Tamme McCauley is a chef, and avid gardener from Pacific Palisades. In the following article, Tamme McCauley takes readers on a journey of the California Super Blooms – she visited Malibu, Pointe Magu and Antelope Valley to view this magnificent phenomenon in the spring.
Tourists and locals alike may have heard the term California Super Bloom in some frequency during the recent months. This is because a super bloom is currently running rampant across California!
According to an article in the Washington Post, a Super Bloom is a mildly rare phenomenon that affects desert-area botanicals under very specific conditions. In California, this is typically caused by a very high amount of rain in the winter months as wildflowers lying dormant under desert soil suddenly germinate and blossom around the same time.
In this article, Tamme McCauley presents an overview of this amazing sight.
Tamme McCauley Explains the Phenomenon
In California, many different types of wildflowers are lying in a dormant, seed state under the soil until it is time for them to bloom. These include many varieties such as, Ithuriel’s spear, narrow-leaf mules ear, California Poppy, and Lupines, among many others.
Flowers bloom throughout the Spring, so it can be easy to hear this description of a super bloom and think, “what’s the big deal?” Well, the way that a super bloom differs from the regular, annual blooming of wildflowers, even in the desert, is because they all tend to bloom around the same time.
This creates vast open spaces where previously green fields or even mountains in the California country are turned into rainbow kaleidoscopes, sometimes miles long, of blooming flowers. The landscape can be literally carpeted with orange, blue, yellow, and purple blossoms so thick that they can be seen from incredibly far away.
The Cause of the Bloom
Tamme McCauley explains below why this blooming phenomenon even occurs, and why the conditions need to be just right.
A Super Bloom is not a regular occurrence, even in beautiful, sunny California. It only happens under very specific conditions. With such a huge diversity of different wildflower species, it is rare that they all decide to bloom at the same time. Typically, the seeds wait under the soil until the right amount of rain and nutrients come along.
The cause of a super bloom, however, is because the winter months experience a very high amount of rainy, wet conditions. In addition, Tamme McCauley of Pacific Palisades says that the air must be cold enough to “wake up” all the different types of wildflower seeds at roughly the same time.
The seeds experience stimulation and germination simultaneously, whereas in other conditions some might germinate and bloom before others have even come out of their hibernation.
In California, 2023 provided the winter and early spring months with incredibly high amounts of snow and rain. Though these weather events delayed the germination of many grass seeds, stimulating the seeds of wildflowers, creating the perfect conditions for a 2023 California Super Bloom!
Fun Facts About Super Blooms
Tamme McCauley of Pacific Palisades review some even more interesting facts about the beloved super bloom phenomenon below:
- It Can Take Years for Super Blooms to Be Created – Tamme McCauley says that the conditions necessary to create a super bloom do not happen overnight, and rarely over one season (though this is possible as we see today.) Instead, the seeds that contribute to a massive bloom often spend years lying dormant under the soil waiting for a perfect combination of weather conditions.
- The Term is Not Official – Though many use the term “super bloom” to describe what has happened to California recently, it is not a scientific term. Any bloom large and impressive enough can be called a “super bloom.”
- Super Blooms Are Not Always Unpredictable – Tamme McCauley explains that sometimes places that regularly experience the right conditions for a super bloom also regularly produce super blooms. In areas like Death Valley, for example, where verbena and desert sunflowers riot across the desert by the millions, the super bloom is not considered a phenomenon.
- You Can See Super Blooms from Outer Space – Some Super Blooms, like the miles of color blossoming across California, can be seen from outer space thanks to the incredible number of colorful blossoms.
Super blooms, like the one happening in California, are a botanical phenomenon. With plenty of rain and years’ worth of wildflower seeds being stimulated by that rain during the winter months, a landscape can become covered in simultaneously-blooming flowers. Super Blooms can even share their beauty as far away as outer space!