Record-Breaking Late Winter Heat Wave Destroys Annual California Poppy Bloom

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“The south slopes, once covered with fields of poppy plants just starting to bloom a couple weeks ago, are suddenly devoid of orange,” stated a caption for this photo on the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s Facebook page.

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A string of hot days and record-breaking heat have destroyed a large bloom of poppies at the California Poppy Reserve in the Antelope Valley.

What was the “densest poppy germination anyone’s seen in a decade” was cooked as the sun glared down on the Mojave Desert. The large bloom was reduced to a sprinkling of orange petals that shriveled on the stalk on the south slope of the natural reserve.

The north slopes, however, are angled away from the sun and covered with the best patches of wildflowers, including poppies, goldfields, forget-me-nots, gold cups, cream cups, owl’s clover and lupine.

“Wow, Mother Nature pulled the rug out from under us,” California State Park officials said. “We’re astonished to find that our big bloom of desert-adapted, ruggedly persistent poppies has been all but cooked away by the unseasonable heat we’ve had over the last week.”

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