By Abigail Kim
The torrential downpour from the recent winter weather phenomenon has left Californians in a state of shock. The rainier than usual weather has brought some relief to our perennial drought, as well as giving California a burst of color.
Our golden state is now engulfed in color, experiencing its first super bloom since 2019. According to Naomi Fraga, the director of conservation programs at the California Botanic Garden, super blooms are “a wonderful natural phenomenon where many annual wildflowers all bloom simultaneously.” This creates an explosion of color that covers the hillsides and valleys as far as the eye can see.
“The flowers are often dormant as seeds in the soil, waiting for ‘just the right conditions’ to start their life cycle,” Fraga said to the Washington Post.
Temperature also plays an important role in the blooming of these flowers.
“When the seed bank in the soil experiences this sort of range of temperatures (cooler months) and precipitation across time, then that has the ability to stimulate several different species to germinate and that creates the colorful landscape,” Fraga said.
The state flower, the Californian poppy, has also participated in the super bloom, making the hillsides look as if they’re on fire. Blankets of yellow goldfields, purple phacelia, and daisies also are common. These flowers are so densely packed and widely spread across such a large area that satellite images from the NASA Earth Observatory show they can even be seen from space.
However, like most of nature’s natural phenomena, the super bloom is under threat.
“Super blooms are a beautiful and beloved phenomenon in California, but they are threatened by climate change,” according to the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. “Longer droughts, changing weather patterns, and more intense storms can all create unfavorable conditions for native wildflowers.”
The changing climate could make droughts in California more frequent and considerably longer in length. These droughts will ultimately deprive plants of the rain that they need in order to grow. This means that we might not get the chance to see the super bloom for a long time.
“This could be the best bloom for the rest of our lifetimes,” Executive Director of the Theodore Payne Foundation Evan Meyer said. “Especially with climate change, we really don’t know.”.
Despite this, this year’s super bloom stands as a beacon of hope. With California’s long standing drought, the super bloom is a rare and ephemeral event which is definitely worth witnessing.
So if you get the chance, make sure to go with your family or friends to witness this fantastical phenomenon. Some of the more popular places to go are Antelope Valley, Carrizo Plain, and Diamond Valley Lake.
Antelope Valley is California’s official state poppy reserve. Located in Los Angeles, Antelope Valley is over 2,200 square miles of land. If you aren’t a fan of the state’s golden flower, Carrizo Plain and Diamond Valley Lake are also good options.
Carrizo Plain is located in southeastern San Luis Obispo County and spans 1,215 square miles. Here, you can witness hillsides full of daisies, goldfields, and other varieties of flowers.
Diamond Valley Lake is located in Riverside County. It has a 1.3 mile seasonal wildflower trail where hikers can see California poppies, blue arroyo lupines, purple Canterbury bells, and more.
The super bloom only lasts from early March to late June so make sure to go when you get the chance!