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white-lined sphinx moth

We are so lucky to see lots of White-lined Sphinx Moths (Hyles lineata) in our yard every year.
(They feed on my Lantanas).

White-lined Sphinx Moth

What I just found out this morning might explain why we see them. As it turns out, one of the host plants for their caterpillars is Mirabilis. The genus Mirabilis includes Desert Wishbone Bush which I have a lot of! I went out to see if I could find a caterpillar but nothing yet.

desert wishbone bush

Note: I’m interested in caterpillars these days because I’m trying to include the native host plants in my flora guide sequel. Butterflies and Moths typically don’t lay their eggs on nectar plants so even if you see Butterflies in your yard, they may have hatched somewhere else.

desert needlegrass

Hiking during the hottest of weather results in seeing plants you may never have seen before. Like Desert Needlegrass, for instance. I stopped to photograph it because it looked so pretty against the rising sun. (note: I incorrectly identified it as Arizona Cottontop. Thanks to botanist Steve Jones for the correction!).

Desert Needlegrass (Achnatherum speciosum)
arizona cottontop

Even though it is a native plant, it and all the dry invasive grasses pose a serious fire hazard.

arizona cottontop

rusby’s globemallow

My flora guide sequel is almost done! It will feature 149 species of flowering plants, cactus, trees and shrubs including many you may never have seen before. One uncommon flower I found was Rusby’s Globemallow. (Thanks to Steve Jones for identifying this one for me!) There’s very little information about this one.
(UPDATE: Check out Steve Jones comment regarding the naming of this plant)

Rusby’s Globemallow (Sphaeralcea rusbyi) Flower captured near Tom’s Thumb in Spring of 2009.

In case you were wondering, even with all the additions, the new guide will be only slightly thicker than the first one. That’s because many specimens in the first guide used up two pages. I’ll keep you posted.

Conservation Photography