You Belong Among the Wildflowers
Follow any Sonoran Desert hiking trail in mid-March through late April and you’re sure to discover a brilliant painter’s palette of wildflowers.
Each year, the springtime display varies depending on late autumn rainfall. Yet even in drier years, colorful blooms can be found on hillsides and along roadsides, bursting with gold, vermilion, pink, lavender, purple, blue and more.
You’ll find annuals like Californian and Mexican gold poppies, desert globemallow, lupine, owl’s clover, desert bluebells, paper flowers, penstemon, desert marigolds and Indian blanket to name a few.
Sometimes wildflowers are fickle about making appearances if there’s a cold snap. Thankfully, there are some great resources for tracking wildflower blooms.
How to find the Sonoran Desert “super blooms.”
- DesertUSA offers a wildflower finder for areas around Tucson and beyond.
- The Arizona State Parks and Trails website includes information on individual parks and the latest wildflower updates.
- The Firefly Forest provides Sonoran Desert wildflower identification tools and details on where to go to see the splendor.
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum even has a wildflower hotline — 520-883-2702, ext. 7320.
They just keep blooming.
The Sonoran Desert features two flowering peaks, first in spring and later in the summer. Yet, there’s really always something in bloom.
The summer flowering season begins a few weeks after the first summer rain and continues into late fall. In early summer (April to June) Sonoran Desert cacti take the stage with saguaro, ocotillo, barrel, prickly pear, cholla and others blooming in living color.
Best places to observe the show.
There are wildflower destinations just minutes from Dove Mountain to view our area’s blooming beauties including the Dove Mountain Community Trail, the Wild Burro Trail, Tohono Chul, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Catalina State Park, Saguaro National Park (West and East) and the Tucson Botanical Gardens. A bit further out, wildflower blooms can be impressive at Oracle State Park, Patagonia State Park, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, Picacho Peak State Park and Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
Go wild in your garden!
Want to bring more color and water-wise native plants into your garden? The Tucson Botanical Garden has an informative step-by-step guide to wildflower gardening in the Sonoran Desert. Happy gardening!