By Charley Locke for WIRED.
The deserts of southern California erupted in color last weekend as a carpet of purple sand verbena, white dune evening primroses, orange poppies and other wildflowers emerged in a super bloom that one ranger called “flower-geddon.”
“This kind of huge bloom happens maybe once a decade,” says Jim Dice, research manager at the Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center who hasn’t seen so spectacular a bloom since 2005.
Spring made an exuberant entrance after an unusually wet winter and consistent rainfall through 2016 after a five-year drought. Much of Southern California teems with flowers, but the 630,000-acre Anza-Borrego State Park is alive with color. The nearby community of Borrego Springs more than doubled in size as 5,000 people poured into the area on Saturday, an influx that filled motels, prompted the sheriff to close miles of road, and sparked a fistfight over a pork Cubano.
If you can’t make it to SoCal, take out your phone and open Instagram, because it has almost as many photos of the blooms as Anza-Borrego has flowers. Check out #superbloom, #superbloom2017, and #eschscholziacalifornica to get started. And if you go to the desert, you might want to bring your own sandwich.
More from WIRED: