Death Valley "super bloom" carpets desert with color Tourists take a picture of wildflowers near Badwater Basin in Death Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Death Valley "super bloom" carpets desert with color
Lexile

A rare "super bloom" of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park in California has covered the hottest and driest place in North America with a carpet of gold. The wildflowers are attracting tourists. They are coming from all over the world. The flowers are enchanting visitors with a stunning display.
 
Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest place in North America. It holds a world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded. It was 134 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature was recorded on July 10, 1913. It's also home to the lowest elevation in North America. The location is 282 feet below sea level. It is called Badwater Basin. Every spring, some wildflowers do bloom before it gets scorching hot. But the abundance of flowers this year is extremely unusual. It happens about once every 10 years.
 
The last time there was a bloom of this magnitude was in 2005. The time before that was in 1998.
 
Death Valley's average annual rainfall is 2 inches a year. Sometimes, it gets no rain at all.
 
This season, the park got three very rare rainstorms in the first two weeks of October. The storms left behind more than 3 inches of rain in some parts of the valley. It was enough to trigger the growth of millions of wildflower seeds that have been dormant in the earth. They have been awaiting significant rainfall.
 
No one knows how long seeds can wait for rain. But the last "super bloom" in 2005 led to the blossoming of some flowers that had never been seen before in the park. That indicated the seeds had been dormant for years.
 
The most abundant and eye-catching wildflower is the aptly named desert gold. It is a large, bright yellow bloom. It looks like a daisy. The stems this year are growing to waist height. The flowers cover entire hillsides and vast areas of the valley floor in the southern section of the park. These flowers are easily enjoyed from the car.
 
Patient sightseers who get out of their cars can see many more species. More than 20 species of wildflower bloom in the park at various elevations.
 
Right now, the best flower show is at the south end of Death Valley National Park. It is along Badwater Road south of Furnace Creek.
 
As the temperature rises, those flowers will fade. The bloom will move north and to higher elevations.
 
The National Park Service updates information on the best spots to see flowers throughout the bloom. For updates, visit www.dvnha.org or www.nps.gov/deva.
 
The show won't last forever. Most of the flowers will wither in the next few weeks as temperatures start to heat up.
 
Some flowers may still be around as late as June at higher elevations. But those won't be as easy to see from a car. Some hiking may be required to see them.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What makes Death Valley’s flowers special?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (8)
  • tylerr2-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:30 a.m.

    Because it's the hottest and driest place. So they get like no water.

  • silverc-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    Because Death Valley is very hot, hot enough for plants to die.

  • elliew-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:33 a.m.

    Because up there it gets so hot and the flowers when it rains it only gets 2 inches of rain. Then they got three inches and they all bloomed.

  • sophies-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:33 a.m.

    They're so special because it normally so hot only a couple flowers bloom before it gets hot and right know it's really hot.

  • sarahj-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:34 a.m.

    What makes Death Valleys flowers special is that there weather there is really hot and they got lots of flowers growing up to your waist.

  • jolenec-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:35 a.m.

    Death Valley flowers are so special because they have this thing that only happens once 5 yrs and it happend that is why they are so special.

  • jenniek-bel
    3/11/2016 - 09:38 a.m.

    Death Valleys flowers are so special because Death Valley is a hot and dry place so it is diffrent to see flowers there.

  • veronikav-ver
    3/21/2016 - 07:59 a.m.

    The flowers only appear in 1o years. Last time was in 2005. The Death Valley is really hot and usually does not get any rain. But this year there were 3 rain storms and that's why there're so many flowers.

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