Tag Archives: wildflowers

wildflower report

I scouted for wildflowers on the Toms Thumb trail yesterday morning. With the temps climbing, there are now lots of blooms and many species on the verge of blooming. In bloom were: Combseed, Fiddleneck,Cryptantha, Arizona Popcorn Flower, Storkbill Filaree, Blue Fiesta Flower, Deer Vetch, Lacepod, 2 kinds of Mustard, Miners Lettuce, Yellow Throated Gilia, Chia, Birch Leaf Mountain Mahogany, Ragged Rockflower, Perennial Rockcress, Lupine and POPPIES!

Here are just a few photos:



After Combseed, one of the next wildflowers to start showing up is Fillaree (Erodium cicutarium) and they are now out in full force almost everywhere.


I always carry a Canon 500D Close Up Lens for the times when a lens won’t focus close enough. No reduction in exposure time makes it a better choice for a “hand holder” like me. Extension tubes or teleconverters might get me closer but besides losing an f/stop or two in light, you risk getting dust on the sensor because you have to remove the lens to attach them.

Cropped section of image shot using 500D close-up lens.
bee on fillaree bloom

Finally, here’s an image showing red Fillaree leaves. Someone had asked me if it was a different plant but the red is a result of stress during very cold weather. Once again, I attached the 500D Close Up Lens to get this close.
red fillaree leaves

(Note: the extreme close-ups were cropped from originals)

desert bluebells

On the hike yesterday, I spotted numerous wildflowers not yet bloomed. There were so many varieties that I think it would be worthwhile to check the trail again in a few weeks. One particular plant caught my eye because I’ve never seen so many in one place. It’s shown on the right below. The blooms on the left are a single plant in my yard last year which came from a wildflower seed packet.

Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia)

desert bells

east end lovers trail

I liked the idea of hiking past the East End Lovers on this Valentines day so that’s what we did. All in all, we hiked a loop which was just under 9 miles. We went up Toms Thumb; down East End; down to the Windmill on Windmill Trail; continued out Windmill to Coachwhip Trail; continued on Coachwhip to the Pemberton trail (McDowell Regional Park); took the Pemberton to a horse trail leading into the Rock Knob area of the Preserve and then followed a horse trail back over the parking lot.

Combseed flowers are now blanketing the ground almost everywhere. We also saw a Desert Hyacinth, Filaree and Wolfberry blooms. I also got a better shot of the Ragged Rock Flower located in a wash close to the Windmill. Desert Wishbone bush is getting taller and should be blooming any day. All in all….a fabulous day!

East End Lovers
east end lovers

combseed flowers


Desert Hyacinth (bluedick)

wolfberry blooms

Ragged Rock Flower
ragged rock flower

early spring forecast?

Barring a freeze (it CAN still happen), we might just be in for a very good and very early wildflower season! Our weather has been unseasonable warm so along with the above normal amount of rain we’ve had, it might just happen. I’m already seeing flowering plants popping up including Desert Wishbone, Globe Mallow, Golden Eye, Brittlebush and LOTS of other species. So exciting!

Globe Mallow in my yard this morning (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
macro shot of pink globe mallow

Globe Mallow’s botanical name includes “ambigua” which means it can be seen in lots of colors. Orange is the main color you’ll see in the Preserve, though. I bought this pink one at a local nursery where you can also find more colors. I planted mine as a seedling last fall and am very excited to see it growing!

pink globe mallow

pink globe mallow

here’s what’s blooming

Here are more images taken with the 70-200mm lens. This time, the subjects are flowers shot
in my yard late yesterday. The sun had already gone down and it was very windy so I used an
ISO of 1600 and shot at f/4. Considering all were hand held, I’m very happy with the outcome.

I’m also happy that my plants seem to be happy 🙂

Pink Fairy Duster
(Calliandra eriophylla)

Gooding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddingii)

Chuparosa (Justicia californica)

Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

Desert Tobacco (Nicotiana trigonophylla)

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)

All these plants are native to the Sonoran Desert. Some sprouted up on their own which
is especially exciting to me since it means the soil is finally in a decent condition for growth.