt, that will probably results in very weak bloom.
NO germination at all along Henderson Canyon road. A.K.A> the sunflower patch.

The Anza-Borrego Desert got isolated thunderstorms in September 2017 and some areas got a few drops of rain later in 2017.
On 1/9/2018 the rain finally fell, see rain data above.
Most of the rain fell closer to the mountain range (West), further east the amount of rain drops considerably.

1/14/2018 First germinating plants are popping up in the 2 mm range (0.1 Inch).
1/16/2018 Germination above 3000 feet is good, but most, if not all, Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium (non native).
1/17/2018 Spotty green fields of tiny germinating plants.
1/26/2018 Thing look bleak, no general germination.
2/12/2018 The germination from the rain is mostly gone because of the high temperatures and the lack of additional rain.
2/18/2018 No rain, things don't look very bright.
2/22/2018 Almost no rain, things don't look very bright.
2/27/2018 Been rather cold, some frost damage further up Coyote canyon.
2/28/2018 The rain didn't hit the low desert, but got further into Coyote canyon and Culp Valley (snow).
3/03/2018 Some rain, but hardly any in the low desert, mainly East (Ranchita and along the mountains) and North direction Anza.
3/03/2018 We did see snow on Granite Mountain, so that area got some water.
3/04/2018 Coyote creek stopped flowing in second crossing that's a very bad sign for early March.
3/04/2018 Plants look way less fresh than a week ago, the ocotillo are turning brown, dropping their leaves, some are still in bloom.
3/12/2018 No rain in the desert, some area's did get rain like Culp Valley, Collins valley.
3/15/2018 The unexpected smell of Creosote, a little bit of rain 0.02 in Palm Canyon and almost half an inch in Ranchita.
3/26/2018 The highest bloom count this season, that is individual plants not the abundance.
4/18/2018 Gradually the desert is turning to it's dry state.
5/01/2018 The Collins valley canyons, those with a creek are just past peak bloom, that's rather late.

05/3/2018 Golden Queen mine lake loop


Time to return to this loop and see what's blooming.
We were surprised that we stil found nice flower fields of Common goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis, Creamcups, Platystemon californicus, Common fiddleneck, Amsinckia intermedia and Coastal tidytips, Layia platyglossa.
The huge fields of Parish's meadowfoam, Limnanthes alba parishii were absent but they were still around in smaller patches.

Small fields of Common linanthus, Leptosiphon parviflorus and a high number of Elk thistle, Cirsium scariosum in bloom.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 67.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

05/2/2018 Palm Canyon


The start is very dry and all of a sudden the two Ironwood, Olneya tesota in full bloom. We don't think many will notice them as you have to look closer to enjoy the bloom.
A ground squirrel seemed to like the blossom and like many animals in Palm Canyon, this one is used to humans.

Beyond the first palms things change dramatically, a lot, lets say carpets of Fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum.
A surprisingly good steam and real deep water, more than there normally is this time of year.
Still there are many other plants around like 99+ Common monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus.
Our surprise find of the day: Desert centaury, Zeltnera exaltata, not one but 99+.
And many other new plants like Whitetip clover, Trifolium variegatum var. variegatum and Rock gilia, Gilia scopulorum.

The bloom is still pretty good out here and many plants to come.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 73.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

05/1/2018 Sheep Canyon


The goal was to check out the large Phacelia we found.
Wow California centaury, Zeltnera venusta and at least 10 in bloom, so it might really belong here.
A couple of White Ratany, Krameria bicolor in full bloom, just past their peak.
Yes, they are Branching phacelia, Phacelia ramosissima and in good bloom, finally.

We were surprised to see so many plants fresh and in bloom. Than again there is still some water in the creek and a lot of shade.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 70.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/29/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop Middle


The bloom got better than last time, but not that much.
Finally some Giant four o'clock, Mirabilis multiflora pubescens in good bloom, much later than in previous years.
We were happy finding a couple of Mirabilis laevis var. villosa.
The best find of the day: Nemacladus pinnatifidus, on our search for a while.
It took us a while to find a Velvet mesquite, Prosopis velutina but finally.

At least a couple of plants, we've not seen for a while: Wide throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes, Short lobe phacelia, Phacelia brachyloba and Purple clarkia, Clarkia purpurea quadrivulnera.
We added other new plants to our list: Chorizanthe leptotheca, Peninsular spineflower and Eriastrum sapphirinum ssp. dasyanthum (maybe).

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 77.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/28/2018 Combs Peak


Wow this is one of the dry spots.
Our goal was to look at what we called Woolly Bluecurls, Trichostema lanatum, that are just very woolly Parish's bluecurls, Trichostema parishii.
Now we were able to ID the Purple Nightshade as a good Solanum xanti.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 20.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/27/2018 Marty Minshall - Los Vaqueros loop


It's warm, so this looked like the perfect place for a hike.
Not too difficult to find a couple of plants that are new to us in this area.
The new to us English plantain, Plantago lanceolata, Grand mountain dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora grandiflora, Slender cottonweed, Micropus californicus californicus, Little spring beauty, Claytonia exigua exigua and California sweet cicely, Osmorhiza brachypoda.
Flower fields on this hike Parish's meadowfoam, Limnanthes alba parishii and Common goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis.

We spend some time at weird looking, out of bloom plants, luckily we found one still in bloom a Slender phlox, Microsteris gracilis, that looks so different out of bloom.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 66.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/25/2018 Garnet Peak to Kwaaymii point


A bike shuttle hike from Garnet Peak trail head to Kwaaymii point parking.
We planned on hiking the PCT from Kwaaymii -> Mount Laguna in two parts. This way we have enough time to go slower for the plants we encounter.
This is a more scenic part of the PCT in the Anza-Borrego Desert and surrounding area. Great seeing some of our favorite canyons from a different perspective.

Finding California barberry, Berberis aquifolium dictyota here pushes them away from a garden plant.
Scrubs are noticeable less high as you see in colder climates.

We spend some time photographing a Silver leaf lotus, Acmispon argophyllus argophyllus as it looked different from other plants and you never know.
It's time for Western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum capitatum that is blooming along the PCT, one plant that doesn't mind the dry season.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 53.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/24/2018 CRH - Soapstone Grade - Upper Green Valley - La Cima trail


This is one of our favorite hikes this time of year, it's easy with a good variation in blooming plants.

The flower show is certainly well below last season, but better than we expected.
The best was finding Gilia clivorum, Purplespot gilia within the Anza-Borrego Desert.
The smell on the loop was strong, mainly from Chaparral whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis and Cup leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus perplexans.
Spectacular, the many Western redbud, Cercis occidentalis in good bloom.

