By Jack Williams
These wildflower images are blooming marvellous, showcasing the vibrant beauty of springtime across America’s most stunning landscapes.
They were recently released by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and feature pinks, purples, yellows and oranges that pop from their natural environments.
The images were taken in the arid grasslands and deserts of Southern California, where now-record-breaking rainfall has resulted in an explosion of wildflowers that could even be witnessed from space.
Bob Wick, a wilderness specialist and a photographer for part of the Interior, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, shot the images.
He said that the recent bloom was as spectacular as he had seen in over a decade.
The images that were released came from four popular locations in the area: the Mojave Trails National Park; Desert Lily Preserve; Owens Peak Wilderness; and Carrizo Plain National Monument.
Bob said: “I’m fascinated by how such delicate flowers survive in such harsh environments, often waiting for years until the right moisture conditions cause them to burst forth.
“Plants flower and reproduce in a very short time frame once it is warm enough for them to grow and before it gets too hot and dry for them to survive – that is why so many flowers bloom at the same time.”
In the western U.S., the spring blooms only lasts a small time in any one location, but extends over six months moving northward and higher in elevation.
According to Bob, beginning in February, fragrant pink verbena and desert lilies begin blooming in the low deserts of southern California and Arizona, before the peak bloom moves northward and climbs in elevation until late July.
This makes photo opportunities endless – if one caries out the research on when peak blooms are likely to be in a given area.
Not all wildflowers are created equal, however – some are invasive species which, though beautiful, can be invasive and damage native wildflowers.
Images showcasing such natural wonders as wildflower blooms feature on the Department of Interior’s popular Instagram account, which has 1.3 million followers.
Bob said: “We’re looking for amazing photos that show epic landscapes from a variety of public lands.
“We try to share images that highlight real-time conditions in that area, and are also interested in the story behind the photo and what it took to capture that special moment.
“Morning is often the best time to photograph wildflowers as it is calm and the light is soft.
“However, some flowers close up at night and may take some time to open…Be patient!”