Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Search of Wildflowers .. Anza-Borrego Desert Journey

Blooming Beavertail Cactus - Opuntia Basilaris
Photos ©  Alice Joyce
Dune Evening Primrose
The Anza-Borrego Desert has long been on my bucket list! This State Park has a reputation for spectacular wildflower displays when all the conditions of water, rain, wind and sun play out in harmony. I've begun to write about my recent sojourn on Alice's Garden Travel Buzz, where views of the spectacular landscape and canyons where I hiked are featured.
2011 is proving to be a good bloom year in Anza-Borrego. The timing of my trip was fine, if too early for most cacti.
All text and photos: Copyright Alice Joyce

Funastrum hirtellum   Photo © Alice Joyce

I came upon it only once in 8 days. A twining plant with tiny, star-shaped flower clusters.
(Many thanks, James of LostLandscape: plant indeed appears to be Funastrum hirtellum - hairy milkweed.)

The native California Fan Palm is the star here!
Justicia californica blooms in front of the stately tree.

Sandy expanses of the desert floor were covered with Sand Verbena: Abronia villosa
You may recognize Datura wrightii Regel: the poisonous Jimson Weed has quite a reputation. This member of the Solanaceae family is also known as Sacred Datura.


  1. I've only seen the desert in bloom once. That was almost 40 years ago and I've always longed to go back with a camera.

  2. Wiseacre,
    I would not allow myself to take a camera during my last desert sojourn - wanted to experience it directly. Have to say I was sorry not to have photographed that time.

  3. Same as wiseacre, I too only saw the desert bloom one time. I do plan to travel west again. It is never a sight I could forget. The scenery is stunning, the skies amazing.

  4. Wow, that is pretty amazing, especially considering how early in the year it is. That will have to go on my list.

  5. Oh, I could not have imagined the desert surroundings you featured in travel buzz by looking at these close-ups. They seem to delicate to survive in their environment.

  6. I don't know how short lived this desert spectacle is, but I would most definitely like to see it.

  7. I'm glad you made it out to the desert, Alice! The rains haven't been perfectly spaced but what the county received really has made for a pleasant desert bloom year. Your mystery plant is a milkweed relative...I'm guessing Funastrum hirtellum? Take a look at CalFlora or CalPhotos and see if the other other photos match up.

  8. Thanks all for stopping to comment.
    I'm completely won over by the magic of the desert's sights and sounds, flora and fauna. Wish I could have extended the trip, but I'm already planning the next one!

    Sorry our rendevous in San Diego did not work our this year. Hopefully, we'll get it together one day soon. I want to explore your town!