Phoenix Area and Northern AZ
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Wildflowers and Plants - Descriptions with Photos
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.
Note: Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the desert, but it can also be a time for caution. Rattlesnakes lie dormant during the cold fall and winter months and awaken from hibernation in the warm months of March and April. Another reason to stay on the trails. More...
2018 Phoenix Area and Northern AZ Reports
Nov 3, 2018 Jan Reports: Saw these Arizona poppies this morning at Thunderbird Conservatory while hiking. Near Glendale, AZ
Nov 1, 2018 Ron Reports: Photo was taken 10/30/2018 at 0930 in the morning in the desert in Yuma, AZ. Many other plants of the same type without blooms as of yet. Can anyone identify this plant?
Oct 2, 2018 Phoenix Area Parks Report: Receiving heavy rainfall.
August 19, 2018 Petrified Forest National Park Reports: Here are more flowers from Petrified Forest National Park!
Colorado Four o'Clock (Mirabilis multiflora) forms a hemispheric mass of darker green ovate to heart shaped leaves. Flowers are early bloomers, already starting to crumple by 8am. The flowers are big showy magenta funnels formed by fused sepals. (Image taken on 08-09-18 near North No Name Point, Petrified Forest National Park)
Rocky Mountain Zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora) is perennial subshrubs with many green stems and linear leaves. The showy flower heads are composed of droopy ray florets with golden yellow corollas and red-orange disc floret corollas. Often found on rocky slopes in brightly hued colonies late summer into fall. (Image taken on 08-09-18 near North No Name Point, Petrified Forest National Park)
Lemonscent (Pectis angustifolia) can be annual or perennial, sometimes creating a low growing yellow and green carpet. The linear leaves have a little tooth near the base and are dotted with oil-glands that provide the lemon fragrance. The flower heads gather in groups, each made up of yellow ray and disc florets. They show up late summer into fall. (Image taken on 08-16-18 at Jasper Forest, Petrified Forest National Park)
Rush pea (Peteria scoparia) is a large airy shrub with long, arching branches and a few pinnate leaves with tiny leaflets. The pea-like flower is white with touches of pink and/or purple with a maroon calyx. (Image taken on 08-16-18 at Tiponi Point, Petrified Forest National Park)
Aug 4, 2018 Ron reports: Saw these flowers, August 9th. The plants were seen in grassland in the Pinyon Juniper environment in Vernon, AZ. 85940 , 6870 ft elevation. I do not know the names for these clowers. The orange color flowers were prevalent but only 1 plant of the yellow colors found. I am not certain if these are wildflowers or if escaped ornamentals but quite pretty.
Aug 4, 2018 David reports: Yes, spring and summer wildflowers can bloom at same time. Amazing what fertilizer, water, cut back plant, can achieve. Area is backyard wild section, Page, Arizona, 4,300’ elevation, date 8/3/18.
June 18, 2018 Petrified Forest National Park Reports: Sacred Thornapple (Datura wrightii) is a showy perennial with large silvery leaves and big white trumpet flowers. The fruit is a thorny ball. This plant is toxic, but pollinators like the nectar and flower spiders eat the pollinators. (Image taken on 06-16-18 near Painted Desert Visitor Center, Petrified Forest National Park)
Southwestern Prickly Poppy (Argemone pleiacantha) is another showy perennial with white flowers. The petals are crepy and delicate surrounding a yellow center. The leaves are lobed and very prickly. The fruit are ovoid, thorny capsules. Last year’s fruit still cling to old growth. (Image taken on 06-16-18 near Nizhoni Point, Petrified Forest National Park)
Walking Stick Cholla (Cylindropuntia spinosior) is the tallest of the branched chollas in the park. It easily spreads through pups, although the branches are firmly attached. The flowers are magenta with yellow centers, becoming yellow fruit that linger. It is a good food for animals in the winter. (Image taken on 06-01-18 near Giant Logs, Petrified Forest National Park)
Whipple’s Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei) is the shorter of the branched chollas in the park. It easily spreads through pups. The branches can turn purple, particularly drying cold or dry spells. The flowers are chartreuse green with yellow centers, becoming yellow fruit that linger. It is a good food for animals in the winter. (Image taken on 05-30-18 near Rainbow Forest, Petrified Forest National Park)
May 25, 2018 Petrified Forest National Park Reports: The biscuitroot, skunkbush, fishhook cactus, and stretchberry are gone. Most of the cliffroses are now covered with fuzzy seeds. Many of the vetch have gone to pods, although a few are still blooming. There are still so few flowers compared to past years. Here are a few from the last couple of weeks.
Thread-leaf Groundsel (Senecio flaccidus) is a tousled, cheerful shrub-like perennial with slender, downy leaves and bright yellow flowers. The blooms have both disk and ray flowers, loved by pollinators such as duskywing butterflies. (Image taken on 05-18-18 near Rainbow Forest, Petrified Forest National Park)
Crown-leaf Evening Primrose (Oenothera coronopifolia) is one of several white evening primroses found in the park. O. coronopifolia tends to be rangy with dissected leaves, no stem leaves, and reddish stems. (Image taken on 05-17-18 at The Tepees, Petrified Forest National Park)
Gladiator Milkvetch (Astragalus xiphoides) isn’t common and often hard to see due to the tiny flowers and mainly leafless, wispy stems. The small bilateral flowers are ivory with maroon calyx. There are hairs on the stems. Last year’s growth surrounds the new stems. (Image taken on 05-18-18 at Petrified Forest National Park)
Hairy False Goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa) will line the park road during normal to good years. It forms rounded subshrubs with downy twisted leaves and bright gold compound flowers. The blossoms are composed of both ray and disk flowers. The plant often has a pleasant herbal fragrance. (Image taken on 05-19-18 at Jasper Forest, Petrified Forest National Park)
This Pink-Flower Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus fendleri) has had a rough year. The mature stems are turning maroon and slumping. A new stem is forming under the blossoms. The silky magenta petals are dusted with abundant pollen. The loose clumps can have up to twenty stems, while this one had five, two of which have died and fallen off the cliff. Each areole has 4-12 mostly straight spines, some of the central ones tending to be darker with lighter radial ones. (Image taken on 05-19-18 at Jasper Forest, Petrified Forest National Park)
Western Peppergrass (Lepidium montanum) is a shrub-like perennial mustard of green upper lanceolate and lower lobed leaves, long stems with terminal clusters of tiny white four-petaled (cruciform) flowers. The snowy flowers can cover the mound. Tiny paddle-shaped seed pods develop and hang on through the winter. (Image taken on 05-19-18 at Painted Desert Community Complex, Petrified Forest National Park)
Rattlesnake Mat (Chamaesyce albomarginata) is a prostrate perennial with hairless, spreading stems and oval, opposite leaves, some with a maroon spot in the middle. The cyathia (flower structures) are in leaf axils, with white petaloid appendages. These plants can form large, ground covering colonies (Image taken on 05-16-18 near Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park)
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 and wildflowers photos.
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.
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