Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yellow is the Color of Spring

Spring has definitely come to Southern California. A little bit of rain and the sticky monkeyflower has bloomed. This native monkeyflower hybrid with light yellow-orange flowers was a fall purchase from the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden.

Warm days are bringing out the creatures that hibernate–desert tortoises and western fence lizard. The longer warmer days have also enticed a male valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta) out of the wooden tunnel where he hatched and grew as a grub. He is all golden and pristine on his first day out in the world.

His mother burrowed a tunnel into the trunk of our bottlebush. Then she laid eggs in the tunnel (each with a supply of food) and  sealed up the tunnel. The young male had to burrow his way out of his nursery.

It is easy to tell males and females apart, because the females are black and the males are golden. 

Spring promises more discoveries.


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