Rain is too little, too late for wildflowers

  • Tom Dell
  • March 23, 2018
  • Will there be a wildflower season this year?

    The answer is “Yes, of course?”  The real question, however, is “Will there be any wildflowers?”

    Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara County

    It’s a rainy day today in Southern California.  But these have been rare of late.  After a relatively wet winter in 2017 – wet enough that many people proclaimed our drought was over – we’ve reverted back to form.  That’s where a “two-inch rain” means the drops are two inches apart on my patio.

    Looking at the weather page in today’s Los Angeles Times, I notice our official  rainfall total for the period beginning last October 1 is 4.05 inches.  Last year at this time it was 18.56 inches, and the norm for the period is 12.82 inches.  Those totals are for Los Angeles.  Orange County and San Diego have been even drier.

    So will there be any wildflowers?  Sure, just not the spectacular carpets of color we see in a good year.  If you’re a serious flower nut, you’ll be able to view some nice displays, but average people like you and me will need some guidance . . . or simply stay home this year.

    The good news is that we have more resources than ever.  In this short post, I’ll offer up some links to some useful resources for flower fans.

    Cottonwood Canyon near Cuyama

    Links to wildflower updates

    Desert USA.  Offers freshly updated reports on flower displays in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, with special emphasis on such desert areas as Anza-Borrego, Joshua Tree and Death Valley.  Go to https://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/ca.html   

    Theodore Payne Foundation.  This nonprofit organization issues free weekly online and recorded wildflower updates.  Go to http://theodorepayne.org/education/wildflower-hotline/  or call (818) 768-1802, Ext. 7.  The hotline is updated weekly March through May.  Recorded reports are narrated by Emmy-winning actor Joe Spano. 

    Blogger Sandy Steinman’s Natural History Wanderings offers regular updates, along with a comprehensive set of links focused on California wildflowers.  Go to https://naturalhistorywanderings.com/wildflower-reports/      

    Thanks for reading.  Please come back Monday, March 26, for our next update.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *