Although the Sonoran Desert region is one of the largest and hottest deserts of North America, its vibrant seasons of desert blossoms and wild flowers are spectacular displays that contradict desert extremes of dramatic starkness. Located in the southern and southwestern parts of Arizona, the Sonoran Desert’s elegant blossoms are extraordinary. Beautiful sites such as Tucson’s Tohono Chul Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix are among easily accessible, premiere spots in beautiful Arizona for enjoying desert blossoms.
The colorful blooms and flora of the Sonoran Desert come in a vast array of breathtaking colors. Colorful cactus blossoms are bright, eloquent statements. Always memorable are the bright magenta hues of hedgehog cactus, the green gold of teddy bear cholla, the white flowers of saguaro cactus, the bright red of ocotillo, the yellow of Engelmann prickly pear, and the hot pink of beavertail cactus. Other, eye-catching colors come from the lavender of desert asters and the Arizona lupine, the airy hues of fairy dusters, the red of chuparosa, and the yellow of flowers from brittlebush, desert marigolds, and desert sunflowers. With adequate rainfall and in the right season, the desert is a cornucopia of color.
Five, glorious locations to see Arizona's blooms
When the desert is in its richest bloom, its blossoms abound and surprise, seemingly wherever you cast your eyes. However, there are special places in Arizona well-committed to preserving the natural wonder, especially the beauty of blossoms, of the Sonoran Desert.
- Award-winning Tohono Chul Park, located in northwest Tucson near the corner of Ina and Oracle Roads, has been named one of the World’s Great Botanical Gardens by Travel and Leisure and listed by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 22 Secret Gardens in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, this natural garden oasis has an extraordinary and renowned “Queen of the Night” event, when the garden’s over 340 night-blooming cereus make their once a year appearance. Photographers and nature lovers flock to the park when that night, very dependent on natural conditions, is announced!
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is combines a world-renowned zoo, a natural history museum, and outstanding botanical gardens, all in one, wonderful Tucson location. In a re-created natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert, visitors find themselves discovering javelina and flocks of Gambell’s quail alongside cactus blossoms and wild flowers. Within the wandering paths of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum grounds, the desert’s rich abundance is highlighted. The museum makes it possible to see more than 300 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.
- The Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, located in Superior, is Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden. Boyce Thompson Arboretum State park opens at 6 AM every day in the summer and offers special educational opportunities such as camera and photography classes, wild flower walks, hummingbird photography classes, flower photography classes, and plant walks that highlight medicinal plants, edible plants, plants and Bible scholarship, and more. More than 3,200 different desert plants are encompassed within the arboretum, and many can be seen along the Boyce Thompson Arboretum’s 1.5 mile main trail.
- The Desert Botanical Garden located in Papago Park, is one of the must-do activities of a visit to Phoenix. The internationally acclaimed Desert Botanical Garden offers more than 20,000 desert plants, with special botanical emphasis placed on those native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.
- Saguaro National Park in Tucson is home to North America’s largest cacti, the majestic, giant saguaro. Saguaro National Park protects the iconic saguaro and has two, wonderful divisions, one to the east and one to the west of Tucson. A visit to the Tucson Mountain District or Saguaro West adds the chance to view hundreds of ancient petroglyphs to a Sonoran Desert visit. The Rincon Mountain District or Saguaro East offers a scenic, not-to-be-missed auto/bike tour, the Cactus Forest Loop Drive, that allows wonderful viewing of giant saguaros combined with Sonoran Desert plants and blossoms as well as views of the beautiful Rincon Mountains.
Enjoy the desert eye candy of this article’s accompanying slideshow. Its images are comprised of blossoms and views taken in Arizona, near or at the five, listed top locations for viewing and learning about the beautiful Sonoran Desert and its premiere, internationally-acclaimed gardens and parks.
The desert, especially in bloom, wants you to stop, notice, and observe. Famed artist Georgia O’Keefe recognized the compelling, inspirational nature of desert blossoms. She indicated, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.” Travel through the Sonoran Desert, and be sure to take a companion, so you can share its memorable elegance, colorful blossoms, and wild beauty.
Find the take in this article to be helpful? National and International Travel as well as National Education materials come from a husband and wife creative team, who travel extensively as photonaturalists and writers. One is an experienced scientist with a doctorate in Material Sciences and background in optics research. The other is former Vice President of GKE (Global Knowledge Exchange), who served as a US Web-based Education Commissioner during the Clinton administration, and was a former US National Tech&Learning Teacher of the Year. To keep current on similar articles, click the free, subscribe link at the top of this article.