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    A desert in the Southwest is experiencing a wildflower ‘superbloom’

    A wildflower superbloom is underway in the desert Southwest in March after 7 inches of winter rain. Anza-Borrego State Park in California hasn’t experienced a bloom so prolific since at least 1999, according to park officials.

    ‘‘This is shaping up to be a great wildflower year!’’ the park wrote on its Facebook page late last week. ‘‘Desert lilies are spectacular, and other annuals are coming along nicely! Make plans now to visit near the middle of the month.’’

    The purple sand verbena is widespread in the Anza-Borrego right now. It’s native to the Southwest and it thrives in well-drained soil. Pristine white primroses are also in bloom among yellow-flowered brittlebush.

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    But, according to hikers’ reports, the most uncommon flower in bloom this year is the purple, notch-leaved phacelia.

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    It’s ‘‘a very rare event,’’ one hiker noted on the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association website:

    ‘‘With over 7 inches of rain this season, the Borrego Desert is verdant green with flowers in stages of both bud and early bloom. We are on the ‘‘uphill side’’ of the peak bloom and experiencing more open flowers with each passing sunny day.”

    The park says the best time to view the flowers is in the morning. They close up in the afternoon heat.

    Washington Post