Friday, July 29, 2016

Green Hairstreak

Juniper Hairstreak
Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

Although this picture is blurry, it shows my strategy for anchoring a bare root Ocotillo to the ground, the problem was that in order to form roots the Ocotillo needed to not move back forth with a breeze (that would break any new roots or worse uproot the entire plant as there was almost nothing underground).  So to counter balance the extremely top heavy canes I drove four stakes into the bed and then tied the top of each stake to cross beams in an "x" pattern that essential put downward pressure on the crown of the plant keeping it quite still no matter how strong the breeze.

Four-nerve Daisy
One of the best native Texan plants I have found for desert landscaping, Four-nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa). 

Mammillaria heyderi
Mammillaria heyderi  - these are the best tasting fruits of the many native cactus fruits I have tried.  Sweet and tart like strawberries, where most other cactus fruits are too bland for my taste.

Mammillaria heyderi
Mammillaria heyderi -Grows from I-35 West into East Arizona where it forms nearly flat discs in mostly rocky soil.  Fruits can be red or purple, flowers can be white, cream and apparently sometimes yellow (which I have only seen in photographs).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Queens vs Soldiers

How can you tell whether the butterfly in your garden is a Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) or a Soldier Butterfly (Danaus eresimus)?  Here are a few good sites with better diagnostic illustrations and descriptions than I have provided here:,  I was surprised to learn that most of the butterflies that come to my blue mistflower plants each fall are actually Soldier Butterflies.

Danaus gilippus
Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) or Soldier Butterfly (Danaus eresimus)?  The lack of white spots in FW postmedian area points to this one being a Soldier.  Most guide books don't put Soldier's beyond a few strays this far North...Global Warming maybe?, there are tons around my house in the fall.

Danaus eresimus, Solider Butterfly
Queen Butterfly in front with a Solider Butterfly behind.

Danaus eresimus
This one is a male (see dark scent patches) and a Soldier (see white faint spots in hind wing).

Soldier Butterfly
Danaus eresimus, Soldier Butterfly

Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus

Danaus gilippus
Danaus gilippus, Queen Butterfly