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March 2004 - Part 2: Wildflowers in the Anza Borrego Desert and Torrey Pines State Reserve

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March and April are the best months for viewing wildflowers in Southern California. Flower displays were outstanding in 2003 (see the April 2003 Updater), and after returning from Alaska I was eager to find out whether 2004 is an equally good year. I was not disappointed. When I visited the Anza Borrego Desert, I was stunned to see that a few inches of rain during the winter can transform sand into life. Below is a small selection of photos that I took during two weekends in the desert. On the last weekend in March, I visited Torrey Pines State Reserve to enjoy flowers of the coastal sage shrub.

A word of warning: I am all but a botanist. I tried hard to get the names of the flowers right but there is no guarantee that I didn't make a mistake! If you notice an error, please let me know!


The first four photos below were shot in Anza Borrego State Park next to Henderson Canyon Road and east of Borrego Springs. Brittlebush and Ocotillo were photographed in Coyote Canyon, north of Borrego Springs.

Sand Verbena

Sand Verbena

Primrose and Verbena

Brown-eyed Evening Primrose





During my second trip to the desert, I went to Clark Valley (next to Rockhouse Canyon Road), which is a remote area north-east of Borrego Springs.


Desert dandelion

Little Gold Poppy

Creosote Bush


Desert stars

Desert Milkweed



All photos below were shot in Torrey Pines State Park. The park is located on a bluff between La Jolla and Del Mar and offers breathtaking views on the ocean. It is one of two places in the world where the Torrey Pine is growing naturally.



Torrey Pine

Rock rose

Wild Cucumber



Sea Dahlia


Sea Dahlia



The following three photos are all from the same Prickly Pear cactus. Two were taken at noon and one shortly before sunset. I couldn't decide which one is best, so I included all three.


Prickly Pear No. 1

Prickly Pear No. 2

Prickly Pear No. 3

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Last updated: 23 January 2016