Acacia schottii (2 pots) Schott’s acacia could be a food plant for a number of Eurema sulfurs. This plant is also a good nectar source for butterflies and bees and wasps.
Amelanchier utahensis (5 pots) Utah service berry is probably a source of food to birds. The flowers and developing fruits are likely used by the brown elfin and echo blue as caterpillar food plants.
Asclepias angustifolia (4 plants) The seed for these plants were from a small package and called Arizona milkweed. It is closely related to narrow leafed milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). Asclepias fascicularis is a common food plant for the monarch (Danaus plexippus). Arizona milkweed appears to be a good nectar source.
Asclepias californica (Limited supply) California milkweed is a somewhat common in the Anza area, but is rarely found in large stands. Over the years I had difficulty getting the seeds of this milkweed to sprout. This winter I tried a technique I used for getting seed of a population of Asclepias erosa I ended up getting most of these seeds to germinate. This milkweed is closely related to Asclepias vestitus and has chocolate and purple flowers. This milkwed is a common food plant of the monarch butterfly. This milkweed I believe grows at 3,500 feet up to 5,500 feet elevation
Asclepias eriocarpa (8 plants) Indian milkweed like many milkweeds is used by the monarch (Danus plexippus) and to a lesser degeree the queen (Danaus gilippus). This milkweed forms a lot of fluff for seed dispersal that is great for stuffing pillows. Asclepias eriocarpa I believe is not as toxic (or as high in cardiac glycosides) as Asclepias erosa since it is fed upon by mice, while the erosa is not. These plants were collected as seed from milkweeds growing along route 74 just east of Mountain Center in the San Jacinto Mountains. It is drought and cold tolerant (up to about 8,000 feet elevation). It will die back if conditions are not moist enough. The flowers of milkweeds are valuable nectar sources for many butterflies including monarchs. They are visited by many bees and wasps as well. It likes full to partial sun.
Asclepias erosa (10 plants) This is one of the few desert milkweeds that appears to be equally liked by the monarch (Danaus plesippus) and the queen (Danaus gilippus). It grows from around 1,000 feet elevation up to 4,500 feet. I have found this milkweed in the BLM parcel just across Terwilliger road from my home. It is highly adapted to desert conditions often going dormant for a few years waiting for adequate rainfall. It is able to do this by forming a large corm that stores a lot of resources. It spreads by root expansion through the soil. Like many milkweeds its flowers are highly attractive to other butterflies and many insects including bees.
Asclepias linaria (12 plants) This plant species does not look like a typical milkweed and is somewhat rare in California. It is a desert species and grows from about 3,000 feet to 4,500 feet elevation. I know little about its attractiveness to monarch and queen butterflies as a larval food plant. For some reason I have noticed animals cutting the stalks of this plant but not eating them. I have observed many butterfly and skippers feeding upon its nectar.
Asclepias speciosa (4 pots) Showy milkweed has large leaves and has large clumps of beautiful red and pink flowers. This milkweed grows naturally in northern California. Good food plant for the monarch. Beautiful plant for your garden.
Asclepias subulata (4 pots) This is a reed milkweed, but unlike Asclepias albicans it branches from the base and does not get as nearly as tall. The seed were collected near Blythe along the Colorado River. It is sensitive to cold temperatures like Asclepias albicans. It may be able to survive Anza winters, but will not be able to survive at higher elevations. This milkweed often grows in sandy washes. It is a great nectar source and is a larval food plant for both the queen (Danagus giippus) and monarch (Danaus plexippus).
Asclepias tuberosa (several to be repotted) This orange flowered milkweed is commonly called butterfly weed. The original source for the seeds of this plant is not known. This milkweed is not native to California, but I have found it common in western New Mexico. I have not seen monarch larvae feeding upon the leaves of this plant, but the adult monarchs, as well as many other butterflies, commonly visit this plant for nectar.This plant likes full sun.
Aster chilensis (2 pots) Unfortunately I do not know the source of these plants. I have planted this aster around the pond and it is doing well there without watering. This [A close up of a flower Description automatically generated] aster is a food plant for the field crescent butterfly, Phyciodes pulchellus. The field crescent is rather rare in southern California south of Santa Barbara. It once occurred just outside of San Bernardino but I believe that population disappeared many years back. In the Lompoc area Aster chilense is the exclusive food plant. According to John Emmel it can be used to feed a lot of larvae of the Charidryas checkerspots or composite feeding checkerspots. The bloom period for Aster chilense is in summer when it is a great nectar source for many butterflies and skippers. This plant requires a little more moisture than others since it often grows in moist meadows. This aster will tolerate both sun and shade. It is very easy to grow.
