How to find Havasu’s superblooms

March 22, 2019 GMT

It certainly doesn’t happen every year, but when considerable winter rains fall on the Lake Havasu region, the payoff in color is obvious.

While neighboring areas such as California are celebrating “super blooms,” Havasu wildflower lovers are enjoying its explosion of color, too.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Chelsea Kryston, Lake Havasu City has seen 3.87 inches of rain through March 20. That exceeds the annual average of 3.84 inches.

The result is a tapestry of wildflowers that the area doesn’t often experience.

For those seeking wildflowers, one may go near or far to see them.

The desert floor is sprinkled with colorful wildflowers following winter rains. They can be found throughout state and county parks, Bureau of Land Management trails and along the banks of Mohave County’s numerous washes.

A variety of flowers are blooming at the region’s three state parks, Lake Havasu, Cattail Cove, and Bucktail State Park, including the beavertail prickly pear cactus, scorpion weed, and a wide variety of others.

Jim David, an adjunct professor of biology at Northern Arizona University, shared his thoughts of the types of wildflowers that can be seen locally. He spends several months at Cattail Cove State Park and has come to learn about a lot of what grows here.

“There are seven wildflowers that grow locally that people should keep an eye out for because some of them don’t bloom that often because of the lack of rain,” David said. “There are two types of brittle brush (from the sunflower family) that can withstand two years without rain.

“There are also four different types of lupine, also part of the sunflower family, that bloom once every four or five years. They are purple or red in color,” David said. “Some have a blue center while others are yellow. They really went crazy this year because of the weather we’ve had.”

David explained that they need a good amount of rain, then cold, then more water to bloom, conditions which exist this year.

Bladderpod is a colorful, yellow flower that David said is easy to find. The bladder, located in the middle of the stem, holds water. Creosote bush is a shrub with dark green leaves and yellow flowers. It produces a small berry that coyotes prefer to eat.

Honeylocust trees are members of the bean/pea family and are another species that does well in the desert because it can handle the heat and doesn’t need a lot of water. David said it produces a seed that is popular with birds.

David said he thought the area was fortunate to have so many state parks because it helps preserve certain species of flowers and shrubs.

According to golakehavasu.com, seeing wildflowers can be as simple as looking out the car window while driving on State Route 95 or any number of byways.

Just a few types of desert wildflowers that can be found around the Lake Havasu City include Palo Verde, desert sunflower, barrel cactus bloom, desert dandelion, Mexican gold poppies, sand verbena, Mojave aster, desert willow, indigo bush, canterbury bell, Mexican bush dage, Ocotillo blooms, desert globemallow, chuparosa, sacred datura, desert star, dune evening primrose, white wooly daisy.

The Bureau of Land Management’s 112,400-acre Warm Springs Wilderness is located in Mohave County, 30 miles north of Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

According to the BLM, in the spring following a wet winter, this area unveils a notably colorful wildflower display, including ocotillos, blooming annuals, shrubs, and cacti.

Yet to come is Arizona’s state flower, the Saguaro cactus, which blooms in May and June. Because it can store adequate water, it blooms regardless of rain.

Scott Shindledecker can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 252 or at sshindledecker@havasunews.com.