Arizona's Wildflowers

Check out our extensive Arizona wildflower list at the bottom of the page, complete with vibrant photos and bloom information! How many will you see in 2024?

Winter showers make springtime wildflowers in the desert parks and create yet another reason to explore this beautiful state! During years of average and above-average precipitation, it seems every direction you look there are beautiful yellow, red, white, orange, blue, or purple flowers blanketing the landscape. This spring, we didn't experience another Superbloom like we did in 2023, but there are still plenty of beautiful flowers across the state!

For more information about what flowers you can hope to see, check out our wildflower brochure.

At lower elevations of the state, like Catalina State Park, the fragile flowers of early spring's bloom, like California poppies showed off in full force this March and April, with the Sutherland Trail being an easily accessible and high concentration area for blooms. Picacho Peak State Park, a popular destination for petal peepers last year, experienced peak wildflower season in early March, and patches of golden California poppies and purple lupines waned by the end of the month. Late spring wildflowers like yellow brittlebush and peach globemallow delighted. In May in the Sonoran desert, saguaro blooms and other cactus flowers steal the show!

Parks at higher elevations see flowers later in the spring, around May, and the blooms last well into the summer. There's typically more rainfall up north, which equates to even more beautiful northern Arizona wildflowers. Red Rock State Park in Sedona is now experiencing blooms like penstemon, spiderwort, bluedick, Blackfoot daisies, and milkvetch. In the northeast region of the state, along the Little Colorado River, blossoms near Homolovi State Park are showing off their beauty. Species found there include Navajo Yucca Yucca baileyi, Spreading Fleabane Erigeron divergensRed-Dome Blanket-Flower Gaillardia pinnatifida, Mormon-Tea Ephedra viridisAdonis Blazingstar Mentzelia multiflora, Globemallow spp. Sphaeralcea, Fragrant White Sand-Verbena Abronia elliptica, pale evening primrose Oenothera pallida subsp. runcinata, Flaxflowered Impompsis Impompsis longiflora, Prickly Pear Opuntia Polycantha, Desert Princesplume Stanleya pinnata, rose heath Chaetopappa ericoidesRusty Lupine Lupinus pusillus, Touristplant Dithyrea wislizeniRat-Tail Cholla Cylindropuntia whipplei, Yellow-Saucers Malacothrix sonchoides, and Prairie Zinnia Zinnia grandiflora.

The contrast of vibrant flowers against the backdrop of green is a sight to behold, so get your camera, comfortable outdoor shoes, and plenty of water and enjoy the rich colors across the state. Watch the video below as Carlos with Arizona State Parks and artist Annemarie Comes share quick tips on enjoying the desert's colorful display.


Native Arizona Wildflowers

Arizona’s flowering plants bloom at various times of year, although the spring wildflower season is generally the best time to view unforgettably vibrant fields of color. Provided there has been ample late winter/early spring rains, Arizona’s deserts absolutely come alive from late February through April and draw in visitors from around the world to admire the splendor. Many of these flowering desert plants attract hummingbirds as well to truly accentuate a colorful springtime park experience! Check out the following list of wildflowers you can find in Arizona's State Parks. 

Arizona Rosemallow Hibiscus biseptus

Arizona Rosemallow Hibiscus biseptus

This perennial hibiscus blooms April through October and can grow up to three feet plus in height. Yellow-cream flowers are the most common throughout Southern Arizona, although localized blooms of white or red might also be encountered in the mountain foothills and rocky canyon slopes preferred by Arizona Rosemallow.

Bluedicks Dichelostemma capitatum

Wildflowers: Bluedick Flower purple bloom on desert floor

This member of the lily family has a large range that encompasses the lowest deserts up to seven-thousand feet! Bluedicks may not actually be blue, depending where you are...White, purple, and pink flowers may be experienced throughout their range. 

Brittlebush Encelia farinosa

Wildflowers: Brittlebush blooming in Sonoran Desert

Many of Arizona's rocky desert slopes and hillsides are alive with the yellow flowers of brittlebush in the spring. This is a very common, yet extremely gorgeous wildflower species. 

California poppy Eschscholzia californica

Wildflowers: Close up photo of California Poppy blooms at Picacho Peak State Park

The California poppy is found throughout the Sonoran Desert and in great abundance during years of above-average precipitation. 

Chuparosa Beloperone californica

Wildflowers: Red Chuparosa blooms at Lost Dutchman State Park

The semi-succulent tubular flowers of the chuparosa are typically red, although orange and yellow variants can be found throughout the sonoran desert range. Chuparosa flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds wintering in the desert.

Coulter's Lupine Lupinus sparsiflorus

Wildflowers: Coulter's Lupine blooms amid poppys at Picacho Peak State Park

Typically found below 4,500 feet in central and southern Arizona, the (usually) bluish-purple flowers of this pretty annual can vary to varying degrees of pink and even white. Flowering season is March to May. 

Desert Chia Salvia columbariae

Wildflowers: Low elevation Desert Chia blooms on desert hillside

Of the 16 species of Salvia found in Arizona, the Desert variety is by far the most widespread. The blue (or purple) flowers typically bloom from March to May at desert elevations below 3500 feet.

Desert Chicory Rafinesquia neomexicana

Wildflowers: Small white Desert Chicory blooms in Arizona wash

This small member of the sunflower family sports white flowers, is usually less than two-feet tall, and occurs in gravel or sandy areas of both the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts between 200 and 3,000 feet in elevation.

Desert Gobemallow Sphaeralcea ambigua

Desert Gobemallow Sphaeralcea ambigua

The Desert Globemallow could reach a height of 3-feet and prefers rocky, alkaline soil within creosote and desert chaparral communities below 3,500 feet in elevation. Orange blooms are most common, although pink or purple might be encountered in localized areas. Blooms year-round, peaks in spring with enough moisture.

Desert marigold Baileya multiradiata

Wildflowers: Round, yellow Desert Marigold blooms at Roper Lake State Park.

A conspicuous desert perennial with a short life span that flowers in March and intermittently through November. Found on rocky slopes and sandy areas of the desert floor from 100 to 6000 feet in elevation.

Desert Paintbrush Castilleja integra

Desert Paintbrush Castilleja integra

The Desert Paintbrush is a short perennial herb that occurs in dry sagebrush scrub and pinyon/juniper woodland habitats where it is partially parasitic on the roots of other plants. Bright red bracts attract the attention of butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators since their flowers are small and inconspicuous.

Desert Primrose Oenothera primiveris

Wildflowers: Yellow Desert Primrose blooms in desert wash

Found from the desert floor up to 4500  feet in elevation, these annual herbs commonly bloom on the sandy desert floor and associated topography like hills and washes.

Desert Tobacco Nicotiana obtusifolia

Desert Tobacco Nicotiana obtusifolia

Desert Tobacco is part of the Nightshade and Potato family and grows less than 2.5-feet in height. The small, white, tubular flowers may bloom from March through June, but could bloom throughout the year with enough moisture. Desert tobacco can be found along sandy washes, and amid rocky slopes up to 6,000 feet in elevation.

Desertstar Daisy Monoptilon bellidiforme

Wildflowers: A mat of Desertstar Daisy flowers in sandy desert wash

This annual herb is usually found in desert washes and other sandy locations below 3000 feet in elevation. This ground level desert plant grows in clusters adorned with small white flowers.

Gravel Ghost Atrichoseris platyphylla

Wildflowers: Wispy and white Gravel Ghost blooms in Arizona desert wash

Typically found in desert washes and valleys below 4500 feet, these white flowers seem to be "ghostly" floating on their tall (up to 2.5 ft.) thin stalks.

Fairy duster Calliandra californica

Wildflowers: Pink Fairy Duster blooms in Sonoran Desert

The thin, wispy flowers range from light pink to orange throughout the desert region. The Fairy Duster, an important food item for a variety of desert dwelling birds and animals, is found below 5,000 feet on open hillsides and sandy washes.

Fiddleneck Amsinckia intermedia

Wildflowers: Small and yellow Fiddleneck flowers on rocky desert hillside

During years of above-average rainfall, the yellow-orange flowered fiddlenecks will be particularly abundant and found in dense patches in the upland desert. This plant irritates human skin upon contact.

Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis

Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis

Jojoba is an economically valuable plant. The wax extracted from jojoba nuts is a very high-quality lubricant found in many cosmetics and beauty products. Jojoba plants bloom during the winter months and the nuts ripen over the summer. Jojoba is found throughout the Sonoran desert in areas that get enough moisture to support them.

Lyreleaf Jewelflower Streptanthus arixonicus

Wildflowers: White Lyreleaf Jewelflower blooms in sandy Arizona wash

This small biennial to annual flowering herb is actually a member of the mustard family. Interestingly, the white flowers turn to yellow the further east in range occurrence. In Arizona most jewelflowers are white. 

Marsh Aster Aster pauciflorus

Wildflowers: Marsh Aster being pollinated by a bee.

Marsh Aster is found in riparian and drainage zones throughout Arizona. As the name implies, this forb is found within close proximity to a regular water source.

New Mexico Thistle Cirsium neomexicanum
Wildflowers: Close up photo of New Mexico Thistle along a desert trail

This forb can reach a height of over six feet tall throughout its range. The thistle blooms from March through September after above-average rainfall.

Purple Mat Nama demissum

Wildflowers: Purple Mat blooms in rocky Arizona wash

A small spring annual that grows in large "mats" sporting numerous purple flowers. Present only after above-average winter precipitation in desert flats, and somewhat rocky areas near washes.

Purple Owl's Clover Castilleja exserta

Wildflowers: Close up photo of Purple Owl's Clover blooms

After periods of above-average rainfall, these beautiful annual forbs can produce huge swaths of color in generally open desert areas from March through May.

Rock Daisy Perityle emoryi

Wildflowers: Rock Daisy flowers blooming on sandy Sonoran desert floor

A small, delicate, annually recurring herb, the Rock Daisy is usually found in relatively open rocky or sandy desert areas.

Sacred datura Datura wrightii

The white tubular flower of Sacred datura

A weedy species with showy white flowers found growing in disturbed areas. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Scorpion weed Phacelia distans

Wildflowers: Scorpion Weed flowers on rocky Sonoran Desert hillside

Scorpion weed usually blooms from February through June and is found typically along desert washes and hillsides between 1,000 feet and 4,000 feet.

Yellow Cups Camissonia brevipes

Wildflowers: Western Arizona Yellow Cups blooming at River Island State Park

Flowering best during years of above-average desert rainfall, these small yellow flowers typically occur in western Arizona between 300 ft and 6000 ft elevation.

You can always contact the parks by phone to see what blooms have made their appearance! February is the earliest wildflowers will start to bloom, and often they wait until March. The season depends on precipitation and temperature, so you never know what you'll see!

Always remember to treat the landscape and blooms with respect, and be careful not to pick or trample the flowers! Help us keep the parks beautiful for all visitors to Arizona State Parks!






























































Back to top