Atriplex canescens (4 pots) Four winged saltbush is a major food plant for the very rare San Emigdio blue (Plebejulina emigdionis), the pygmy blue (Brephidium exilis), the saltbush sootywing (Hesperopsis alpheus) and the Mojave sootywing (Hesperopsis libya). The seed were collected from route 371 just east of Anza. The San Emigdio blue is rapidly disappearing in southern California largely due to human development. It occurs in San Bernardino County along the Mojave River, in drainages of far northern Los Angeles County, the Lake Isabella area and eastern Tehachapi mountain drainages of Kern County, drainages of eastern Ventura County, and the drainages leading out of the eastern Sierra Nevada in Inyo County. I suspect this butterfly requires a specific ant for its survival. It appears to have been extirpated from Santa Barbara County and many areas where it once occurred in Los Angeles County. I have observed the marine blue ovipositing upon the flowering parts of this saltbush. It is not a nectar source for butterflies. Saltbush plants have separate sexes so more than one plant will likely be needed for reproduction.
Atriplex lentiformis (3 pots) Big saltbush, sometimes called quailbush, is common along such places as the Colorado River. This bush is the caterpillar food plant for the rare McNeil’s sootywing. Could be used by other sootywings. It is a major food plant for the pygmy blue (Brephidium exilis). This saltbush is not a nectar source.
Boechera californica (2 pots) California rockcress is a small to medium sized herbaceous perennial mustard. These plants were started from seed collected 6 miles south of Anza. It is a common species in southern California and is used as a larval food plant by several species of butterflies in the Pierid family (whites and orangetips) in my yard such as the California white (Pontia sisymbrii), Sara orangetip (Anthocharis sara), and Grinnell’s marble (Anthocharis lanceolata). It is probably used by other species of whites in early spring. It likes to grow in sandy soils along washes and in canyons. It is pretty easy to grow and does not require extra watering once established. It can tolerate a fair amount of shade and sun. This rockcress is a good plant for a rock garden.
Boechera perennans (4 pots) Nevada rock cress (Boechera perennans) occurs throughout much of the Mojave Desert and is the larval food plant for Anthocharis sara, Anthochara lanceolata, and Pontia sysimbrii in Joshua Tree National Park. It is the food plant for these species along the desert edge to the south in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It is a major larval food plant in my yard to the above butterflies.
Carex species (1 pot) This sedge is a plant that can be grown around a creek, or edge of a pond, or in a somewhat moist area. It could be used by various skippers as a caterpillar food plant such as the dun skipper (Euphyes vestris).
Castilleja foliolosa (with E. fasciculatum) (2 pots) This paintbrush can bloom all year long. It can be made to even bloom on Christmas day in Anza at 4,200 feet elevation with a little extra watering at a time when most plants have gone dormant. It is a very good hummingbird nectar source. Like the proceeding species it is a larval food plant for the Wright’s patch (Thessalia leanira wrightii) and the buckeye (Precis coenia). Castilleja foliolosa is a favorite for the Wright’s patch and is sometimes used by Edith’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha). It can tolerate some shade, but it likes full sun.
Castilleja linearifolia (1 pot) Most perennial paintbrushes require a host, while this species appears not to require one. This paintbrush blooms specifically in late summer through fall and is particularly loved by the rufous hummingbirds in fall migrations. The flowers are not frequently used as nectar sources for butterflies, but buckeyes (Precis coenia) often oviposit upon these plants. This paintbrush requires extra watering and often occurs around springs in the desert and washes with a high water table. This plant can tolerate some shade but likes full sun.
Cercis occidentale (1 plant) Western redbud is a probable food plant for the echo blue (Celastrina ladon echo) and the brown elfin (Incisalia augustinus). I did some studies on the Henry’s elfin (Incisalia henrici), which is closely related to the brown elfin, using the eastern redbud when I lived in the east. The flowers of this plant were excellent for rearing this butterfly and I got 100% survival compared to a much lower survival on the holy which was the native food plant for that butterfly. Other populations of the Henry’s elfin do use the eastern redbud as a larval food plant. This beautiful redbud is not as far as I know a good nectar source for many butterflies, but it is a beautiful plant when in full bloom. I do not know the seed source other than from southern California.
