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2017 Wildflower Reports

Aug 30, 2017 Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve reports: Heavy rains in late July and early August have brought incredible swaths of sunflowers to the grasslands west of the dunefield. The largest areas of sunflowers are along County Lane 6N, the southern boundary of the national park. Sunflowers peak around the third week of August, but there are still plenty of flowers left.

Many speed through the region's grasslands in a hurry to see more dramatic dunes and mountains. Take time to get out of your car and explore the more subtle, intricate beauty and vast open spaces of grasslands, and experience what pioneer woman Eliza Steele described in 1840:

"A world of grass and flowers stretched around me, rising and falling in gentle undulations, as if an enchanter had struck the ocean swell, and it was at rest forever…"

May 13, 2017 Sandra reports: This photo taken Monday, May 8 along east side of road to Whitney Pockets.  Our guide - retired botanist for BLM - said he had never seen it like this. Well, actually none of us had.  The desert gives us wonderful surprises every year. Trumpet flower or "bottle stopper"

May 8, 2017 Mark and Debbie report: Drove through the Lake Mead Park today and came upon this woody plant.


May 2, 2017 Steve reports: It was a long day, from 9 am until after 6 pm.I won't bore you with everything we did that day. The day was mostly about covering territory and viewing sweeping vistas.

Western outskirts of Bluff
We have visited our friends in Blanding before, but I purposely picked a time that was different than when we'd been there previously. It paid off as I saw plants I'd never seen before, even though I'd been to this location previously.

Eremocrinum albomarginatum. Oh how excited I was to see this plant! I'd seen photos of it before, but never in person. A Utah Flora quotes M. E. Jones as saying, "this is one of the most evanescent of the flora there". I had to look up the word - if Jones was right, I feel very lucky to have seen it.
Asclepias cutleri. As we walked on the partially plant-covered dunes, we kept seeing hundreds of a short skinny plant with a few linear leaves. Finally we saw some in bloom.

This is going to be a good year for them. Though probably not on the Monach Butterfly's top list of foods like other milkweeds are, this one shares that genus' complex flowers.

Asclepias macrosperma. Scattered on the same dunes as the A. cutleri was this larger and more showy Milkweed.

Lupinus pusillus. What self-respecting sand dune wouldn't have lupine growing on it?

Ephedra. The male Ephedra plants were putting on quite a show - they were covered with their golden flowers. I haven't tried to figure out which species this is. If you think you know, please let me know.

Yucca harrimaniae. My Blanding friend called this "narrow-leaved Yucca", which is a common name for Y. angustissima. However, Al Schneider, at has a good discussion of the differences between Y. angustissima and Y. harrimaniae and I identified this plant based on that discussion. These were easy to spot, rising above most other plants on the dunes.

Primula specuicola. These dunes have an alcove at their north end. I've been there before, but this year there were not very many plants. Beautiful nonetheless.

May 2, 2017 Valley of Fire State Park reports: Unfortunately, most of our wildflowers are fading away. Some cactus are still in bloom.

April 27, 2017 Tiea reports: Taken in Goodsprings NV 4/22/17

April 14, 2017 Janet reports: Valley of Fire State Park in NV on 4/11/17.

April 14, 2017 Holly reports: April 12 in Gold Butte in southern Nevada on the road to Whitney Pockets.

April 14, 2017 Peter reports: Gold Butte in southern Nevada - Today. Cholla are just ready to start blooming. 

April 12, 2017 Peter reports: Photos from Valley of Fire State Park 4/11/17

April 12,2017 Zion NP reports: Zion milkvetch (Astragalus zionis) blooms on the Watchman Trail and can also be seen in other sunnier areas of the park, such as the Kayenta Trail.

April 10,2017 Jim reports: I returned to Gold Butte in southern Nevada last Wednesday, April 5th and found some changes from the previous weeks.  The first Cholla Cactus and Indigo bushes showed up at lower altitude, and in the flat approaching Whitney Pocket fields of Desert Marigold and Globemallow.  Lots of Weak Stem Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus flexuosis) in the Whitney Pocket area itself. This year appears to be a better year for wildflowers in the Gold Butte area, but not a superbloom.  A sign designating  the northern boundary of Gold Butte National Monument had just been put up by the BLM since my previous visit.

April 7,2017 Eggprince reports: Taken (4/6/17) at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.  Ranger said a recent severe windstorm damaged the flowers.  I was able to find some, but most of what already bloomed apparently was damaged while other things still had mainly buds.  It's a scenic place to hike, but if you are going mainly for flowers, I'd wait a bit.  Lots of buds on globe mallow and cactus, and in general most plants appeared fairly healthy.

April 5,2017 Sally reports: Lots of wildflowers along the road from Overton to Callville marina on Lake Mead The attached (shrub) flower is at the marina but the locals don't seem to know what it is. Hoping one of your readers will.

April 5, 2017 Valley of Fire State Park reports: Brittlebush are in full bloom throughout the park and beavertail cactus have started blooming

March 31, 2017 Carol reports: The brittle bush are in magnificent full display at Valley of Fire. (photos taken March 29 2017) There was a smattering of other blooms, mostly just getting started. Dune primroses, flat topped buckwheat, acres of little white desert stars, mariposa, desert holly, dodder, purple mat, desert marigold, Mojave aster, indigo, winter fat, desert alyssum, mallow, creosote bush, pincushion.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is reporting traffic jams. It has had to close the gates 6 times from overcrowding lately. And of course, right in the middle of busy season they are doing road repair and building 150 more parking spots.

