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2017 Southern AZ Wildflower Reports ‎

Aug 9, 2017 Pat reports: The Whitethorn Acacia is covered with yellow fuzzballs in the hills on El Camino del Cerro, Tucson Mountains. I have never SEEN such a profuse bloom in all the years I have lived in Arizona (over 50 years). Also in bloom are the Desert Senna and Chaparral. Picture taken yesterday, August 7.

Aug 2, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: It's that time of year when the Prickly Pear Cacti are fruiting! Did you know that the fruit from a prickly pear also goes by the name of Tuna? Who knew you could find Tuna in the desert!

May 2, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: Saguaro cactus now blooming - Surprising to most, the saguaro flower only blooms for less than a day before closing and falling off shortly after. Despite this short time period, the flower attracts a large array of pollinators which include many species of insects, bats, and birds.

April 22, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: We have our first bloom in our saguaro phenology plot in the Tucson Mountain District. Take advantage of our fee free weekend as part of National Park Week and help celebrate America's best idea!

April 10, 2017 Wesley reports: Formerly on state land, much of the Ocotillo Preserve in Corona de Tucson has been sold to developers who are quietly building roads into the area from the east. I am told this is the last year. It's been a drier year here, but the ocotillos are at the height of their bloom, albeit largely without leaves. Visit now if you want to see ocotillos so thick in places they seem to form a solid red stripe in the foothills of the Santa Ritas. The preserve is the unmarked fenced off (signs indicate "environmentally sensitive land") east of South Houghton Road and begins south of Camino del Toro. Do not venture into the private communities to the south and east. Pictures taken 4/8/17. 


April 10, 2017 Nemo reports: ALAMO TRAIL (unmarked) in CATALINA STATE PARK just north of Tucson. Photos taken Saturday morning, April 8, 2017.

Late spring came early to southern Arizona this year. Wildflowers are constant and abundant the entire 1.5 mile easy hike of Alamo Trail from Romero Ruins parking area up to the pond at the top of this trail section.

Most interesting is the rare profusion of blooms that span early-middle-spring flowering season. It’s the first time we saw so many poppies up near the water area with dozens of varieties in bloom along the way. Oodles of mariposa lilies on the lower dry hillsides, which are always a highlight.

All flower photos in this series were taken with an iPhone 6. Images are unedited except for some cropping.

Bring water, sunscreen, hat, sturdy shoes, camera, and wildflower guide. Cross the dry wash as you head toward the mountain to your east from the parking lot and keep roughly to the right to join and stay on Alamo Trail until it climbs up and becomes obvious. Get here early in the day, and soon.

March 25, 2017 Sara reports: All pics taken on the Esperanza trail at Sabino Canyon 3/24/17. Take trail behind Visitors Center and then the Rattlesnake trail (which had running water today!).

March 25, 2017 Vonda reports: Saguaro National Park East is just on the edge of its peak, with a multitude of wildflowers, many of which you must walk across the desert and watch the ground to see.

The brittlebush, at a little higher elevation than the valley, along the
Mt. Lemmon Highway near Tucson, AZ is especially spectacular, right now.

March 22, 2017 John reports: Here's some Brittlebrush pics taken at Organ Pipe Cactus NM AZ on Monday, March 20th.

March 22, 2017 Pat reports: Desert Mariposa Lily Calochortus kennedy. Along Arizona Trail, near American Flag TH (Oracle, AZ)

March 14, 2017 Bob Reports: We spent the morning of March 14 at Catalina State Park – EXCELLENT – at or very near the peak right now – go there, should last a few more days but with this hot and dry weather who knows. The main Sutherland Trail is just ok – but take the route recommended by Nemo below – and don’t be afraid to take some of the side trails off this side trail. Also note that the poppies don’t open till 9:30am or so.

March 14, 2017 Jordan Reports: Current pictures from Organ Pipe National Monument in southern Arizona. Mexican Gold Poppies are in full bloom!

March 14, 2017 Zhu Reports: Wildflowers in Catalina State Park in Oro Valley AZ on March 11. 2017

March 13, 2017 Bob Reports: Was at Picacho Peak today, March 13 - the very hot and dry weather over the last week to 10 days has really taken a toll on poppies - maybe two small groupings and these are on their last legs. Brittle bush are nice as are desert marigolds but RIP poppies.

March 13, 2017 Penny Reports: Highway 238 inside Sonoran Desert National Monument taken on March 10, 2017

March 13, 2017 Lisa Reports: We drove the 9 Mile loop at Saguaro National Monument East yesterday. Not very much is blooming yet, just fairy dusters

March 12, 2017 Nemo reports: Follow Sutherland Trail across washes and up steps until you are on the high plateau with the large mountains on your right. Pass the first bench and go another fifty yards. A narrow vertical sign is on the right of the trail, reading SUTHERLAND TRAIL. Turn left at the unmarked trail heading left. Follow it for a few minutes, down and across and to the right, until you are in a magnificent rolling and rocky meadow loaded with poppies. Enjoy over 20 different flowers blooming now along the way. Bring your wildflower guide, large hat, plenty of water, sunscreen, snack, camera, and very sturdy shoes or boots. Go tomorrow. Don’t wait. Get there early. It’s hotter than usual in early March and this display won’t last forever. All photos made with iPhone 6, unedited, using the iPhone’s built in magnifier and screen capture.

