Wildflower displays seen from the Gateway Loop.
Bluedicks bloom along the trail in Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The timing and showiness of wildflower displays in the Preserve is never predictable, depending each year on the timing and amount of winter and spring rainfall and average temperature. The best chance of seeing wildflowers in the Preserve is between February and April.
You've been bitten by the "Wildflower Bug" and now you want to identify flowers you see on the trails. You need two things: the information below to help you focus on the parts needed to make an identification, and a guide that identifies what you've found. Wildflowers and More field guide, by Marianne Skov Jensen, is a "must have" identification guide that is available for purchase through the Conservancy and at trailheads in the Preserve.
Flowers come in a few standard shapes:
The arrangement of the flower on its stalk is important for identification. Here are a few typical options:
While there are many parts to a typical flower, knowing these four will help with identification.
Never finish your identification without glancing at the rest of the plant! Confirm that the flower in the field guide and the plant you are observing have the same leaves. This is an easy way to make sure that you have, indeed, identified your subject.