March - April Wildflower Walks 2017
Saturday and Sunday

 Every Saturday and Sunday of March 2017 brings a guided wildflower walk at 1:00 PM; and in April these tours move to a 10:00 AM start time. Arboretum trails have a colorful varierty of wildflowers you'll see in our gardens.
Native elderberry shrubs with clusters of white flowers in the Hummingbird-Butterfly garden, picnic area - and near the white bridge over Silver King Wash. New arrivals to Arizona are surprised to learn that elderberry is a native plant, in fact robust examples of Sambucus mexicana can be seen around the Arboretum: look for white 'lace doilies' of flower clusters. WATCH OUR SPRING FLOWER VIDEO            
Preview Spring flowers with a relaxing three-minute video clip of highlights filmed around the trails:

Staff and volunteers usually report the CACTUS GARDEN has Desert Marigold, along with Brittlebush and globemallow durign March. Also showy this week are Western dayflower, lupine, penstemons and primrose. For a plant with an interesting back-story, seek outthe vines of Wild Cucumber (Marah gilensis) seen in many shaded spots along the Main Trail. Clusters of flowers are fingernail-wide and cream-white, the little flowers resemble starfish -- and vines growing from the Wild Cucumber tuber are truly impressive, some already 10-feet-tall. Learn more about these ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’ vines on guided wildflower walks, or see them any day on 11:00am general guided walking tours - these depart the visitor center daily and are included with Arboretum admission of $10 for adults or $5 for kids (and at no charge, of course, for BTA annual members and AZ State Parks pass-holders. Connect on facebook for up-to-date inflorescent photos and reports.
Another exotically-shaped flower is the Watson's Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia watsonii) which has a back-story as compelling as its unusual shape. Want to read a wonderful description of this unusual flower? Don't miss the "rodent's ear" anecdote postedhere:

Preview an Arboretum Flower Walk:
What else will you see in bloom around the trails? Watch for fetid marigold in trailside planters.Western dayflower, Parry's penstemon (and one rare Penstemon subulata, too) in the Cactus Garden; medicinal-smelling odora (known as "Yerba de Venado" en espanol) trailside from the Cactus Garden all the way towards Picketpost Mansion, canyon lupine, desert marigold, and "onion-y looking" bluedicks (see these along the main trail above Ayer Lake, mostly). Another fun native plant to learn is Mormon tea, flowering strong this week along the main trail from Aye Lake uphill - and along the high trail, too. Its worth bringing a magnifying glass (or look through your binoculars backwards, using 'em like a microscope) for a closeup look at these pine-cone-shaped flowers
Speaking of the high trail, its well worth walking this scenic half-mile to see clumps of bright golden wallflower along with purple bladderpod. Read more about BTA events at
This week at the Arboretum watch for hot-pink Parry's Penstemon - and now going into its third straight month and still blooming strong, Wild cucumber (Marah gilensis) remains BTA's one of most interesting and dramatic endemic plants, with "Jack And The Beanstalk" vines that have climbed their way as high as 12-feet through native jojoba, mesquite and other trees in locations throughout the grounds. Watch for clusters of tiny, off-white, starfish-shaped flowers on these thriving green vines. Other flowers throughoutthe park include fetid marigold (yellow); wild rhubarb (green); London rocket (gold) and henbit (purple); as well as bluedicks and Mormon tea (along the main trail from Ayer Lake uphill). Walk the short trail that leadsd behind the Palm Grove to smell the jasmine-sweet and unique perfume of berberis shrubs there. And BTA'sSpring Plant Sale goes into the second week - with great savings on a wide variety of flowering plants, shrubs, trees, cacti and succulents. Watch for Twining Milkweed -- look for these stringy vines topped with white flower clusters at the Ayer Lake ramada, and many other spots along the Main Trail
            Watch for patches of blue phacelia along the main trail, below Picketpost Mansion; or walk the high trail to see yellow wallflower. There are still a few flowers on our endemic rhyolite bush (ragged rock flower).
One of the Arboretum's most interesting and native early-blooming native shrubs is rhyolite bush (AKA Crossosoma bigelovii, or ragged rock flower); most have already peaked, but watch for these trailside above Ayer Lake, along the "switchbacks" below Picketpost Mansion, and also in the Queen Creek riparian corridor. Read more about this unusual shrub at
          Other flowers throughout the park include fetid marigold (yellow); wild rhubarb (green); London rocket (gold) and henbit (purple); as well as bluedicks and native Pipevine (Aristolochia watsonii) and Mormon tea (along the main trail from Ayer Lake uphill) where you'll also find Four O'Clock. Walk the short trail that leadsd behind the Palm Grove to smell the jasmine-sweet and unique perfume of berberis shrubs there.
            BTA's "first of season" Aristolochia watsonii began blooming last week. This charismatic little plant is easily overlooked, but worth seeking: watch for the one that's blooming as you walk through the main trail's narrowest section: inside "the catwalk" where the trail narrows and ischain-link-fenced above queen creek (about 50-yards east of the suspension bridge). One of these unusual Pipevine flowers was open last week, and several more buds were poised to welcome little pollinators. Want to read a wonderful description of this unusual flower? Don't miss the "rodent's ear" anecdote posted here:
            Here are a few other plants to watch for: miner's lettuce is growing strong along the high trail; still just seedlings,
and not flowering yet -- but patches are thick and robust. And Mormon tea is flowering along the main trail from ayer lake uphill. Its worth bringing a magnifying glass (or invert your binoculars!) for a closeup look at these pine-cone-shaped flowers
Guided wildflower walks at BTA are included with $9 daily admission
read about Wildflower Photography classes in March,
connect with 3,700 fans at

