Your updated guide to flowers and plants in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

To receive flower updates please add
your name to the list.


Anza-Borrego Flower App

Fred Melgert has sent us word that he has developed an Anza-Borrego Flower App.    It is available free for Android phones in the Google Play Store.  He says an app for iPhone will be ready by the end of the year.

ABDNHA  Membership
Join   Renew
New or Renewal?

Benefits of Membership
Sand Paper Newsletter - 5 per year
Reduced Price on Programs
Free Desert Lecture Admission
15% Discount in ABDNHA
Desert Nature Center
Plus - It's Fun!

ABDNHA's business members support the educational work of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association and provide tourism services in Borrego Springs.


 Their support is appreciated.









590 Palm Canyon Drive






























Dec. 20, 2015
Layer Cake Wash  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Fred and Carla send this nice photo from today's hike with ABDNHA.

Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii (12/20/2015) by Fred Melgert

Dec. 15, 2015
Mine Wash  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
Fred and Carla send a couple of beautiful, and very  yellow, close-ups.

Yellow-head, Trichoptilium incisum by Fred Melgert

California trixis, Trixis californica var. californica by Fred Melgert

Dec. 15, 2015
First, Second, Third Crossing  View Hike details here.
From Fred and Carla
"This is always an interesting place to hike and see other flowering plants; there was much more in bloom that we expected. Our first find of White sweetclover, Melilotus alba,  still in bloom Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata,  Bladderpod bush, Peritoma arborea.   We've already seen the Bladderpod blooming in November in a couple of places. When Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa is wet at the base, it really likes to bloom right now. Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia female, fruit is the ultimate proof. We've seen them blooming recently in Aqua Caliente Marsh and when you look carefully you find  California loosestrife, Lythrum californicum more or less hidden, because it's not prime bloom." 

California loosestrife, Lythrum californicum Fred Melgert

Hooker's evening-primrose, Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima Fred Melgert

White sweetclover, Melilotus alba (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 13, 2015
Elephant Knees area
From Fred and Carla

"We hiked farther south from the elephant knees, to check out the area. From what we saw, something happened recently we expect a flash flood of 4-6 feet in the main wash along the Elephant knees. Have never seen Russian thistle, Salsola tragus this big before. You see scrubs happier than in most other places in the park. Carla noticed a blooming: While is I was making a picture she found something more interesting; a blooming Four wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens canescens."

Fremont's desert thorn, Lycium fremontii (12-2015) Fred Melgert

Four wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens canescens staminate (male) flower (12-2015)  Fred Melgert
Dec. 10, 2015
Big Spring
From Fred and Carla
Not much in bloom now at Big Spring. But we did find nice White nightshade, Solanum douglasii and Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum in bloom. Yerba mansa, Anemopsis californica fruit is interesting and some California-fuchsia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium are still blooming, but the fruit is small."

White nightshade, Solanum douglasii (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 6, 2015
Culp Valley
From Fred and Carla
Our hike today was in Culp Valley. This is the place where all the springs seep. Yes female flowers form the Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia. Hundreds of fresh looking Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum. And a lot of other good looking plants as well."

Mule fat, Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia female flower (12-2015)  Fred Melgert

Indian Valley bush mallow, Malacothamnus aboriginum (12-2015) Fred Melgert
Dec. 4, 2015
Fish Creek
From Fred and Carla
"In fish creek we found one of our best flower spots with a lot of germination. We hiked this route because of the Desert milkweed, Asclepias erosa, so far the only spot we found them in the park and they where blooming. It is always full of all sorts of insects. Interesting to see a bulb what appears to be a Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata, we noticed several plants in the area (leaves only). Good blooming Button brittlebush, Encelia frutescens. Had to look twice when we saw the green scrub, indeed Burrobush, Ambrosia dumosa, so incredibly green. In Fish creek Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae is always blooming and will do so for a couple of months. Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata is close to the end of bloom. Best of all there is a lot of fresh looking germination, already spotted some we haven't seen in bloom before, definitely an area to return to."

Desert Pussypaws, Cistanthe ambigua Fred Melgert

Salton milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae Fred Melgert
Dec. 1, 2015
From Fred and Carla

"We did Whale Peak today, a more difficult way, but a more interesting way.  We did see some Boundary Goldenbush in bloom but not much else.  Some patches of snow on the way back, as well as a coyote on the move"

Coyote seen on the way to Whale Peak  Fred Melgert

Boundary goldenbush, Ericameria brachylepis (12-2015) by Fred Melgert
Nov. 29, 2015
From Fred and Carla

"We went further into Palm Canyon but the fountain grass has found the canyon. Frost has reached the higher elevations and killed most flowers.  We did get some nice detail pictures for our guide."

Maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris (11-2015) Photo by Fred Melgert
Nov 27, 2015
From Fred and Carla: March Canyon Loop

The Agua Caliente area looked so promising that we checked out the Marsh Canyon Loop.  Along with some nice blooming Chuparosa, Brittlebush, beautiful Blackbanded rabbitbush, and many Coyote melons (because it was very wet),  we also spotted our first Bighorn Sheep of the season, never have seen then so close and unafraid

Bighorn Sheep - March Creek Loop - Agua Caliente area  Photo by Fred Melgert

Bighorn Sheep - March Creek Loop - Agua Caliente area  Photo by Fred Melgert

Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata. by Fred Melgert

Nov. 26, 2015

From Fred and Carla

Moonlight Canyon at Agua Caliente County Park to the Inner Pastures.

"Nice green area at this time of year.  A flash flood hit the Agua Caliente are and the effects are still visible."

Desert thornapple, Datura discolor (11-2015) Fred Melgert

Wire-lettuce, Stephanomeria pauciflora (11-2015) Fred Melgert

California-fuchsia, Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium (11-2015) Fred Melgert
Nov. 26, 2015
From Fred and Carla along the Pacific Crest Trail, north from Warner Springs.  "Our first blooming Pine goldenbush, Ericameria pinifolia. Still some of the common flowers right now California-aster, Corethrogyne filaginifolia My favorite for the day, another new flower,  Milk maids, Cardamine californica."
Milk maids, Cardamine californica Fred Melgert

Nov. 19, 2015

From Fred and Carla

Wind Cave Wash to Gypsum Peak

"From Fish Creek up to the peak, a tripod, 2 camera's and ourselves, We found a nice plant for the botanists: a Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis, tiny flowers. Tiny tiny flowers. On our way back I liked the craters in the mud and flower fields of Chinch weed, Pectis papposa papposa. This was not a large patch, about 200 yards, but nevertheless unusual for November. The look like goldfield, but with larger flowers."

Narrow leaf sandpaper plant, Petalonyx linearis (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Desert trumpet, Eriogonum inflatum (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Nov. 17, 2015

From Arroyo Salado north fork, Fred reports:
"This is one of our favorite areas and did not disappoint us. This area seems to be an excellent water trap. Carla mentioned we would be 3 hours but it took us at least 5, there was so much to see.

Most don't classify it as a wildflower, but it's very pretty closeup: Big galleta, Hilaria rigida.
 We stumbled upon a Dove weed, Croton setigerus, this time we where wiser and checked it for flowers. And indeed, hardly visible in full bloom. Orcutt's woody-aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii are a sure bet, there is always some in bloom. A hardly recognizable flower of a Trailing Windmills, Allionia incarnata var. incarnata And not to forget, one of the most overlooked flowers, spurges, they sure are nice bloomers. Arizona honeysweet, Tidestromia suffruticosa var. oblongifolia , easy to miss that this plant is in full bloom. At the end of the trip an Emory's indigo bush, Psorothamnus emoryi. A textbook Flat-topped buckwheat, Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum. Not to forget Russian thistle in bloom, Salsola tragus mostly along the road of course, a reasonable flower picture."

Flat-topped buckwheat, Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum (11-2015) by Fred Melgert
Dove weed, Croton setigerus (11-2015) by Fred Melgert

Fred at work!

Nov. 15, 2015

From the Collins Valley - Box Canyon Dry Lake, Fred reports:
"Carla was ecstatic finding a nice Desert brickellbush, Brickellia desertorum. In the lower willows area it's time for:  Blackbanded rabbitbrush, Ericameria paniculata and Alkali goldenbush, Isocoma acradenia acradenia."

Desert brickellbush, Brickellia desertorum by Fred Melgert
November 13, 2015
Fred and Carla send this report:
"Yaqui meadows, we think is the greenest place we visited so far. The best indicators are Lavender and Chuparosa, green with leaves.  Last season we went looking for Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana, this time they bloomed even better. Blooming Catclaw acacia, Senegalia greggii, A lot of small plants about to bloom like Thick leaf ground cherry, Physalis crassifolia and Emory's rock-daisy,
Perityle emoryi . Surprisingly many seed on Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii.  This is always one of the better places for plants."

Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana  November 2015 Fred Melgert 

 Paperbag Bush/ Mexican bladder sage, Scutellaria mexicana  January 2015 Fred Melgert 

Catclaw acacia, Senegalia greggii (11-2015) Fred Melgert


Nov. 8, 2015

Fred and Carla hiked the Upper Culp valley, a nice but certainly not a casual hike; there is a lot of up and down. They report a variety of flowers in bloom. They say "Right now the Wide-leaved rock goldenbush are in peak bloom, you should see them in the area, mostly in the least accessible places. You will see the leaves of the Giant four o'clock and if you are lucky a flowering one. Some hard to find, but very nice California-aster And some Sapphire woolly-star one of the prettiest flowers around, normally blooming in spring. And of the seeds Birch-leaf mountain-mahogany is impressive."

Wide-leaved rock goldenbush, Ericameria cuneata var. spathulata  by Fred Melgert

Giant four o'clock, Mirabilis multiflora var. pubescens by Fred Melgert


Nov. 6, 2015

Fred and Carla send this nice closeup photo of a rush milkweed taken along the roadside close to Palo Verde Wash.

Photo by Fred Melgert

Nov 2, 2015

Marcy Yates says "Today the Borrego Palm Canyon trail could boast about something blooming, but only one lonely Rock Hibiscus.  The chuparosa are getting green and starting to form red buds, but not yet in full flower."

Photo by Marcy Yates

June 21, 2015

Marcy Yates passes on a tip she received from Bill Sullivan that elephant trees were blooming near the Elephant Tree Trail in the south part of the park. Marcy then checked the two trees at the park visitor center In Borrego Springs and found fruit on one (or so she thought).  Her photo was forwarded to Bill; he enlarged it and sent it back because there were actually some fading flowers near the fruits.  Such tiny flowers!  There is also a small elephant tree in the ABDNHA botanical garden, but no flowers there this year.


Interesting facts:  The elephant tree has very fragrant leaves and comes from a large family which includes such plants as frankincense and myrrh. This tree was and is important for a variety of practical and ceremonial uses of native people within its range.  The Elephant Trees in Anza-Borrego are at the northernmost part of their range.  The tree does not tolorate freezing temperatures.

Elephant Tree  Bursera microphylla Marcy Yates

May 4, 2015

Marcy Yates reports lots of ironwood trees in Pinyon Wash that are in various stages of blooming.

Ironwood  Olneya tesota Marcy Yates


April 5, 2015

This report from Combs peak by Fred and Carla  See hiking details.

Woolly Bluecurls,  Trichostema lanatum Fred Melgert

Chaparral whitethorn, Ceanothus leucodermis Fred Melgert

Mountain Phlox, Phlox austromontana Fred Melgert

California poppy, Eschscholzia californica Fred Melgert


April 12, 2015

Grapevine loop by Fred and Carla:  See hiking info.

Everything is weeks ahead of schedule and even dryer than last season if that's even possible. This is fine as the Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum is starting to bloom and will become more of an obstacle as it already is, but no thorns. The Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes seems to have spread to every single wash along both sides of the Pacific Crest trail. The prickly poppy, Argemone munita where everywhere last season, now not trace of them this year.


Golden yarrow, Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum Fred Melgert

Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum Fred Melgert


April 10, 2015

Carrizo Canyon east fork palms by Fred and Carla.  Hiking information here

We've been to the sweeney pass a week before, so we expected something alive over here.


 Coyote melon, Cucurbita palmata 99+ nicely in bloom in the Carrizo Creek as we where early. The smoketree look green,  that's always a good sign. But these canyons are special as they have good ground water. The canyon we hiked in looked as it had a good bloom, a lot of the plants where of course out of bloom, but far from all. Scarlet spiderling, Boerhavia coccinea by the hundreds. Hairy Blazingstar, Mentzelia hirsutissima in the hundreds, some still in bloom. Catclaw, Senegalia greggii starting to bloom. This is the year we find Broom Twinberry, Menodora scabra var. glabrescens, two more in bloom. What I noticed are many small California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera so that's a good sign. This time we didn't hike the loop but went to explore the other Palm clusters.

