pausing to enjoy the wildflowers

Between various boulder problems the first few weekends of April we often found ourselves crouched at the bases of boulders and ambling off to examine open patches of desert. The source of our periodic distraction? The amazing display of wildflowers that Joshua Tree had to offer us. It was as though a sudden burst of various colors had been applied, Jackson Pollack-style, to the landscape that we are accustomed to seeing in more simple tones of greens and browns.

Anyway, here’s a variety of images of the flowery splendor we’ve been fortunate to experience (rollover the image to see the species name):

Chia is such a rad plant… a member of the mint family with flowers arranged in spherical clusters ~1 inch diameter, it has an almost alien in appearance from afar, but if you take a moment to look more closely you’ll see the small yet beautiful purple/blue flowers and catch its salvia/sagey scent:

Ephedra (a.k.a. Mormon tea) is a common enough shrub out in JTree, but a closer look at its diminutive (less than 1/4 inch long) “flowers” (which are actually seed or pollen cones on the respective female or male plants) yields a surprising similarity to little alien people reaching out with little alien hands… or maybe it’s just a consequence of the observer getting too much sun! 😉

And these were just the really obvious, showy ones!!! Once you crouch down for a closer look, the tiny flowers dotting the sand suddenly come into view:

Here are a few more tiny, beautiful flowers (all shot by rob, each flower is less than 1/4 inch diameter) that I can’t identify… I think they are all some type of gilia??? If someone knows what they are, please feel free to add a comment!

Although I love seeing the wildflowers blooming in the desert, a part of me also soberly recognizes the fact that this beautiful display of colors signifies the natural progression into late spring and therefore the waning days of the JTree bouldering season. At least, bouldering in the daytime anyway… even now, before these flowers set seed, we are mainly relegated to bouldering by the light of the moon or our headlamps. Night bouldering has its own element of enjoyment, although when you have a regular work week and day jobs as we do it can wreak havoc on the circadian rhythm…

C’est la vie, the one we choose to live, anyway.

Here are some random, yet artistic images:

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~ by jillc on 2010/05/06.

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