One must see in bloom, Parry's green gentian, Frasera parryi, that might bloom next week, so we will return to that location.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 67.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/20/2018 Horse Canyon


The road down towards Turkey Track is an adventure in itself and going down isn't the main problem, driving back up is.
We even managed to get across the creek and drive all the way up to the White Wash junction.

Right at our parking spot we found one of our most wanted Jaeger's milkvetch, Astragalus pachypus jaegeri and many more along our hike.
Another rare plant in the park Prince's plume, Stanleya pinnata pinnata, we found our second location here and some in good bloom.

Further into the canyon a couple of seeps and even a small seasonal creek.
The canyon is dry, but not that bad as the bloom count reflects.

We might get back in November to check the Mentzelia laevicaulis, Baccharis sarothroides and Eriastrum densifolium austromontanum.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 58.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/20/2018 Indian Canyon


Indian Canyon is still a good place to see wildflowers, the bloom count is still the same as a month ago, that said a lot of plants are nearing end of bloom.
Salvia is in good bloom and the strongest smelling plants.
We found several Borrego bedstraw, Galium angustifolium borregoense in good bloom.
If was great to add one Hairy bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus pubescens to our list.

One of our goals this season was to find Wild grape, Vitis girdiana in bloom. Now we know why it was so difficult to find them in bloom, it's hardly visible. We still have several other locations to check out as this is a rather common plant.

The seasonal creek is still running in several locations, but it's already far less than a couple of weeks ago.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 85.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/18/2018 Lower Oriflamme Canyon


Back to Oriflamme Canyon, again following the creek all the way. This turned out much more difficult than a couple of weeks ago, less water, butt more vegetation.
This time we were much less adventurous, knowing about the abundant Poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum, finding them even more abundant than we guessed.
The dryness has entered every corner of the Anza-Borrego Desert.

We expected blooming Arizona chalk dudleya, Dudleya arizonica but they are surely taking their time as we found zero in bloom.
Last season we recorded 99 Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens, now we found only one in bloom.

Right now it's time for the cacti to start their bloom and there are plenty of them in this area.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 65.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/17/2018 PCT Chariot Mountain Loop


A return to an area that looked so promising in November, but the lack of rain is clear.
Strange enough the eastern part of the loop is much better flower wise.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 65.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/15/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop North


This is a good area for us to find new plants, we added a couple of never seen to our list.
The best finds in bloom: Marrubium vulgare, Paeonia californica, Solanum elaeagnifolium.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 69.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/13/2018 Pct Warner Springs to Eagle Rock


We needed to check out some plants along the route and added the northern part of the PCT.
A couple of great finds along the route: California broomrape, Orobanche californica feudgei and Little redstem monkeyflower, Mimulus rubellus.

We combined the bloom count with the 04/10 hike.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 73.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/12/2018 Salvador canyon south fork


The goal was to find Stream orchid, Epipactis gigantea in bloom, first we found plants without any sign of bloom, but a bit further a couple of them in good bloom.
This might be the biggest bunch of them in and close to the park.

We were very pleased to find a blooming female Borrego bedstraw, Galium angustifolium borregoense.

The bad a lot of wind and wind gusts, so that limited the amount of pictures.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 73.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/10/2018 Pct Warner Springs to Eagle Rock


A nice cooler hike along a creek, next over grassland.
Adding a lot of new plants to our list.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 52.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/8/2018 Golden Queen mine lake loop


Time to head to higher elevation and find a wetter place.
The pond showing on the satellite images looks perfect.
Temperature turned out to be optimal for a hike. The planned route worked great, just a few short stretched of scrubs.

Even here it's rather dry, a good thing that the drainages are still wet at a couple of places.
As expected we added a good number of plants that we've never seen before.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 29.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/7/2018 Salt creek


This is a very contradicting hike, last time we mentioned, germination and green. Now the feeling is dry and no abundant germination.
That said, a lot of scattered annuals, many very small and in low numbers, but they do add to the bloom count.
Unbelievable that the bloom count is this high in an area that feels this dry.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 93.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/5/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop


What a difference a month makes, this is unrecognizable green.
The most abundant bloomer in the area right now is Angel's gilia, Gilia angelensis.

A detour towards a yellow hill, that turned out to be a hot spot of annuals, with Ground pink, Linanthus dianthiflorus and Common goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis.

Germination is good, but with a good amount of nonnatives.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 68.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/4/2018 Sheep Canyon


The creek is still running close to the trail head.
We tried to stay as close to the water and plants as possible.
One of our goals was to find Stream orchid, Epipactis gigantea and Velvet ash, Fraxinus velutina in bloom and we found them both in good bloom.

The bloom count has gone up considerably since our last visit just over a month ago. There are still a couple of must see plants not that far from bloom, so we have to return in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii in present in very high (999+) numbers.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 88.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/2/2018 Cougar Canyon


We read reports of water in Cougar Canyon, so we moved this hike to the top of our list.
There is indeed a lot of water running, even lower in the canyon.
The highlight: finding a new grass and a hot spot of plants, we rarely see in bloom, like Stebbins' desert dandelion, Malacothrix stebbinsii.

All in all a scenic hike with a lot of rocks, boulders and interesting plants.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 79.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

04/1/2018 Mile 14.3 Pacific Crest Loop


The area is recovering from the fire and last seasons rain certainly helped.
All the Lycium are doing great, leafed out and many in flower.
Surprised to see the Thistle Sage, Salvia carduacea has moved farther up the wash as it was previously confined to the road.
The best find of the day, our second location of odd looking N. peduculata in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Bloom and germination isn't bad, but 6 weeks later than we are used to.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 51.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/31/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop Middle


This area is on our frequent visit list.
Bloom is very scattered and might go up in a couple of weeks as we observed scattered germinations and plants hidden in grass.
The creek is partially running from the springs heading south and vanishes along the way.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 47.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/29/2018 Culp Valley Springs


This area has an incredible high density of springs and a seasonal creek.
Surface water at a couple of springs and the creek is flowing.
The bloom count is not too bad, in this very dry looking area. The dominant bloomer: The Parish's purple nightshade, Solanum parishii.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 45.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/28/2018 Upper Oriflamme Canyon loop


Back to the Upper Oriflamme.
Wow, nothing happened here almost no bloom and germination.
We expected much more as the area just below had a good bloom a week ago.
Probably have to revisit the area in a wetter year.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 8.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/27/2018 Indian Canyon


Back to Indian Canyon into Deering canyon to check out the Giant chain fern, Woodwardia fimbriata Walt found a couple of weeks back.
Such a big plant was easy to find. We found at least one more higher up in the canyon.
Huge, meters long Heermann's Lotus, Acmispon heermannii heermannii in excellent bloom, the first time we've seen it in full bloom.

