Yuma and Tucson Area in Arizona

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2020 Southern AZ Wildflowers Locations and Pictures

Feb 15, 2020 Shellie reports:  Tanque Verde Ridge trail, Saguaro East.  Friday, 2-14-2020 mexican poppy(I think)  Also saw some brittlebush blooming.  What is the small little pinkish flower and the orange flower?

Feb 3, 2020 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: With recent precipitation and warming days a few posies are starting to pop!

NPS photos

Jan 27, 2020 Saguaro National Park reports: We're doing great with winter precipitation so far at the park with 4.94'' at the Visitors Center and over 8.5+'' in the mountains! We only need a storm or two more and we should have a great spring bloom!

Jan 2, 2020 DesertUSA reports: Rain fell in most of the areas that will be producing wildflowers in the next month.



2019 Southern AZ Wildflowers Locations and Pictures‎

Dec 1, 2019 DesertUSA reports: Rain in the forecast for this week.

Sept 31, 2019 Saguaro National Park reports: Firecracker Bush, or Bouvardia ternifolia. Flowering during the monsoon season, this shrub pops out at you immediately. If you're interested in creating a pollinator garden, this species would be a great idea! Photo Credit; Stephen Hale

May 31, 2019 Pat reports: Tucson area, May 27. Along River Road, I observed Hesperaloe and dark pink flowered Desert Willow in bloom. Along Catalina Highway, I observed Banana Yucca. Multiple locations: White-thorn Acacia, Mesquite, and a few remaining Palo Verde. It appears to be a banner year for agave, probably because of the abundant rains. Among other species, many Century Plants are blooming. Saguaros and Santa-Rita Prickly Pear are blooming. Going up the mountain, the wildflowers are starting to bloom. I observed Apache Plume, Cliff Rose, and New Mexico Locust. The New Mexico Locust trees were located just past Seven Cataracts Vista Point, going up the mountain.

May 31, 2019 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: Cactus flower season is truly a sight to see. Our friendly saguaros are showing off their arm bouquets.

May 31, 2019 Dolores reports: From the foot of Rincon Mt SE of Tucson AZ - 3200ft Allionia incarnata – Trailing Windmill.

April 26, Pat reports: patches of Desert Marigold. The Palo Verde trees are well into bloom. After starting up the mountain, the first five miles have lots of brittlebush up the mountainside, some past its prime and some still very bright. Not much after mile post 5, just an occasional bunch of something. Best blooming season after that point in the highway is usually August anyway. I got the Indian Paintbrush just before the vista point for Seven Cataracts. There are still patches of snow in Ski Valley and a few other places.

The white prickly poppies are still along I-10 and there are more of them. Palo Verde trees are starting to turn intense yellow everywhere. Many cactus is in bloom or getting ready to pop. I don't know if these are things you like reports about, since trees and cactus aren't wildflowers.

April 19, Pat reports: There were patches of white Prickly Poppy along I-10 west of Kolb road, Tucson, on the 17th. On the highway to Sonoita after I-10 turnoff, I observed California Poppies and Penstemon. There was also Penstemon in Patagonia. The road between Patagonia and the turnoff to Patagonia Lake has a number of patches of California Poppies.

April 12, 2019 Carole reports: Taken in Catalina State Park – April 02 to 04, 2019

April 6, 2019 Vonda reports: These photos were taken today, April 4, 2019, at Saguaro National Park east.  The brittlebush is coming along nicely, and should peak sometime next week in this section of the park.

April 2, 2019 Jane reports: Picacho Peak on March 31, 2019.  Poppies are almost gone but found a few.

April 1, 2019 Janice reports: These pictures were taken March 30, 2019 on AZ79 between Oracle Jctn and Florence at the Tom Mix Memorial (Google Map Link). The last picture has the bonus of a mountain in the background with snow. Flowers were abundant on our scenic loop which included US60 toward Superior, AZ177, AZ77, & AZ79.



March 29, 2019 Pat reports: March 26 I traveled from Mile Wide south on Sandario west of Tucson, then west on US 86 to Quijatoa, which is somewhat east of Ajo. The big story close to Kitt Peak was Penstemon, LOTS of it. These were alongside the road both before and after the turnoff. Further west, the huge fields of Globe Mallow are still quite brilliant. Other wildflowers along the way included Brittlebush, Lupine, poppies, Tackstem, Desert Marigold, Scorpionweed, Fiddleneck (just a little), Rock Daisy (just a little), Prickly Poppy (large white flowers, pictured) in clumps, occasional Bladderpod (largely bloomed out by now everywhere), Chia (occasionally), Bristly Nama (pictured) and several tiny white bellyflowers I do not recognize.

March 26, 2019 Richard reports: Flowers at Catalina State Park. Picture taken on 3/22/2019

March 25, 2019 Margie reports: Picture Rocks area of Saguaro National Park West in Tucson.Poppies, Brittlebush, Twist Flower, Rose and Globe Mallow, Woolly Daisies, Desert Star, and many more cover the hillsides.


March 25, 2019 Margie reports: Catalina State Park in Tucson. The flowers are filling hillsides and getting better everyday. There are at least 20 species in bloom. Notably: Mexican Gold Poppies, Penstemon, Desert and Bajada Lupine, Desert Dandelion, Globe and Rose Mallow, Mariposa Lilies, New Mexico Thistle, Bladderpod, Fiddleneck, Owl Clover, Desert Anemone, Hopbush, Wild Hyacinth, Texas Toadflax, and more. The drive to Catalina State Park along Tangerine Blvd. is full of poppies, lupine, Parry's Penstemon.

March 21, 2019 Holly reports: Photos taken at Catalina State Park....Tucson on 3/20/19.   First day of Spring!  

March 19, 2019 Bobbi reports: We went today out Rt 86 from Tucson to Ajo, we went west of Sell  beyond mile marker 101 towards Ajo for most of these pictures. (Google Map Link)

March 18, 2019 Anieleen reports: Taken at 4:14PM 3/17/19 at the Calloway trail in Picacho Peak State Park. I used my Samsung Note 8 in the Live Focus mode. The park was simply breathtaking.

March 16, 2019 Dan reports:  Picacho Peak St Park. Poppies blanket the hillside behind the visitors center.  Lupine and mallow mixed in. 

March 15, 2019 Rosa reports: March 14, 2019 Picacho Peak

March 13, 2019 Marion reports: Monday March 11, we drove Hwy 86 from Ajo to Tucson. Encountered splendid wildflower concentrations and patches between about mile markers 75 and 110. Wherever we found a pullout, we walked the fencelines and looked for interesting compositions.

March 13, 2019 Marion reports: On March 9 we hiked Arch Canyon on the Ajo Mountain Road in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. For the best wildflowers in the monument, the rangers recommended for the best flowers, that we hike Arch Canyon trail, which is accessed by the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Road. the road is rough (you don't need high clearance vehicles though) due to the rains in February, and we were delighted by the assortment of wildflowers. Trail crews are working on fixing eroded areas by installing new stone steps, so be patient. (Google Map Link)

March 11, 2019 Richard reports:  Lots of different types of flowers blooming at Picacho Peak state park. Photo taken 3/1/19 (Map)

March 9, 2019 Catalina State Park reports: Come out and enjoy the wildflowers at Catalina State Park. Thank you Catalina State Park volunteer Jim Themelis for the picture. (Map)

March 9, 2019 Pat reports: March 5, Picacho Peak area near Tucson is filled with Poppies, with good patches of Lupines (a few in pink), and individual plants in flower, of Fiddlenecks, Scorpionweed, Cranesbill, and a few flowers on the Chaparral. (Map)

March 8, 2019 Andy reports: Saguaro NP West. Esperero Sendero to Wasson Peak was going off. Many flowers in bloom. Carpets of Poppies.


March 8, 2019 Jackie reports: Southern Arizona: Organ Pipe NM; El Pinacate (Mexico); AZ rt. 85 & 86.

Trip to Organ Pipe NM and El Pinacate. If you are able to cross in Mexico (passport required), this is a great way to see the bloom in the Pinta Sands without requiring 4WD to navigate El Camino del Diablo.

I was able to get quite close to Bradley’s mapped position by following Mexico’s highway 2 along the border. (See map) The bloom is in a very narrow strip between desolate orange dunes, but there’s a solid half mile that’s completely covered in purple verbena. There were sphinx moths and Pinacate beetles everywhere, though the moths proved to be very camera shy. I wish I’d spent more time wandering around.

