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2016 reports

Feb 11 2016 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: As temperatures begin to warm into Spring, cactus blooms can be seen throughout the Park. These multi-stemmed Warnock cactus buds should bloom soon, a great hint of the spring to come! Photo taken near a pullout along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

Feb 4 2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife‬ Reports: Spotted last week - first bluebonnets of the year! These were spotted near the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park and are Big Bend bluebonnets. These bluebonnets are typically found in alluvial areas (near creek and river areas). A beautiful part of the landscape!

Feb 4 2016 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: The Powerline Fire continues to burn in the Park today after ignition from a downed powerline during gusty, hot winds around 5 PM Monday, Feb 1st. Due to more accurate mapping techniques by foot and helicopter using GPS yesterday, the new size estimate of the fire as of 5 PM Wednesday, Feb 3rd was 1,537 acres.

Jan 26, 2016 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Winter can be a time of surprising weather in Big Bend! January is especially unpredictable, when one day might be sunny and warm and the next very cold with drizzling rain or snow. Be prepared for anything this week, from sunshine to freezing precipitation.

Jan 21, 2016 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: A little Spring has sprung in the desert after recent rains and snow! Desert Marigolds are prolific along the dirt River Road East, photo taken Friday 1/8



2015 reports

Dec 10, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Although rare in the deserts of the Trans Pecos, Edwards Nicollet is a wildflower often seen in Big Bend National Park. The leaves of this composite contain glands that secrete a pungent oily substance that gives the plant a distinctive smell. Edwards Nicollet has been spotted blooming along the Boquillas Canyon road and the RGV nature trail.

Dec 2, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: While few wish for rain over their vacation, November and December precipitation are the biggest influence on spring blooms. Many wildflowers, like these bluebonnets, germinate this time of year, overwinter, and add incredible beauty to Spring!

Nov 5, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! Mountain sage, Salvia regla, blooms in the Chisos from late summer to fall, adding beautiful color to the hills. The Chisos Mountains is the only place in the U.S. where it grows natively, but it is used by many gardeners across the Southwest as food for hummingbird and butterflies.

May 15, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! Snapdragon Vine (Maurandella antirrhiniflora) grows commonly in the Chisos Mountains, and can be found in sheltered desert areas, especially along arroyos. These violet flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

May 1, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! A profusion of prickly pear are blooming at various elevations throughout the park. With many species, one can tell the age of the flower based on its color: on the first day of being open, they are yellow (or yellow with a red center). On subsequent days of opening, the pigments break down and the flowers become salmon to pink-tinged.

Photo taken of Big Bend Purplish Prickly Pear near Rio Grande Village

April 25, 2015 Carl‬ Reports: US 380 West TX. Garza, Kent, and Stonewall counties April 21

April 23, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: On highway 385 just north of Big Bend National Park 4/16/15

April 23, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Experience an incredible Earth Day and today in Big Bend with this year's stunning and rare wildflower explosion! Rainbow cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus) normally bloom yellow but occasionally will exhibit pink or orange coloration. These alternate shades are due to these individuals being backcrosses of a hybrid with the Claret Cup cactus

NPS photo

April 15, 2015 Mia Reports: Bluebonnets and Yucca Terlingua, Texas

April 10, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! Chisos Pricklypoppy (Argemone chisosensis) is a large, typically white flower, that occasionally can be pink as well. This species grows most commonly in alluvium, so look for the 3’ tall plants around creek beds and gravel edges along roadsides.

April 3, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Cacti are beginning to bloom! Brown Flowered Cactus (Echinocereus viridiflorus var. russanthus) is commonly mistaken for Rainbow Cactus, but are easily differentiated by their smaller and reddish flowers. Common throughout the desert, but especially in the Chisos Mountains foothills.

Purple Ground Cherry (Quincula lobata), also known as Chinese Lantern, is the sole species in its genus. This short ground-covering plant grows commonly in desert areas. Photo taken near Persimmon Gap, 3/29/15.

Mar 31, 2015 Texas Wildflower Report -‬ Reports: Just got in about an hour ago from a 5.5 hour whirlwind trip through key locations in the Hill Country. Overall, I would say that right now roads rule with bluebonnets along US 87, RR-2323, Texas SH-16, Willow City Loop. and RR-1323. Coverage is not consistent throughout, but there are stretches along all roads I traveled that are thick and 90-100% covered with blooms.

Mar 25, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! Bluebonnets (Lupinus havardii) of a different color: white, pale, and sometimes pink bluebonnets can be found in addition to the typical deep blue. The 'hoods' of the flower provide another color change: the yellow patches changes to magenta following pollination, which is linked to deterring pollinators from revisiting the flower.

Mar 19, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: Blooming now! Phacelia (Phacelia congesta) lines roadways in both the state and national park. The pale purple flowers bloom on curled stalks -- the botanical term for this is "scorpiod," reminiscent of a scorpion's tail. Photo taken 3/13/15 on Hwy 170.

Mar 17, 2015 Big Bend National Park‬ Reports: The purple of Desert Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida, previously Verbena wrightii) is surrounded by the cheery yellow of Fendler's bladderpod (Lesquerella fendleri). Both of these blooms can now be seen growing predominantly in rocky, dry soils at mid and lower elevations in the Park.

Expect another busy weekend! Campgrounds just outside the Park boundary offer additional options if the Park's frontcountry campgrounds are full. Try to get your backcountry permit early & be flexible, plenty of beauty to go around.

Mar 5, 2015 Margie‬ Reports: We were in Big Bend National Park from Feb. 16 - Mar. 2. The flowers were some of the best I've seen in years. Bi-colored mustard covered the hillsides between Panther Junction and the Rio Grande Village. Big Bend Bluebonnets and Plains Blackfoot were on either sides of the road in the same area. Yucca were just beginning to bloom. I identified over 30 species in bloom. The road from Lajitas toward presidio also had lots of bluebonnets, Desert Marigold, and Yellow Rocknettle.

Mar 4, 2015 Big Bend Ranch State Park‬ Reports: If you ain't seein bluebonnets this year, you ain't lookin! Park photo

Feb 16, 2015 Big BendNational Park‬ Reports: ‪Bluebonnets‬ are just beginning to bloom. They expect peak to be at the end of the month, and for Chisos, or Big Bend, Bluebonnets, they're right on time. They expect them to bloom into mid-March but beware of the ‪‎SpringBreak‬ crowds. The NPS said all roads into the park have bluebonnets alongside them but Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and the road from Persimmon Gap to Panther Junction would be nice drives. Keep in mind these are a different species than Central Texas Bluebonnets so you won't see thick, large carpets, but you will see #bluebonnets as tall as your waist if not taller.

Feb 1, 2015 Llano, Texas Chamber of Commerce Reports: The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. This was taken by our executive director on January 29, 2015 just north of Llano on Hwy 29. Should be a great year for the bluebonnets in Llano, make plans for the peak season mid-March through mid-April.

Jan 31, 2015 Big Bend NP Reports: Habitats within Big Bend National Park support over 1300 plant taxa (about 1200 species). Hundreds of these species and varieties are showy, fragrant, or unique-looking enough to be generally categorized as “wildflowers”. In the Big Bend, there are usually two major flowering periods per year—spring and late summer/early fall. The spring flower season, because it depends largely on the amount and timing of winter precipitation, is less predictable than the summer/fall season, which is fueled by the dependable summer monsoon.

Even some snow fell in the park this month, only lasted a few hours.


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 Jim@desertusa.com. 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.

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.

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Mojave Desert Wildflowers book 200 color photos

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