Wildflowers at Mojave National Preserve

photos of wildflowers
Desert five-spot, desert paintbrush, desert mariposa lily and beaver-tail cactus blooms.

Benjamin Chemel


While the magical Mojave wildflower show is by no means an annual event, a few well-timed soaking storms will produce a memorable spring wildflower bloom. Wildflower blooms are reported at Joshua Tree, and Death Valley National Park.

Find out what's blooming and where throughout the desert, by going to Desert Wildflower Reports and/or The Theodore Payne Wildflower hotline Wild Flowers | Theodore Payne Foundation.

Check the chart below to help plan your wildflower viewing trip. Due to variations in temperature caused by increasing altitude, peak wildflower viewing advances upslope at the rate of about 1,000 feet every two weeks.

Grid listing when Annuals, Yuccas, Cacti, and Joshua Trees bloom and at which elevation.
Wildflowers Elevation Blooming Chart



Wildflower Viewing Locations

The following are excellent wildflower-viewing locations in the preserve, with estimated peak-flowering periods. These estimates vary from year to year.

Location Time Flowers
Cima Cinder Cones Mid to late March Annuals: purple mat, Wallace daisy, Bigelow mimulus, brown-eyed primrose, desert dandelion, fiddleneck, lilac sunbonnet, little gold poppy, desert sunflower; Perennials/Shrubs: Anderson lycium, ratany, bladderpod, desert mallow, desert trumpet, Mojave aster, hedgehog cactus, and desert willow.
Cima Dome and Mid Hills Campground Mid to late April Annuals: desert marigold, yellow throats, white tidy tips, groundsel, chia, locoweed, rattlesnake weed; Perennials/Shrubs: turpentine broom, palmer penstemon, Mojave yucca, Joshua tree, linear-leaved goldenbush, indian paintbrush, and Mojave sage.
High Peaks Early May Annuals: hoary aster, groundsel, California chicory, Pringle eriophyllum, golden gilia; Perennials/Shrubs: Apache plume, serviceberry, heliotrope, long-leaf phlox, piñon aster, yellow cut-leaf, banana yucca, and giant four-o’clock.
Hole-in-the-Wall Late March to early April Annuals: desert tobacco, forget-me-not, Fremont pincushion, white-stemmed stick-leaf; Perennials/Shrubs: Mojave horsebrush, desert alyssum, windmills, and prince’s plume.
Kelso Dunes Late March to early Apri Annuals: Borrego locoweed, dune primrose, sand verbena, wooly marigold, silk dalea, spectaclepod; Perennials/Shrubs: dune lily, big galleta grass, indian rice grass, sandpaper plant, and dune panic grass.
Von Trigger Hills and Piute Range Late March to early April Annuals: Canterbury bells, notch-leaved phacelia, stellate gilia, sand blazing star; Perennials/Shrubs: beavertail cactus, Mojave mound cactus, Mariposa lily, and desert senna.

In ordinary years when winter and early spring rains are scanty, the annual flowering plants are few; inasmuch as they are in no particular way adapted to endure shortage of water, they wilt and die a few weeks after they have sprung, as if by magic, from the barren earth. As though trying to make up for this poor showing, every few years comes an abundance of rain and there results such a wealth of blossoms that almost every foot of sand or gravelly soil is hidden beneath a blanket of flowers.

Edmund Jaeger

Last updated: May 9, 2021

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