Skip to main content

See also:

On the road in the Mojave Desert: The desert in bloom

Along side the interstate near Baker, California
Along side the interstate near Baker, CaliforniaSharon Gilbert

California’s Mojave Desert is in bloom. Despite the lack of precipitation most of this year, the late-season rain in February resulted in a desert full of color. Yellow, orange, white, blue, purple and red flowers blanket fields that provide beautiful backdrops and are photographer’s dream.

Although some of the desert’s most common wildflowers, such as Desert Dandelions, are past their prime and quickly disappearing, others are in full bloom. The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve near Lancaster, Calif., reports they are at prime viewing season.

The flowers along the backroad through Lucerne Valley to Big Bear and the San Bernardino County Mountains are also in their prime wildflower viewing season now. A dozen or more varieties can be seen and it is one of the few places where Joshua Tree blooms can still be found.

Wildflowers also remain in abundance near Barstow and Joshua Tree as well as going up Highway 395 towards Bishop. Another great location is Pear Blossom Highway between Victorville and Palmdale.

White Bear Poppy
White Bear Poppy Sharon Gilbert

White Bear Poppy

This is one of several varieties of white flowers that grow in the Mojave Desert.  The stems look cactus-like in that they are covered with thorns.

A field of flowers
A field of flowers Sharon Gilbert

A field of flowers

This landscape photo was taken near the dry lakes beds just east of Deadman's Point between Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley.  The yellow flowers blanket the desert floor.

Beavertail Cactus
Beavertail Cactus Sharon Gilbert

Beavertail Cactus

The Beavertail Cactus often looks dingy.  But in spring when it blooms, the flowers are spectacular.  They are best viewed in the morning.

Desert Sunflower
Desert Sunflower Sharon Gilbert

Desert Sunflower

These yellow beauties are in abundance this year along side roads in many parts of the desert.  The bushes can become quite large and produce a great number of flowers.

Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree Sharon Gilbert

Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree flowers are past their prime for this season but nice ones can still be found in the higher elevations where blooming starts later.  This one was on the road to Big Bear Lake.

Desert Dandelion
Desert Dandelion Sharon Gilbert

Desert Dandelion

Desert Dandelions are prolific bloomers when there is even just a small amount of rain.  They can be seen blanketing fields for as far as the eye can see.  These were found between Lucerne Valley and Yucca Valley on Old Women Springs Road.

Scorpion Weed
Scorpion Weed Sharon Gilbert

Scorpion Weed

This purple flower is known for is foul odor.  And contact with it can cause a rash.  It can survive the hottest of temperatures and can be found in many areas of the Mojave Desert.

Gordon Bladderpod
Gordon Bladderpod Sharon Gilbert

Gordon Bladderpod

This variety of yellow flower is found in small clumps all over the desert.  It seems to attract bees more so than many of the other desert flowers.

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush Sharon Gilbert

Indian Paintbrush

The red of the flower is intense but because the flowers are so wispy, they don't stand out as well as many of the other desert flowers.  A large number of these plants were found on Highway 18 going up the backside to Big Bear Lake.

Prince's Plume
Prince's Plume Sharon Gilbert

Prince's Plume

This flowering plant has been in good supply the last few years, with the flowers often lasting well into fall.  It is a poisonous plant as it collects selenium as it grows.