March 29, 2017 Jim reports: I've attached a selection of photos that I took this past Saturday (March 25) down in Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada. If this is to be a "superbloom" year, it may not yet be occuring in this part of the Mojave. There was quite a variety of wildflowers, but no vast fields of poppies as in some past years. All were photographed from the roadside between Riverside Drive, near the Monument's northern boundry, to Whitney Pockets. Two weeks ago I went down to Gold Butte and the flowering was just beginning. Only one Joshua Tree in bloom but none of the Mojave Yuccas in bloom. This week there were no Joshua Trees in bloom and only one Mojave Yucca in bloom. So much for the Agaves this year.

March 27, 2017 Janet reports: The plowing of the road to the river has diminished the abundance of flowers, but they are making a comeback. March 24th, 2017, Nelson and Nelson's Cove, NV

March 24, 2017 Margarita reports: Out at Lake Mead from Redstone picnic area, to Roger's Spring and on to Echo Bay Marina there are some huge Desert Sunrays blooming with lots of flowers. Brittlebush are going crazy all over the place. Huge with lots of flowers. Also found some elusive yellow Las Vegas Bearpoppy. There are mojave asters, phacelia species, Desert Marigold plus others I am sure.

March 24, 2017 Rick reports: Oh my oh my, the wildflowers. From Henderson Lake Mead Blvd. take Lake Shore Drive along Lake Mead going north to Calville Bay Marina. The Beavertail cactus are really beginning to bloom with lots of flowers and many buds yet to open. There are some belly flowers blooming, desert star, purple mat, and some phlox species. Creosote bushes blooming. Came across a group of beautiful Mariposa Lilly species mixed in with some other flowers. Get out this weekend, it should just get better and better over the next week. Temperatures in the mid 70's, perfect for the wildflowers to last.

March 23, 2017 Diane reports: On 3-20-17, drove down Cottonwood Cove Road near Searchlight, NV and the road to Nelson, NV and beyond to the Colorado River. The encelia were abundant, covering the hillsides along the Cottonwood Cove Road. Also in abundance were desert star, lupine, and notch-leaf phacelia. Similar plants seen along the road to Nelson, with additionally a few globe mallow plants here and there. The display today was not to the extent of past springs, but worth the trip if you leave the car and walk around to spot the blooms. Twenty-eight different species noted.

March 20, 2017 Rick and Margarita report: Nevada - A nice easy loop drive is to start at Lake Mead Blvd. Henderson & Lake Shore Scenic Drive to Alan Bible Visitor Center. Then head east across Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to Kingman Wash exit. Follow dirt road to Kingman Wash and continue up Fortification Hill rd. Then return to Henderson. Brittle bush dominate the wildflowers now showing along the road in large quantity. Also a favorite is the large showy Desert Sunray, all in full bloom right now. The following is list of all we were able to identify. Brittle bush, Desert Sunray, Desert Trumpet, purple monkey flower, AZ Lupine, Prickly poppy, Desert Gold poppy, Creosote bush, Blazing Star, Chicory, Gravel Ghost, Pincushion, purple Phacelia species, Globemallow, Golden Evening Primrose, Fiddleneck, Desert Dandilion, some Beaver tail cactus starting to bloom. Maybe more. Also halfway down to Nelson's Landing lots of Brittlebush. More of others to come.

March 17, Julia reports: Pictures are taken near Lake Mohave, Katherine's Land near Bullhead City, AZ.

March 17, 2017 Lake Mead National Recreation Area reports: Wildflowers are blooming throughout Lake Mead National Recreation Area, especially in the southern portion of the park. It’s heating up rather early, so enjoy the flowers while they are still here. When you hike, remember to stay hydrated and bring extra food and water for yourself and your pets.

For best wildflower viewing, look on the south side of slopes. Here are observations we have seen so far: Katherine Landing - South Telephone Cove has sand verbena. Fisherman's Trail has a great display of Ajo lily, suncups, sand verbena and lupine. Christmas Tree Pass has lupine, phacelia, suncups, desert sunflower, sand verbena, chia and many others. Willow Beach has desert poppy, sand verbena, brittlebush and lupine. Cottonwood Cove and Nelson area have lupine, phacelia and suncups The Lake Mead Visitor Center has globemallow and brittlebush. Northshore Road has sunray and indigo bush. Sandy Cove (accessible by boat only) has sand verbena and dune primrose.

March 10, 2017 Valley of Fire State Park reports: We have a few early season bloomers around the park, and many of the beavertail cacti already have a plethora of buds. Things are looking good, so far! It's going to be another beautiful, albeit very busy weekend at Valley of Fire. Expect lines at the fee booths starting around 10:00 am, full parking lots and busy trails.

Feb 24, 2017 Jim reports: The attached photo was taken (Wednesday, 22 February) about a mile east of Cedar City, Utah off the Coal Creek Trail (paved walking and biking trail). The flower is a widewing spring parsley (Cymopterus purpurescens) and usually shows up about this time of year. The area is on the eastern edge of the Great Basin Desert at an elevation of 6000 feet, so I guess it would fall within your area of interest. Although some filarees have shown up in the past week or so, this is the first truly native bloom that I've seen in the area so far this year. I'll be heading down to Gold Butte in a couple of weeks to see how the Mojave Desert wildflowers are doing.

Feb 19, 2017 DUSA reports: Zion is getting lots of rain this year, that's good for wildflowers.

Jan 19, 2017 DUSA reports: The Valley of Fire State Park has been getting rain and that's very good for future wildflowers.

Jan 19, 2017 Zion reports: Snow and ice are predicted for the next four days in Zion. NPS

Jan 1, 2017 DUSA reports: More rain and snow in Nevada and Utah this weekend - good start for the upcoming wildflower season.

More information

Wildflower book

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

kindle button ---iTunes link


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 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...


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kindle button ---iTunes link



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