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Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 | 17 comments

An Orange Sea in the Middle of the Mojave Desert

To me, deserts are some of the most beautiful eco systems found in the world.

Who can really affirm a desert is lifeless?

A few years ago, I visited the Antelope Valley California Reserve.  It is located to the north of Los Angeles, close to the city of Lancaster.

Most years (depends on weather), the Mojave Desert gets covered under a sheet of bright orange flowers.  The responsible for this burst of life is the state flower: the California poppy.

The poppy has always been recognized as something special. Early Spanish Californians called it Dormidera, “the drowsy one,” because the petals curl up at night. They fashioned a hair tonic/restorer by frying the blossoms in olive oil and adding perfume.

At the reserve, you can pick up a map at the Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center, named for the painter who was instrumental in setting aside an area where California’s state flower could be preserved for future generations to admire. Some of Pinheiro’s watercolors are on display in the center, which also has wildflower interpretive displays and a slide show.

Each spring the poppy makes us remember how alive is the Mojave.  The spectacle is one of the best I have seen.

Just take a look.



 Have you been to a place where flowers fields stretch beyond your gaze? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. I also love the desert, it’s my favourite terrain. Maybe because I didn’t grow up with it? I had no idea this place existed but it must have been so incredible with all the orange flowers.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Food Friday: Where to eat in Hana?My Profile

  2. Gorgeous! You went on what seemed like the height of the blooms. I have always wanted to make a trip up there to see these in bloom. I love how it just covers the valley in orange and transforms its scenery. We like going to Anza Borrego during Spring to see the wildflowers but you have to time it right. I also love the Carlsbad Flower Fields near my home during spring.
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Roatan with kids: Monkey BusinessMy Profile

    • Mary,
      I had plans to go to Anza Borrego this year. Then, I read the blooming season wasn’t that good so I decided not to go. I totally missed the Flower Fields. Will have to wait till next year.
      Ruth recently posted..An Orange Sea in the Middle of the Mojave DesertMy Profile

  3. I love the desert, but have mostly experienced the stark Middle Eastern or African deserts. The ones in the USA seem a different type of desert, with the cacti and more vegetation. This looks gorgeous.
    Sophie recently posted..Atlantic Canada: Lively LunenburgMy Profile

    • Sophie,
      The Mojave is considered a mountain desert (not sandy) and it is different because it is located at high altitudes (2000 to 5000 feet). I would like to explore other types of deserts.
      Ruth recently posted..Cachuma Lake, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Hopefully, we will get nice weather next year. In that way, we can have a decent blooming season.
      Ruth recently posted..Cachuma Lake, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • It is so cool to see all the poppies. It feels surreal at certain points. But you have to be careful since there are rattlesnakes in the areas (you are not supposed to get out the paths).
      Ruth recently posted..Cachuma Lake, CaliforniaMy Profile


  1. Travel Los Angeles, USA: Ruth of Tanama Tales - | - [...] get amazed when reading about the variety in the area.  People react surprised when faced with a desert covered…

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