The best find of the week, to finally find San Jacinto beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. connatus in good bloom.

The germination is good just south of the parking, but very small.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 84.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/25/2018 Box Canyon Dry Lake and Playas


Back to the Playas between Box Canyon and Butler Canyon.
Yes, we found the second area with Narrow leaf globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia, a tiny closed off playa above Butler canyon. Another playa may contain them, but the plants were too small for a positive ID.

Next stop the location were we found some Woody crinklemat, Tiquilia canescens canescens, to check if there are more.
Many more as it turned out, plants growing on both sides of a hill, mainly in the drainages. This is by far the easiest location on a shallow slope, but far away from any road.

The bloom isn't spectacular but picking up many individual plants, many times only one on our entire 6 hours + trip.
Surprisingly there are many plants in bloom, at least since December, maybe not the same plants but for a long time, nevertheless.
To name a few: Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus; California trixis, Trixis californica californica; Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa; Apricot mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua ambigua; California fagonia, Fagonia laevis.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 96.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/24/2018 Lower Oriflamme Canyon


Back to Oriflamme canyon, this time following the creek all the way. Sometimes interesting to find a way in the slow running creek.
Along the rocky side a lot of Arizona chalk dudleya, Dudleya arizonica getting ready for bloom.
The bloom is already good for the time of year and elevation.

We already found plants that looked like Poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum on our previous trips, but we were not sure.
Until we found one small plant in bloom, a good bloom picture was needed, as the plant isn't that common in the desert.
Another very common plant here and in good bloom, Woolly indian paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 39.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/23/2018 Hawi Vallecito - Lower Storm Canyon loop


The area looks dry, but the Creosote bush, Larrea tridentata are bright a sign they got water recently.
Right from the start we picked up a good bloom count and once entering the small drainage things looked even better.
There is considerable germination in and outside of the washes, this area is very promising.

Unfortunately the upper part of Storm canyon is filled with Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii.

Finding a couple of weird Mirabilis laevis that looked nothing like retrorsa, took us an extra half hour, to capture a large number of plants.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 72.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/21/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop North


This area is on our frequent visit list, because most of the desert is rather dry.
This is a good area for us to find new plants, we added a couple of never seen to our list.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 22.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/20/2018 Dry Canyon Loop


The name Dry canyon isn't that promising, but here we found some germination in the sandy wash, not even that bad.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 27.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/19/2018 First-Second-Third Crossing


Had to see the Zeltnera venusta in bloom at Third crossing and all the other plants we might have missed.
Most plants are past peak bloom, not a flower carped but a nice collection of blooming plants.
Another unexpected find, a big Glandular threadplant, Nemacladus glanduliferus and one Brittle Spineflower, Chorizanthe brevicornu brevicornu both in bloom.

The bad: A photographer is an easy prey for all kind of stinging insects, highly unusual for the desert, but not along a creek.

This is by far the highest bloom count of the season, not even that much lower than last season. Now we are talking individual plants instead of flower fields.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 93.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/18/2018 Fish Creek South Fork Mile 9.2


One of the last chances to visit Fish Creek as it didn't get any meaningful rain since September 2017.
We found a couple of very happy young Emory's indigo bush, Psorothamnus emoryi and YES we are very lucky this season, our third blooming Thurber's pilostyles, Pilostyles thurberi find.

Next stop to check if the Long leafed ephedra, Ephedra trifurca were in bloom, YES. A very dangerous business photographing the flowers, the spines are really sharp.

We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii page.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 20.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/16/2018 Rocky gully wash


Up to a wash close to Upper Willows that on the sat imagines showed interesting white/gray slopes.
Middle willows creek is rather deep and it's (almost) impossible to keep your feet dry.
Once out Middle willows the germination is as good as we've ever seen in this area.

Once in the target wash, a big surprise nothing seemed to survive in this wash except Scale broom;California broomsage, Lepidospartum squamatum.
Scale broom;California broomsage, Lepidospartum squamatum was the most interesting find of the hike as the young plants didn't resemble the mature plant in any way.
On our way back a new find for us an Atriplex suberecta, Coyote canyon brings out many new plants this season.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 58.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/15/2018 Cottonwood Canyon Salt Creek loop


Time for our repeat hike, just out of the dry zone.
Here the germination is much better, this area is going to be great.

It just stopped raining when we arrived and a nice rainbow showed above Cottonwood Canyon.
Again pretty cold in the fifties, with a strong wind and interesting wind gusts.
The bloom count doubled since our last visit about 3 weeks ago, and we expect it to double again in April.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 50.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/12/2018 Indian Canyon Bennis Bowl


A revisit to Indian canyon with names like Valley of the Thousand Springs and Dennis Bowl.

In the middle of Indian Canyon there is a (seasonal) creek that disappears and resurfaces a couple of times.
A fork leads into a canyon with Bennis Bowl, a canyon dotted with palm trees. The springs must be rather deep as there is no apparent surface water.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 65.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


03/11/2018 Mexican Bladder Sage Loop


Yaqui meadows is very very dry right now, so we didn't expect much, but we've seen rain falling along the hillside a couple of times.
Starting out dry with a couple of nice blooming yellow Chuparosa, Justicia californica.
The intention was to end up in the middle part of Glorietta canyon, but we were to busy with the plants that we forgot to exit the canyon.
This turned out to be a very good thing as this canyon was lined with Paperbag bush;Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana, that's why I looked at my GPS how could we have missed so many plants.

We continued our trip on the topo map, making a loop down another drainage lined again with Paperbag bush;Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana.
Another happy plant, hundreds of Arizona spurge, Euphorbia arizonica in the easterly canyon.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 28.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


03/9/2018 Box Canyon - Coyote Canyon - Lower Willows


Go were the flowers are, back to the Box canyon area.
The area looks dry, some germination and occasionally good germination.
If the area gets a little bit of rain in the next weeks it may still produce an interesting bloom.

Wow a couple of Bigelow's monkey flower, Mimulus bigelovii bigelovii and Purplemat, Nama demissa demissa.

A lot of nonnatives on our hike along the dry Coyote canyon creek and even more so in Lower Willows.
We couldn't go any further, both Lower Willow routes were flooded.
That posed an interesting problem, we eventually headed west along the rocky hillside, making the hike that more difficult.

On our way back we followed Coyote creek and there the best find of the week Mimulus floribundus, close to third crossing.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 87.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


03/8/2018 Hornblende Canyon


We went past Hornblende numerous times and it always looked green.
But today it didn't looked that good.
No native annuals in bloom isn't a good sign.
Getting a good photograph of a female Western bernardia, Bernardia incana was on the top of our list.
It is a difficult flower to photograph, this time we got several good shots.

