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  • Lisa Parsons

Desert Superbloom in Southern California

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Flowers everywhere! The desert in Anza-Borrego State Park is in full superbloom with all different species of wildflowers. The air is thick with floral scent that wafts in strong currents with the wind. We pass hillsides of purple Desert Sand Verbena, sandy flats carpeted in Desert Evening Primrose, fields of yellow California Dandelions, and washes full of red Chuparosa, Lupine, Desert Chicory, Yellow Bitterbrush, and Desert Lilies. Hanging on rocky outcrops are Orcutt's Woody Asters. Along the hills are millions of Brown-Eyed Primroses poking through the layers of sedimentary mud. We’ve never seen so many desert flowers all at once. Our days are spent on a treasure hunt to find new species of wildflowers as big as the giant Yucca blooms to the tiniest of Bur Clover.

Fields of Purple Verbena all the Way to the Mountains

For more photos of the different desert wildflowers visit my website at:

For Cactus blooms:

For wildflowers:

Fields of Desert Verbena off of the Salton Seaway and Truckhaven Trail

We’ve spent days exploring the Carrizo and Borrego Badlands. Layers of mud covered parched earth and even there the desert is alive with flowers.

  1. Ghost Flower

  2. Desert Pincushion

  3. Desert Marigold (not confirmed)

  4. Mohave Aster

  5. Emery's Rock Daisy

  6. Desert Chicory

  7. Blue Phacelia

  8. Brown-Eyed Primrose

  9. Desert Yellow Blazing Star (not confirmed)

  10. Bitterbush (below) Chuparosa (above)

  11. Bitterbush Flowers

  12. 12 Bitterbush Flowers

  13. Red Gland Spurge

  14. Yucca Bloom

  15. Close-up of Stamens in Yucca Bloom

  16. Yucca

  17. Yucca

  18. Rock Daisies

  19. Large Red Chuparosa

  20. Red Chuparosa and Granite Rocks

  21. Closeup of Red Chuparosa Blooms

  22. Small Pink Flowers (unkown)

Above Borrego Springs in Coyote Canyon certain flowers cover different areas. The transitions can be subtle or distinct like the yellow poppies that cover a hillside on the drive in or the pockets of Lupine along the roadside.

Along Henderson Canyon road is the most Evening Desert Primrose that I have ever seen in once place. They grow together in thick white blooms to the edges of the mountains up the valley from the road and on the other side spanning out toward downtown Borrego Springs.

Primrose blooming out of a dried mud bed

The smell of the wildflowers and lemon blossoms is intoxicating along Di Giorgio Road. Everywhere the intoxicating smell of the wildflowers fills the air.

Calfornia Dandelions Along Di Giogio Road

Everywhere there are flowers there are desert wildlife. Fingers sized caterpillars munch on flower leaves. Long-eared hares scamper under brush or along the road. Hummingbirds flit from flower to flower. The desert is full of varied bird song. Nests snuggle into the space between cactus spines.

Las Tres Amigas

1-2: Cholla Cactus

3-8: Fish Hook Cactus

9-12: Barrel Cactus

Even the cacti are blooming. Barrel cactus spurt out yellow blooms from their spikey crowns. Ocotillo sends red fire skyward as their blooms unfurl. Prickly Pear burst with florescent pink blooms. The Cholla surrounds its yellow flowers at the tip of its many branches with spines like vicious fish hooks.

Fire Red Blooms on Ocotillo Cactus

We intermix our search for flowers with adventures as we spend our days in Anza-Borrego State Park in southern California. In between the flowers are slot canyons, mud caves, trails, backcountry roads along desert washes, metal sculpture gardens, wind caves, sandstone cliffs, and mesa tops with views of a sea of surrounding mountains and mud canyon lands.

Century Plant / Agave Bloom in June Wash

Blooming Ocotillo Cactus and Purple Verbena in June Wash

Golden Poppies, Purple Chia, and Blue Lupine Along the Southern Border of Joshua Tree National Park

Here are some wildflower resources for your visit.

Nearest towns to different areas of the park are:

  • Borrego Springs

  • Palm Springs

  • Palm Desert

  • Ocotillo

  • Ocotillo Wells

Where to Camp. Here are some resources:

Map of Anza-Borrego

For more photos of the different desert wildflowers visit my website at:

For Cactus blooms:

For wildflowers:

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