Coyote melon, Cucurbita palmata Fred Melgert

California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera Fred Melgert

Hairy Blazingstar, Mentzelia hirsutissima Fred Melgert


April 5, 2015

A shot taken earlier today of a queen butterfly caterpillar on milkweed.

monarch butterfly caterpillar on rush milkweed - anza-borrego

Rush Milkweed Asclepias sublata apocynaceae and queen caterpillar Mike McElhatton



March 31, 2015

From Fred and Carla, a loop from mile 14.3 on the Pacific Crest Trail


Strange enough this is the only place we found Thistle sage, Salvia carduacea in the Park. A nice bunch of 20 or so plants on one spot, very close to the start of the hike. We where almost too late, some of them where already out of bloom. Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes and a lot more than last year. We where looking for Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens for years now and finally found them. The same goes for Fringed onion, Allium fimbriatum var. fimbriatum.


Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower,  Mimulus brevipes Fred Melgert

Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens Fred Melgert


March 27, 2015

From Fred and Carla:Hawi Vallecito to Lower Storm Canyon

The hike starts at the parking of Hawi Vallecito but is otherwise completely out of the park.

The intention was to hike up Storm Canyon, to check out all the green stuff you can see from the road.  But we never came that far, one of the reasons, we encountered so many plants we hardly, if ever, encounter..

The terrain is grassy, with Big galleta, Hilaria rigida. The upper part of the valley is covered with one of the biggest fields of Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa we've ever seen. We basically went for the lower part of the Storm Canyon wash. The wash is partially sand with patches of rock, the wash is obvious wetter than most.  White rhatany, Krameria bicolor is blooming we found several plans in partial bloom.  San Felipe dogweed, Adenophyllum porophylloides in full bloom.  We saw our first Short-lobed phacelia, Phacelia brachyloba.

Some Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa are still blooming. It's time for Desert woolly-star, Eriastrum eremicum ssp. eremicum, you find them in town roadside.

Our third find of Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii in two locations of 99+ They seem to stay in one place and don't spread out much.A surprise was the second Coulter's snapdragon, Antirrhinum coulterianum we have seen in bloom this month (1 plant).
Finally another Gillia Caraway-leaved Gilia, Saltugilia caruifolia  And we where missing the Prickly poppy, Argemone munita as they where everywhere last year. So 3 plants was a good find. Showy Penstemon, Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis in my favorite for today, our first one this season.

And lots lots more.  All in all a great wash.

Showy Penstemon, Penstemon spectabilis var. spectabilis Fred Melgert

Prickly poppy, Argemone munita Fred Melgert

Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa Fred Melgert

Slender wreathplant, Stephanomeria exigua ssp. exigua Fred Melgert

Honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana Fred Melgert


March 26, 2015

Joy Ziemnick says there is a lot of color at Culp Valley Campground area and along the California Riding Hiking Trail west from parking. area. Goldfields, Nolina, Wooly daisies, Whispering bells, Veatch's blazing star, Hairy? lotus, Apricot Mallow, lots of Chia further up, Wishbone...and more species as well.

Parry's Bear-Grass, Nolina parryi Nolinaceae Joy Ziemnick

March 25, 2015

Fred and Carla from the Grapevine area:   Hiking details
This is our known area for flower fields and they didn't disappoint us. The only bad thing happening is that the mesquite and catclaw are growing back from the 2012 fire. And you are guaranteed to return somewhat black as there is plenty of black stuff out there.


A couple of fields of Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii Our favorite one Wide-throated yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus brevipes. Fields of Fremont pincushion, Chaenactis fremontii And best of all the only field we found anywhere in the park: White Tidy-tips, Layia glandulosa and Scalebud, Anisocoma acaulis.


We where a bit concerned as we didn't see any flowers as we came down the PCT, we where after all still early. But they where just in hiding and as we came closer, there they where!


Fremont's monkeyflower, Mimulus fremontii Fred Melgert

White Tidy-tips, Layia glandulosa Fred Melgert

Little-leaved chaparral beardtongue, Keckiella antirrhinoides var. microphylla Fred Melgert


March 22, 2015

Joy Ziemnick sends this shot of a brilliant indigo bush on the north side of Highway 78, about a mile west of Texas Dip Junction.  She says she has never smelled or seen such a full and fragrant Indigo Bush.  The color is very intense too.

Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schottii by Joy Ziemnick


March 22, 2015

Culp Valley - Wilson Mountain Loop by Fred and Carla

This time we explored a part of Culp Valley we haven't been before and we ended up far to the east in washes that eventually end up in the Glorietta Canyon.

A nice supprise to still find Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis everywhere, mixed with Narrowleaf goldenbush, Ericameria linearifolia they make it very yellow. Cleveland's beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii and Parish's purple nightshade, Solanum parishii along boulders. Desert globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rugosa are in the thousands, out there, some are already blooming.

