March 25-29, 2019.    Farther Afield.    Much as was the case in two years ago, solid early winter rains indicated this was likely to be good flower year in much of Southern California. The rains kept on. "Good" turned to "very good", then "excellent". The word "superbloom" was in the air again, if not quite as frequently as in 2017. In 2017, I saw the wonders at Anza Borrego. This time I opted for Joshua Tree National Park. I was last there in 1984!

Monday, March 25 and Friday, March 29 were mainly travel days. It's an all-day drive from home. I made camp at Jumbo Rocks Campground, the same place, I think, that I camped in 1984. Tuesday, March 26 was mostly devoted to a driving flower tour to the southern end of park on the Pinto Basin Road. Reports indicated flowers hadn't much started in the higher northern (Mojave) sections but were going great guns in parts of the lower (Sonoran) south. That evening and on Wednesday, March 27, I repeated three hikes I took in 1984: to Barker Dam, to the 49 Palms Oasis, and to the Lost Horse Mine. Thursday, I drove south again for a long hike from the Cottonwood Oasis (which I had visited in 1984) to the backcountry Lost Palms Oasis (which I had not). My driving route was about the same as that on Tuesday, so I took the opportunity fill in flower/plant scenes I had missed and to repeat a few I had visited before under different light and from new angles. Friday, March 29 was mainly spent driving home, but I made a few stops in park before settling in for the long trip.

As with the Anza Borrego trip, there lots of pictures here, more than I typically would post for this short a trip. Lots of new places. Lots of new plants, even if this wasn't quite the match of the Anza Borrego trip. This was, after all, my *second* trip to the desert in bloom. Still, I saw 28 species new to me, including 13 new genera and 1 new family. (55/29/5 at Anza Borrego.)

A technical note on plant taxonomy. I usually follow Jepson eFlora from the Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley. The Jepson eFlora references The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, Second Edition (2012). However, for the desert relatives of our familiar California poppy, all member of the genus Eschscholzia, taxonomy is in flux. Here I'm following Shannon M. Still's proposal for two new species, E. androuxii (Joshua Tree poppy) and E. papastillii (cryptic desert poppy). See her journal article: Two new desert Eschscholzia (Papaveraceae) from southwestern North America which I found very accessible. The Jepson interchange currently lists these two as "pending", but it's not clear when (or if) they will be officially added.
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