Anza-Borrego Desert SP - Wildflower Reports

Arizona| Nevada/Utah | New Mexico| Texas
California Locations
Death Valley NP | Joshua Tree NP | Mojave NP | Southern California | Northern California

Back to Main Wildflower Page
Wildflower Field Guide

Plan your trip with our
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Introduction Package


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.

How to get to the park - Map - You can also tour the 130 full-sized metal sculptures here that are inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago. Need a place to stay? Get rates - More on the park: Park Information.


2017 Anza Borrego Desert SP - Wildflower Reports

Page 3

Feb 17 2017 Ocotillo Wells SVRA reports: Beware of our blooming bonanza at the base of East Butte! Two of our featured wildflowers this week are relatives in the nightshade family, which contains fruits ranging from deliciously edible to poisonous to hallucinogenic. The yellow blooms of desert ground cherry (Physalis crassifolia) will eventually form tomatillo-like green fruits. Annual desert tobacco (Nicotiana obtusifolia) spreads like crazy in washes and disturbed areas.

Desert lilies are starting to bloom!  This one was spotted near the intersection of Pole Line and Gas Domes Trail. Thanks to Mardee for being our alert bloom spotter this week!

Several other flowers currently in bloom include: Popcorn Flower, Phacelia, White Rhatany, Dyeweed, Brown-Eyed Primrose, Little Gold Poppy, and even our Palo Verdes. Join us for drop-in wildflower walks this coming Friday through Monday at our Discovery Center from 9am-noon and 1-4pm. You can join our Naturalist for a short walk, or just get directions to the best places to see flowers in the area. See you there!

Feb 14 2017 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park reports: Good rains in December and January have annual plants growing in the flower fields north of town, and along trails in western canyons. Desert lily plants are budding in many locations, including the badlands, and at the end of Di Giorgio Road, just beyond the end of the pavement. Most are not blooming just yet, but when they do, they are beautiful and fragrant! So far, cool weather is allowing the ground to stay moist, and plants are continuing to grow. Sunflowers in the “Flower Fields” along Henderson Canyon Road are not yet budding, so give them a few more weeks to develop.

Spectacle-pod is starting at the north end of Di Giorgio Road. Extensive, deep mud should discourage even four-wheel-drive vehicles from driving into Coyote Canyon, but patches of sand verbena and dune evening primrose await those willing to walk a half-mile or so up the dirt road. Poppies, phacelia, and brittlebush are just beginning to bloom at the Visitor Center, where cryptantha has been in bloom for a couple of weeks. It’s hard to predict a peak, but we should start to see lots of flowers toward the end of February. If temperatures this month continue to be mild, flowers should persist into the first half of March, at least. Of course, another rain shower or two might extend the blooming period, so our fingers are crossed!

Feb 13 2017 Dearlie reports: Found some wild flowers starting in the Anza Borrego Desert in the Split Mountain area by the anticline.

Feb 9 2017 DesertUSA reports: There is water on the road at the entrance to Coyote Canyon, 4WD recommended. It should dry up this week. The sand verbena are starting to bloom, though there are not many yet. Plum Canyon is very green and a few flower are showing. The next seven days should be sunny and warm, giving the wildflowers the energy they need to grow. Still early in the season.



Photos below are from Plum Canyon

Feb 9 2017 Gretchen Report reports: It's starting! Today in coyote canyon!


Feb 9 2017 Ocotillo Wells SVRA reports: Cool-but-sunny weather continues to coax early bloomers here at OW. Field staff spotted a blooming Orcutt’s aster (Xylorhiza orcuttii) in Tule Wash this week. Also known as woody aster, this lavender-petalled beauty is native to clay, alkaline soils of Southern California and Northern Baja. Check out the shiny, spiny leaves.

Desert lilies are hard at work, forming torch-shaped flower buds near the Ranger Station complex.

Alongside Pole Line Road, you can watch desert pussypaws, aka dead men’s fingers (Cistanthe ambigua), push up their pudgy, red-hued leaves up out of the sand.

A sheltered chuparosa bush has begun attracting bees and hummingbirds near the Discovery Center. In some areas, it almost looks like we’ll have to get out the lawn mower if we get any more rain! Just kidding! The caterpillars will be out soon enough!

Feb 8 2017 Terri Wildflower Report reports: Plum Canyon. Saw at least five or six different colors and species of wildflowers.

