Joshua Tree National Park

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2015 Joshua Tree Wildflower Reports

May 15, 2015 Joshua Tree National Park Reports: This week's report stars scaly-stemmed sand plant (Pholisma arenarium). It's parasitic! Unlike most plants, this one has no green color to it. No green means no chlorophyll, which means the plant isn't making food from sunlight. Instead, parasitic plants tap into the roots of nearby shrubs to steal nutrients.

Desert sand-verbena (Abronia villosa)is showing in the drainages off Bighorn Pass and Desert Queen Roads. Their colors are especially vibrant at sunset. Other flowers currently blooming in the Queen Valley area include rock live forever (dudleya saxosa), hop sage (Grayia spinosa), Fremont pin cushion (Chaenactic fremontii), paper bag bush
Here is a link to their PDF report.

May 7, 2015 Pam Reports: Taken (May 4) on the Ryan Trail in Joshua Tree National Park, Lot's of the yellow ones all over.

May 1, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: Desert dandelions (Malacothrix glabrata) are on full display in the park’s northern region. Queen Valley is currently one of the best places in the park for wildflower viewing. Diligent hikers may see notch-leaved phacelia (Phacelia crenulata), barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), silver cholla (Cylindropuntia echinocarpa), Parry’s nolina (Nolina paryii), and hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii). While hiking the trails off of Keys View Road, keep an eye out for Wallace’s wooly daisy (Eriophyllum wallacei), desert trumpet (Eriogonum palmerianium), and western tansymustard (Descurainia pinnata). More...

April 17, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: Wilson Canyon is still awash in an array of wildflowers ranging from Small Desert Star (Monoptilon bellidiforme), pictured above, to Brown-Eyed Primrose (Chylismia claviformis), Senna (Senna armata), and Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris).

Black Rock Canyon Keep your eyes peeled for Purple Mat (Nama demissum), Cheesebush (Ambrosia salsola), Wild Hyacinth (Dicholostemma capitatum), Fremont pincushion (Chaenactis fremontii), Wooly Daisy (Eriophyllum pringlei), Western Tansymustard (Descurainia pinnata), and Desert Calico (Loeseliastrum matthewsii).

More see Park Report PDF

April 15, 2015 Dan Reports: Joshua Tree, Split Rock 4/12/15

April 11, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: A huge variety of wildflowers are currently blooming in the park; over 40 different species are easily spotted and rare blooms reward ardent searchers. While desert wildflowers must never be picked, there's no harm in assembling a digital bouquet! Preserve desert wildflowers by taking only photographs. Click here for PDF report.

April 03, 2015 Caryn Reports: Wild Hyacinth, or Blue-Dick Dichelostemma capitatum Westside Loop Trail, Black Rock Canyon Joshua Tree National Park March 30, 2015

April 02, 2015 Cathy Reports: Joshua Tree is the place to be right now as it is just beginning to peak. The area around Cottonwood Spring at the southern entrance to the park has splendid displays of the “Joshua Tree poppy” together with lavender lupine, desert dandelion, chia, brown-eyed evening primrose, golden evening primrose, prince’s plume, Canterbury bells, and many others. The varieties of cactus and cholla blooming right now are particularly spectacular. All of these photos were taken along Pinto Basin Road on Sunday, March 29. #1 is a barrel cactus, #2 is hedgehog cactus, and #3 is claret cup cactus.

Mar 28, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: Fields of Joshua Tree Poppies (Eschscholzia androuxii) at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon. Lupines (Lupinus arizonicus) are starting at the Bajada All Access Trail. Abundant yet stunted Brown-eyed Primrose (Chylismia claviformis) and (Cryptantha sp.) are growing basin-wide. The entire Pinto Basin Road is lined with flowering Creosote Bushes (Larrea tridentata). The Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) At the Ocotillo Patch are blooming. Cholla Garden has blooms. See park PDF

Mar 28, 2015 Jennifer Reports: Photo Joshua Tree 3/26/15

Mar 23, 2015 Paul Reports: This was taken on the west side of the wash along Cottonwood Road around noon on March 21st, just beyond the large rock formation inside the wash. The poppies are interspersed with chia and purple desert lupine. There are large areas of poppies on both the east and west sides of Cottonwood Road, easily visible from the road.

Mar 20, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: Black Rock Canyon’s Hi-View Nature Trail has thus far stolen the show for colorful annual flowers. However, annuals are starting to show up in other park areas as well. Joshua Trees are blooming at Black Rock as well as Key’s View Road, and sporadically elsewhere.