Guided wildflower walks are included with $10 daily admission.
Drivers who continue past theArboretum and superior, proceeding another two miles up into Queen Creek Canyon on highway 60 can be rewarded with views of vigorousTufted Evening primrose, Firecracker Penstemon, Deer Vetch -- and the unusual greenish-yellow flowering euphorbia known as Woodland Spurge. Watch for Stachys Coccinea (Red Mint, shown in the photo at left);


During 2012 and 2013 -- but not this year -- Superior residents reported massive hillsides of lupine and Mexican goldpoppies blooming on Peachville Mountain north of here. Hillside swaths of Mexican Goldpoppies, hundreds of acres worth, cover Peachville Mountain -- which are accessed by either of two well-maintained Forest Service dirt roads: Happy Camp Road (off Hewitt Station road), and also the Silver King Mine road closer to Superior.
Every visitor should make a point of seeing the Demonstration Garden, a collection with packed-earth paths that are flat and particularly suitable for wheelchairs and walkers. Convenient nearby parking is nearby at the picnic ground, too; request that when you arrive. Spring in the Demonstration Garden means dozens of species are in bloom, both native and exotic. The Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden is a short walk downhill from the Visitor Center and also near the picnic area parking lot, and has color flowers including Turk's cap, aloe and Mexican sage plants to attract pollinators
If your time is limited and flowers are the one and only goal of your visit, head directly to the Demonstration Garden immediately when you arrive at the Arboretum. Mesa plein air painter Burdell Moody describes the Demonstration Garden as "a Monet gardenscape come to life." Request picnic area parking when you arrive at the Arboretum, and you can park conveniently in our lower parking lot. The Demonstration Garden has abundant color, packed earth paths that are wide, flat and easily negotiated by wheelchair or walker. There are numerous places to stop, sit and enjoy the colors. Do you have a relative or housebound neighbor who seldom gets outside to enjoy Spring flowers due to a disability or trouble walking? Plan a picnic this week and accompany your friend or relative on a leisurely excursion through the Demonstration Garden

