Ted Caragozian, Don Rideout, and I had an excellent time enjoying all the delightful flowers along our hiking route from just south of the Vern Whitaker Horse Camp, to the Canyon just south of Second Crossing.  We hugged the base of the hills on the way up, and were away from the hills a bit in the Coyote Canyon Road area on the way back.

We saw 48 native species in bloom!  12 of those species had over 99 plants in bloom.  And we never got close to Coyote Creek, which probably had another ten or so species in bloom.

We also saw three native grass species that we love, that are impossible to easily tell whether they are in bloom or not.

We saw just three non-native species in bloom, and not very many plants of any of them.

The list of species in bloom is at the bottom of this email.

Don and I posted 94 observations of 63 species from this trip, including two obs from Don's house earlier in the morning:


In an earth-shattering unusual event, I posted more obs than Don! But he still won the "number of species posted" event.  I posted 51 obs of 30 species; Don posted 43 obs of 40 species.

The reason I posted so many is that I wanted to document the monsoonal plants in this area, since great monsoonal years like this don't come along very often.

You can see our route by clicking on the "map" tab under the "observations" page.

40 of those observations, of 32 species, were tagged as "flowering":


The most widespread and abundant monsoonal annual species here was Datura discolor.  It was EVERYWHERE in large numbers.  Plants of this species were on the flats, which I thought was their main habitat, but also on the hillsides, growing alongside Perityle.

When I think about the years in which we'd only seen this species in one or two spots that had received monsoonal rain, it is mind-boggling that there could ever be so many plants found in so many areas this year.

Kallstroemia californica was also widespread and abundant on the flats, but doesn't venture onto the hillsides.

Pix of Datura discolor plants on hillside; my post:

Pano of Datura discolor plants on flats, along with large mats of Kallstroemia californica; my post:


Pix of Datura discolor growing inside a mat of Kallstroemia; my post:


Don's close-up pix of one D. discolor:


Along Borrego Springs Road, Ted noticed that some of the Datura plants looked terrible.  We had no idea what happened until Matt Bristol commented in my iNat post that it looked like herbicide damage.  It was, from spraying to knock down the Volutaria!  My post:


Pectis was also widespread in this area, but never terribly abundant.  But the huge fields in town still have some color.

My post of a field along Borrego Springs Road a bit north of Christmas Circle:


Don's pix of a still-glorious nearby field just north of the field I photographed:


There were hillsides and some flat areas nearly completely covered with Chamaesyce setiloba (=Euphorbia s.).  My posts:

hillside just south of Horse Camp:

a flat area north of Horse Camp:

Perityle almost complete covered some areas of the slopes.  Most of it is not in bloom yet, but we still saw over 100 plants in bloom. One wonders if there will be any possibility for other winter / spring annual to germinate in those areas if we get more rain, due to the high perityle coverage!

My post of one hillside:

Don's post of a blooming plant:


On the drive to Borrego, fall color suddenly appeared, that was not there six days earlier.  The sycamores looked quite beautiful along SR76 west of Lake Henshaw, much prettier than they usually are, with more yellow in their leaves than brown.  The black oaks along SR76 in the Lake Henshaw area were also beautiful.

Don took these pix on his way back home in the Lake Henshaw area:

Black oak along SR7:

Solidago and cottonwoods:

When Ted and I met Don along the Horse Camp Road, he gave us the exciting news that he had seen a bobcat, up close and personal, at his house the previous day!  He got beautiful pix of the bobcat:


When we started hiking, we went first to Doc Beaty's house (or houses).  Don's pix:

House #1:

House #2:

Beaty's root cellar, immediately west of the Horse Camp itself:

Info about Doc Beaty's root cellar:

Much more info about the history of "Borego":

In addition to the monsoonal annuals, we found a small number of babies of the usual winter / spring annuals, including Eulobus, Emmenanthe, Lupinus arizonicus, Rafinesquia neomexicana, and even one Gilia stellata.   See the main link above for pix.

It was interesting that all the Tiquilia we saw in our hike was T. palmeri, and not a single T. plicata.  Don's pix:


Surprisingly, we saw a single plant of Datura wrightii amongst the zillions of D. discolor.  My post:


There was one plant of Lycium in bloom, L. andersonii, with its usual mix of lavender and brown/cream fresh flowers.  Don's post:


There was a huge field of Boerhavia wrightii on a bench just above the desert floor.

My posts:

Don's post:

There were some gorgeous plants of smoke tree in good bloom.  Don's post:

There were scattered plants of Chylismia claviformis in full bloom. Don's post:

We started to explore the canyon south of Second Crossing, but all too soon it was time for us to turn-around.  Don's pix of our turn-around point, showing the deep shadows at 3:30 p.m.:


We got back to the car at 4:30 p.m., just beating sunset.

List of species in bloom

Native species in bloom:

#pls in bloom   name

99    Abronia villosa var. villosa
99    Achyronychia cooperi
99    Boerhavia wrightii
99    Chamaesyce polycarpa
99    Chamaesyce setiloba
99    Cryptantha angustifolia
99    Datura discolor
99    Ditaxis lanceolata
99    Kallstroemia californica
99    Palafoxia arida var. arida
99    Pectis papposa var. papposa
99    Perityle emoryi

40    Psorothamnus emoryi

30    Physalis crassifolia

20    Amaranthus fimbriatus
20    Justicia californica

6    Senegalia greggii

5    Allionia incarnata var. incarnata
5    Chylismia claviformis ssp. peirsonii
5    Croton californicus
5    Euphorbia eriantha
5    Hyptis emoryi
5    Petalonyx thurberi ssp. thurberi
5    Psorothamnus schottii
5    Psorothamnus spinosus
5    Tiquilia palmeri

4    Dithyrea californica

3    Ditaxis neomexicana
3    Stephanomeria pauciflora

2    Bebbia juncea var. aspera
2    Encelia farinosa
2    Fagonia laevis

1    Acmispon rigidus
1    Adenophyllum porophylloides
1    Ambrosia dumosa
1    Bahiopsis parishii
1    Cylindropuntia ganderi
1    Datura wrightii
1    Eriogonum inflatum
1    Fouquieria splendens ssp. splendens
1    Hibiscus denudatus
1    Hilaria rigida
1    Krameria bicolor
1    Larrea tridentata
1    Lycium andersonii
1    Mammillaria dioica
1    Plantago ovata
1    Simmondsia chinensis

Native grasses in prime shape, may or may not be "in bloom":

99    Aristida adscensionis
99    Bouteloua aristidoides var. aristidoides
99    Bouteloua barbata var. barbata

Non-native species in bloom

99    Chenopodium murale
5    Tribulus terrestris
2    Sisymbrium irio

tom chester