Sam observing wildflowers

Spring Updates – Wildflowers of 2017

As they days lengthen in the Amargosa Basin, some spring flowers are starting their show.

While it’s not the great super-bloom of last year, for those willing to go explore there are plenty of treasures to find out there!

Some of our favorite places to go searching for flowers include Sperry Wash , the Ibex Dunes, Ashford Mills in Death Valley National Park, the China Ranch Trail, the Dublin Hills, and the base of Tecopa Peak and the Sperry Hills. Check out the map at the bottom of this post.

If you head out, remember to take a hat, sunscreen, water, snacks… and you camera! Go early or late in the day for the best light, but be careful to not get lost in the dark. Most of the listed locations require 4wd capabilities. Know your limits before you go and be prepared to turn around.

This season we have an excellent team of four SCA interns helping us to get loads of work done. Below is a post from our in-house botanist.

Greetings readers!

I’ll start off by introducing myself – I’m Sam Scherneck, and I’m working temporarily here at the Conservancy as an intern. I’m originally from the east coast; living in the desert is a relatively new experience for me, but I’ve really been enjoying it so far. I am extremely passionate about plants. I also am passionate about some other things, but mostly plants.

As an intern here, I’ve been granted the opportunity to work on my own personal project. Given my love for plants, it seemed like a good idea to establish a herbarium at Amargosa Conservancy as my personal project.

Overseeing a herbarium involves a lot of wandering around and collecting plants – two of my favorite things! Whenever I’m working or hiking outside, I keep my eyes open for individuals that I think would make good herbarium specimens – those with flowers or seeds, and leaves that haven’t all been eaten by insects. I’ll dig up the entire specimen and then strap it into my plant press. I’m sure to take pictures and record important data such as when and where it was collected. Once I’ve collected a few dozen specimens, I’ll take them to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens; there, I will mount and label them. I also will scan them, so that pictures can be uploaded to the Conservancy’s website.

Flowerbuds are bursting throughout the Amargosa Basin, so I’ve already begun collecting specimens. I’ve been collecting from the trails around Shoshone, and also from Sperry Wash, where our crew has been restoring areas that have been overrun by ATVs.

The most common flower I have seen so far has been desert gold (Geraea canescens), which has been covering the hillsides bright yellow. I’ve also been seeing a ton of primrose (Chylismia claviformis), and cryptantha. I’ve also been lucky enough to see some sand verbena (Abronia nana) and desert fivespot (Eremalche rotundifolia).

Check back to the Conservancy’s website in a few months, and you hopefully will find some pictures of the specimens I’ve collected! But in the meantime, I’ve included some photos of a few of my favorites I’ve been seeing out here!