Are there “Superblooms” in Southern Colorado?

Just this year I learned a new term that I find fascinating: SUPERBLOOM! Having never lived near one, I never gave them a thought. According to Wikipedia, a superbloom is:

A rare desert botanical phenomenon in which an unusually high proportion of wildflowers whose seeds have lain dormant in the soil, germinate and blossom at roughly the same time, like these California poppies to the left. This phenomenon is associated with an unusually wet rainy season. The term may have developed as a label in the 1990s.

Yellow fields of tea flowers in Navajo Ranch west of Walsenburg Colorado!

Well, I’m here to tell you, we have had two of these just since 2014 when we moved here! We are at 7,000 feet in the high desert of southern Colorado. When we first moved here we were receiving far above average spring rainfall in Walsenburg, where we lived from June 2014 to July 2015. Walsenburg averages around 15 inches of precipitation per year, but in May of 2015 we received over 6 inches of rain in one month! In 2015-2016 we received over 23 inches total for the water year!

That’s what helps to create a superbloom!

My first experience with a superbloom is documented in the header of this blog. In June 2015 we had fields full of Navajo tea flowers along Highway 510 on the way into our place. I had never seen such a thing!

Then in the summer of 2017 Navajo Ranch was inundated with sunflowers! We have had a regular crop of sunflowers around our new home, which we attributed to the soil we had to bring in for building, but this was big fields of sunflowers everywhere!

I love a nice crop of volunteers around our home each summer!

The bees also love it!

3 thoughts on “Are there “Superblooms” in Southern Colorado?

  1. I have heard of superblooms in relation to the southwest deserts. Here in the Northeast, we have mast years, years when the oaks produce lots more acorns than usual. I think we had a mast year three years ago. It was incredible, but not as spectacular as superblooms.

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  2. Volunteer blooms. What a wonderful ‘surprise’!
    Daddy’s ranch was in a very dry area of Southern Alberta. One very wet year, I was out checking the herd in the north quarters. There, in a dip in the landscape was a shallow pool of water–unheard in that super dry area. And that pool was crawling with little toads. Thousands of them. Thousands.
    Two days later, when I went back, there wasn’t one. And no sign they ever had been there. The pool had dried up and they had either dried up with it, gone back underground to hibernate until the next rainy season, or been eaten by birds. It was the strangest thing…

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