Borrego's Famous Desert Flowers & Plants
Desert flowers may be found throughout the year in Anza-Borrego, but many desert visitors come to anticipate the wildflower season in spring, often beginning in February and extending into April. When winter gives us enough rain, and the temperatures are just right, Borrego’s desert landscape becomes absolutely vibrant. Springtime can be spectacular, attracting visitors from all over the world. From the flame-tipped wand of the Ocotillo that cast a red haze over the valley, to bright bouquets of Brittlebush and gold-dripping Palo Verde trees, our valley flats are transformed into acres of fragrant, living color.
The Ocotillo grows to heights and density known only in this part of the world. The Ocotillo paints a stark contrast to the delicate annual wildflowers. Pink Sand Verbena, white Dune Evening Primrose, and golden Desert Sunflowers grow en masse over sandy dunes surrounding Borrego Springs. Lavender Phacelia and Apricot Mallow can be found rising out of rocky soil closer to the canyons. The single Desert Five-Spot, Ghost Flower, or Desert Lily when found in bloom can make an entire visit.
When will the flowers bloom from year to year? None of us knows for sure. Each year's bloom is unique in its variety, profusion, and timing.
If your travels bring you to Borrego Springs during other seasons, you can still be surprised and thrilled by the abundant diversity of native plants. Desert dwellers and visitors alike marvel at what the desert can bring forth given our warm, dry climate. In late spring, cactus blossoms surprise visitors with their vibrant colors in contrast to spiny stems. Beavertail, Barrel, Prickly Pear, and many other cactus species can be found throughout the valley in both native and cultivated gardens. An April exploration along Palm Canyon Drive guarantees the magnificent sun-drenched yellow blossoms of the Palo Verde tree.
Delights can be found in early summer. The ivory plume of Our Lord's Candle and the golden spear of the Desert Agave can be viewed at higher elevations along the highway in Culp Valley, where creamy clusters of Mohave Yucca blossoms stand out against huge boulders. The dark blue flowers of the Smoke Tree and their sweet fragrance, and the delicate orchid-like blossoms of the Desert Willow, await visitors taking an early morning or evening stroll in sandy desert washes. As days get shorter and the desert cools, yellow Chinchweed adorns sandy flats, while Ocotillo leaves cast their fall colors in and around Borrego Springs.
Additional information about desert flowers
You can check current flower conditions online or you can call the flower hotline at 760-767-4684. When you are in Borrego you can stop by the State Park Visitor Center at the west end of Palm Canyon Drive or The ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center at 652 Palm Canyon Drive for free wildflower information. Both ABDNHA and ABF have email lists you can sign up for that send out information when flowers are blooming.
The plants of the Anza-Borrego Desert have evolved to not only survive, but to flurish in the hot and dry climate. You will see many examples of desert plants as you hike and explore the park, or you can go to the state park visitor center, where there is a garden of native plants, as well as a pup fish pond, on the surrounding grounds. Another place to see interesting desert plants is the botanical garden being developed by ABDNHA, with a variety of desert plants from around the world.