Desert gold is the main story on highway 2 between Sonoyta and the Pinacate preserve. The blooms are mostly restricted to the disturbed soils at the edge of the highway, but they spread out into the volcanic fields and up the cinder cones just east of Los Vidrios. The yellow flowers are quite striking amid the black lava rocks.

Crossing into Mexico is easy—you can buy one day of Mexican Insurance at the gas station in Lukeville for about $30. Getting back into the US is much more difficult. Passports are absolutely necessary. Be prepared to have your car searched by both the Mexican and US guards on the way back into the US.

Back inside Organ Pipe, the flowers are just about at peak. The most spectacular were the poppies at Arch Canyon and the lupines along the Ajo Loop road.

Even the areas lower down that appear dry and dead from a distance are hiding flowers. I hiked up the hill just to the north of the campground to get some pictures of the organ pipe grove, and I couldn’t put my food down with out stepping on desert stars.

There are several large fields of glove mallow between the park boundary and Why. Lots of different flowers lining the edge of Rt. 86 between Sells and Why—lupines, brittlebush, globe mallows, phacelias, desert marigold. Unfortunately the area at the base of Kitt Peak is brown and dead—I think that spot was just too cold this winter.

Note: MX Highway 2 is definitely easier and faster than Camino del Diablo, it is in pretty rough shape in places. Some of the pot holes are more like cauldrons, and could seriously damage a car if you hit them wrong. 

March 6, 2019 Shazieh reports: Sunday March 3rd early afternoon at Picacho Peak State Park. (Map)



March 4, 2019 Leslie reports: Picacho Peak March 3 (Map)

March 2, 2019 Wesley reports: Spent Friday March 1 driving from Tucson to Yuma and back through Phoenix, and have the following updates:

Bladderpod patches are in their formative stages, coming together at Sonoran Desert National Monument in Vekol Valley, mixing nicely with globemallow and forming larger carpets in isolated places. The area could use a bit more rain and perhaps a few more days of warmer temperatures. One nice field is about 5 miles in on the east side of the road, about 100 yards out. Creosote crowding challenges photography on the west side of the road, but some nice images can be made anyway.

Mohawk Dunes was very sparse. I had to look a while to find less than 10 flowers.

There is a nice patch of verbena and desert gold on the north side of I-8 in Dome Valley. I couldn't figure a way to get to them, but there is a parking area that comes close. Try exiting at Ligurta and following the power lines a few miles east.

There are bladderpod patches along US95 going north towards Quartzsite, a few nicer fields about halfway, and a few along Palm Canyon Road. Scorpionweed is the main story along the Kofa Queen Canyon access road, with a few early Ocotillos and what look like Blackfoot daisies (not sure) growing in between. The road is rough, bring a high clearance vehicle, but you don't need 4 wheel drive to get to the scorpionweed patches.

The light was too low for photography on the way between Quartzsite and Phoenix, but Avenue 75 has a very large bladderpod carpet just to the west of the exit off I-10 with the Eagletail Mountains in the background, and other large carpets exist between mileposts 87 and 89 on both sides of I-10, near the rest areas in the Harquahala Valley, and about 2 miles west of Tonopah. From a distance, Saddle Mountain looked surrounded by bladderpod, with flower carpets climbing up the hillsides.

Kofa Queen Canyon


March 1, 2019 Tom reports: in Grass Canyon at Organ Pipe Cactus NM.  A hike, but good show of poppies and others.  Otherwise, not much blooming yet. Photos 02/28/2019

March 1, 2019 Pat reports: Tucson area, Pima County. Lupines are located just west of the pass on Twin Peaks Road, next to White Horse Ranch. Poppies appear in small patches alongside the road just east of Gates Pass. Bladderpod patches are in many locations, including north of El Camino del Cerro and Sunset on Silverbell, El Camino del Cerro, and Ironwood Hill roads, also on the west side of Sandario south of Mile Wide Road. Bladderpod patches are still sparse between Robles Junction/Three Points and the road to Kitt Peak on Highway 86. No poppies west of the road to Kitt Peak as in the past. They apparently took all that out when they widened the road.


More 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 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.

Wildflower Field Guide page.

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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