Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflowers Photo Gallery

 By | Gorp.com
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Mid-March is usually peak wildflower season at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. This ribbon of verbena along Henderson Canyon Road outside Borrego Springs flows along a dry river bed, marking the path of rainwater washes.  
Credit: David Lyon 
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Volunteers at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center in Borrego Springs provide maps, directions, and advice to bloom hunters. Rains in late summer and again in early winter trigger the wildflowers to bloom and set seed. Extra rain in January boosts the blossoms.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
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At 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California's largest. It is located east of San Diego and just north of the Mexican border. Only a few highways cut across the barren landscape.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
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A lone verbena plant struggles through the crusted desert soil. Often cultivated for dry-climate gardens, verbena grows wild in the Anza-Borrego Desert.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
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A highly drought-tolerant member of the chrysanthemum family, the wild daisy is particularly well adapted to the searing desert. Its spare foliage holds moisture, and the plant's ability to bloom quickly allows it to flourish with only the spottiest rains.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
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Where water flowed only a few months before, a river of flowers now covers the dry gully. Amateur photographers turn out for the showy masses of verbena, but the same landscape holds painted daisies, desert sage, creosote, and ephedra.  
Credit: David Lyon 
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The succulent wild American agave is also known as the 'century plant' because it takes so long to blossom. Once it has flowered, the individual plant will die, but new agaves will grow from shoots that come up around the base.  
Credit: David Lyon 
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Hikers pass through a small stand of chuparosa on the Palm Canyon Trail. The red blossoms attract hummingbirds, and the chuparosa's dry brush serves as nesting material for desert rodents. The trail is also a good vantage point for catching glimpses of the big-horned 'Borrego' sheep.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
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The thorny, narrow ocotillo plant only resembles a cactus. It appears dry and dead for most of the year, but suddenly leafs out 36 hours to two weeks after a rain, giving it the nickname 'the desert rain gauge.' The red flowers of the ocotillo only appear in the spring.  
Credit: David Lyon 
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The mid-point of the wildflower bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park coincides with the beginning of the cactus bloom. This barrel cactus guards its succulent heart with a nest of thorns.  
Credit: Patricia Harris 
 
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