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.

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."

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.

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.

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