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2015 Southern AZ Wildflower Reports

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.

Mar 26 2015 Pat Reports: On March 24, two of us traveled from I-10 along Colossal Cave Road to Old Spanish Trail, and then into Saguaro National Park, east of Tucson, to see the wildflowers. Along Colossal Cave Road, the predominant flowers were Desert Marigolds with clumps of Desert Zinnia, and in other locations, white Prickly Poppies and Globemallow. Within the Park along the loop, roads were lined with Brittlebush in full bloom, with Globemallow, Ocotillo, Parry's Penstemon and Prairie Clover here and there, and several other species. In places, whole hillsides were yellow with Brittlebush, The Brittlebush have a few buds left, so they will last for a few more days.

Mar 23 2015 Wesley Reports: Saguaro National Park West Coyote Pass

Mar 20 2015 Picacho Peak State park Reports: Poppies have started to wane, but the Eastern face of the peak is still covered in beautiful yellow daisies from Brittlebush, with a variety of other flowers throughout the Park. Check out this weekends Civil War in the Southwest event - 3/21-22 and see battles, flowers, camp, hike & picnic, all in one convenient location.

Mar 17 2015 Diane Reports: These photos were taken on the BACKSIDE of Picacho Peak on 3/16/15. Note: The ranger was telling people the best flowers were on the front, but we found ones just as beautiful or better on the back side.

Mar 17 2015 Pat Reports: The first photo was taken near Sells, Arizona, March 16, 2015. There were large displays of desert mallow, a few in pinks, whites, and lilacs, stretching for several miles. Also scattered among them were lupines, desert chicory, a VERY few owl clover, California poppies, desert marigolds, Parry's penstemon, and prickly poppies. The second photo was taken just east of Kitt Peak, with prickly poppies and desert mallow. The third photo is a shot of Baboquivari Peak with desert marigolds and Parry's penstemon in the foreground. The displays of poppies east of Three Points are almost gone.

Mar 16 2015 Andy Reports: Still a fair amount of blooms at Picacho Peak, especially if you stay at the lower elevations.

Mar 14, 2015 Diane Reports: These photos were taken March 13, 2015, on the Sutherland trail at Catalina State Park.

Mar 13, 2015 Picacho Peak State Park Reports: KABLOOM! go the flowers. This is "prime-time" for flower viewing and photos. You'll be treated to flowers all along Interstate 10 on your way to the Picacho, at the front entrance, and all throughout the Park. If we're lucky, many will last through the Civil War in the Southwest event on 3/21-22.

Mar 12, 2015 Ron Reports: These pictures were taken March 7 at Saguaro National Park west. The pictures were taken at the Ringtail Trail Access in the north part of the park. Lots of brittle bush lighting up the landscape along with gold poppies and some sandbells or bristly nama hispidum.

Pictures below were taken Wednesday March 4 on the Ajo Mountain loop in Organ Pipe national Monument. I saw numerous blooming Parry's Penstemon. I believe the humming bird is a Costa's as it flashed a brilliant violet forehead and throat.

Mar 12, 2015 Jack Reports: Flowers Kinney Road west of Tucson, Arizona.

Mar 11, 2015 Richard Reports: 3/10/2015 The Brittlebush are in full bloom at Picacho Peak.

Mar 9, 2015 Andy Reports: Catalina State Park has lots of blooms and more to come. These photos were taken on a spur off the Sutherland Trail. From the northern intersection of Canyon Loop and Sutherland take Sutherland up on to the upper plateau. From there, take the 2nd spur off to the left (a few minute walk past the park bench) and then hike flat then down/up then you're in this area. The poppies opened up around 9:30a. Well worth the short hike in.

Mar 9, 2015 John Reports: Southern Arizona spring wildflowers are happening. You will need to look along the edges of trails and washes. Blooms are not yet massed into extended beds or groups. The effort is worthwhile, because flowers are fresh now and in their prime.

Get to Catalina State Park (just north of Tucson, in Oro Valley) after breakfast so you can have a convenient parking spot with few other people on the trails. The light then is excellent for flower viewing and photography. Bring a knee pad to get up close and personal.

Go first to the BIRDING TRAIL, marked near the entrance of Romero Pools Trail. The Birding trail is short, easy to stroll, and abundant with flowers.

Return to the parking lot and walk left to the easy first part of CANYON LOOP TRAIL until it climbs, just past the flowing stream under the cottonwood trees.

We saw 20 or more types of wildflowers. The grassy areas are more lush than we have ever seen in the mesquite flats.

Mar 9, 2015 Susan Reports: Monument wash trail at Saguaro National Park east, on March 8, 2015. There were a lot of different plants blooming all over the park.

Mar 8, 2015 Picacho Peak State Park Reports: Rangers were out with their cameras.

Mar 8, 2015 Cindy Reports: We hiked in picacho peak state park 3/6/2015. Yellow poppies are blooming, so pretty! Thank you for the report so we do not miss the best time to see Az beautiful wild flowers!

Mar 8, 2015 Diane Reports: Kings Canyon trial in Saguaro National Park West on March 7.

Mar 7, 2015 Saguaro National Park Reports: This most recent winter rain has been good news for this little columbine and the rest of our wildflowers this spring. We found this Hermannia pauciflora in TMD west this morning. It is a tropical plant commonly found in Central America that seems to have expanded its range north into AZ and we think it is s new species addition to the park list!

Mar 7, 2015 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Reports: Quite a bit of roadside bloom between Tucson and the Monument along Highway 86. Mostly Fairy Duster, globe mallow and lupine with a sprinkle of penstemon through out. In the monument mostly lupin along the highway.

Mar 6, 2015 Tom Reports: Buckhorn Cholla is starting to bud in Catalina State Park, along with Owl Clover and Desert Chickory.

Mar 6, 2015 Chaitali Reports: Hiked the Canyon Loop Trail at Catalina State Park on March 01, 2015. Found at least 18 species blooming by the trail. Most abundant were fairy dusters and ragged rock flowers. Sending photographs of desert cucumber, bluedick, desert anemone, desert penstemon, fairy duster, lesser yellow-throat gilia, lupine, miner's lettuce, ragged rockflower, tackstem and white easter-bonnet.

Mar 5, 2015 John and Barb Report: Picture Rocks, AZ area March 3, 2015


Mar 5, 2015 Bill Reports: Drove the Loop Trail at Saguaro Park (East Unit) Yesterday (March 4). The Brittlebush and Fairy Dusters are coming along nicely.

Mar 1, 2015 Tom Reports: Lupine is starting to bloom in Catalina SP near Tucson. This picture is from Wed, Feb 26.

More 2015 Reports on page 2





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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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...

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