We found several interesting California barrel cactus, Ferocactus cylindraceus in this canyon. They appear to create branches that produce new plants in the same spot.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 15.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


03/6/2018 Dave Mc Cain spring loop


A very long drive up to the dry spring area. Not to forget a challenging drive in deep sand.
It looked so promising, but it turned out to be rather dry this time around.
The goal was to find Tanglehead, Heteropogon contortus in bloom and with so many plants we found some in bloom.

The Fish Creek South fork is one of the few places so far where we've found a lot of annuals.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 17 + 24 along the Fish Creek road


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/5/2018 Indian Canyon South East Fork


The next on our list in Collins valley, an area that is less dry than the rest of the desert.
Less dry but still dry. The first shock, Second crossing is dry.
The plants in Coyote canyon are noticeably less alive than a week ago.

This time the South East fork of Indian canyon.
Didn't look that bad, a couple of summer monsoonal plants in the wash, Chuparosa looking great.
An incredible number of rather fresh Euphorbia arizonica and one of the few places with Erodium cicutarium in bloom.
Salvia eremostachya in bloom already and very dangerous to photograph as they like to grow rather steep.
30+ Crossosoma bigelovii, a lot and in good bloom. Another yellow Chuparosa, Indian canyon is a place where they are present and in good numbers.

The bad: A lot 999+ Brassica tournefortii, some in bloom, enough to reseed Collins valley.
Brassica tournefortii were more numerous further an higher in the canyon.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 44 + 16.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/4/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop


This is a very interesting terrain to hike in, lots of different plants.
After the freezing temperatures, the bloom is now at a low point.
The best find of the day, a couple of basal leaves what could be Chlorogalum parviflorum.

Germination is good, but with a good amount of nonnatives.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 7.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/2/2018 Thimble Trail Loop


This is one of our favorite areas to hike.
When you drive around, you expect nothing at all flower wise.

Flowers are actually always good for a badlands area, 25 species in bloom is better than a lot of other places in the park.
The Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii are a tough species, with a lot of plants in bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 25.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

03/1/2018 Carrizo Canyon East Fork Loop


This area is dry, but with plants that are still recognizable.
We found hardly any germination on this loop.
One of the more abundant plants that are only found in the Southern end of the park: Bigelow Nolina, Nolina bigelovii.

One of the goals was to map all the Newberry's velvet mallow, Horsfordia newberryi. Almost every single Newberry's velvet mallow, Horsfordia newberryi was in bud or flowering.
The second target Arizona carlowrightia, Carlowrightia arizonica, we added about 10 more plants to the already large number in this canyon. Plants are grazed, some were leafing out.
In this area Arizona carlowrightia, Carlowrightia arizonica closely resembles the color of Chuparosa, Justicia californica.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 18.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/28/2018 Sheep Canyon


This area is on our frequent visit list as it's probably the greenest in the park.
The creek was almost nothing on our previous visit, but is a good stream at the moment, making it that more challenging to stay close to the water.

Unfortunately Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii in present in very high (999+) numbers.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 23 + 25 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/26/2018 Cairn wash - pirate wash loop


It's rather cold, so Fish Creek is the ideal place for a hike.
Even as it's bone dry, there is always something interesting to see and the scenery is stunning.

We've walked past a couple of Long leafed ephedra, Ephedra trifurca without realizing what they were until a couple of years ago, now we have to go back to see them in bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 16 + 7 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/25/2018 Bittercreek


We don't think we've seen Bittercreek this dry. The spring though seems to be very reliable.
The California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera in the spring looked very happy.
Surprisingly there is some germination along the canyon walls.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 20.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/24/2018 Salt creek


This is our to return area. One of the goals was to check out a lot of Desert baccharis, Baccharis sergiloides and take leaf photos.
The search may have paid off by finding a different Baccharis, that might be the plant on our to find list Baccharis salicina.

Carla finally found one Heermann's lotus, Acmispon heermannii heermannii in bloom.
Everything looks just fine in the area, germination, green and very promising for the months to come.
And a very good bloom count so cold and close to 3000 feet.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 25.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/23/2018 Salvador canyon


Here the summer and some additional rain fell.
The germination is good, but still (almost) no bloom from annuals, in itself a good sign as the plants take time to grow.
Things look very promising in this canyon, peak bloom in this canyon will most likely be in early April.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 17 + 25 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/21/2018 Collins valley south


Boulder alley looked so green with many blooming plants, so we decided to explore the south end of Collins valley, more or less above boulder alley.
The flower count was good, especially the canyon to the west. Well worth exploring in a month or so.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 40 + 11 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/18/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop North


This area is on our frequent visit list, because most of the desert is rather dry.
This seems to be a good area for us to find new plants.
We were surprised by a couple of Bush poppy, Dendromecon rigida in excellent bloom.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 7.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/17/2018 White wash loop


Time to explore the Northern part of the park.
It turned out to be very challenging to find a route up to our starting point.
On our second try we got very close but a gate blocked the more obvious route.
So a short bush walk up to the long closed dirt road.
We entered the canyon in prime Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii bloom.
The smell was overwhelming especially when later on Lotebush, Ziziphus parryi parryi joined the mix.

Horse canyon en White wash as expected rather dry, but we have to return, probably along a different route, as we found a couple of must see in bloom plants.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 15.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/15/2018 Indian Canyon


Coyote past second crossing is rather green, the bypass road (Boulder alley) is even greener, Collins valley is OK.
As we enter Indian canyon, germination, the smell of recent rain (almost nothing) and it's rather green.
Most of the bloom are perennials, but finally some annual flowers.
What a flower show, this is really as it's supposed to be in February.

A small Lotebush, Ziziphus parryi parryi, took us by surprise, wondering were the smell came from.

On the way back Arizona carlowrightia, Carlowrightia arizonica, one plant, but there are surely more, difficult to find between the grass and scrubs.

The only bad: Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii, way to many to even try to remove.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 47+ 15 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/14/2018 Sandstone Canyon


A visit to the canyon was long overdue, what a wonderful place to live for Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii.
Fish creek is one of the places with some germinating plants and a good bloom count, but without any recent rain.

Xylorhiza orcuttii page.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 31+ 8 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/11/2018 Caliente loop and Gravel pit


The quest was to map more Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii.
The first hike was next to Moonlight canyon and was dry dry, plants just recognizable and no X. orcuttii.
Next stop Gravel pit with a seep/spring and the canyon next door.

Highly unusual terrain for X. orcuttii, but here the seem to b happy, many in flower while all the other plants, if there were any looked very bleak.
Not the hundred we expected, but close to 500, but it did involve scrambling slippery drainages and going up dry falls.
Xylorhiza orcuttii page.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 13.


