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PHOTOS: See the wildflower 'superbloom' happening across California

Visitors pose for photos in a field of blooming flowers near the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Monday in Lancaster, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez
/
AP
Visitors pose for photos in a field of blooming flowers near the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Monday in Lancaster, Calif.

Wildflowers aren't just in bloom across California — the Golden State is experiencing a rare "superbloom" that's blanketing the ground with a variety of richly colored plants.

The lush growth comes after a particularly wet past few months in California, where a string of atmospheric rivers and snowstorms have dumped loads of precipitation on the state.

California poppies bloom at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday. California's biologically diverse landscapes are home to more than 7,000 species of native plants, including the California poppy, also known as golden poppy.
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
California poppies bloom at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday. California's biologically diverse landscapes are home to more than 7,000 species of native plants, including the California poppy, also known as golden poppy.

Superblooms occur in a wet year that's come after several drier years, because wildflower seeds are waiting around in the ground for the right conditions to bloom, UC Davis plant sciences professor Jennifer Funk said in a news release.

"A very wet year – like the year we are having now – could trigger germination of all of these seeds at once, leading to a superbloom," Funk added.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation expects this year's wildflower blooms to range from "good" to "better-than-average."

Visitors walk on a pathway amid fields of blooming flowers at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Monday.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
/
AP
Visitors walk on a pathway amid fields of blooming flowers at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Monday.

Typically, the picturesque vistas draw droves of tourists from nearby and far away. But some places are unaccustomed to the swarms of selfie-seeking sightseers, such as the city of Lake Elsinore, which has struggled to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of tourists angling to view its bright-orange poppy fields.

The state parks agency recommends a number of sites in Southern California and the Bay Area where nature lovers can go to glimpse the poppies, sand verbena, sunflowers, lilies and more.

Wildflowers blooming near the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday.
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP via Getty Images
Wildflowers blooming near the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday.

Officials say those who venture into superbloom territory should check the forecast before they go, know their body's limits and respect the natural landscapes.

California also saw superblooms in 2017 and 2019.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

People bring their dog to visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday.
Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP via Getty Images
People bring their dog to visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve on Thursday.

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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