October Showers Bring December Flowers 

© Arie Korporaal

© Arie Korporaal

In mid-October monsoonal rain fell in two distinct locations in the Anza-Borrego Desert. One area was the Borrego Badlands. The other was along S-2 between Whale Peak and the Mountain Palm Spring area. Both areas received about 1. 5 inches in one day, and both now have lots of germination of annuals and even some flowering. Botany Society members have recently hiked both of these areas to see what's coming up. 

In the badlands the ocotillo (Fouquieria splendors) leafed out extravagantly. Many desert lilies (Hesperocallis undulata) are also showing their leaves. A couple of them were even in bloom, which is remarkable for December. A few hairy desert-sunflowers (Gerea canescens) have opened up. Most remarkable was the number of barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) with buds and flowers. Emerging annuals include Arizona lupine (Lupinus arizonicus), Thomas' buckwheat (Eriogonum thomasii), and California caltrop (Kallstroemia californica). The caltrop is a monsoonal annual that only comes up in response to summer or early fall rainstorms. Dune evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides) is just starting to bloom. Perhaps the most uncommon plant we saw in bloom was Long-beak streptanthella (Streptanthella longirostris), a dune inhabitant. 

The south end of the park was equally florific. The most frequently seen plant was Brown-eyed primrose (Chylismia claviformis peirsonii) which is blooming by the thousands in June Wash. Devil's Claw (Proboscidea althaeifolia), another monsoonal annual, was abundant in Canyon 41 and Canebrake Canyon. It had both flowers and fruit in early December. Indigo Bushes (Psorothamnus schottiiwere covered with deep blue flowers especially in the late afternoon. A few Orcutt's woody asters (Xylorhiza orcuttii) were seen in June Wash, but not yet in flower. The most unusual and surprising find in this area was a hybrid brittle bush, a cross between Encelia farinosa and Encelia frutescens. At at distance the plant appears to be a normal brittle bush, but closer examination reveals that the leaves and flowers are somewhere between the two parents. Three of these hybrid plants were observed in June Wash.

The bottom line is that there are plenty of plants to see if one goes to the places where rain has fallen. However, the condition of plants changes rapidly with the weather, so don't delay. Get out there and see what's blooming.

Note: Image links are to images on the iNaturalist Web site posted by Don Rideout.

Jim Dice to Speak on Botanical Research in Borrego

Jim Dice, Reserve Manager

Jim Dice, Reserve Manager

Jim Dice, Reserve Manager, UCI Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, will be the January speaker as part of the Botany Society’s Public Lecture Series. He will discuss History of Botanical Research in Borrego on Monday, January 14, 2019.

Jim Dice has been Reserve Manager since the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center opened in 2012. He retired in 2012 from California State Parks after 25 years of service with the State of California. He served as manager for San Diego State University’s Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve from 1987-88 and was Curator of the Desert Garden at Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, from 1981-1985.

Jim obtained a B.S. in Botany from San Diego State University (1981) and an M.S. degree in Biology (Systematics and Evolutionary Biology) from San Diego State University (1988).

Who: Jim Dice, Reserve Manager. UCI Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
Topic: History of Botanical Research in Borrego
Where: UCI Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, 401 Tilting T. Drive, Borrego Springs
When: Monday, January 14, 2019
Time: 10:00 to 11:30 AM
Cost: Free; public is invited.

Two Top Speakers Highlight Botany Society's First Monthly Lecture

The Anza Borrego Desert Botany Society is fortunate to have 2 gifted speakers for our monthly lecture series this coming Monday (Dec 10) at 10 a.m.

Our first speaker is Kate Harper, known familiarly as Botany Woman. Kate has been a botanist in the Borrego area for years and is a principal contributor of Tom Chester’s excellent Web site, Plant Species of the Borrego Desert.

Kate will focus on desert adaptations. Hear her speak to learn which plant is the “King of Desert Plant Adaptations.”

Following Kate’s talk will be Dr. Chris McDonald, Natural Resource Advisor for southeastern California. Chris will discuss plants that jeopardize desert native plants. McDonald is an expert in invasive plants and will demonstrate how to recognize aggressive, invasive plants in the Borrego Desert and discuss what can be done to control them.

Dr Chris McDonald is the Inland and Desert Natural Resources Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension. His expertise is in managing plants in wildlands with an emphasis on managing difficult weeds.

What: Botany Society Lecture Series
When: 10:00 a.m. Monday December 10
Where: Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center Discovery Lab
Cost: Free, open to the public
Parking: Free

Pre-order Form for Annual Native Desert Plant Sale Has Been Posted

Fairy Duster.  Calliandra eriophylla . ©2015 Arie Korporaal

Fairy Duster. Calliandra eriophylla. ©2015 Arie Korporaal

NOTE: The Botany Society’s annual plant sale was held over Thanksgiving Weekend. The online order form is no longer active.

The Anza Borrego Botany Society has announced the dates of its popular desert plant sale. The native plant sale will be held Friday, November 23, 2018. The plant sale will be held at the Anza Borrego Foundation State Park Store in the Mall, 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs 92004. 

A pre-order form for the desert plants you want to purchase has been posted on this website. All proceeds support the work of the Botany Society including its well-known botany speaker series. 

2018 Anza-Borrego Botany Society Plant Sale Order Form

Jon Rebman Returns to Headline Fall Botany Festival

Dr. Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum, will be the featured speaker at the Annual Fall Botany Festival on Saturday, November 24th.

Dr. Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany, San Diego County Natural History Museum

Dr. Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany, San Diego County Natural History Museum

Dr. Rebman will discuss Fern Diversity of the San Diego Region in the Discovery Lab at the Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center. Rebman’s talk begins at 10 AM and is free to the public.

The Botany Society will be holding its native desert plants sale in front of the Anza Borrego Foundation State Park Store in town the previous day, Friday, November 23rd. The plant sale is scheduled to run from 8:30 am to 3 pm or until all plants are sold. Check out the pre-sale plant list to order ahead. These desert plants sell out quickly so use the online order form to reserve your plants.

Who: Dr. Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany, San Diego County Natural History Museum
Topic: Fern Diversity of the San Diego Region
Where: Discovery Lab, Visitor Center, 200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
When: Saturday, November 24, 2018
Time: 10:00 to 11:30 AM
Cost: Free; public is invited.
Reminder: The State Park charges a day use fee of $10 per vehicle for entrance to the parking area on weekends.