Arizona Desert Wildflower Pictures

Updated on May 25, 2016

The Beavertail Cactus Blooms

Close-up of beavertail cactus blossom in southern Arizona desert.
Close-up of beavertail cactus blossom in southern Arizona desert. | Source

Photographing Arizona Desert Wildflowers

Winter visitors to the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona enjoy the endlessly sunny skies and dry desert air. By late February and into March and April the desert comes alive with cacti in bloom and tiny desert wildflowers nestled among the rocks and crevasses.

Camping in the Imperial Dam Recreation area near Yuma, Arizona gave me the opportunity to photograph some of the beautiful flowers of the desert as they came into bloom.


Finding Desert Flowers

Hiking in the desert is a joy as each footstep reveals something new. Some flowers, like the yellow brittlebush, are tall and showy, but others are so tiny that they are hidden among the stones on the desert floor. Many desert wildflowers are only visible from a foot or two away. I photographed these with a close-up lens being careful not to trample any of the plants.


Beavertail Cactus

While camping at Senator's Wash in the Imperial Dam Recreation Area on the Arizona/California border, we carefully avoided brushing against the beavertail cactus in front of our RV. By mid March, when daytime temperatures were often in the 70┬░ to 80┬░ range, the beavertail cactus was covered in buds. Imagine our delight when our own wild cactus garden near our campsite started blooming with these lovely deep pink blooms. These cactus flowers certainly made a bright spot in our little area of the Arizona desert.

During our walks in the surrounding desert, we often came across other flowers, but our best wildflower hunting expeditions were on the rough back roads that we explored in our little Jeep Wrangler.

Wildflowers of Arizona's Sonoran Desert

Purple wildflowers bloom on a bank alongside a rugged dirt road.
Purple wildflowers bloom on a bank alongside a rugged dirt road. | Source
Brittlebush blooming in a canyon near Imperial Dam.  The brittlebush blooms in washes and along roadside brightening the landscape with promises of spring.
Brittlebush blooming in a canyon near Imperial Dam. The brittlebush blooms in washes and along roadside brightening the landscape with promises of spring. | Source
Closeup of Brittlebush in Bloom.  Imperial Dam Recreation Area near Bard, Arizona.
Closeup of Brittlebush in Bloom. Imperial Dam Recreation Area near Bard, Arizona. | Source
Possibly a globemallow or wild poppy, we found this brilliant orange flower in a hidden wash while hunting for a turquoise mine in the hills near Imperial Dam.
Possibly a globemallow or wild poppy, we found this brilliant orange flower in a hidden wash while hunting for a turquoise mine in the hills near Imperial Dam. | Source
The bright orange of this plant stood out among the browns and grays in the wash.  Watch out for rattlesnakes!
The bright orange of this plant stood out among the browns and grays in the wash. Watch out for rattlesnakes! | Source
The gray-green fuzzy leaves of this tiny yellow flower would overlooked if you were not walking close by.
The gray-green fuzzy leaves of this tiny yellow flower would overlooked if you were not walking close by. | Source
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Tiny daisies pop up between the stones.
Tiny daisies pop up between the stones. | Source
Ajo Lily sometimes called a desert lily.  Beautiful while lily often springs up in the shadow of larger bushes.
Ajo Lily sometimes called a desert lily. Beautiful while lily often springs up in the shadow of larger bushes. | Source
Desert marigold.  I found this large stand blooming on a hillside where the flowers were striking against the deep blue sky.
Desert marigold. I found this large stand blooming on a hillside where the flowers were striking against the deep blue sky. | Source
By the time these fuzzy pink bushes were blooming, the weather was warming up in the desert.  I carefully checked for snakes before getting too close.
By the time these fuzzy pink bushes were blooming, the weather was warming up in the desert. I carefully checked for snakes before getting too close. | Source
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Ghost flower.  This translucent flower can cover a stony bank, but will easily blend into the background if you aren't looking for it.
Ghost flower. This translucent flower can cover a stony bank, but will easily blend into the background if you aren't looking for it. | Source
Cluster of ghost flowers on a bank along the trail.
Cluster of ghost flowers on a bank along the trail. | Source
These tiny pink flowers can only be appreciated very close up.
These tiny pink flowers can only be appreciated very close up. | Source

Photo Gallery of Arizona's Wildflowers

I hope you've enjoyed this photo gallery of Arizona's Wildflowers as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

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Copyright 2010 ┬ęStephanie Henkel

Lying in gulches, braving snakes and other dangerous wildlife, I took these photos for you to enjoy. But please do not copy these photos without my permission!

Questions & Answers

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      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 

        3 years ago

        Love the beautiful flower photos. Voted up.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Timetraveler2 - Thank you so much for your very nice complements. I'm so glad you enjoyed my photographs and a virtual tour of some parts of the Arizona desert. I'm sorry to hear of your health issues, but it sounds as if you have done some RVing in the past. Thanks so much for stopping in to comment.

      • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

        Sondra Rochelle 

        6 years ago from USA

        Hi Stephanie: I want to thank you for these beautiful photos. I've never traveled to the desert in early winter, and due to health problems, won't ever be able to go west again in the RV...these photos made me yearn to do it, though. You are very good with a camera. Thank you!

