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 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 that left behind more than 3 inches of rain in some parts of the valley. That 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 - indicating their seeds had been dormant for many years.
 
The most abundant and eye-catching wildflower is the aptly named desert gold, 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.
 
Some of the more common flowers include the deep purple phacelia, the desert five-spot (a delicate pink flower with five burgundy spots around its center), the gravel ghost (a delicate white flower that appears to be floating above the ground like a ghost because its stem is so thin it's almost invisible) and various types of desert primrose.
 
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 (14)
  • faustow-wil
    3/10/2016 - 03:31 p.m.

    Death Valley National Park in California is the hottest places in North America. This year it bloomed more than usual, and the last time it bloomed like this year was in 2005. Death Valley's flowers are special because after the three rainstorms back in October it triggered the growth of millions of wildflower seeds.

  • jadah-wil
    3/10/2016 - 03:34 p.m.

    Death valleys flowers are so special because As the temperature rises, those flowers will fade. The bloom will move north and to higher elevations.

  • bibianav-wil
    3/10/2016 - 03:36 p.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because It holds a world record for the hottest temperature ever recorded. It was 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913. Some flowers may still be around as late as June at higher elevations. The National Park Service updates information on the best spots to see flowers throughout the bloom.

  • kevine-4-bar
    3/10/2016 - 04:11 p.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because they can survive will very little to no water.I think that it is really cool how they survive will the limited amount of water that they get.

  • brianag-6-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:40 p.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because they are extremely rare and they are located in the hottest and driest region. "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." I chose this article because my grandma lives in the valley close to the Death Valley National Park.

  • lucasddd-3-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:52 p.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because they are able to grow in very harsh conditions. The second paragraph states "Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest place in North America."
    This article was interesting, and its cool that plants can survive in that climate.

  • carlym-4-bar
    3/11/2016 - 12:37 a.m.

    What makes the Death Valley's flowers so special is the condition that they have to survive in. These flowers only bloom about once a decade. "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."
    I found this article very interesting because I didn't know that flowers could grow in Death Valley.

  • sebastianr-6-bar
    3/11/2016 - 01:20 a.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are special because of the rare climate and what the climate does to the flowers. Some of the flowers that grow in Death Valley can only grow in Death Valley because of the extreme heat. For example a desert flower wouldn't be able to grow in a place where it snowed or rained all the time because the climate doesn't give the right nutrients for the right flower. I think it is interesting and cool that flowers, something so delicate and vibrant, could even grow in such hot place with such ruthless weather night and day.

  • alexandrias-2-bar
    3/11/2016 - 01:39 a.m.

    The reason that Death Valley's flowers are so special is because they very rarely bloom in such large numbers when the heat starts to rise. The reason that the flowers are blooming so much is because "This season, the park got three very rare rainstorms in the first two weeks of October that left behind more than 3 inches of rain in some parts of the valley. That was enough to trigger the growth of millions of wildflower seeds that have been dormant in the earth awaiting significant rainfall." They are special because this only happens around every decade, and the last time this happened was in 2005. I found this article interesting because my family was talking about visiting while the flowers were in bloom, and because of how rare it is that the flowers are blooming at this time of year and in such abundance.

  • luket-4-bar
    3/11/2016 - 10:12 a.m.

    Death Valley's flowers are so special because this kind of bloom is very rare. The last one was in 2005 and the one before that was 1998. Because it is so rare for these blooms to occur, special types of flowers that have been dormant for years bloom.
    I thought this article was interesting because I didn't know flowers ever bloomed in Death Valley, let alone in this quantity.

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