Desert Wildflowers

I’ve trekked out to the Utah desert dozens of times over my three decades in Colorado, but never in early June. It might need to be an annual mecca! The desert flowers were in full bloom…polka dots of color on a generally monochrome palette. At every turn there were flowers to marvel at, some with really fun names!

Scarlet globemallow: Our first hint that the desert was in full bloom were the fields of these orange flowers, blanketing the scrubland in color as far as we could see.


Mojave popcorn flower: The name for this is perfect! All those buds getting ready pop, pop, pop!



Desert prince’s plume: This drought-tolerant plant is part of the mustard family; it can grow to 5 feet tall. Who gets to name flowers anyway? I want that job…


Small wirelettuce: This flower was new to me; it’s part of the aster and sunflower family and has the ability to grow in a variety of habitats including deserts, woodlands, and sagebrush habitats from sea level to 8,000 feet.


Pretty buckwheat: This was also new to me. The second I saw it I thought it was right out of a Dr. Seuss book.



Prickly pear cactus: I’ve seen blooming cactus before, but never so many. We saw dozens of these flowers in bloom in both pink and yellow.


Eaton’s penstemon: While the whole desert was alive, these bright red blooms really stuck out. I also had no idea this was a type of penstemon, but there are close to 300 species of this flower that grow from deserts to mountains in a variety of colors.


Lupine: Lupine in the desert? Yes! I’m used to seeing them in the mountains, but as it turns out, like penstemon, there are hundreds of species of this flower!


So if you are interested in visiting the desert, go in the spring!!!