Some desert plants and shrubs steal water and nutrients from the roots of nearby shrubs which makes them hemiparasitic. One such plant is White Ratany (Krameria grayi). You typically see them next to Creosote or Jojoba and so far (in my observation anyway), it doesn’t appear that the shrubs are too adversely affected. Ratany is in bloom and/or starting to bloom at the moment so take a close look at the flowers next time you pass one. They’re really unusual! The seed pods are neat too so I’ll no doubt be posting a photo soon 🙂
Janusia is in bloom. Here’s a shot from this morning of the tiny native vine growing on a Buckhorn Cholla. The vine takes over but doesn’t seem to harm the cactus. I just read that Desert Tortoise like to eat Janusia.
I had narrowed down the genus of this bug to Trichodes but I was just informed by Mike Thomas at BugGuide.net that this is a Buprestidae aka Jewel Beetle. Thanks for the ID, Mike. (Next time I’ll wait for an ID before I post!)
There were so many of these bugs on this Cordia that the flowers didn’t stand a chance. Maybe when I get over the fascination, I’ll think about discouraging the plant eating bugs in my yard 🙂
(canon 24-70 at 70mm w/500D diopter. Color in background is decomposed granite.)