FIGURE 1: FIRST POPPY BLOSSOMS OF THE 2021 SPRING WILDFLOWER SEASON TAKEN 13 MARCH ‘21
FIGURE 2: PERENNIAL BUSH LUPINETAKEN 14 MARCH ‘21
FIGURE 3: FIDDLENECKS BLOSSOMTAKEN 13 MARCH ‘21
What does the Poppy Reserve look like right now?
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REPORT FROM THE FIELDMarch 13 - 14, 2021ByMichael Powell and Marsha Neill
Again, Mother Nature demonstrated she doesn’t wait long for anyone; especially Old Man Rain. She just makes do with what she has been given.
On 13 March, we observed our first open poppy blossoms (Figure 1) of the 2021 spring wildflower season. There weren’t many, we counted them on our fingers, plus a few more plants with harder-to-find developing buds. Over the two days, many of the trails on both the west and east side of the Reserve were walked. All of the observed blossoms were along the North Loop of the Antelope Trail on the east side of the Poppy Reserve.
More surprising and more unusual, even fewer filaree blossoms were observed and a large percentage of the filaree plants appeared to be extremely stressed. It is not clear yet if the latest rain storm that deposited only 1/8 inch of rainfall three days ago or the storm forecast for tomorrow arrived in time to revive the dying filaree plants. Only time will tell.
Probably the most prevalent open blossoms are found on the fiddleneck plants but that is still not saying much because these plants are also very sparse and scattered. Don’t expect to find the more typically seen tall plants with full, curved fiddlenecks made up of a multitude of tiny yellow blossoms. At least so far this spring, the fiddleneck plants are dwarf, only a few inches tall, with only a single tiny yellow blossom or, at most, a small cluster of yellow blossoms, Figure 3. The fiddlenecks seem to be an example of extreme adaption to severe drought conditions. With their seeds germinated, the plants adapt as a means to survive long enough to partially replenish the soil’s seed bank.
In preferred goldfield areas, it was easy to find goldfield plants with buds so these golden blossoms should be open soon but, again, due to the plants’ sparse density, it seems unlikely that visitors to the Reserve will be rewarded with the large swaths of golden yellow seen in many years. (Continued)
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March 13 - 14 2021