Rain brings 2nd California super bloom in 2 years

BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — It started with the desert lilies in December. Since then a wave of wildflower blooms has been crescendoing across Southern California’s Anza-Borrego desert in a burst of color so vivid it can be seen from mountain tops thousands of feet above.

Two years after steady rains followed by warm temperatures caused seeds dormant for decades under the desert floor to burst open and produce a spectacular display dubbed the “super bloom,” another winter soaking this year is expected to create possibly an even better show by Mother Nature.

Having two super blooms in two years is highly unusual. In California, super blooms happen about once in a decade in a given area, and they have been occurring less frequently with the drought.

The 2017 super bloom was the best seen in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in 20 years and drew mass crowds to Borrego Springs, a town of 3,500 that abuts the park.

“There’s just an abundance in where it’s blooming and it’s coming in waves,” said Betsy Knaak, executive director of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, which tracks the blooms.

Trending:
Gunmen Ambush Ammo Caravan Headed to Texas, 7 Million Rounds Destined for America Now in Hands of Violent Criminals

On a recent day, Knaak wandered through swaths of bright yellow and acres of purple outside Borrego Springs. Families, retired couples and college students traipsed into the fields trying to capture the natural wonder in photos.

Stephen Rawding drove out from Carlsbad, north of San Diego, to take photos with his girlfriend after a friend told him it was better than the one in 2017.

“It’s unreal,” Rawding said. “It’s just like they said — so beautiful.”

The setting sun lit up the yellow flowers that contrasted sharply against the brown and copper mountains in the background.

There are tapestries of hot pink Bigelow’s Monkey Flower, purple Sand Verbena, delicate white and yellow Evening Primrose and of course the desert lilies, which bloomed extremely early, opening up in December, signaling a super bloom was possible.

Bright orange poppies are also blanketing the sides of Southern California highways.

“It’s a painting of colors at the moment out there in many of the areas,” said Jim Dice, reserve manager of Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, University of California Natural Reserve System.

So far, six times the amount of rain has fallen in the Anza-Borrego desert this weather season compared to last year, Dice said.

If the caterpillars and freezing temperatures stay away, the already gorgeous wave of wildflowers could intensify and light up other areas well into spring.

Related:
North Korean Defector Compares Her Ivy League School to the Country She Fled

The state park with 640,000 acres (1,000 square miles) is California’s largest, with hundreds of species of plants including blazing stars and the tall spiny Ocotillo, which are covered in buds that will open to flaming orange-red flowers.

A research associate at Dice’s center recently hiked up to the top of Coyote Mountain and shot a photo of the purple fields 3,000 feet (914 meters) below.

“It was pretty spectacular to see that from up above,” Dice said.

___

This version corrects that that having two super blooms in two years is unusual, not usual.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation