Parts of Death Valley, the driest place in North America, have exploded in a riot of colour with a rare “superbloom” of millions of wildflowers, a sight that hasn’t been seen to this extent since 2005.
The unusual spectacle has been triggered by a series of storms in October that brought heavy rainfall to parts of the national park in eastern California, including a burst of 7.62cm (3in) in just five hours. Death Valley normally averages just 5.08cm (2in) of rain a year.
Read more here. A park ranger says there are always flowers blooming somewhere in Death Valley but to get so many at once across a large area is special. He’s blown away by the idea of all those seeds, sometimes waiting a decade, for the right conditions to bloom.
Death Valley also holds the record for the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth — 56.7 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit), which was recorded on July 10, 1913. Read more about the record here. And an explanation of Death Valley’s climate may be found here.
Western Australia, however, claims the world record for wildflowers in bloom with more than 12,000 species identified, 60% of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
Update: And let’s not forget South Africa, as kind reader Coralie has pointed out, it too, offers marvellous sights. The main wildflower routes are in Cape province with Namaqualand boasting the richest succulent flora on Earth (in bloom August-September) and the grassland wildflowers in the Drakensburg Mountains (early November and again in late summer).
Here’s an amazing photo of the Namaqualand wildflowers from the South Africa Explored website.