Click on a pictures to show more details.
Even more: Caliente loop

02/11/2018 Blue Spring - Nolina Canyon Loop


The goal was to check for pure Haydon's lotus, Acmispon haydonii that Tom Chester verified.
They do look distinct and having 1-2 flowers, smaller leaves makes it a good ID for us, even as we found some plants with 3 flowers, what should still be OK.

The area is dry and no annuals at all.
Finding one Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis what turned out to be two when we studied the pictures, was a great find.
The plants must have been here for a while, maybe grown from the good spring rain of 2017.
The surprise was even bigger when we found a third plant in Nolina canyon along the dirt road. It isn't a shiny plant, so no one will notice it.

As we entered the upper Nolina fork, Green rabbitbrush, Ericameria teretifolia, in bloom no less.
All in all a good bloom count.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 25.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/10/2018 A fork of Cool Canyon


The area gives mixed signals, of dry plants, green perennials and some germination.
This survey is mostly below 3000 feet, parts of the bloom is above.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 12.

Plant list
Tom Chester Cool canyon page

Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/09/2018 Culp Valley - Wilson Trail


It's warm, so Culp Valley is a nice place to be.
The area always looks barren from the start but we were picking up flowering plants soon.
A small Lotebush, Ziziphus parryi parryi could be smelled from over 200 meters.
Finally we found a male Oak mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum tomentosum in bloom, after finding numerous female plants before.

There is a lone pine tree on top of a hill surrounded by boulders, it took us 10 years to finally check it out, it was a Single leaf pinyon, Pinus monophylla.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 24.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/07/2018 Sweeney Jojoba Wash Sin Nombre loop


The Carrizo Creek was very green and also were we started our hike.
But the wash turned increasingly drier and got better as we almost completed our loop.
The Sin Nombre area is never a wet area, but this season it's even less promising.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 17 + 2.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/06/2018 Box Canyon second fork loop


WARNING: The high number of flowering plants is NO indication of a good bloom season, so far it looks rather bleak.
A revisit to the green Box Canyon, that turned out better than expected.
Not that it is that good, bloom is sparse but the diversity on this longer hike was very good.
A revisit is a must to see the 50+ Desert sage, Salvia eremostachya in bloom.

A nice find 2 Spearleaf, Matelea parvifolia just in fruit, so we probably missed the bloom last time around.
On our way back our first close encounter with two Mountain Lion, Puma concolor.

No to forget the bad thing, even as we removed over a hundred plants, there are still countless Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii left in the Box canyon.

A very good bloom count for early February, as everywhere else this area is in need of rain.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 73 + 5 along Coyote creek road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/03/2018 Carrizo Bow Willows Loop


We wanted to revisit Carrizo wash as it was the greenest wash in the South.
It was still very green, the smell of Cheesebush, Ambrosia salsola salsola is always a very good sign.
The two washes in the loop are right in the middle of the September 2017 rain and you can see it.
The bad, no germination at all except for the hundreds of Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus in the Carrizo wash.

It's finally time for Fishhook, Mammillaria dioica to start it's bloom.
What's still surprising, the many Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus that are in bloom from November up to February . In the Carrizo wash you find a couple in good bloom.

The road is very sandy to say the least, after our hike the car sunk in the sand a bit, even as we parked the car close to the "road".
It didn't even sink in that much, but it was like a brick, so out came the shovel and the sand plates and we were on our way again.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 31.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

02/02/2018 Salvador canyon south fork


A pleasant surprise, we expected a dry canyon, but here we found germination and recognizable plants.
The stream was almost non existing but yet another location for Maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris.
Our second find this season of a likely Heermann's Lotus, Acmispon heermannii heermannii.
This is one difficult hike, but a place we probably have to revisit.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 15 + 13 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/30/2018 Grapevine PCT Middle


A trip along the middle part of the PCT in the Grapevine Canyon area.
Even though it looks dry, the bloom count is rather high for the time or year, so there is still hope.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 18.

Plant list of the area

01/29/2018 Upper Oriflamme Canyon loop


This is our monthly hike to explore this area.
Not much in bloom yet, but there is plenty of germination.
We were very pleased with our first ever bloom of California bay, Umbellularia californica, we found several plants in the canyon wash.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 6.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/27/2018 Grapevine Loop 2


This is a loop we've frequently done over the years, with probably our longest plant list.
The number of plants in bloom is good and there is a lot of germination, certainly not only the bad stuff.

The hike is between 2450 feet and 3350 feet, most of it is below 3000 feet, so that's were we put it.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 20.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/25/2018 San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop


This is a very interesting terrain to hike in, lot of diversity.
We were surprised to find a couple of Bush poppy, Dendromecon rigida in bloom, even a couple of California aster, Corethrogyne filaginifolia in bloom.
This is home of Shortpod mustard, Hirschfeldia incana, skeletons everywhere and some in bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 15.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/24/2018 Stone wash


The bloom count in fish creek is still much better than last year, or last year was simply that bad.
Our goals: Count more Newberry's velvet mallow, Horsfordia newberryi and hike further into the canyon, beyond the dry fall.
This is such a nice slot like canyon, that is also home to Pygmy cedar, Peucephyllum schottii.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 25 + 8 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/23/2018 Cottonwood Canyon Salt Creek loop


Time for our repeat hike, just out of the dry zone.
Here the germination is a bit better, we were pleased finding baby Salvia carduacea, highly recognizable.
The Salt Creek is infected by Canyon dodder, Cuscuta subinclusa.
This area is very high on our list to plant another route as there is still much to explore.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 18.


Click on a pictures to show more details.

01/21/2018 Bisnaga east


This area is among the driest in the park right now.
Dry but with mixed signals, most of the Ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens splendens are in good bloom.
Finding 4 Elephant tree, Bursera microphylla that were blindingly green and with a very strong smell, from meters away.
The ferns we found were in rather good shape.
Chuparosa, Justicia californica all excepts a few without any flowering or leaves.
So the bloom count is the lowest of the season.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 4.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/20/2018 Henderson canyon


Plants look very barren at the start, getting noticeable better in the washes.
A Hoffmannseggia, Hoffmannseggia microphylla, probably out of place in this canyon, almost in bloom.
Germination isn't great (yet), except for the thousands of Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii.
It seems that there are more Fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum every time we visit the canyon.
Further around the bend of the canyon, things get much greener, we soon discovered the reason more rain, we got slightly wet. Getting wet in the desert is great.
The rain probably had no impact on the germinating plants, at least not lower in the canyon.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 21.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/18/2018 Rockhouse Loop


The September rain fell in between Rockhouse and Bow Willow.
This made the plants that much happier in the washes.
We did find germination, like grass and abundant Sahara mustard;Asian mustard, Brassica tournefortii at the bottom of drainages.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 27.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/17/2018 North Wash - Inner Pasture Loop


Entering a rough narrow canyon with plenty of shade, resulting in weird plants with huge leaves (Chuparosa, Justicia californica, Arrow leaf, Pleurocoronis pluriseta).
The smell of San Felipe dogweed, Adenophyllum porophylloides, was regularly present in the canyons.
Down Inner Pasture wash, plants were almost unrecognisable dry.
Germination generally spotty around bushes, sometimes greenish areas.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 15.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/16/2018 California - Jasper trail Loop


Our goal was to find Dense mistletoe, Phoradendron bolleanum in bloom and we did, in fact we found 3 kinds of mistletoe in bloom on this loop.
Germination is strong, whole fields of green, but unfortunately mostly, if not all, Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium. Hard to find other germinating plants in fields that are overwhelmed with Red stem filaree, Erodium cicutarium.

