Several parts of the Death Valley National Park in California are awash with more than 20 wildflower species in bloom. The dense floral spectacle is said to be the best 'Death Valley Super Bloom' in 10 years.
Death Valley holds the world's record of the hottest place on Earth. It is also North America's driest area with only an average of two inches of rain yearly. These extreme conditions make it hard for most plants to grow.
While these wildflowers bloom every spring, several factors such as temperature and rainfall affect the density, variety and extent of the blooms.
The 'super bloom' was triggered by consecutive storms last October, which allowed wildflower seeds to grow and later blossom at the right conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, one area in the Death Valley National Park received more than three inches of rain in just five hours.
The soaking last October was succeeded by enough rain during the winter months and resulted in a rare 'super bloom' event.
"The hills and alluvial fans that normally have just rocks and gravel are transformed by huge swaths of yellow, white, pink, and purple. At first glance you are blown away by the sheer numbers of flowers, then on closer inspection the diversity of species will draw you in," said Alan Van Valkenburg, a park ranger who lived in the Death Valley for a quarter of a century.
Typically, the Death Valley is a barren wasteland with just rocks and soil and the super blooms occurrence can be a once in a lifetime experience, added Valkenburg.
Today, several flower species in bloom include the white Gravel Ghost, yellow Desert Gold and the Desert Five-Spot cup flower in pink or purple varieties.
"So Death Valley really does go from being a valley of death to being a valley of life," shared Van Valkenburg who said he's not really sure how the term 'super bloom' came to be.
The park ranger started working in the Death Valley in early 1990s. Throughout his work, he has heard several stories from old timers who referred to the 'super blooms' almost as a mythical entity.
Photo: Marc Cooper | Flickr