Southern Arizona and Tucson Wildflowers

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2016 Southern AZ Wildflower Reports

Feb 5, 2016 Saguaro National Park Reports: Thanks to the Beat Back Buffelgrass Day on January 23rd! An enthusiastic group of 24 volunteers (14 adults and 10 youth) came out to an area north of Picture Rocks Road on this beautiful Saturday morning. This group enthusiastically removed almost a half acre of buffelgrass on the south facing slope of Panther Peak. The event at Saguaro NP was one of 26 locations across the greater Tucson area where over 500 volunteers donated their time to reduce the threats buffelgrass by pulling out buffelgrass.


2015 Southern AZ Wildflower Reports

Nov 12 2015 Pat Reports: Wildflowers in November! Strips of yellow flowers were found between I-10 and the railroad tracks, from Ina well past Cortaro. Several Texas Ranger bushes were covered with lilac blossoms. Monday,

Oct 22 2015 Pat Reports: Maybe it's the wrong time of year, but I don't care. Seen Tuesday. They have been blooming for days. October flowers! Observed on the south side of the street, for a reasonable distance, between La Canada and Oracle along Orange Grove, Tucson. I think they're Desert Marigolds.



May 15 2015 DUSA Reports: The Saguaro Cactus are in bloom in some area.

May 5 2015 Nemo Reports: Updated Catalina State Park report for the beginning of May, 2015 Seasons change. The profusion of mid-Spring wildflowers gives way to hardy warm weather flowers on cacti and over a dozen remaining Sonoran Desert plants. (My wife and her friend L. G. identified over fifty blooming plants one month ago.)

Follow the location information from our April 6 report below to enjoy late Spring blooms on the unmarked trail adjacent to Romero Ruins Picnic Area. Get an early start in the day, always bringing plenty of water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, a large hat, and some insect repellant. Be careful when you venture along and off the trail this time of year. It is unlikely you will encounter a dangerous snake, but pay attention at all times.

Saguaro cacti are blooming! Bring a telephoto lens. During the next couple of weeks the giant cacti will be flowering like crazy along this trail and everywhere in Southern Arizona. Don’t miss the final intense flowers on the staghorn and other spindly cholla cacti.


April 26 2015 Kevin Reports: Spring has sprung in Saguaro National Park East. April 12, 2015

April 6 2015 Nemo Reports: We found *hundreds* of mariposa lilies in bloom on natural garden hillsides this morning at Catalina State Park, just north of Tucson. Park at the semi-circular area on your left shortly after entering the park, for ROMERO RUINS, where there is a nice picnic ramada. Walk toward the ruins trail, across a small, dry, river wash, up a short, sandy path. Do not go left at the Romero Ruins sign. Instead, keep to the right and follow the main, sandy trail.

Continue on this trail as it goes up several broad steps made from railroad ties. At the top of the rise, look around to get your bearings. The continue on this unmarked and unpopular trail. It is a splendid experience, and is roughly one mile long. Very easy walking. No hiking shoes or sticks are necessary, but have plenty of sunscreen, hat, water, snacks, plus battery and card capacity in your camera or phone. The best time to arrive is early, beginning around 7:00.

The trail ends at a box canyon that still has some running water. Along the way you will experience over fifty varieties of desert wildflowers in bloom. My wife is working on a comprehensive list that we will submit later this week to help you with identifications. Some highlights are (excuse any inaccuracies that follow) mariposa lily, owl’s clover, larkspur, ocotillo, brittle bush, desert marigold, globe mallow, monkey flower, thistle, fairy duster, hedgehog cacti, plus dozens more.

Photos below are full frame, and were slightly enhanced using Snapseed on my iPad. Originals are from a prehistoric FujiFilm zoom camera that doesn’t have saturated colors. These are the best of many pictures I took.

April 6 2015 Tom Reports: Hedgehog Cactus are blooming in Catalina State Park near Tucson, AZ.

Mar 31 2015 Nemo Reports: Spring wildflowers are blooming like crazy all over the Tucson area. It’s strange but true that the best display is along Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak, with the greatest profusion in the freeway median between Picacho on the north and Red Rock on the south. Explosive and colorful for miles.

Tohono Chul Park is delightful for viewing many varieties at their peak. Catalina State Park continues to look great, both along the trails and on the unmarked side paths. We spotted a rare orange Mariposa Lily under a shrub on the left side of the Birding Trail going in the clockwise direction, which is the best way to walk this trail now that morning sun is so intense. Lace up your boots and go flower exploring. Bring a good hat plus plenty of water and sunscreen.



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.

Wildflower Field Guide page.

Photos tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports


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Mojave Desert Wildflowers book 200 color photos

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