Southern California is home to some of the most barren and expansive deserts in the United States. However, every once in a while, the ordinarily empty land gets filled with bright wildflowers. This so-called “super bloom” last happened in the spring of 2017. The super bloom only occurs in areas that experience unusually wet winters. Essentially, high precipitation levels over the winter lead to high wildflower levels in the spring.
This is exactly what is happening this year, leading scientists to believe that another super bloom is on the horizon. Researchers expect the flowers to start blooming at the end of February and stay for about a month, especially in the Anza-Borrego desert. Because it’s such a rare event, the super blooms usually attract thousands of sight-seers. In 2017, nearly half a million people headed to the desert to see it covered in colorful flowers.
The local communities of the desert prepare in advance for all the tourists by setting up bathrooms and designated viewpoints. This ensures that people appreciate the beauty of nature without impacting it too negatively. In past years, a huge number of tourists ended up damaging the flowers since they were constantly walked on.
Most of the flowers that grow during a super bloom are California poppies which are a deep yellow-orange color. The best places to get a good view of the hundreds of California poppies are the Anza-Borrego State Park, the Channel Islands Park, and the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area. Some of the other flowers expected to bloom are the vibrant purple sand verbenas, more yellow hues in the desert marigolds and desert sunflowers, and even deep red apricot mallow flowers. Needless to say, the super bloom tends to showcase a beautiful array of colors in a usually lifeless and barren area of California.