Our side-trip was to find Ashy silk tassel, Garrya flavescens in bloom and we found male and female plants in bloom.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 8.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/14/2018 Fish Creek Diablo dropoff Loop


Area's east and west were very good recently, so this is a must check area.
It started green in the Diablo Dropoff wash.
Into the wash that has a very high number of White stemmed milkweed, Asclepias albicans and Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii.
The surprise find was one blooming Ghost flower, Mohavea confertiflora.
This is indeed the month for Thurber's pilostyles, Pilostyles thurberi to bloom, we found our second host with blooming plants this season.
And again a very high bloom count.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 37.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/13/2018 Torote Canyon - Indian Valley Loop


While driving along the S2, the Creosote bush, Larrea tridentata are still rather green, a very good sign.
Hiking in the Torote Canyon, looks very promising Chuparosa, Justicia californica in very good bloom.
Then we spotted a big very very green plant, yes on our most wanted list, the very rare Rock nettle, Eucnide rupestris, in bloom no less.
Eventually continuing on our loop, we gradually added blooming plants, to a very high number. This must be the effect of the summer rain.
Down into Indian valley everything looked bleak, but it did get rain a week ago.
Closer to Torote canyon things improved considerably and we added more plants we've not seen on this loop before, like Turtleback, Psathyrotes ramosissima, almost out of bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 36.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/11/2018 Dave Mc Cain spring loop


A very long drive up to the dry spring area.
We were very surprised, looking down into the wash below, to find a very green scrub, weird to see such a happy Desert apricot, Prunus fremontii out here.
Desert lavender, Condea emoryi all in full bloom with a pleasant smell.
The area is filled with boulders and rocks, so even on our route it's never an easy hike.
Finding a lot of grass that we were unable to ID but looks strikingly different from anything else we found so far.
A very good bloom count.

The Fish Creek South fork is one of the few places so far were we've found abundant germination, combined with a high bloom count.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 18 + 18 along the Fish Creek road


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/10/2018 Palo Verde Wash North


While driving along the S22 this is the green area, so time for a look.
A lot of Creosote bush, Larrea tridentata are blooming along the S22 at our parking spot.
It's the blooming time for Desert trumpet, Eriogonum inflatum a lot of very happy plants.
Surprisingly Blue palo verde, Parkinsonia florida are very happy as well, with leaves and some flowering.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 10.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/07/2018 Third Crossing Wash Loop


Warning the amount of flowers is absolutely NOT an indication of a good spring bloom.
Time for a "green" hike to check out two forks of Coyote Canyon.
Both forks lived up to our expectations, green and still a good amount of flowering plants.
Unfortunately very few germinating plants, mainly Emory's rockdaisy, Perityle emoryi and many of them which germinated months ago.

On our way back along the creek, some very early spring flowers in bloom, living close to a creek helps.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 59 + 3 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/06/2018 Mile 83.4 wash


A hike up an unnamed wash.
Dry as expected.
What made our day better was finding Tiquilia canescens var. canescens.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 9.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/05/2018 Ysidrio peak


A hike up to the Ysidrio peak, a wonderful area to explore after rain.
It was a perfect day for a high altitude hike 80F in Borrego, clear and hardly any wind.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 5.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/04/2018 Rockhouse Canyon


Rockhouse canyon, very dry only one abundant bloomer Bladderpod bush, Peritoma arborea angustata.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 7.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/03/2018 17 Palms Loop


The area most likely didn't get any summer rain and is close to the real badlands.
Still the bloom count isn't that bad for the time of year.
Striking was the massive germination of Orcutt's Woody Aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii, from the 2017 spring rain, many seem to be dead.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 11 + 2 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


01/02/2018 Tapiado Seco del Diablo loop


Plant life is never abundant out here, but wow what do they look happy even at 80 degrees.
The soil must still hold water, the Cheesebush, Ambrosia salsola salsola are very green and some Smoketree, Psorothamnus spinosus are in bloom.
The most abundant bloom Solitary leaf alkali goldenbush, Isocoma acradenia eremophila (99) close to end of bloom and Wire lettuce, Stephanomeria pauciflora pauciflora (99).

We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 26 + 2 along the road.


Click on a pictures to show more details.


12/31
A hike along Pena Springs and numerous seeps and springs, looping back along the California trail.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 13.

Pictures: Pena Spring - California Loop



12/30
The terrain is divers, with numerous springs (8 and counting) and a "Swamp".
Still, we where surprised to find so many flowering plants along our route.

This time we skipped most of the springs as we've been there recently and went for "La Cienaga, The Swamp" to complete our loop.
A lot of happy plants that thrived with the bit of extra water.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 25

Pictures: Culp Valley Springs to Jasper Trail loop


12/28
A revisit to a fork of the Carrizo canyon a true palm canyon, one of the few places with a perennial creek.
The drive up Carrizo Creek is very very sandy 4x4 only and still very green.
But the green stops before this canyon and on the hike it's very dry.
This gives us the opportunity to enter the jungle and follow the creek a bit further.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 8 + 7 along the road.

Pictures: Carrizo West Fork Palms Second - Jacumba Jim Canyon


12/26
A wonderful hike starting in a fork of the Aroyo Salado eventually leading up to Traveller Peak.
The area didn't seem to have gotten any rain this summer, so very very dry.

We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii.


Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 11.

Pictures: Traveler-Palm Peak


12/26
This is an area we try to visit every month and it surprised us with a healthy bloom.
Some plants are out of bloom, some are starting.
It's time for Phoradendron to start their bloom, like Desert mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum.
Many flowered bush mallow, Malacothamnus densiflorus are leafing out again and a couple are in bloom.
The last of the bloom: California aster, Corethrogyne filaginifolia and Sapphire woolly star, Eriastrum sapphirinum sapphirinum.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 19.

