Museum to host wildflower exhibit

Museum to host wildflower exhibit“The wildflowers and perennial bushes are starting to show their spring colors — and just in time for the Maturango Museum’s annual Wildflower Exhibit,” said a museum spokesperson.

The event will be held Friday, April 6, through Sunday, April 8. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

“The Coso Room will be filled with the colors and scents of the desert plant life. Each year the desert annuals and perennials adapt to the variabilities of moisture and temperature, always striving to produce flowers and seeds for future years,” said the spokesperson.

“These hardy wildflowers and perennials exist here in amazing abundance with more than 200 different species in more than 40 different families. Each year offers its own surprises of plants that are new to us or a plant seldom seen.”

More than 50 volunteers help with the collecting and prep of the plants, organization, setup and identifying the plants. “We are very happy to have two botanists travel from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont to identify the plants that the collectors bring to the museum from 16 different areas surrounding the Indian Wells Valley.”

Visiting botanists include Dr. Naomi Fraga, who has made the trip to Ridgecrest many times, and Joy England, who has been to Ridgecrest as an identifier and as a speaker.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., the late Shelley Ellis’s “Wildflowers of the Ridgecrest Area” will be presented by Judy Breitenstein with an introduction by BLM Wildlife Biologist Caroline Woods. Ellis was a retired wildlife biologist and a long-time participant in the exhibit. She was an accomplished photographer, always willing to share her spectacular images with the public. An interpretive panel in Sand Canyon was dedicated in Ellis’ memory in 2017.

Also on Saturday naturalist Janet Westbrook will lead a half-day car trip to look at local wildflowers on the Aqueduct Road from Walker Pass to Short Canyon on graded dirt roads. Participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the museum for this free tour, and should bring water, camera, snacks and appropriate clothing and shoes.

Pictured: Vibrant wildflowers, as captured by the late Shelley Ellis. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2018-03-30