Feb 5 2017 Ocotillo Wells SVRA Wildflower Report reports: After our week of rain, mountains and bajadas all over the low desert appear to be coated with green velvet. Perennial bushes add much of this “five o’clock shadow” to faraway views. While not many specimens have been seen blooming yet at OW, several near the Discovery Center are leading the pack.

The spiky stalks of unassuming violet flowers of desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi), a member of the mint family, already hosts bees. Enjoy the fragrance – bees will move aside for you.

With the onset of extreme summer desert heat, many desert plants eventually shut down photosynthesis. Desert saltbush (Atriplex polycarpa) is a tough exception. It continue its metabolism even in the most hellish circumstances. Desert saltbush is also known as cattle spinach; it was a steady supply of forage in early ranching days. Its range has shrunk in the lower deserts as cultivated agriculture has expanded.

Saltbush (Courtesy of: ©2005 Steve Matson CC BY-NC 3.0)

Myth-buster section:  Many discussions of the common chaparral plant, creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), suggest that its roots produce natural herbicides to prevent most other plants from growing too close. It turns out that this is true for some but not all that might want to move in on creosote. Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is much more likely to make life difficult for neighboring plants. The most common medicinal use of creosote bush in native cultures was to make a tincture to for soaking infected wounds.

Feb 3 2017 DesertUSA reports: Visited the Borrego Springs area and the ABDS park this week, still early but its getting green, no wildflowers yet. The road to Coyote Canyon has been repaired and is in good condition now. Here are a few pictures.

Feb 1 2017 Anza-Borrego Foundation reports: We had 2.5 inches of rain last month. No promises, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Jan 27 2017 DesertUSA reports: Still early for wildflowers, the area is getting the rain needed for the wildflowers. Here are a few photos from our trip on 01/25/17. We went through Julian, Ca on the way to see the snow. The 1st part of Coyote Canyon road was in bad shape 4WD only, the rest of the road was normal for the area. The desert is turning green.

Julian, Ca

Coyote Canyon Rd,

2nd Crossing Coyote Canyon Rd

Flowers near 2nd Crossing

View to the north from Henderson Canyon Rd

View from San Felipe Wash and Rt. 78

Jan 25 2017 Ocotillo Wells SVRA Wildflower Report reports: Welcome to the weekly OWSVRA Wildflower Report. And what a week we’re havin’! Nearly a year’s worth of rain fell since last weekend, and the desert is responding with a surge of greenery, from tiny sprouts to ocotillo forests bursting with possibilities. There’s snow in the peninsular range, but the Brittlebushes (Encelia farinosa) near the Discovery Center are leading the wildflower pack with their cheerful yellow.

Ocotillo canes (Fouquieria splendens) have morphed quickly from prickly sticks to green fireworks, exploding within three days after a rain. These plants absorb most of their water through their canes rather than through their roots – a great adaptation for the Colorado Desert. Here in the park, ocotillos prefer soil dominated by granite particles. There’s a splendid granite-inspired patch at the foot of East Butte along the Goat Trail.

We’ve seen a bumper crop of wavy-leaved Desert Lily plants (Hesperocallis undulata) along Pole Line Road. The bulbs of these rough-and-tough plants send up blooms only in wet years. Their bulbs may be two feet below the surface of the sand to avoid hungry rodents and even summer monsoons. No flower stalks yet, but we’ll be watching to see how tall they grow after so much winter rain – possibly up to six feet!

Green “shadows” of tiny annual seedlings have been spotted on the downstream side of dormant bushes, especially along small washes. We’ll keep you posted as they show their true forms and colors.


Jan 24 2017 DesertUSA reports: Palm Canyon and First Crossing on Coyote Canyon Road have running water. Outlook is good for wildflowers this year at this point in time. Will have pictures later this week and will be in the area on Wednesday.

Jan 20 2017 DesertUSA reports: Exercise caution if visiting Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (flooding) & consider postponing your visit until after the storm to safely enjoy all the park has to offer. This is posted on the parks website. Also see post by Ocotillo Wells SVRA below flower pictures.

Jan 19, 2017 DesertUSA reports: The plants are getting green and more rain is on the way. We should start seeing flowers in a few weeks. Here's what we found on Wednesday. We explored Plum Canyon off of RT 78, Yaqui Well, and the Coyote Canyon area at the end of DiGiorgio Rd.

