Los Angeles Times
No you aren’t seeing things. Some Southern California deserts are blooming right now. Yellow carpets of native chinchweed popped in parts of the Mojave Desert in late August.
“The late summer bloom is due to some areas receiving considerable rain in July and August,” Madena Asbell, director of plant conservation at the Mojave Desert Land Trust, wrote in an email. Summer monsoonal rains (which Asbell described as “spotty and unpredictable”) that drop as little as half an inch of rain can jumpstart germination of summer annuals such as chinchweed and fringed amaranth, which desert tortoises rely on for food. These plants only germinate when soil is warm and there’s ample rain.