Like all other desert areas of the Southwest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
is most colorful in spring and early summer, when many species of flowers, cacti and bushes come into bloom. The extent, duration and quality of the flowers is quite dependant on climatic factors such as winter rainfall, average spring temperatures and even the amount of wind. The season begins in the lowest deserts in late February and moves through higher land to the mountain slopes and upper canyons in May, although some species of cacti bloom at other times throughout the summer. The best time is usually from late March to early April, and the park offers a wildflower notification service, whereby interested parties may register to be contacted by post a few weeks before the predicted peak.
Flowers are found across most of the park, all but high mountains, rocky hillsides, badlands and some sandy desert regions. Favored locations include:
- Borrego Palm Canyon - a sheltered canyon with palm trees and many other plants.
- Culp Valley - a higher elevation area near the eastern park boundary along S22.
- Henderson Canyon Road - paved highway northeast of Borrego Springs, passing good wildflower terrain close to Coyote Creek, at the foot of Coyote Mountain.
- Plum Canyon - a side canyon of San Felipe Creek Valley, south of CA 78.
Flowering plants can be grouped into four basic types:
- Agaves and Yuccas, including Mojave yucca, nolina and desert agave.
- Bushes - ocotillo, indigo bush, brittlebush, desert willow, chuparosa, palo verde and creosote bush.
- Cacti - cylindropuntia (cholla), opuntia, ferocactus (barrel cactus), mammillaria, echinocereus.
- Wildflowers - numerous smaller plants, ranging from tiny species less than 1 cm across like the Bigelow monkey flower to the datura, whose large white blooms may be up to 6 inches in diameter. Some of the showier species are desert lily, sand verbena, desert apricot, phacelia, chicory, desert lavender, lupine, dune evening primrose and desert dandelion.
Wildflower Species of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Follow the links for full descriptions.