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Here's An Update On the Wildflower Bloom at Death Valley National Park


Here's a look at blooming Desert Gold at the junction of the Badwater and Harry Wade roads from earlier this year. NPS photo.

If you've wanted to catch the wildflower bloom at Death Valley National Park, you better get to the park soon, as things are coming and going quickly, according to a dispatch from the park.

Here's the latest report, from April 3:

Desert Gold (Geraea canescens) is now putting on a colorful show in the low elevations of Death Valley. Scattered patches along the Badwater Road are getting thicker every day, but they are near peak bloom in the southern area from Ashford Mill to just above the Harry Wade Road junction. This was the same area that put on the most spectacular display in 2005, so the seed bank is particularly rich there. Also watch for the pink and white Sand Verbena (Abronia villosa) thickly lining the roadways in the same area. You may want to circle back to Furnace Creek via West Side Road for more fields of flowers on the alluvial fans from the Panamint Mountains.

Other abundant bloomers to watch for now include Brown-eyed Evening Primrose (Camissonia claviformis), Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes) Notch-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata), Caltha-leaf Phacelia (Phacelia calthifolia), and Purple Mat (Nama demissum).

Many of the flowers that sprouted from the most recent significant rainstorm at the end of February have bolted in a desperate attempt to produce seed before they totally dry out. They are only an inch or so tall, have minimal leaves and a single flower. Drying winds, temperatures in the low 90s, and lack of recent rain are pushing the bloom toward a quick end in the lower elevations. Fortunately, the plants that sprouted due to earlier rains have well established root systems that are able to tap into deeply soaked moisture, so are able to grow and bloom for a longer period. Likewise, plants in the washes and canyons, mid-elevation valleys and lower mountain slopes may still produce an interesting display of color.


Just back from several wonderful days in DEVA. The wildflowers were better than the weather. Winds up to about 70 or 80 on Monday afternoon and all night. Most tent campers gave up and just blew away. Photographing a wildflower is very difficult when the poor little thing is whipping madly in the wind. And from there back to northern Utah yesterday, it was one blizzard after another. Challenging driving . . . .

But all that aside, what an incredible place!

Busy, windy, pleasantly warm even at night and not too hot even at noon. An ideal time to visit, whether or not the wildflowers are a bit confused.

And on top of all the other superlatives, there are the rangers and volunteers who staff the place so well.

Thanks to all of them.

We visited Death Valley the last week of March. It's an amazing place! We saw some beautiful flowers. I've posted some pictures on the flickr site.

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