Blooming Plant Guide

The table below is arranged by common and scientific name, blooming period and altitude/elevation for forbs, cactus and trees.

The flowering season is dependent upon a complex set of environmental factors which include precipition, temperature, soil, elevation and extreme exposure. Combinations of these factors produce blooming at different times and locations.

Desert annual wildflowers are at their best in the spring, but may bloom at other times throughout the year. Winters that have plentiful rainfalls at regular intervals will produce spectacular displays that may occur only once a decade. These outstanding flowering shows generally last one or two weeks around the end of March to the beginning of April. At such times many areas of the desert are carpeted with flowers of all colors.

Mountain wildflowers also occur in a great variety of colors. However, blooming will occur later in the year because of cooler temperatures. Generally, wildflowers at higher elevations will bloom four to eight weeks later than those on the desert floor. Flowers on the mountain ridges with southern exposures will bloomfirst while deep facing canyons will flower last.

Not all desert plants require such specific environmental conditions to bloom. Many, such as flowering trees, cacti and some perennials have evolved special adaptations that allow them to bloom at the same time each year, regardless of the amount of winter rainfall. The mesquite tree has a deep root system which extends to groundwater. Some plants can store water for use during dry periods while others die, leaving their seeds to wait for favorable conditions.


Annuals and their expected blooming periods

Common & Scientific Name

Blooming Period

Elevation (in feet)

Prickly Poppy Argemone intermedia

Most of the year

to 4000

Anemone Anemone tuberosa

Feb - Mar

below 4800

Bahia Bahia absinthifolia

Mar - Oct

below 5400

Desert Marigold Baileya multradiata

sporadically throughout year

below 4700

Fairy Duster Calliandra eriophylla

Feb - May

below 4800

Larkspur Delphinium parishii

Feb - early Apr

3100 to 4500

Brodiaea Dichelostemma pulchellem

Feb - Oct

below 4600

Fleabane Erigeron divergens

Feb - Mar

4500 - 8400

Gold Poppy Eschscholtzia

Feb - Mar

below 4500

Lupine Lupinus sparsiflorus

Jan - May

below 4500

Owl's Clover Orthocarpus purpurascens

Mar - Apr

below 3300

Penstemon Penstemon parryi

Mar - Apr

below 4800


Cacti and their expected blooming periods

Common & Scientific Name

Blooming Period

Elevation (in feet)

Saguaro Canegiea gigantea

late May & Jun

below 4500

Fendler Hedgegog Echinocereus fedleri

Apr

4200 - 5000

Arizona Rainbow E. pectianatus v. rigidissimus

May

4000 - 5000

Fishook Barrel cactus Ferocactus wislizenii

Aug & Sep

2000 - 4500

Cream Pincushion Mammillaria gummifera

Jul

3000 - 3400

Arizona Fishook Pincushion M. microcarpa

Aug

700 - 3500

Engelmann's Prickly Pear Opuntia engelmannii

Apr - Jun

2300 - 7000

Pencil Cholla O. arbuscula

late Apr

1000 - 3000

Teddy Bear Cholla O. bigelovii

May and Jun

below 3000

Klein's Cholla O. kleiniae

May

2000 - 3500

Chainfruit Cholla O. fulgida

Aug

1000 - 3500

Christmas Cholla O. leptocaulis

early May

below 3000

Staghorn Cholla O. versicolor

May

2000 - 3000

Night Blooming Cereus Peniocereus greggii

May & Early Jun

1200 - 4800


Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials and their expected blooming periods

Common & Scientific Name

Blooming Period

Elevation (in feet)

White Thorn Acacia Acacia constricta

May & Aug

2500 - 5000

Catclaw Acacia A. greggii

Apr & May

below 4000

Palmer Agrave Agrave palmeri

Jul & Aug

3000 - 6000

Shin Dagger A. schottii

Apr & May

3500 - 5500

Desert Bloom Baccharis sarothroides

Sep

1000 - 5000

Blue Palverde Cercidium floridum

Apr & May

below 4000

Foothill Paloverde C. microphyllum

Apr & May

500 - 4000

Sotol Dasylirion wheeleri

May & Jun

3000 - 5000

Brittlebush Encelia farinosa

Apr

below 3500

Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens

Apr & May

below 5000

Creosote Larrea tridentata

Apr & May

below 4000

Feather Tree Lysiloma thornberi

May & Jun

3200 - 3500

Bear Grass Nolina microcarpa

May & Jun

4000 - 7000

Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa

Apr - Jun

below 5000

Globemallow Sphaeralcea

Feb - May

3000 - 6000

Spanish Bayonet Yucca baccata

Apr - May

3000 - 4700

Soaptree Yucca Y. elata

May - Jun

2000 - 6000

Desert Zinnia Zinniz zcerosa

Apr - Oct

below 4800

 

Map of Arizona.jpg (55174 bytes)

Map of Arizona

 

The rez.jpg (39886 bytes)

Map of the reservations and Four Corners