Wild Flowers in Snow Canyon State Park
By John Ibach, Director of Outdoor Recreation
Every spring we look forward to the wild flower bloom. The rain and snow that falls through the fall winter and early spring dictates not only how many blooms we see but also the types of flowers we are most likely to see. While every spring we may not see the same flowers there a few that bloom fairly consistently even in the worst of droughts. Desert Marigold, Penstetmon (beard-tongue), Castilleja (Indian Paintbrush), Spectacle Pod, Purple Sage, Globe Mallow, Sacred Datura, Creosote bush and, of course, the cactus will be seen throughout the park. The Marigold will bloom in early April and even earlier if we get warm temperatures. Primrose is also one on of the earliest bloomers. There are many other small ground hugging plants, too numerous to name here, that also bloom early in the spring and put on quite a show for those paying attention.
The cactus - Prickly Pear, Beavertail, Cholla, Narrow Leaf Yuccas, Broad Leaf Yuccas, Purple Torch and Agave - make their appearance in the first couple weeks of April and while it is spectacular it is also short lived. It always amazes me how such a seemingly rough plant can produce such a delicate flower. The blooming cactus can also be home to various animals for instance the Wren makes its nest in the Cholla cactus one of the thorniest plants in our desert. It is a sight to behold this display of color and inspiring to witness life survive and flourish in this seemingly harsh environment.