Well shoot, I spent so much time jabbering about my conversion to desert rat and monsoon believer that I left some stuff out. So here is what I left out and thought you may want to know:
- Native bees that buzz pollinate flowers are Bombus spp., Centris spp., and Anthophora spp. (this is taken from the marvelous bilingual field guide Pollinators of the Sonoran Desert). And yes, you really can hang out by the flowers and see and hear this happening! Oh, and look at how the petals of a senna flower create a cup; sonicated exploding pollen ricochets of the petals…there is no way a bee is leaving without pollen attached to it.
- The featured senna is Senna wislizeni and the specific epithet is in honor of Friedrich Wislizen, a German born American physician, botanist, plant collector…yet another pesky immigrant! His name shows up in a few other species as well and what little I read about him it sounds like he was a wonderful and deserving fellow. So the senna can be called Wislizinus’ senna…quite a mouthful…or simply, shrubby senna, because it is.
- Senna used to be Cassia. I’m okay with that. They are in the Fabaceae and there are eight native species found in Arizona. Shrubby senna is found in Cochise County and into Sonora from 4,000’ to 5,000’ on slopes and mesas.
- The cloudless sulphur butterfly is Phoebis sennae. Phoebe is the goddess of the moon and sennae refers to the host plants. Cloudless sulphurs are very common and quite beautiful.
I guess that’s it. The photos of the senna flowers and the cloudless sulphur caterpillar are mine and taken of some plants that I planted years ago along our drive. Every July and August they bloom and remind me of “my magical monsoon belief system”.