Rarely Seen Yellow Flower of the Cotton-Top Cactus, Echinocactus polycephalus
ANZA-BORREGO NORTH : PLANTS
When wildflowers blossom in Anza-Borrego, the northern canyons and fields
of the Borrego Valley can be remarkable carpets of color. People flock to
places like Little Surprise Canyon, Borrego Palm Canyon, and Henderson Canyon
(by way of Galleta Meadows). They drive to the north end of DiGiorgio Road
or east on Henderson Canyon Road. They may take longer hikes across Alcoholic
Pass or up Coyote Creek.
The rewards are many. Plants of the Sunflower Family, the Pea Family, the
Evening Primrose Family, the Four O'Clock Family, and others provide colors
and fragrances in profusion.
When the flowers are in bloom, commonly seen wildflowers along Henderson
Canyon Road from the north end of Borrego Springs Road (3 miles north of
Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs) to the Pegleg Monument include purple
Verbena, white Dune
Evening Primrose, and yellow Desert-Sunflower.
Those who drive north on DiGiorgio Road and continue after it ends on the
Coyote Canyon Jeep Trail may stop at Desert Gardens, park by an Ocotillo
plant or an Indigo
bush, and, carrying a wildflower guide, walk into some of the little
canyons at the base of the Coyote Mountain ridge. Or they may continue to
Coyote Creek and do their flower-looking to the sound of the splashing waters.
East of Borrego Springs, along County Road S-22 and in Palm
Wash below the Calcite Mine,
it's often possible to find Orcutt's
Woody Aster (surprisingly, an Asteraceae)
which is common in this area but rare elsewhere.
After the spring wildflowers fade away, other flowers start to appear.
The pea family (Fabaceae)
which brings us purple Arizona Lupine, blue Indigo Bush, and yellow catclaw
and mesquite flowers in spring produces White Dalea (a host for Thurber's
Pilostyles, the smallest plant in the desert) and the bright yellow
flowers of the Palo Verde tree.
North of County Road S-22, from Call Box S22-319 northeast to Palo Verde
Wash, is a good place to look in late spring to mid summer for the rarely
seen flowers of the Diamond
Cactus and the Cotton-top