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Where are the wildflowers? Experts say the extreme drought is affecting more than just them.

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TUCSON (KVOA) – Many cacti are blooming around southern Arizona right now, but the one thing that isn't is wildflowers.

You can blame it on the drought.

News 4 Tucson spoke to one avid hiker and he said it has been quite a topic of conversation among the group he hits the trails with.

"There's basically no flowers at all," said avid hiker David Wrench. "Even the Palo Verde trees haven't been blooming."

And that seems to be the trend in southern Arizona lately.

David Wrench hikes nearly 3 miles per day and is a part of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club.

Wrench says his normal path on the southwest side doesn't look the same as it did in years past... there aren't any wildflowers.

"Even the drive out on Ajo Way towards Sells, normally it's lined with flowers but no flowers are there either," Wrench added.

One local expert says it's due to the lack of rain and our hotter than normal temperatures.

"This is on the heels of a really dry summer… so, you essentially have the driest and hottest summer on record, paired with a really dry winter," said Ben Wilder, the Director for the Desert Lab on Tumamoc Hill.

The winter rain is what the spring wildflowers rely on. But those flowers aren't the only thing affected by the dryness.

"Ocotillo are really late… the Palo Verdes still haven't bloomed, the saguaros have just started getting going," Wilder added.

"It's very disappointing, that's what it is… and, hopefully, it's not the new normal," said Wrench.

But it's not too much to worry about. Just yet.

"It's a desert. it doesn't rain a lot," said Wilder. "We've been fortunate to have many seasons that have a lot of nice wildflower displays and this is just not one of them"

Wilder also added that the best way to help is to conserve water in any possible way you can. The main concern is the drought stress and what it can do to our Sonoran Desert plans and animals.

To learn more about the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, click here.

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Frankie McLister

Frankie McLister is the Multimedia Journalist for News 4 Tucson Today. His interest in storytelling began when he was young and loves telling those of Southern Arizona.

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