*In the foothills of southern New Mexico's Organ Mountains and in the adjoining plains, El Niņo weather patterns can result in an outstanding wildflower display. The Organ Mountains are the extreme eastern location for the native population of the Mexican Goldpoppy. Heavy rains in October and November, and early winter rains, followed by weeks of mostly sunny skies and mild days produce an excellent showing.
Great expanses of gold and orange Mexican Goldpoppies (Eschscholizia mexicana) have been seen along Highway 70, especially east of St. Augustine Pass. On the access road to Aguirre Springs National Recreation Area, large expanses of poppies have been visible. In one region a few acres in extent bordering the access road, a remarkable array of multi-colored variants of the Mexican goldpoppy have been found. Colors of the blossoms ranged from typical, to patterned gold and orange, to gold and cream, to cream, and to white. One of the delicately colored flowers from this group was chosen for the photo of the month for April.
The Mexican Goldpoppy is a sub-species of the California poppy, and due to its tendency to carpet large expanses, has long been a favorite with desert photographers and wildflower enthusiasts. Generally, expanses of poppies are sought along the Apache Trail near Phoenix, Arizona, or near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. In the Organ Mountains of New Mexico, and the Franklin Mountains of Texas, large showings of poppies occur, but are are generally less common.
In our experience, the occurrence of any population of multi-colored variants of the Mexican poppy has generally
been restricted to areas of the Organ Mountains. We have not encountered such in Arizona and California. This perhaps
is a matter of luck. Wildflower enthusiasts may enjoy visiting Mark Dimmitt's very