TWENTYNINE PALMS — Early in this year’s season, local wildflower expert Bill Truesdell has already seen dozens of species, mainly in the low desert and on the south side of Joshua Tree National Park.
Truesdell, who expects the season to kick into gear in the Morongo Basin in late March or early April, said he think this year will be a good bloom but cautioned that people expecting to see blankets of wildflowers may be disappointed.
The wildflower expert has been scouting out wildflowers in the Cottonwood area on the south side of the park and along the northeast boundary, while trying to stay at lower elevations as it is still early in the season.
“There is a variety of small plants coming into bloom,” he said. “Down in the Coachella Valley and southern boundaries, some poppies and some desert dandelions; along the freeway, some of the desert sunflowers.”
The bloom, he said, is light in numbers this year, without a lot of carpeting, but there is plenty of green, which indicates more blooms to come.
“The variety is out there. On occasions we see 60 to 70 individual species in bloom,” he said.
In the Morongo Basin, desert dandelions and desert marigolds can be seen along the roadside even though the season is still on its way.
“The dandelions are showing up. They are always pretty,” he said.
As in years past, he said the best thing to have when looking for wildflowers is a willingness to do some hiking.
“If they find some wildflowers, tell them to get out of their cars and walk around and look for a few more,” he said.
“Usually the north side will start around the end of March or early April. By the end of March we should have a fairly good variety.”
He added that he hopes this year’s wildflower will have an extended run.
“I am hoping that the rains we received are going to extend it a little bit,” he said.