The flowering desert

By | Category: Travel destinations


From this month until September the flowers of the Moab desert in the US state of Utah are in full flower and that surprises many Brits because we only think of parched land not a flowering desert full of colour and life.

The large white flowers of Sacred Datura and the Pale Evening Primrose will polka dot the desert landscapes. Locals often joke about desert popcorn in reference to Primrose scattered about in abundance. And often Moab dinner parties are planned around dusk to watch the Datura slowly open through the course of the evening.

A low shrublet-globe of yellow flower heads is the Broom Snakeweed. Native Americans used the stems for sweeping and occasionally medicinally for snakebite treatment. Kangaroo Rats eat the seeds. Then the Desert Trumpet is most remarkable for the funny, memorable, inflated stem and commonly towers 3 feet high. The yellow flowers are hardly noticeable but a favourite of butterflies.

The purple category of wildflowers contains the pale Annual Wirelettuce. The plant is a vertical mass of thin green stems. The petals have a serrated outer edge. These are the endurance flowers withstanding the harshest summer conditions, providing food for insects when many other flowers have completed the flowering cycle.

out in the Moab

out in the Moab

In July the orange Globe Mallow blankets much of the sandy, hot, dry, open ground in the desert. This plant is drought tolerant and the colonies are useful for erosion control. They are a source of nectar for bees and grazed upon by Bighorn Sheep. Globe Mallow often re-bloom in September too.

Because the desert is obviously large, the best way, not to waste your time, is to use a local guide who will know the best places to see the colourful displays.

For more about Moab, the area and guides, click here

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