Desert's Annual Floral Fireworks Ready To Explode For Spring


Gayle Marrs-Smith/Bureau of Land Management

You can already see the Las Vegas Bearpoppy blooming.

A soggy fall and winter are making for a strong spring wildflower bloom in the desert Southwest.

The floral fireworks have started in Death Valley and other California deserts and are spectacular enough to be worthy of coverage by the Washington Post.

Because of higher elevations, the bloom in Nevada lags by a few weeks, but flowers can already be seen along the road to Laughlin and at the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area nearby.











Lupine/Wikimedia commons

Late March and early April are the peak times for wildflowers in Southern Nevada, said Gayle Marrs-Smith, a botanist who is also the Las Vegas Field Office manager for the Bureau of Land Management.

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“What’s interesting about mother nature is it’s not about the quantity of rain it’s about the timing as well," Marrs-Smith said, "So, where we have a lot of wildflowers coming up in the spring a lot of time that’s because we get the rains at the right time.”

The right time for rain in the Mojave Desert is October and November; however, our big rains were in December and January. Plus, if it gets too hot too fast, the flowers won't bloom. 

“They need to complete lifecycle when the soils are moist when the air temperatures are mild,” Marrs-Smith said. 

She said the morning is usually the best time to check out the wildflowers, because the sun can wash out pictures and wilt the flowers later in the day.

Among the places that wildflowers can or will soon be seen include the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Valley of Fire State Park and later at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, where blooms appear later because of their higher elevation.

For those who want to enjoy the season closer to home, Clark County Wetlands Park might not offer a blanket of flowers, but it has many blooming plants and migratory birds.

Flowers at Cottonwood/Photo credit: National Park Service 

Brittlebrush/Photo credit: National Park Service

Globe mallow/Photo credit: National Park Service

Sunray/Photo credit: National Park Service



Gayle Marrs-Smith, botanist, Las Vegas Field Office manager, Bureau of Land Management

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