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Anza Borrego Desert Wildflower Bloom A Bust After Dry Winter

Above: Purple and yellow flowers bloom in the Anza-Borrego Desert, March 16, 2008.

Aired 4/9/14 on KPBS News.

Spring wildflowers typically paint the Anza Borrego Desert floor this time of year in an array of vibrant colors, drawing thousands of visitors from San Diego. But ongoing drought conditions have kept the annual blooms at bay.

Spring wildflowers typically paint the Anza Borrego Desert floor this time of year in an array of vibrant colors, drawing thousands of visitors from San Diego. But ongoing drought conditions have kept the annual blooms at bay.

It takes a perfect combination of frequent light rains and temperatures below 85 degrees for desert annuals to bloom, but this year Mother Nature hasn’t cooperated.

“Winter rains this year were not enough to attract a showy display of annual wildflowers,” states a recording on a wildlflower hotline for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, "but a careful observer willing to spend some time looking can find something in bloom somewhere."

There are only isolated patches of annual blooms along the western canyons near the mountains, said Sally Theriault, manager of the park's visitor center.

"Most of Anza Borrego Desert State Park got about one-third of an inch of rain all winter," Theriault said. "And that’s not enough to prompt a really good bloom of annual wildflowers – the ones that just come up in the spring and grow for a little while and bloom and then they're gone."

Theriault said the region did receive four inches of rain last summer, which has allowed cacti, trees and shrubs to thrive.

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