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
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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 from all over the world. The flowers are enchanting visitors with a stunning display from nature's paint brush.
 
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 on July 10, 1913. It's also home to the lowest elevation in North America, a place that's 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 and happens about once every decade.
 
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 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 that their seeds had been dormant for many years.
 
The most abundant and eye-catching wildflower is the aptly named desert gold. It is a large, bright yellow bloom that looks like a daisy. The stems this year are growing to waist height and 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 along Badwater Road. It is 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 and could require hiking.

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


COMMENTS (72)
  • taylorh-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 12:10 a.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are so special because they do not get very much rain in Death Valley. As said in the article, "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 awaiting significant rainfall." This year got a lot of rain. I found this interesting becasuse I did not know that Death Valley could grow flowers at all before I read this.

  • kaleal-2-bar
    3/10/2016 - 01:24 a.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because, as the article states,"...the abundance of flowers this year is extremely unusual and happens about once every decade." This article interests me because I wondered why a bunch of flowers were growing at one of the hottest places in the world.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/10/2016 - 01:38 a.m.

    The Death Valley's wildflowers might have been waiting for so long until the rain had came and watered the wildflower seeds that had been waiting until the rain came and watered the seeds sprouting out the wildflowers out from the ground. The Death Valley's super bloom might have been able to attract people to be seeing the desert colors of the desert that people would be seeing in Death Valley. The people might have been amazed by the look of the wildflowers that had been able to sprout out from the grounds of Death Valley which people would be seeing when they visit Death Valley. People might have been able to become interested in seeing the wildflowers that had bloomed in Death Valley after the rainstorm had came in Death Valley.
    Critical Thinking Question: What makes Death Valley’s flowers special?
    Answer: Death Valley's flowers are special because they had been waiting for many years until the rainstorm had came to water the seeds and making them to be sprouting from the ground of America's hottest deserts.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:05 a.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because of their rarity of blooming in such extreme heat. At the article's end, it claims that," The show won't last forever. Most of the flowers will wither in the next few weeks as temperatures start to heat up" (paragraph 12). The flowers bloom about every decade, and when they do, they only live for a few weeks. The flowers of Death Valley are special due to how rare the plants sprout up.

    I found the article interesting because I never expected that an amount of wildflowers to this magnitude would grow in Death Valley, a location which often reaches temperatures in the high one hundred-twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

  • michaelc2-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:22 a.m.

    What makes the Death Valley's special is that it only rains 2 inches once a year and this time in rained 3 inches instead of 2.
    I really like when the person who wrote this article said "The flowers are enchanting visitors with a stunning display from nature's paint brush."
    I would like to go to the Dead Valley to see the flowers bloom if they ever do bloom again.

  • gabinolm-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:28 a.m.

    I think that it's very cool that some seeds waited a while just to get some water for it to grow.I also think it's cool that it rains only 2 inches of water and now it's 3 inches.

  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    3/10/2016 - 11:31 a.m.

    aw, this is so cool! I wish i could see it in person! When i first looked at the picture, i thought they were dandelions.

  • jesusb-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:31 a.m.

    Wow i'm just stun to see all these flowers in a dessert where it never rains and plus the fact that nature was able to give this fantastic color 'gold' to us it's like a gift from the gods. I hope this happens again because people are fascinated of how about if this happened to another planet in space like mars or something like that and it becomes a home for us. This has been my opinion of this article Tell my what you think about in the comments and continue reading.

  • henryh-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    If i was a scientist right now and to hear of this i wouldn't believe it.Scientist that haven't seen this yet have to.Just by the pictures it looks butiful.

    The author of this article discribes it greatfully.The dicribtion that the author gave to this by saying it looks like a bunch of diasy's seems great.

    Living in Ohio makes it different though.We get a lot of good blooms and somtimes early blooms witch makes it great.But i understand if you live in the desert it would be different.It would be some what(magical).

  • michaelg-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:43 a.m.

    what makes death valley`s flowers so special is that is is super super hot in the death valley and now a hole field of flowers has showed up.

    I think there could of been more rain and i wonder if this sudden growth of plats might change the environment.the flowers i think do look good in the picture but hopefully the flowers can stay for a little bit longer so more people can see the majestic things of nature.

    I hope that another ¨super bloom¨ happens soon,odd that it just happens to happen in the hottest place in america.I want to see more studies on this to get more info on why this happened.

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