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The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park

03.02.16

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The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park

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  • View east of Jumbo Rocks from Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Chuckwalla Cholla (Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis) and Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) at the summit of Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) in Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) in Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) in Joshua Tree National Park.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Wingnut cryptantha (Cryptantha pterocarya).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Desert Blue Bells (Phacelia campanularia).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • London rocket (Sisymbrium irio).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • London rocket (Sisymbrium irio).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Chia (Salvia columbariae).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Chia (Salvia columbariae).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Notch-leaf Scorpion-weed (Phacelia crenulata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Notch-leaf Scorpion-weed (Phacelia crenulata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Bearded Cryptantha (Cryptantha barbigera).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Narrowleaf Goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Narrowleaf Goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Acton encelia (Encelia actoni).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Yellow cups (Chylismia brevipes).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Teddy bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Chuckwalla Cholla (Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Chuckwalla Cholla (Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Hairy milkweed (Funastrum hirtellum).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Browneyes (Chylismia claviformis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Shrubby deervetch (Acmispon rigidus).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Shrubby deervetch (Acmispon rigidus).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Desert dandelion (Malacothrix glabrata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Purple mat (Nama demissa).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Wallace's woolly daisy (Eriophyllum wallacei).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Woolly desert marigold (Baileya pleniradiata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Woolly bluestar (Amsonia tomentosa).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Woolly desert marigold (Baileya pleniradiata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Cooper's box thorn (Lycium cooperi).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Cooper's box thorn (Lycium cooperi).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Birstly fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosisssima).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosisssima).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Sacred datura (Datura wrightii).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Wallace's woolly daisy (Eriophyllum wallacei).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park at the Ryan Ranch.- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Scale-bud (Anisocoma acaulis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • California evening primrose (oenothera californica).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • California evening primrose (oenothera californica).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • White tidy-tips (Layia glandulosa).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • - The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mojave mound cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mojave mound cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mojave mound cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Notch-leaf Scorpion-weed (Phacelia crenulata).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Mojave Poppy (Eschscholzia glyptosperma).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
  • Desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).- The Incredible Wildflowers of Joshua Tree National Park
Article
Team

With a prolonged drought hanging over California over the last few years, this year's El Niño is bringing dormant life in the Mojave and Colorado deserts back in full force. Like the much hailed "super bloom" currently exploding in Death Valley National Park, the many flowering plants in Joshua Tree National Park are out in full-bloom, and now is most certainly the time to see them!

The iconic Joshua Trees themselves don't bloom every year, but this is their year. Unlike the aster that clearly carpets the low valleys of Death Valley, most of the flowers in Joshua Tree National Park (beyond the Joshua Tree) are of a uniquely miniscule  scale. When you look out over the desert landscape from a distance, it appears as if little life exists, let alone thrives. Once you look a little closer, however, an astonishing micro-world of wildflowers and vibrant life exists. The desert proves to be an astonishingly resilient and magical place, and a robust wildflower bloom is a sight to behold!

​According to the National Park Service:

"Wildflowers may begin blooming in the lower elevations of the Pinto Basin and along the park's south boundary in February and at higher elevations in March and April. Desert regions above 5,000 feet may have plants blooming as late as June.

The extent and timing of spring wildflower blooms in Joshua Tree National Park vary from one year to the next. Fall and winter precipitation and spring temperatures are key environmental factors affecting the spring blooming period. Normally, desert annuals germinate between September and December. Many need a good soaking rain to get started.

In addition to rains at the right time, plants also require temperatures to warm a bit before flower stalks will grow. Green-leaf rosettes may cover the ground in January, but flower stalks wait until temperatures rise."

To get the full guide to over 240 species of wildflowers in Joshua Tree National Park, visit iNaturalist.org.

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