4 photos above taken in Plum Canyon

End of DiGiorgio Rd


Jan 19, 2017 Ocotillo Wells SVRA reports: Biggest Storms in 10 Years to Impact Ocotillo Wells SVRA! The staff here at Ocotillo Wells SVRA highly encourages all visitors that had plans to come out this weekend to move their trip to another weekend. It does rain here, it has rained out here and the rains predicted this weekend will create a very dangerous situation. Please take your safety into your own hands and consider that this weekend, the best plan will be to protect your home. The National Weather Service is predicting that the upcoming series of storms this weekend will have a significant impact to Ocotillo Wells SVRA.

Due to a soaking storm last weekend, the ground at Ocotillo Wells SVRA is already saturated and any additional rain will quickly lead to flash flooding. Last weekend there were already numerous rescues and accidents caused by the extremely muddy conditions. Many people had to pay for costly extractions by towing companies; that is if the tow truck could even reach them. The chances of getting stuck are so high that park employees are not able to respond to rescue visitors; they simply can’t make it to them.

Jan 13, 2017 DUSA reports: Checked the the area around Coyote Canyon and Henderson Canyon Road for early signs of wildflowers on Wednesday. It has rained in the area and the soil is wet about 1 inch down. More rain is on the way, still very early for wildflowers but got some interesting pictures.

Seeds starting to grow

Getting ready to bloom.

Early sunflower in bloom Henderson Canyon Rd.

Rain trying to get over the mountains

View from Fonts Wash off of Borrego Salton Seaway Rd.

View from the S22 turn out


Jan 6, 2017 Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association reports: Flower prediction in response to the questions we are getting: We all know the saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” That same principle holds true for our desert region, “Winter Showers Bring Spring Flowers.” Especially, slow-moving storms that hang over the desert for several days, including overcast skies, cool temperatures, and light or little wind, all of which we experienced over the holidays. Nearly two inches of rain fell, and rather than evaporating due to heat and wind, favorable weather conditions gave the rain a chance to soak into the desert’s porous soil, providing the moisture to germinate the seeds of colorful spring wildflowers.

Weather conditions remain favorable with continued cloud cover, cool day and nighttime temperatures, and light winds. If we’re lucky, another storm or two will cross our western mountains yet this winter. Plan your desert springtime visits, as we are expecting a good wildflower season!

Jan 1, 2017 DUSA reports: More rain in ABDSP area this weekend good start for the upcoming wildflower season.

2016 Anza Borrego Desert SP - Wildflower Reports

Dec 23, 2016 DUSA Reports: Rain in forecast for the weekend, some flash floods in the creeks. Check road conditions before traveling. San Felipe Wash 12/22/2016 below.


Dec 3, 2016 DUSA Reports: Checked out Coyote Canyon at the 2nd crossing found a few wildflower, still very early for wildflowers. When it got dark we took some pictures of the metal art in the Borrego Springs area. Fun trip great to get back in the desert in the cool weather. It was 32 degrees when we left at 9pm. Some pictures below.

Nov 23, 2016 DUSA Reports: Saw a few wildflowers along a road, but it is still early for next wildflower season. The ABDNHA is reporting some wildflowers in Coyote Canyon near the 2nd crossing. The desert has received little rain so far, we will need more for a good 2017 wildflower season.






Wildflower book

Wildflower field guide ebook
find the wildflowers by color - Kindle, iPads and Smart phones.

kindle button ---iTunes link

More Information

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 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.

DesertUSA Newsletter -- Each month we send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore. Animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up now (It's Free).

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - 210 printed pages with 200 color photos. More...


For other state reports click on link below

Arizona| California| Nevada| New Mexico| Texas

Southern CA Wildflowers | Death Valley NP | Joshua Tree NP | Mojave NP

Back to Main Wildflower Page | Wildflower Field Guide

Mojave Desert Wildflowers book 200 color photos

Other DesertUSA Resources

Desert Plants
Wildflower Information & Hotlines
When Will The Wildflowers Bloom?

Related DesertUSA Pages





Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



Enter E-Mail address:

life straw


Charger kit

Rockhound books

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!


Home  | About | Contact Us | Feedback | Privacy | Site Outline | Advertising on DesertUSA | Aquis Towels | Hotels

Copyright © 1996-2018 and Digital West Media, Inc. - -