Spring Wildflowers in the Desert

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When I was a girl, on bright sunny spring days, my mother used to say, “Skip school. It’s too nice a day to be inside.” And with that we would head to the beach. In fairness, she did not say it often, and to be truthful, all too often I would say, “Oh, but I have… blah, blah, blah.” Of course, she was right, mothers tend to be right. I don’t remember what “blah, blah, blah” was, but I surely do remember the days we spent playing hooky at the beach.

So with that introduction, all I can say is, if you are reading this post, then stop right now and put all of your efforts toward tearing yourself away from everything electronic, and go out to see the wildflowers. If you do not know where to go – and you are living in southern California – check the Theodore Payne Foundation, Wildflower Hotline (ph: 818-768-3533).

Last Friday I packed up my hiking boots, raincoat, sandwich, water bottle, and camera to go out to see the desert wildflowers with a friend and former Rancho colleague. She had heard that Shaver’s Well on Box Canyon Road near Mecca was the place to go. After strolling through her Riverside garden, in the rain, we hit the road. Once we passed White Water, the rain cleared, leaving a magnificent day of bright sun, billowy clouds and spectacular wildflowers. If these pictures do not get you off that chair, then I just do not know what to say!

Box Canyon Road, brittle bush (Encelia farinosa) in bloom everywhere (right), with ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) displaying its fire red flowers on the ends of its branches (left).

Ocotillo flowers (Fouquieria splendens).

Desert five spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) with poppies (Eschscholzia) behind.

Spanish needles (Palafoxia arida).

Small insect and lacewing egg (maybe?) on the whitish bracts of sand blazing star (Mentzelia involucrata).

Spotted throat of ghost flower (Mohavea confertiflora)

Honeybee swarm. The hives in the cavities of the rock wall were abuzz; time for some to go off and form new hives.

Bigelow’s monkeyflowers (Mimulus bigelovii) were abundant, large and showy.

Tiny threadstem (Nemacladus sp.)

For scale, this is the hand of a giant.

Ladybug on the twisted stems of rambling milkweed (Sarcostemma hirtellum).

My pictures do not do it justice. Listen to my mother, it is too beautiful a day to be inside, play hooky.

8 thoughts on “Spring Wildflowers in the Desert

  1. We're heading out to Box Canyon/Mecca Hills this weekend to check out the blooms, so I'm really glad to see that the wildflower show there is in full throttle. Really great photos!

  2. Enjoy!

  3. Lovely blooms Barbara, that tiny threadstem really is, well…tiny! That honeybee swarm though is absolutely bee-autiful! Nice find, it is the season for swarms!

  4. Gorgeous photos, Barbara!

  5. Not so beautiful in Northern Illinois today but soon.<br />Your photos are wonderful but I will take your advise and head out this afternoon.

  6. Wow! Those bees are great, Any chance of getting video next time of them doing their thing?

  7. those are some mind blowing photos! you had a very wise mom! lucky you!

  8. Ooooooh la la! Your desert wildflowers are splendid. <br /><br />Love the swarm photograph!

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