At the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon we’ve been pleasantly surprised by an eruption of Desert Gold Poppies (Eschscholzia glyptosperma). However, poppies are not known for their durability, so the show may not last. Palo Verde Trees (Cercidium floridum) are blooming from Cottonwood Canyon and beyond the south entrance.

Wilson Canyon Pinto Basin Rd Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) flowers are blooming in many places.

Mar 16, 2015 The Joshua Tree National Park Reports: A few years ago this was thought of as just another California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, but Joshua Tree National Park's botanist noticed something different. The black spot at the base of the stamen is the tell tale sign of our Joshua Tree poppy, Eschscholzia androuxii!

Looking for poppies? Several hillsides in Black Rock Canyon are currently sporting the bright yellow blooms. [NPS/Sarah Jane Pepper; A park ranger gently holds the poppy and points out where the black spot is. NPS/Lian Law; closer view of the Joshua Tree poppy- a small, yellow flower with four petals and a black spot visible under the stamen]

Mar 14, 2015 The Park Reports: A few Desert Canterbury can be found along sandy washes from Mastodon Peak, Cottonwood Wash and Silvia's Wash. The first cactus blooms of the season (beavertail cactus) can be found along the Pinto Basin Road at the Ocotillo Patch. Creosote Bushes are flowering along the Pinto Basin Road.

The Mojave Yucca are beginning to flower, at the higher elevations in the Northwest of the park the Joshua Trees have a few blooms. See More on their PDF

Mar 6, 2015 The Park Reports: Within weeks the area of Black Rock Campground may have ground-hugging patches of color. Cottonwood Canyon, Chuparosa are in bloom at mile-post 33. With a walk, one might see Desert Lavender , Starvine , Desert Globe-Mallow , Canterbury Bells , Bladderpod , Rock Pea, Brittlebush , budding Ocotillo and Coyote Tobacco.

Mar 1, 2015 The Park Reports: Smell that creosote! We're getting some much needed rain in the park today but even if you visit during a sunny day like below, you can still experience the scent of desert rain. Just cup your hands around a branch creosote and gently blow on the leaves. The moisture from your breath volatilizes the waxy coating producing that distinct creosote smell.

Feb 27, 2015 The Park Reports: Black Rock Canyon Northwest Joshua Tree Joshua Trees are budding and blooming at Keys View & Black Rock Campground. Annual flowers on Black Rock’s Westside Loop Trail include: Desert Parsley (Lomatium mohavense), Filaree (Erodium cicutarium), Tidy-Tips (Layia glandulosa), Forget-me-nots (Cryptantha sp.), Checker Fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata), Chia (Salvia columbariae), and Pale Primrose (Camissoniopsis pallida).

Cottonwood Canyon Mile Post 33 Cottonwood Springs Road Chuparosa (Justicia californica). Yellow blooming bushes are Bladderpod (Peritoma arborea). Less common are Bush Peppergrass (Lepidium fremontii), Desert Rock-Pea (Lotus rigidus), and Globe-Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).

Wilson Canyon to Cholla Garden Pinto Basin Road The showiest flowers in the canyon are Bladderpod Bushes (Peritoma arborea). The pollen and nectar feeders are grateful for their reliability

Feb 20, 2015 The Park Reports: Desert Rock Pea (Lotus rigidus,) is becoming more obvious along the road of Cottonwood Canyon. Canterbury Bells (Phacelia campanularia) are reported along Cottonwood Wash. More common are Bladderpod (Cleome isomeris), Chuparosa (Justicia californica), Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi), and Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum). Less abundant are Sweetbush (Bebbia juncea), Starvine (Brandegea bigelovii), Coyote Tobacco (Nicotiana obtusifolia)

Cholla Cactus Garden - Though no cacti are blooming, there are a few perennial flowers in the area, like Coyote Tobacco (Nicotiana obtusifolia, shown). Others include Thick-Leaf Ground-Cherry (Physalis crassifolia). At the Ocotillo Patch (Fouquieria splendens) blossoms are very few at this time.

Feb 20, 2015 Jim Reports: Drove through the park on 2/18/15 not much in bloom, I saw some chuparosa bushes and lots of bladderpod bushes in bloom.

Feb 17, 2015 The Park Reports: The chuparosa (Justicia californica) bushes are starting to show their best. Also look for the yellow flowers on bladderpod bushes (Isomera arborea). Other flowers observed in the area, are desert globe mallow (Spheralcia ambigua), rock-pea (Lotus rigida). The dominant smell is from the desert mistletoe flowers (Phoradendron californicum).

Jan 30, 2015 The Park Reports: Up to a quarter of an inch of rainfall is forecast for the morning hours in and around Joshua Tree National Park.

Jan 28, 2015 The Park Reports: Regular rainfalls this winter are raising hopes for abundant wildflower blooms this spring. Currently, bladderpod (Peritoma arborea) is blooming along the Pinto Basin Road.

Jan 12, 2015 DUSA Reports: Some rain fell in the area on Sunday.

Jan 12, 2015 Sheri Reports: These pictures were taken on the Geology Tour Road just before the turn that goes back to the main road. It is the turn where the trail to Pushawalla Canyon Corridor is. The road is next to the mountains. The flowers were dead but looked as tho they might have when they were blooming. I think they were Buckskin keckiella but am not for certain. They were taken on January 2, 2015. At first when I saw them, to me they resembled the Hooded Pitcher Plant we have in The Big Thicket in SE Texas but I knew it could not be since it was not wet enough for them.

If you can help me identify, they would be great

Its Eriogonum inflatum thanks to Mark and Mia

Jan 1, 2015 DUSA Reports: It snowed in some area of Joshua Tree National park.

[NPS Photo by Brad Sutton; Snowfall on New Year’s Eve blankets Joshua Tree National Park’s backcountry]

2014 Joshua Tree Wildflower Reports

Dec 31, 2014 DUSA Reports: The end of the year storm is bringing rain and snow to the park, looks good for next year wildflower season. The new year will start out cold, for the latest weather click Here

Dec 1, 2014 DUSA Reports: Rain is expected this week in the park.

May 11, 2014 DUSA reports: Some cactus still blooming near north entrance and the Geology trails,

May 5, 2014 Daniel reports: I only had about 5 hours to look around and hike but the best concentration of wildflowers that I saw were at Queen Valley at the intersection of Park Blvd & the dirt road going north of Geology Trail (which I think is Queen Valley Road) going toward Barker Dam. Pictures taken 4/26.


April 28, 2014 Pam reports: Taken 4/26 at the park.


April 18, 2014 Mary reports: Still lots of flowers to see in the north part of the park:
INDIAN COVE - On the Nature Trail and along the roadside I counted 25+ species of flowers in bloom ranging from Desert Dandelion, Datura, Chicory, Hole-in-the Sand and the parasite Scaly-Stemmed Sand Plant. Beavertail Prickly Pear, Cholla and Hedgehog cactuses are coming into bloom.

WEST ENTRANCE - Some of the flowers on the hills were fading, but parts of washes were carpeted with flowers including Woolly Daisy, Desert Dandelion, Scale Bud, Purple Mat, Desert Star, Tickseed and Chia. Desert Woolly Star and Calico are having an especially good year. An easy spot to get to a wash is down from the West Entrance station.

QUEEN VALLEY - The road that starts north of Geology Trail and Park Boulevard and goes to Barker Dam has, at both ends, patches of bright yellow Desert Marigold and purple Desert Verbena, with a number of other interesting annuals. At sunset, on the end of the road by Park Blvd., I watched hundreds of Evening Primroses open up.
BOY SCOUT TRAIL - The beginning part of the trail (from Park Blvd.) is pretty with the Joshua trees rising above Desert Dandelions and Pincushions. On close look there were also White-Stemmed Blazing Star, Shining Blazing Star, Rattlesnake Weed and Mojave Sun Cups.

49 PALMS - This trail is quite dry with only a few flowers. It was, however, the only place in the park I found Rock Daises and Trailing Windmills blooming.

Scaly-Stemmed Sand Plant at Indian Cove
Scaly-Stemmed Sand Plant at Indian Cove
Desert Star and Woolly Daisy at West Entrance
Desert Star and Woolly Daisy at West Entrance
Calico at West Entrance
Calico at West Entrance
Desert Marigold in Queen Valley
Desert Marigold in Queen Valley

Spring Blooming Periods

Lower Elevations: 1,000 – 3,000 feet
Yuccas—March and April
Annuals—February, March, and April
Cacti—March, April, and May

Higher Elevations: 3,000 – 5,000 feet

Joshua Trees and Yuccas—March and April
Annuals—March, April, and May
Cacti—April, May, and June

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When will the desert wildflowers bloom?
We start our report in January, plan your visit to coincide with the peak of the bloom - keep up to date with DesertUSA's Wildflower Reports. Be sure to bookmark this page for weekly updates.

We'd like to see your pictures too. E-mail your digital photos and reports to Use Wildflower Report as the subject of your e-mail. Let us know where you took the photo and the date. We will post them on our wildflower reports. Thanks for your support and photos.

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