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Imogen French - I am so happy that you found me through Davenmidtown's hub! It was sweet of him to mention me, and introduce us! Glad you enjoyed the pictures of the desert wildflowers. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      • Imogen French profile image

        Imogen French 

        6 years ago from Southwest England

        Gorgeous pictures, what amazing flowers you found in the desert!

        I was directed here from davenmidtown's hub, and am so pleased I looked :)

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        I'm glad you enjoyed the photographs, Thelma. I feel very fortunate that I was able to be in the desert when the wildflowers were beginning to bloom. Thanks for your comment!

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        6 years ago from Germany

        What a beautiful flowers! You have really captured the beauty of Arizona desert. Thanks for sharing.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Carrie - Thank you for your very nice comments! I felt the same way when we first came upon spring wildflowers blooming in the desert after months of not seeing a blade of grass or a flower. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • carriethomson profile image

        carriethomson 

        6 years ago from United Kingdom

        hi stephanie these photographs are great and a delight to watch!! desert flowers are so lovely, its like a ray of light in the darkness sort of thing!! voted up and beautiful

        carriethomson

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Point2make - The flowers I photographed were fairly close to the trails as I don't like to take the chance of trampling the delicate plants. But I still kept a close watch out for rattlesnakes and other creepy crawlies! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the wildflower pictures! Thanks for your comments!

        Ahydz - The flowers that bloom in the Arizona desert in the springtime are very lovely, and I enjoyed photographing them. Thanks you for stopping by to read my hub and to comment!

      • Ahydz profile image

        Ahydz 

        6 years ago from Philippines

        Awesome photos! So it's true that flowers which grow on deserts are extremely lovely. This hub justifies that!

      • point2make profile image

        point2make 

        6 years ago

        Another great hub Stephanie. You continue to show us new possibilities. I love the photographs and can only imagine the positions you must have placed yourself in to get them. Thanks for the "floral" tour.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Plinka - Thanks so much for your kind comments. I also love the poppies and other red flowers that we find when hunting wildflowers in the desert as they are such a bright spot in the landscape. Thanks for visiting my hub and for your vote!

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        6 years ago from USA

        Davenmidtown - Thanks for visiting my hub– I'm glad that my photographs have encouraged you to visit the desert! If you go this winter, I'm sure you'll love the diversity of scenes, plants and rocks!

      • plinka profile image

        plinka 

        6 years ago from Budapest, Hungary

        Beautiful hub! I enjoyed it so much that it made me smile. The photos are super and the plants are very special. The poppy flowers are my favorite ones. They are like a painting, colorful and fragile. Certainly, voted up!

      • davenmidtown profile image

        David Stillwell 

        6 years ago from Sacramento, California

        Stephanie: What a great hub! I have wanted to visit the dessert for so long now... I may get to this winter. This hub and your beautiful photographs have deepened my desire to go!

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        7 years ago from USA

        Hello Happypuppy,

        I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures! I love the desert, especially in the spring when the cactus start blooming. Thanks for your comments and for your votes!

      • happypuppy profile image

        happypuppy 

        7 years ago

        Beautiful pictures! I love plants and flowers too. The last time I visited Las Vegas, I saw a "banana cactus" (not sure if that's what they were called). Thanks for sharing these amazing photos. I like all of them, especially the desert lily. Voted beautiful. I am following you now.

      • Denise Handlon profile image

        Denise Handlon 

        7 years ago from North Carolina

        Steph-you have many adventures to lean on for your hub subjects. If this is a small example of your creative work we are in for some real treats. Beautiful.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        7 years ago from USA

        Thanks for looking at my hub, Jaye, and for your kind comments. I have to admit that I enjoy reliving some of our trips by browsing through pictures of scenery, flowers and wildlife. I'm always glad to know that others enjoy it, too.

      • JayeWisdom profile image

        Jaye Denman 

        7 years ago from Deep South, USA

        Stephanie...What lovely botanical surprises you found in the Arizona desert! Your photography is quite beautiful. I enjoyed both your descriptions and photos, which allowed me to vicariously travel to Arizona while sitting in my office chair....Jaye

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        7 years ago from USA

        Thank you for your very nice comments, Thinkgreen. We saw some fantastic scenery in Nevada around Death Valley and in the Las Vegas/Lake Meade area. If you haven't been there yet, Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park are both wonderful. Enjoy your stay in Nevada!

      • thinkgreen415 profile image

        thinkgreen415 

        7 years ago from San Francisco

        These photos are lovely! We are now in Nevada and this inspires me to take some time to look around.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        8 years ago from USA

        Thanks for your kind comment, Peggy. I love photographing flowers! Thanks for looking at my hub.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        8 years ago from Houston, Texas

        You did an amazing job capturing these beautiful wildflowers in bloom in the Arizona Desert. Thanks! Rating this beautiful.

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        8 years ago from USA

        Thank you for your comment, France Travel. The Arizona desert is a great place for snowbirds!

      • France Travel Inf profile image

        France Travel Inf 

        8 years ago

        Amazing photos! Makes me want to be there. Just beautiful!

      • Stephanie Henkel profile imageAUTHOR

        Stephanie Henkel 

        8 years ago from USA

        The desert is simply amazing, especially in the springtime. Thank you for looking at my hub and for your nice comment, Mioluna.

      • profile image

        mioluna 

        8 years ago

        Incredible! How such a beauty can grow in desert!

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