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Thousands visit Arizona state park as wildflowers burst onto scene

In this Monday, March 4, 2019 photo. spring wildflowers bloom at Picacho Peak State Park in Picacho Peak, Ariz. (Oscar Perez/Casa Grande Dispatch via AP)

PHOENIX – Spring flowers have sprung in Arizona, and the state park where they are blooming like crazy has been crazy busy with visitors.

More than 4,500 nature lovers trooped through wildflower central — Picacho Peak State Park, about 75 miles south of downtown Phoenix — last weekend, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

That was twice as many as there were the first weekend of March a year ago. Colors started popping in February.

“Picacho is having an outstanding flower season, and the numbers show that,” Arizona State Parks spokeswoman Michelle Thompson told the newspaper.

About 4,502 saw the blooms Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In 2018, the same weekend drew 2,143.

The temperatures were about the same both years, low 50s, but 2018’s weekend was sunny while this year’s was overcast.

Park officials were expecting this season to be the best in 15 years or so. They credited the rain and temperatures.

The area averages 70 degrees in February, about the same as the Valley.

The parks website said desert blooms generally appeared in the following order: bladderpods, Mexican poppies, chuparosa, globemallow, brittlebush, and then other various cacti species.

Dozens of varieties of flowers, shrubs and cactus are in bloom at the park, most around the base of the mountain and near the campground.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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