Demonstration Garden Flowers

Acacia rigidula Blackbrush Acacia
Aloe claviflora hybrid
Aloe commutata hybrid
Aloe elegans
Aloe striata Coral Aloe
Aloe striata hybrid Coral Aloe Hybrid
Aloe variegata Partridge Breast Aloe
Aloe x 'Blue Elf' Blue Elf Aloe
Alyogyne hueglii Blue Hibiscus
Aquilegia chrysantha Golden Columbine
Aster filifolius South African Bush Aster
Baileya multiradiata Desert Marigold
Berlandiera lyrata Chocolate Flower
Bulbine frutescens Orange & Yellow Bulbine
Calliandra californica Baja Fairy Duster
Calliandra eriophylla Fairy Duster
Calylophus hartwegii Sierra Sundrops
Cercis canadensis var. mexicana Mexican Redbud
Cistus incanus
Cistus x corbariensis White Rockrose
Cistus x purpureus Purple Rockrose
Cylindrophyllum speciosum Red Spike Ice Plant
Dicliptera resupinata Arizona Foldwing
Dimorphotheca sinuata African Daisy
Drosanthemum floribundum Dew Plant
Dyssodia pentachaeta Golden Dyssodia
Echinocereus Boycethompsonii Boyce Thompson Hedgehog
Echinopsis 'Epic'
Encelia farinosa Brittle Bush
Eremophila 'valentine' Valentine Emu Bush
Eremophila decipiens
Eremophila maculata Spotted Emu Bush
Erigeron divergens Fleabane Daisy
Erigeron karvaskianus Santa Barbara Daisy
Eriogonum fasiculatum Flat-topped Buckwheat
Escholtzia californica California Poppy
Eucalyptus leucoxylon 'rosea' White Iron Bark
Euphorbia rigida Golden Spurge
Euryops pectinatus viridus Euryops Daisy
Ferocactus pilosus Red-spined Barrel
Gaillardia pulchella Indian Blanket
Gazania 'Copper King' Copper King Gazania
Gazania 'Sun Gold' Sun Gold Gazania
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina Jessamine
Herita chirifolia Sun Daisy
Isomeris arboreus Bladderpod
Jasminum polyanthum Pink Jasmine
Justicia californica Chuparosa
Justicia candicans Red Justicia
Justicia jujuyensis Mexican Honeysuckle
Justicia sonorae Sonoran Justicia
Lavandula 'Goodwin Creek'
Lavandula multifida. Fern-leaf Lavender
Lavatera maritima Tree Mallow
Layia platygosa Tidy Tips
Limonium perezii Sea Lavender
Linaria maroccana Moroccan Toadflax
Linum grandiflora var. rubrum Red Flax
Lonicera sempervirens Trumpet Honeysuckle
Malephora crocea Croceum Ice Plant
Malephora lutea Rocky Pt. Ice Plant
Nemophila maculata Five Spot
Nemophila meinzies Baby Blue Eyes
Oenothera speciosa Mexican Primrose
Opuntia basilaris Beaver Tail Cactus
Osteomeles ecklonis
Osteomeles fruticosa Trailing African Daisy
Oxalis crassipes Pink Wood Sorel
Oxalis pes-caprae Bermuda Buttercup
Penstemon eatonii Firecracker Penstemon
Penstemon fendleri Fendler's Penstemon
Penstemon parryi Parry's Penstemon
Penstemon superbus Superb Penstemon
Penstemon triflorus Hill Country Penstemon
Phacelia californica California Blue Bells
Psilostrophe tagetina Paper Flower
Rhus ovata Sugar Bush
Rosa banksiae Lady Bank's Rose (white & yellow)
Rosmarinus officinalis 'prostratus' Prostrate Rosemary
Russelia equisetiformis Coral Fountain
Salvia clevlandii Blue Sage
Salvia farniacea Mealycup Sage
Salvia greggii Autumn Sage (various colors)
Senna (Cassia) artemisioides Feathery Cassia
Senna (Cassia) phyllodinea Silver Cassia
Sophora secundiflora Mescal Bean, Texas Mtn. Laurel
Spharalcea ambigua Globe Mallow (Orange & Pink)
Stachys coccinea Betony
Tetraneuris acaulis Angelita Daisy
Teucrium fruticans 'Azureum' Bush Germander
Verbena goodingii Goodings Verbena
Verbena pulchella gracilior Moss Verbena
Yucca rigida Blue Yucca

