California superbloom emerges following extremely wet winter

Winter showers bring April flowers?

Spring is off to a colourful start after a not-so-sunny winter that brought flooding, tornadoes, and blizzards to California.

California is known for many things, including its long-term battle with drought. However, the sunny state got an edge in the battle this winter as storm after storm brought heavy rains, helping to fill their water reservoirs. But the rain didn’t just provide relief for 39 million people living in the state – it also relieved the environment.

The once-dry landscape is now a sea of vibrant colour due to countless wildflower seeds that have been dormant across the state for years finally getting the water they needed to bloom.

Now wildflowers such as California poppies can be seen painting the landscape a bright hue in an event known as a superbloom.

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The last time a superbloom like this happened in the state was in the spring of 2019. The dazzling spectacle brought hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the country to witness the rare event.

Don't be a trailblazer

However, due to the popularity of 2019’s super bloom, this year many may be disappointed to see fewer flowers and more patchy areas instead. This is largely due to the sheer volume of people visiting the wildflower fields in 2019, with many people straying from designated trails and creating their own paths among the flowers.

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Doing this compacts the soil and makes it impossible for seeds to root and therefore grow.

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But these blooms are vital to the environment, as the native flowers will outcompete non-native vegetation. Native vegetation and flowers are great for pollinators and insects alike, which, in turn, is vital to our ecosystems.

So while being a trailblazer can be a good thing metaphorically and societally, it’s best to stick to the designated trails when it comes to viewing these flowers.

Some trails that were open to the public in 2019 are now closed for this year’s superbloom to protect the flowers and prevent more soil compaction. However, alternative methods to see the blooms are available via satellite imaging.

Video and thumbnail image courtesy of Reuters