Arizona Wildflower Boom Year!
Arizona State Parks tracks mountain blooms with 'Ranger Cams.'
March 15, 2015
Visitors are flooding the gates at picacho peak state park to get into the park in time to see the mountainside blooms of bright yellow Mexican poppies, purple lupine, pink globemallow and yellow brittlebush.
The Arizona State Parks department reports that the bloom this year is because over the past six months the park has received an accumulated record of almost 12 inches of rain. To help the public track the different wildflowers as they start to bloom in all the different State Parks, the rangers take pictures and post them on the Arizona State Parks website at http://AZStateParks.com/RangerCam2015.
Executive Director Sue Black said, "Our rangers and volunteers take pictures as soon as the flowers start blooming and visitors can then decide when to leave other states to come here and take their pictures. Updated information about flowers at each park will be posted to help people around the country plan their trips to Arizona."
Call the "State Parks Wildflower Hotline" at (602) 542-4174 and customer service staff will provide details for long distance travelers. "We want the visitors to check the website regularly, look at the pictures and then drive out into the surrounding deserts," said Black.
According to Picacho Peak Park Manager Aaron Soggs, "At Picacho the rain data is showing just about 12 inches which is the accumulated total since September of 2014. The last great year of flowers was 1998 when there was 12 inches of rain and we are seeing the same result now with the abundance of Mexican poppies blooming.
"The public is coming to take their family pictures, picnic, and hike because the flowers line the trails."
Bladderpods Begin Bloom Boom
Flowers in the desert bloom based on the elevations, the rainfall at a certain area, and the temperature. Usually the order of the bloom is bladderpods, Mexican poppies, chuparosa, globemallow, brittlebush and then other cacti species.
Already on some trails in the valley, the little yellow bladderpods, are creating yellow carpets across the landscapes. The tiny yellow-cross style flower gets its name from the small,round fruit pods that develop after pollination.
Catalina State Park and Boyce Thompson Arboretum are also now seeing the many different types of blooming wildflowers as well. Different elevations affect the different times of the blooms. The public is encouraged to tour State Parks to see flowers on weekdays when there is less traffic and there is plenty of parking.
Wildflower books are available with brochures and maps in rural areas at all of the State Parks. The "State Trails Guide" with 550 hiking trails is also available at all of the State Parks. For details on different areas around the state, call the State Parks Wildflower Hotline (8am-5pm weekdays) at (602) 542-4174 or watch "Ranger Cam" featuring pictures taken regularly at http://AZStateParks.com/RangerCam2015.