DRIVING WEST ON HWY 60 (approaching from Globe-Miami)

    After visiting the Arboretum drive East along highway 60 another six miles up and through Queen Creek Canyon, a particularly scenic stretch of highway that lies between Superior and the Oak Flat campground of the Tonto National Forest. Care to learn more about this highway? Visit the website

   ...and then click the "Phoenix and Central" link to access the "Gila-Pinal Scenic Road" link. It's a website worth visiting, with photos of the rock formations and scenery along this singular stretch of road. Its easy to be distracted by the towering hoodoos and eroded rock formations in Queen Creek Canyon and Devil's canyon, but look along the roadsides for patches of deer vetch and firecracker penstemon on the north side of the road at the base of the cliffs. January and February rains recharged the waterfall above mile marker #229, just uphill and east of the Queen Creek tunnel. This four-story waterfall is well worth looking for as you drive past. The waterfall is a popular spot for rock climbing, and accessible, too. To get there park at the roadside pullout just below and west of the waterfall. Look for the "50 MPH" sign and walk outside of the guardrail about 150 yards uphill and to the waterfall. You'll probably see rock climbers' cars parked here; Queen Creek Canyon is among the best spots in Arizona for bouldering. While you're walking look for deer vetch (Lotus rigidus), firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), pepper grass (Lepidium lasiocarpum), and wild heliotrope (Phacelia distans). Seven-foot tall tree tobacco plants are found at the west entrance to the Queen Creek Tunnel, their yellow tube-shaped flowers are favored by hummingbirds

         During April look for deer vetch, tufted evening primrose and firecracker penstemon all adding their accents of color to the roadside as you drive uphill through Queen Creek Canyon just five miles east of the arboretum. Verbena patches are stronger this week near the Oak Flat campground.

         No wildflower drive would be complete without thick patches of photogenic poppies, so keep driving. Even during drought years robust patches of Mexican goldpoppies are easily found blooming through cracks in the sidewalk pavement and along the highway near mileposts 244-246, most vibrant of all near the Phelps-Dodge Rod Plant just East of Miami as you drive through the small community of Claypool. Robust patches of goldpoppies are vivid right along highway 60 in Miami, Claypool and Globe.

        Hike the excellent trails of Globe's Round Mountain Park during April for wallflower, desert onion, sego lilies and hedgehog cacti all at their peak.

        During March manzanita shrubs can still be found with blossoms in Pinal Mountain foothills -- watch for red-trunked short trees with pink and white flower clusters. Pretty purple-and-white flowers on Astragalus (freckled milkvetch) can also be photographed in the lower Pinal foothills during early March. During late April and May look for the globe-shaped "Antelope Horns" variety of milkweed. It only takes about two hours from the East Valley to reach the Pinal Mountains near Globe. Accessible hiking trails in this range include the Ice House Canyon, Six-Shooter Canyon and the Kellner Trails. The Pinals are also a prime place to find spring migrant birds (Painted Redstarts returned in April, Red-faced Warblers have usually returned by May). The Pinals offer great ponderosa/spruce fir forest birdwatching. Grace's Warbler, Bridled Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Hairy Woodpecker, and Cooper's Hawk can often be found in May along the road to Pioneer Pass. Pinal Mountain trail maps are available from the Tonto National Forest Globe Ranger Station; call 928-425-7189; check out or else call the Globe Chamber of Commerce at 800-804-5623 for information about the Pinal Mountains.

        For the most comprehensive and frequently updated list of wildflower reports from around Arizona visit the Desert Botanical Garden website. Please bookmark this page and return here throughout the spring as we keep it updated weekly each Spring while Spring color continues.