The Epic California Superbloom Is Here

During the past winter, California had an abundance (in some cases, an excess) of rainfall, which has been relatively consistent since late autumn.

This created perfect conditions for a massive bloom of wildflowers. And now, that miraculous phenomenon has been spectacularly displayed across the US West Coast state, with hordes of tourists warned not to trample the shrubs and the creatures they contain.

“This is the Super Bowl of the natural world,” says Bryant Baker, a conservation specialist with the nonprofit Los Padres Forestwatch.

(Connected: California Superblooms: Why and When They Happen,

Every “superbloom” is a little different, says Dennis Knapp, conservation program manager at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden.

“That’s the beauty of biodiversity,” he says. Slightly different conditions can lead to vastly different ecological responses, and we still don’t know why.

“This year is the densest I’ve ever seen” in Carrizo Plain National Monument, he says: expanses of golden fields as thick as a carpet and electric blue flowers of the genus facilia Which looked like lakes at the bottom of the valley.

(Connected: ‘Flower power’: 10 of the world’s best destinations for flower viewing,

And a year of such abundance provides an opportunity to find the rarest plants. Knapp’s team has been searching for the endangered California jewel flower for several years, but the past few seasons have been too dry to find spots of the plant, if any. But this year they have appeared forcefully.

The extraordinary flowers have attracted hordes of visitors. But those visitors can “love the plants to death,” says Baker. People want to get closer to flowers, so they move into shrubs, creating paths that fragment habitat, can introduce invasive plants, and crush delicate plants.

One individual carves a faded path, others follow, and within weeks of blooming, the flower fields are filled with a web of paths. “How can we minimize harm while still allowing people to enjoy this amazingly beautiful experience?” Baker wonders.

It’s really not that difficult. Take a tour of it, but let the flowers, pollinators, lizards and everything else rejoice in Super Bloom. Look, but don’t touch, and always follow paths, as arid landscapes can be particularly sensitive to footfall; The damage done to these lands may take years to recover.

Overall, Experts Say, See and Appreciate But Don’t Trample Eco’s Remarkable Explosion big chest of California.

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