Pictures: San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop



12/24
A visit to loop wash, the area got some summer rain, flowering plants and some germination.
This is still an amazing place barren and still so many plants managed to bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 28.

Pictures: Loop wash first fork loop



12/23
A nice place to stroll along the creek (streaming water higher up).
The goal was to find Big leaf mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum macrophyllum in bloom and we did. Unfortunately only male plants, so we will try again.
We added a great number of plants to our plant list.
We almost completed our tour along the creek, when we found leafless plants in fruit that closely resembled Poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum.
And incredibly high number of plants in bloom at this elevation.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 15.

Pictures: Lower Oriflamme Canyon



12/20
We wanted to take a look at the Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia, to get the right search image for our next trip to the playas between Box and Butler canyon.
The area was as dry as expected.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 4.

Pictures: Little Blair Valley Loop



12/19
One of our favorite hikes, up Rockhouse and back Butler canyon, this time with a detour along a playa.
According to an old map a lake, but it turned out to be just a playa, an interesting detour, maybe our preferred route, certainly next time.

Butler canyon was definitely one notch greener than Rockhouse canyon. And according to our bloom count of the loop, much better than last year.
Nothing compared to Box canyon as we found hardly any germination in the whole loop.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 29.

Pictures: Butler Canyon - Hidden Spring - Rockhouse Canyon



12/16
A hike just above the 12/15 hike (one hike down).
A cloudy day with some rain and snow (not measurable) and sunshine.
For a change a dirt road hike with a route in the Oriflamme canyon wash.
This will our follow up route for the season.

The plants list is uncertain and misses a whole bunch of plants.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 11.

Pictures: Upper Oriflamme Canyon loop



12/15
A very interesting hike up Cottonwood Canyon and back down Salt Creek.
This is just below the 3000 feet mark close to a high mountain rain, so this area sure gets more rain.
The Salt Creek appears to be the wettest.
More memorable the 1000+ healthy Malacothamnus, 100+ in bloom.

This will our follow up route for the season.
We probably added 2, maybe 3 new plants to our list, marked as Under investigation in the plant list. We have to go back to check for fruit and bloom.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 28.

Pictures: Cottonwood Canyon Salt Creek loop



12/13
Fish creek is one of the best place to be right now, in this wash there is evidence of 'recent' rain but hardly any germination.
We did find our first Desert sunflower, Geraea canescens in bloom along the wash road.

We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 21 + 7 along the road.

Pictures: North Palisades Wash



12/12
We got reports of flowing water in Palm Canyon a couple of months back.
But the canyon is a dry as it gets.
No sign of water at the first palms, except for some pools of water were groundwater resurfaces.
This is A.K.A. Fountain grass canyon, it's taken over the entire canyon, beyond the first palm oasis.
First flowing water at 33.283862 -116.435317 stopping at a small pool, flowing about 1/2 litre / second.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 10

Pictures: Palm Canyon



12/10
In search of the water that fell in the Coyote Creek area.
Once we noticed the flow of Box canyon into Lower Willows, it was evident that the bulk of the water came out of Box Canyon.
Wow most of the Smoketree are in full bloom, that's unusual.
Some germination and blooming Lupines, once in the second fork, things got even better.

Wow this is like running a perfume shop, but than much better as the smells are pleasant.
The strong smell Lavender and Odora but a lot of other plants joined the mix.

As we neared point "Saddle" things got dry, but going downhill it got much much greener again.
Once in Box Canyon, germination was even strong at times, Emory's rockdaisy everywhere.
This is by far the happiest area we encountered this season.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 63

Pictures: Box Canyon second fork loop



12/09
We did explored a bit further north of Clark Cry lake.
Highlights:
Palmer's jackass clover, Wislizenia refracta palmeri, Iodine bush, Allenrolfea occidentalis and finding hundreds of mostly dead Annual stillingia, Stillingia spinulosa, some still in bloom.
A very respectable bloom for the area that showed no sigh or recent rain.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 10

Plant list: Clark dry lake area



12/08
In search of the water that fell in the Coyote Creek area.
Both washes we hiked had clear evidence of flowing water, but the washes are as hard as concrete, at least the thin top layer is.
The result hardly any germination, but rather happy scrubs.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 38

Pictures: Ash Wash East loop



12/07
Right now this is one of the places to be.
There are clearly signs of recent rain. Chinch weed, Pectis papposa papposa is an indicator for rain in the area.
Somehow this seems to be one of the wetter parts of the Fishcreek area and maybe of all the badlands.

The good we found a high number of different plants in bloom (See plant list), they were gradually added, so the length of the hike influenced the bloom count.
The bad we found 26 Tamarisk, Tamarix ramosissima in the main wash, with plenty of bloom.

We ended up in the wrong fork, so we counted additional Xylorhiza.
We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 38

Pictures: Blackwood basin loop



12/05
A hike up a fork of Arroyo Salado North.
Here it's as dry as it gets, but a wonderful area to hike.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 6

Pictures: Arroyo Salado North Fork Mile 37.4



12/02
In Glorietta canyon there are no signs of recent water flowing or rain, it's very very dry.
A happy plant right now: Chuparosa, Justicia californica, in bloom everywhere.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 9

Pictures: Glorietta Canyon Loop



12/01
Finally a hike that was on our list for 10 years.
The canyon unfortunately didn't get much of the September rain.
That made hiking that much easier as the creek was just a small stream.
But it made a wonderful hike.
We added 3 new species to our list, we just missed the Lobelia cardinalis var. pseudosplendens in bloom by a couple of weeks.

The highest flower count was by car, driving up Coyote canyon.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 13 + 17 along the road

Pictures: Sheep Canyon



11/29
Fish creek is the place to be this time of year.
The first place this season, with a fair amount of germinating plants. Mainly the Fish Creek South fork main fork.
We should have been here in April of 2017 with the thousands of skeleton plants, like Little desert trumpet, Eriogonum trichopes.
And incredible amount of blooming Flat topped buckwheat, Eriogonum deflexum deflexum.

We found: Xylorhiza orcuttii.
And in very very high numbers not only in the wash but far beyond.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 32

Pictures: Layer cake wash loop



11/28
A hike from the Pinyon ridge down into Grapevine canyon. The terrain is rugged and parts still show only a slow recovery from the fire.
The unnamed spring still has water in it, so this may well be one of the most reliable springs in the area.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 14

Pictures: Pinyon spring California loop



11/27
A return to the loop hiked 2/1 & 3/8 2017.
Driving into the very sandy Carrizo creek, plants were very green.
Green and smelling like cheese from 100 meters away: Cheesebush, Ambrosia salsola salsola.
The green area seems to be between the Four Frogs canyon (not included) and the Bow willow wash.
Further up the Carrizo creek seems to be dry.

