Welcome to Ranger Cam 2013, your source for updates on wildflower and cactus blooms at Arizona State Parks. State Park Rangers and volunteers use digital cameras to capture the weekly changes in the desert.
The Ranger Cam for 2013 is now finished. Enjoy the pictures from another great season!
Parry Penstemon (left) & Mariposa Lily (right)
Larkspur (left) & Mexican Gold Poppies (right)
These photos were taken by Volunteer Margie Caswell at Patagonia Lake State Park and Sonoita Creek State Natural Area April 1 - 9. Wildflowers are blooming best on the Vista and Sonoita Creek Trails. And mark your calendar! Patagonia Lake's annual Mariachi Festival is May 18! Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
Globemallow (left) & Hedgehog Cactus (right)
Ocotillo (left) & Amsinckia (right)
The last two weeks of April are a great time to visit, in addition to seeing desert marigolds at their peak in the Cactus Garden, watch for cactus blossoms. Our signature echinocereus, the 'Boyce Thompson Hedgehog Cactus' named for BTA's founder -- is blooming along with vivid (and oh, so rare) claret cup hedghogs. Watch for these along the main trail as it passes through the Cactus Garden - and more than four dozen other wildflowers from 'A' (Amsinckia intermedia) to 'V' (Verbena gooddingii) all around the trail. And if you love roses, don't miss our most famous (and massive) Lady Banks in full glorious, three-story-bloom in the Herb Garden, where it has climbed up nearby cliffs and reaches ever skyward using the 40-foot-tall pecan tree as a natural trellis. Park's Home Page
Poppies (left) can be seen on the mountainside.
Little Jon Bottlebrush (left) & Scorpionweed (phacelia crenulata) (right).
Bird of Paradise (left) & Fairy Duster (right).
Goldpoppies (left) & Claret Cup (right).
Wildflower Walks will be offered at 11am on April 6 with Author Christine Maxa, and with Cass Blodgett on April 7. One of nature's most fascinating subjects? The interrelationship between flowers and their charismatic insect pollinators. Adults will find they, too, have a few things to learn about ‘the birds and the bees’ Saturday morning (April 6) when author Christine Maxa leads the 11am wildflower walk.
What's in bloom this week? The season’s first Mariposa Lilies are blooming in the South American collections behind the ‘Quincho’ pole-barn shade structure just above Ayer Lake. Mariposas are just one of dozens of wildflower varieties you’ll see on either 11am guided wildflower walk this weekend (Cass Blodgett is our guide Sunday). Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities
Common Monkey Flower (left) & Bajada Lupine (right).
Woolly Daisy (left) & W. Screech Owl in a saguaro arm (right).
There are at least 53 species of wildflowers in bloom at Catalina State Park. Photos are provided by Volunteer Margie Caswell. Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
Rangers report that the most visible area to see wildflowers is by hiking along Jacob's Crosscut Trail and along Prospector's View Trail. Shown above are Blue dicks (top left), Chuparosa toward the Siphon Draw Trail (top right), Filarees (bottom left) and Poppies toward the Siphon Draw Trail (bottom right). Check out the Hikes & Programs at this park. Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) (left) & Ragged rockflower (Crossosoma Bigelovii) (right)
Hackberry beardtongue (Penstemon Subulata) (left) & Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) (right)
Highway 60 is bordered by blooming color through Gold Canyon and Florence Junction on your drive to the Arboretum this week. Arizona State Parks volunteers are reporting new wildflowers each day along Arboretum trails. This week showy pink Parry's Penstemon is our most vivid new flower, but also watch for unobtrusive little ones such as Peppergrass and Indian Wooly Wheat, too.
Other flowers throughout the park include fetid marigold (yellow); wild rhubarb (green); London rocket (gold) and henbit (purple); as well as bluedicks and Mormon tea (watch for the latter two along the main trail from Ayer Lake uphill). Park's Home Page
Owl's Clover (left) & Mexico Gold Poppies (right)
Field of Cream Cups (left) & Blue Phacelia (right).
Volunteer Margie Caswell took photos at Catalina State Park of the wildflowers now in bloom. The photo on the top left is of an Owl's Clover. The other photos were taken while hiking the Sutherland Trail. There are many fields of Cream Cups but Poppy fields are not as dense as last year. Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
At Lost Dutchman State Park it is still very early in the season. Poppies are not blooming yet but the mountain is green and lots of plants are coming up. Keep checking back on the status and look at all the photos. Check out the Hikes & Programs at this park. Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
It's still early in the season at Picacho Peak State Park. There are a few patches of scattered poppies. The weather is great for hiking as there is green everywhere. Keep checking back for more photos. Park's Home Page Driving Directions Facilities Campground Reservations
Guided wildflower walks make their 2013 debut Saturday March 2 at 11 am with Arizona State Parks volunteer Carole Burns leading the walk -- these continue on alternate saturdays and sundays every weekend until May 1 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. A colder winter than last year is likely the reason blooms appear to be delayed this Spring - but plants here are hydrated and hearty, thanks to February rainfall! Visit this week and you'll see more than a dozen wildflowers -- and you'll have a chance to learn about fascinating plants and their adaptations. Peak color, though, is predicted towards the end of March.
Wildflower tour guide Cass Blodgett reports scattered flowers are blooming throughout the park including fetid marigold, wild rhubarb, London rocket and henbit. Three ambitious little goldpoppies were found along the main trail; Cass added that showy plants such as delphinium and globemallow appear robust and within three weeks of blooming strong. Guided wildflower walks are included with $9 daily admission. Park's Home Page
The Native Plant laws that protect plants everywhere in Arizona require that you not harm the plants. This includes digging them up, shooting them, stealing skeletons, collecting the seeds or picking the flowers. About 30 different plants and almost all cacti are on the Native Plant protected lists. There are civil penalties and fines ranging up to $2500 and 6 months in jail for violating these laws. In State and National Parks the laws are even more specific. You can't collect plants, harm plants or animals, pick up any type of plant skeletons, collect wood, or pick up archaeological or historical objects or even take rocks from the Parks.
To take your own photographs, rangers recommend a piece of black velvet for photo backgrounds. Wildflower books are available with brochures and maps in rural areas at all the State Parks. For more information on Arizona’s State Parks’ wildflowers call the hotline at (602) 542-4988 or track the blooms on the RANGER CAM at AZStateParks.com/RangerCam.
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