March 12, 2017 Nancy reports: Catalina State Park and saw Owl's Clover as I hiked to Montrose Pools.

March 10, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: The Coulter's Lupine(Lupinus sparsiflorus)! Sprinkles of these purple stalks glide along the desert floor this time of year. Patches can be seen along roadsides and throughout the two districts. Park Photo.

March 8, 2017 Bill reports: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument March 3-4. We never saw so much green desert. Millions of buds on Brittlebush nearing bloom. Millions of poppies growing. However, not much blooming on these visited dates. There were a few fields of poppies several hundred feet off the Ajo Mt. Loop and the North Puerto Blanco Drive. Also a very few orange mallow and other flowers. Our prediction is that there will be massive blooms in about 10 days.


March 8, 2017 Nancy reports: Tucson Mountains 3/7/17 I was walking the Passey Loop in Marana and saw some pink globemallow, chicory, bladderpod and lots of brittlebush.

March 7, 2017 Nancy reports: Sunday 3/5 I was hiking at Picachio SP and I saw this pincushion flower. I'm not sure if it is the Desert Pincushion or Fremont's Pincushion. Picachio is still not at peak.

March 6, 2017 Margie reports: Catalina SP. The poppies are increasing in coverage every day on the Sutherland Trail and other state park trails. Also see Blue Dicks, Hopbush, Blue Toadflax, Desert Anemone, Spring Evening Primrose, Cream Cups, Fairy Duster, Fiddleneck, Red Maids, Ragged Rock Flower, and more.

March 4, 2017 Nancy reports: Yesterday I was hiking the birding trail at Catalina State Park and there was a nice variety of wildflowers. Bluedicks.


March 3, 2017 Thomas reports: Picacho Peak State Park, just a few yards off loop road. (photo taken 03/01/2017)

March 1, 2017 Howard reports: Picacho Peak. Brittle brush is nearly completely full grown. Some penstemon's, desert marigolds, desert globe mallow, chicory and lupines are blooming, but not with such abundance ... almost homogenously Mexican poppy. Think the peak is a week to ten days hence.

Feb 24, 2017 Bob reports: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. I've been in Organ Pipe for 3 days now...everything is very green, but despite what they said at the Visitor Center, nothing really in bloom yet. A couple of very small patches of poppies, a couple isolated brittle brush in bloom and that's about it. I would estimate at least a week, if not two until a major flower bloom.

Feb 22, 2017 Tom reports: The rains last weekend did the trick, the desert is finally blooming in Baja Arizona. I saw Mexican Goldpoppy, Blue Dicks and Desert Anemone on the trails in Catalina State Park (near Tucson) on Monday, 2/20/17.


Feb 20, 2017 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: In the past 48 hours, approximately 3 inches of rain have fallen at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center, most of what we expect for our winter rain season! The rocky desert soils do not absorb water well, so much of this flows into washes and roads. Be wary of any water in roadways and do not drive into flowing water until confident it is only a few inches deep.

Feb 18, 2017 Marion reports: Finger Rock Trail, Tucson, AZ February 17, 2017

Feb 18, 2017 Marion reports: We were hiking on the Estes Canyon--Bull Pasture loop trail in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument when we spotted the poppy and the purple flower in bloom. Rain is forecast for this weekend. Brittle bush is just starting to flower.

Feb 18, 2017 Catalina State Park reports: We the first Mexican gold poppies of the spring wildflower season!

Feb 18, 2017 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum reports: Our cactus garden is full of these bloomin' beauties! The Chihuahuan Snowball cactus (Thelocactus macdowellii) produces a beautiful and vibrant pink flower. Make sure to come visit this weekend to catch a glimpse of these prickly and precious plants!

Feb 18, 2017 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: We are spotting Mexican Gold Poppies, Fairy Dusters, and Brittlebush blossoms, to name a few!

Feb 18, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: Fairy dusters have started to bloom! There are two types of Fairy Dusters but, the native species's bloom go from white to red. This woody short shrub can be found at both districts of the park. Since the West district is at a lower elevation, most flowers like the Fairy Duster will bloom earlier there and at a later time over at the East district.


Feb 15, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: Jojoba's beautiful little yellow flowers grace us with their presence. These yellow flowers signify that this specfic jojoba is male and a female jojoba will produce the acorn shape nut. These upright leafed shrubs can be found all around the park (there is one blooming right outside the Red Hills Visitor Center)

Jan 30, 2017 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument reports: While we've been reveling in the ocotillo growing leaves after the past couple winter rains, another desert plant has also been capitalizing on the good growing conditions. Jatropha cuneata, commonly known as limberbush, can grow and shed leaves multiple times in a year, changing from odd coral like sticks to vibrant bushes in a matter of days.

Jan 27, 2017 Squirrel Girl reports: West of Gila Bend, AZ on Jan 22, 2017

Jan 13, 2017 Saguaro National Park reports: Storms rolling in this weekend, be ready Tucson!

Jan 1, 2017 DUSA reports: More rain in the Tucson area and in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument this weekend good start for the upcoming wildflower season.


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.

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.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports


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Mojave Desert Wildflowers book 200 color photos

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