The rockhouse canyon had all the signs of water flowing within a couple of months.
Desert lavender, Condea emoryi almost unrecognisable green and a lot of Thick leaf ground cherry, Physalis crassifolia that have been blooming for at least a month, more likely two.
The green dropped the closer we got to the Four Frogs canyon.

We found: Carlowrightia arizonica.
Arizona carlowrightia, Carlowrightia arizonica looked real good, blue/green in appearance like little Chuparosa, Justicia californica, without leaves.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 30 + 6 along the Carrizo wash road.

Pictures: Rockhouse canyon - Four Frogs canyon loop



11/25
Another area that looked greener than the rest.
Finding a couple of green spots in washes, in an otherwise rather dry area.
This is the biggest and densest Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa field anywhere in and close to the Anza-Borrego Desert. The dominant bloomer: Desert lavender, Condea emoryi, smelling very very strong.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 30

Pictures: Hawi Vallecito - Lower Storm Canyon



11/24
It's warm, so time to seek out a higher elevation hike.
This is always a nice bush walk along the many springs. Springs always equals a higher bloom count than you would otherwise have on the same elevation.
In march we draw conclusions: most of the many Malacothamnus San Diego undefined seem to have died off. But this isn't the case, 99 still alive and 10+ in bloom.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 33

Pictures: The springs in Culp Valley



11/23
A hike up to the palms in Bow Willow main wash.
The Datura in the Bow Willow road crossing is promising.

The number of plants in bloom close to the first (one palm) fork is even more promising.
It's as the bulk of the water came from that wash, indicating rain was more centred around Carrizo canyon. This is just a guess so far, we need to check out Carrizo canyon soon.
In general the area is bone dry right now.
What surprised us even more, no water at all in the creek close to the fork. Last time we checked in March 2017, this was a serious stream.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 25

Pictures: Bow Willow Palms



11/21
A revisit to Mortero Palms.
The area is bone dry right now.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 9

Pictures: Mortero Palms loop


11/20
We were eager to try to get to Alder canyon.
To not get our feet wet on the start of the hike, we planned around Middle willows.
Next stop Mangalar spring, that turned out to be a wet spring but as with a lot of springs the plant live isn't that interesting.
It was already a long hike, so we had to go further to the oasis up in Alder canyon.

The oasis is a wonderful place with some water, nothing flowing right now.
Back to Upper Willows, in Middle Willows we sure got our feet soaking wet


Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 27.

Pictures: Alder Upper Middle Willow


11/18
Indian canyon was on the top of our list, now was the time to go.
A very accessible canyon, certainly at the start, with flowing water about one km in.
The canyon must have been spectacular in October.
Adding yet another flowering plant to our list a huge California wild rose, Rosa californica.


Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 33.

Pictures: Indian canyon


11/17
Wow there must be a gigantic flow of water a couple of months ago. Probably the September rain.
It rearranged the flow of coyote creek significantly in some places. In other places it's just were it was.
Water stops flowing above ground 1 km above first crossing.

Indications are that the water came from the side canyons before third crossing as well, so it was a more general rain.

The number of blooming plants is a staggering 77, unfortunately lots of non natives.

A new find, non native: Spanish false fleabane, Pulicaria paludosa.
Among the non natives Southern sandbur, Cenchrus echinatus.

The number of spring bloomers was pretty high, all in all a very interesting area to check out.


Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 77.

Pictures: Coyote canyon: First-Second-Third Crossing


11/15
Driving along the rail road tracks the plant count was very very low, this didn't look promising at all.
On of the goals, to check out Carrizo mallow, Sphaeralcea orcuttii, we found last year. Surprisingly in bloom with seeds, so the ID was positive.
We were certainly not expecting a Orcutt's woody aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii in this wide wash.

Most blooming plants were concentrated around the edge of the wash in places water was able to sink in.

Hiking up the Carrizo wash we found one interesting plant after another. Dune Buckwheat, Eriogonum deserticola our first find ever, so the day was made.

The dominant bloomer in the rocky washes Sweetbush, Bebbia juncea aspera.

Surprise a record bloom for the low desert this end of the year season.
Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 31.

Pictures: Fish Creek Mountains Carrizo Wash


11/14
Always an interesting area to hike, but wow this feels really dry.
Finding a couple of interesting skeletons, makes this a must return hike. Especially the "creek" area begs exploring.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 20.

Pictures: PCT Chariot Mountain Loop


11/13
An easy route following trails for a change.
Visited 4/22/2017 this year, so we expect many other plants in bloom.
We might have found California matchweed, Gutierrezia californica. Might because fall plant flowers seem to be bigger, but these plants seem to fit very well.
Another new plant for us that seems to be San Diego Gumplant, Grindelia hallii.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 14.

Pictures: Soapstone Grade - Upper Green Valley - La Cima trail

Next stop Kwaaymi Point, for a short hike to check out Little Monardella, Monardella nana, were we found the flower remains, so we might be lucky in May next year.

Pictures: PCT Fages to Kwaaymi Point


11/11
The goal was to explore the upper Nolina part of the wash.
We were able to navigate the canyon with some steep falls and looped back in a minor fork.

As we were expecting Ericameria teretifolia, we started mapping them right from the parking.
Most found in bloom or very recent bloom, so the ID was very good.
Except unlike other times there was no way to distinguish them from a distance on color or flower size.
Some are indeed a darker shade of green but not always.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 11.

Pictures: Pinyon mountain Nolina loop


11/10
The goal of the hike was to check for a mystery plant we found in April 2017 and to further explore this wonderful area.
Most likely the mystery plants are Bahiopsis parishii, but so large, 4x the size as we normally see in the desert.

The bad thing, they graded the road, removing a couple of plants we found last season.
This is obviously a wetter area with numerous springs.
A great plant count and a very good bloom count with some unexpected bloomers, check the link below for the photo's and plant list.

Species in bloom below 3000 feet: 31.

Pictures: San Felipe Valley Wildlife area loop


11/09
The goal of the hike was to check for Thyme-leafed spurge, Euphorbia serpyllifolia ssp. serpyllifolia we found in 2016.
We didn't find any, this is a bad month for Euphorbia that's for sure, we only found 2 blooming Euphorbia albomarginata on our entire trip.

The bloom is, looking at our pictures, much worse than on our previous hikes.

What made our day, finding several Oak mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum ssp. tomentosum in good bloom. (No detectable smell).
On our way back one Chaparral dodder, Cuscuta californica papillosa in full bloom. It's first host: California buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium died off and it continued on Jimson Weed, Datura wrightii that was still barely alive..

The dominant bloomer by far: Eriogonum.

Species in bloom above 3000 feet: 16.

Pictures: Thimble loop