CNPS Mojave Desert Chapter Newsletter

April 2006


Mojave Monkeyflower, Mimulus mohavensis  
Photograph at left by Tim Thomas

 

 

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Images of Mojave Desert plants in winter - Johnson Valley 1/31/06

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President's Message 

Now that a little rain has dampened the desert we might just have some plants green up and flower.  We have had 3.2" this calendar year in Apple Valley.  The hit and miss of the storms do not provide a uniform coverage of rain and therefore we will still have to hunt the good sites for colors.  Most of our field trips will be posted on an email list serve, while others will be available on this website (see link at left).  To subscribe to the list serve, go to MojaveDesertChapter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com,  and stay tuned.  Also, please don't forget to sign up for the wildflower weekend on May 19-21 at  Blue Sky Meadows in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains (link to field trips and events at left).           ~Tim Thomas

 

Jim's Wildflower Update

 For those wishing for a wildflower bloom in the eastern and southern Mojave Desert, this is definitely not your year.  Winter rainfall is presently at an incredible 0-20% of average in most locations east of Barstow and south of I-15.  In fact, some areas in the southeastern Mojave have not received rainfall since October, surpassing 2002 as one of the driest winters on record.  Fortunately, with the storms of January 1, February 28, and in March, precipitation in the extreme western and northern Mojave has been about average – if not above average in places.  In these areas, it’s a very good year for the Boraginaceae, Asteraceae, and Hydrophyllaceae, and in general a below average year for the Onagraceae and Polemoniaceae. 

Some of the hotspots for April include the south end of Death Valley NP, especially near Jubilee Pass, where a spectacular bloom of Anulocaulis annulatus, Phacelia calthifolia, Eremalche rotundifolia and Mohavea breviflora is in progress.  The canyons of the Panamint Mtns (below 4,000 ft) are also looking good, with Mimulus rupicola, Eriophyllum ambiguum, and Phacelia pedicellata in full bloom at this time. The Dumont Dunes (away from the ORVs) have a nice bloom of Abronia villosa, Oxystylis lutea, Cryptantha costata (CNPS List 2), and Atrichoseris platyphyla. The Hwy 395 corridor from Mojave to Coso Jct is now exceptional, with excellent blooms of Coreopsis bigelovii, Lasthenia californica, Cryptantha intermedia, Artemisia spinescens, and Castilleja exserta venusta.  Tasha La Doux reports that the west side of Joshua Tree NP, and some areas near Pioneertown, as “not very showy but interesting”.  As more storms  loom for early April, the mountains of the northern Mojave and the eastern slopes of the Tehachapis and Sierra are likely to only get better as we move into May, and these areas should keep desert botanists entertained well into the early summer.    ~Jim Andre

 

Important Note to Members:

We need to update our files with your current information. If you have not done so already, please send an email to pjmackay@verizon.net right away. Give your name, current mailing address, phone number, and email address, so we can keep you informed about the latest CNPS news, field trip updates, wildflower information and events. Thank you!