The 40-Year Bloom

At the risk of boring you to the point of not revisiting our site again, I’m going to chance it and present an update to the magnificent flowering desert that many old-timers (older than me) are calling a “40-year bloom.” The bluebonnets have been blooming since February, and are still marvelous, reaching heights of over 4 feet…just imagine.




In the past couple of weeks, the addition of many cactus blooms has only added to the already fabulous weave of colors across the desert. One of the most impressive is the yellow bloom of the Texas Rainbow cactus. The “rainbow” comes from the bands of color caused by annual growth rings:



The yellow and red blooms of the purple pricklypear are appearing everywhere:



The brilliant fuchsia color of the strawberry pitaya is more rare, but easily spotted blooming among the yellows and greens of the desert:




The orange/red brilliance of the claret cup cactus is found mostly above 4000′ in rocky areas:



One of the most dramatic plants in the desert is the ocotillo, not a cactus, but sporting sharp spines and brilliant reddish/orange blossoms, sometimes growing to heights of over 15 feet:




When it comes to flowers, the desert marigolds are still in full bloom, forming a carpet across the usually dry desert floor:



Earlier in the spring, the indian paintbrush was conspicuously missing from the landscape, now making an appearance in secluded places:


Out in the more open plains, the prairie verbena waves in the wind:


Hiding in the endless sea of desert marigolds are the wonderful clumps of blackfoot daisies:


These rainbow cactus blooms are safely tucked in among the lethal spines of the lechuguilla:


A last look at the beautiful blooms of the strawberry pitaya and purple pricklypear, to be enjoyed for weeks to come:



And so, the “40-year bloom” reaches its peak, but is by no means done. More cactus are putting on bloom pods in preparation for an encore of magnificence in May and June, so stay tuned for more of God’s glory.

Published by texasflashdude

Photography and Travel, specifically adventure travel and backpacking in remote North America, give me an excuse to stay outside. If kayaks, bikes, backpacks, Jeeps, archeology, geology and wildlife can be included, all the better. Having spent my life working in the fashion and photography industries, I love the unusual, the spectacular, and the beautiful. God has given us a wonderful world in which to live, and I try to open others’ eyes to its wonders. I have shared nearly 50 years of this indescribable wonder with my wife, Jodie, and we go everywhere together. I hope you will share some of our journey with us.

4 thoughts on “The 40-Year Bloom

  1. After the drought and freezing temps 3 years ago, the desert appeared “dead.” A great testimony to the resilience of nature to bounce back quickly. The animal life has also recovered, but not as easy to photograph.

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