We found our first ever Chinese Houses, Collinsia concolor, should be more out there. Veatch's blazing star, Mentzelia veatchiana are hard to miss, they are everywhere It would be a bad hike if we wouldn't find Hairy bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus var. pubescens and we found 8+ and they always grow in the most impossible places. This is Carla's favorite. We where looking for Lemmon's linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii before and found only a few now we found 100+ but only at one particular spot.



Lemmon's linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii Fred Melgert

Virgin's bower, Clematis ligusticifolia Fred Melgert

Woolly Indian paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa Fred Melgert


March 18, 2015

Sandra Lee Childs send these interesting photos of Wild Cucumber mara macrocarpus var taken near Stewart Spring.  She reports the largest one was five inches long.


March 18, 2015

From Cool Canyon, by Joy Ziemnick.  She reports Chia, Tobacco plant, Checker Fiddleneck, Wishbone, Whispering Bells, lots of Canterbury bluebells, lots of Vetch's blazing star, lots of Palmer's Milkvetch, ground cherry, desert rock pea, Ephedra/desert tea, and at least 1 larger display of wooly indian paintbrush.

Palmers Milkvetch  Joy Ziemnick

Wooly Indian Paintbrush Castilleja foliolosa Joy Ziemnick


March 18, 2015

Fred and Carla send this report: Butler Canyon Hidden Spring Rockhouse Canyon
Hiking Details

We went up Rockhouse Cayon first and then back into Butler Canyon.  That is indeed a recommended loop for those without a GPS. And with the flowers right now it was a real treat, a repeat from most places: we have never seen so many flowers on this hike.


Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata were here, as you can see the seed pods right now. White-lined Sphinx Moth Catepillar have arrived, but Brown-eyed primrose, Camissonia claviformis ssp. peirsonii are still plentiful. Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana , very common right now. Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata are in huge fields especially on the mesa at the end of Butler canyon. 

On our way from the Mesa into Butler canyon we started counting and checking Threadplants, we found two kinds in abundance. Tiny but once you know what to look for rather easy to spot. Purple mat, Nama demissa var. demissa are doing great in Butler canyon, a lot of larger plants. My favorite Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia, we found only one.

It took us 50 minutes more than usual taking pictures, so it turned out another long 5 hour hike. The road up to the trailhead is rocky with deep soft sand, a high clearance 4x4 is essential. And so many I didn't mention


Indigo bush, Psorothamnus schottii Fred Melgert

Desert chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana Fred Melgert

Desert Bluebells, Phacelia campanularia var. campanularia Fred Melgert


March 17, 2015

We have several reports that the Ocotillos in Coyote Canyon are just spectacular right now.  It's a sea of bright red flowers.  Just south of town, and on the west side of Borrego Springs Road, the "ocotillo forest" is getting ready to pop. 

Ocotillo.  Coyote Canyon by Joy Ziemnick


March 17, 2015

Report from Little Blair Valley loop by Fred & Carla:


We went up where I found a small dry lake on the satellite pictures. And we found Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia right in the middle of that dry pond, hundreds of them, still rather small for now. Another plant that Carla had been trying to find and now we know why we didn't find them. The seem to like more alkaline soil as we found lots more in Little Blair Valley Dry lake.


Not so long ago I thought Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis where rather rare in the park. We found them all over the place including the Pictogram trail up to the Smugglers drop. Along the boulders we found one of the biggest California fish-hook cactus, Mammillaria dioica we've ever seen, huge but in a hard spot to get my camera in. Pringle's Woollysunflower, Eriophyllum pringlei we where missing in our photo collection.
And Carla was probably most pleased with a couple of rather rare Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii, nice flowers for such a small plant. A honorary plant that is rather faithfull blooming when we check at the pictograph parking Cleveland's beardtongue, Penstemon clevelandii var. clevelandii.  I don't think nobody even notices it but it's a rather nice bunch of them. And so many others that didn't made it on film but are in Carla's notebook. We will check an area close by in a couple of weeks.  Photos:


 Narrow-leaved Globemallow, Sphaeralcea angustifolia Fred Melgert

Lemmon's Linanthus, Leptosiphon lemmonii Fred Melgert

Goldfields, Lasthenia gracilis Fred Melgert


March 16, 2015

Marcy Yates sends us this nice shot taken in Borrego Springs of a honey bee on Indigo Bush


View Previous