Did you know that this week, May 4-12, 2014, is National Wildflower Week? This includes San Diego even though the dry weather has resulted in few wildflowers this year. Usually, one will see wildflowers, both native and non-native, all over San Diego this time of year, usually along roadsides and trails, even if they aren't irrigated. This year, it seems that the only flowers that are being seen are in gardens.
While there are no known specific events happening in San Diego this week, here are a few suggestions on how to enjoy National Wildflower Week. You can get to know San Diego’s native flowers and how to identify them. Then, go on a hike (it doesn’t need to be a long hike far away) with a plant field guide and see if you can identify them. You can take photos of these flowers to show other people that San Diego isn't always brown. A field guide to insects is a good thing to have to identify the many species of insects that depend on these flowers.
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park still says they have wildflowers around the area, though they won’t last long. The desert is traditionally a hot spot for wildflowers with several different native species blooming at the same time. In Mission Bay several native flowers such as Nuttall’s lotus, sand verbena and primrose. They may also be seen in other areas around Mission Bay and Ocean Beach, usually around the San Diego River mouth.
No matter how you celebrate this week, keep in mind on how fragile the ecosystem is in San Diego. Wildflowers only last a short time in this area. Please don’t pick wildflowers, but leave them for others to enjoy and for native wildlife to use. Some wildflowers are critically endangered and some areas require a permit for any type of collecting.