Mar 13, 2023 - Things to Do

Arizona researchers hopeful spring brings a wildflower "super bloom"

Yellow wild flowers and saguaro cactus on a mountainside.

Wildflowers northeast of Mesa. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Experts are hopeful this spring will bring a "super bloom" of wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert — but phenology researchers are still trying to figure out what makes some flower seasons more vibrant than others.

State of play: UofA professor Theresa Crimmins tells us that substantial rainfall in October (when the flowers germinate) and periodic rain throughout winter boded well for this spring's wildflowers.

Yes, but: There's not yet enough data for researchers to accurately predict whether this spring, or any future spring, will bring the kind of blanket of flowers that can sometimes be seen from space.

Zoom in: She's trying to change that with the USA National Phenology Network, which empowers ordinary people to submit their observations through the Nature's Notebook website and mobile app when they witness plants or animals undergo seasonal events like flowering or migration.

  • "The key ingredient we need to make better predictions is observations of when things are happening," Crimmins says.

Be smart: Crimmins says there are tourism benefits to bettering our "super bloom" predictions because people would travel to see the Instagram-worthy displays — if they actually knew when the super blooms would happen before they blossomed.


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