Sand Verbana and Caterpillar

September 14, 2003

Espod-2 copy


Provided and copyright by: Joe Klein
Summary authors & editors: Joe Klein

The above photo was captured this past April near San Diego, California and shows a gaudy caterpillar feasting on the leaves, stems and flowers of a desert sand verbena (Abronia villosa) in Anza-Borrego State Park. Wildflowers start blooming in January here and reach their peak in March. This year's sand verbena bloom was considerably better than in 2002 when few flowers were seen -- the area received much more rain during the fall of 2002 than during the prior autumn. In addition to rain, temperature is also critical to blooming. Warm, sunny days are a good indicator of a full bloom ahead. However, if it's too hot (over 85° F or about 30 C) in February and March the flowers won't be so vibrant, and the seeds may become parched.

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