Celtis reticulata (2 plants) The net leafed hackberry is very rare in southern California. There is a stand in the Laguna Mountains, another in Yucaipa, another on the Morongo Indian Reservation in San Gorgonio Pass, another at Willow Hole in Joshua Tree National Park, a stand in Clark Mountain, and in a canyon on the western side of the Providence Mountains, and a small stand at hackberry spring in the Hackberry Mountains. The seed that established these plants were collected from hackberry spring, which when collected the hackberry trees were suffering from the spring being drained for cattle. The berries of this normally small tree are very sweet and are said to have been used by the Indians. It is favored by birds as well. These trees are used as larval food plants by the mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) and the snout butterfly (Libytheana carinenta). Although the snout butterfly is not native to California it is becoming more established by the presence of planted hackberries which are very well adapted to the Mojave Desert conditions. These trees will grow very fast when provided water and will form good shade in time. The young trees unfortunately are loved by squirrels, rabbits, and deer so some protection may be needed during the hackberry’s early development if you have these animals in your yard.
Cirsium occidentale (1 plant) The thistles are an important group of plants in southern California. The California thistle (Cirsium occidentale) is probably the most common native thistle in the Anza valley area. The common painted lady (Vanessa cardui) is particularly fond of this plant as a larval food plant. The mylitta crescent (Phyciodes mylitta) uses thistles as its predominant larval food plants. The thistle flowers are important nectar sources for skippers, and the larger butterflies, such as swallowtails and fritillaries. This may be due to the need for a long proboscis to get the thistle nectar.
Coleogyne ramosissima (1 plant) Blackbrush, a member of the rose family, is a common plant in the desert on decomposing granite. I have not found it to be important as a nectar source. It may be a larval food plant for some of the blues and hairstreaks such as the echo blue and brown elfin. But this speculation is based on it being in the rose family. There are cases where these plants get so dense that they provide fuel for fires in desert habitats.
Cylindropuntia californica (4 plants) This cholla cactus was collected as cuttings just east of my house. The cuttings were allowed to dry out for a week and planted. I suspect this is the species since Lightner in “San Diego County Native Plants” shows this as the only cholla to make to 4,000 feet elevation. This species of cactus is more cold adapted than the other chollas.
Datura meteloides (3 plants) The Jimson weed is a common plant particularly along the edges of the road. This plant has a beautiful large white flower. It is the main food plant for the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata).
Dieteria canescens (10 plants) The hoary aster is good for larval food plants for some checkerspots, but none are known for our area to use these plants. The flowers are lavender with yellow centers. Flowers of Dieteria (Machaeranthera) cannescens are wonderful as nectar sources for butterflies, particularly since they have a very long bloom period starting in early May and going into at least late October.
Distichlis spicata (15 pots) Saltgrass is a larval food plant for a number of skippers. Panoquinna errans or the wandering skipper uses this plant along the coast. A very rare skipper called the alkali skipper (Pseudocopaeodes eunus) as a larva feeds specifically on this grass. The sandhill skipper (Polites sabuletti) also feeds on this grass. This grass is very salt tolerant, but it does like a little extra water runoff.
Encelia actonii (3 pots) In Anza valley this is one of the best nectar sources in early summer. The seed source was 6 miles south of Anza. Often these bushes are covered with flowers and butterflies and other insects. These bushes favor drainages and washes. It often blooms in late spring and again in the fall if there are summer rains. It is not a larval food plant.
Ericameria nauseosus (6 plants) Rubber rabbitbrush is a great nectar source for many butterflies late in the season. Some fritillaries that go through a summer diapause use this nectar source when they become active in late summer
Erigeron foliolosa (4 pots) The fleabane daisy is a fairly good nectar source for butterflies and other insects. It can have a fairly long bloom period. It is not a food plant even though the aster family is commonly used by checkerspots.
Eriogonum cinereum (4 pots) The silver gray buckwheat is a California endemic and occurs only along the coast from Palos Verdes peninsula north to Santa Barbara (and there are records for Santa Rosa Island). In that area Pratt has found the Bernardino blue in a number of areas and a Mormon metalmark (Apodemia mormo subspecies) in the Santa Barbara area.
Eriogonum fasciculatum (4 plants) There are many varieties of the California buckwheat. Sometimes two subspecies of this plant can be found in the same area. The variety being grown (polifolium) is the one adapted to the Anza area. This plant is a larval food plant for the mountain blue (Icaricia lupini monticola), the Bernardino blue (Euphilotes bernardino), the perplexing hairstreak (Callophrys perplexa) (now C. affinis), and the Behr’s metalmark (Apodemia virgulti virgulti). This plant is an absolutely marvelous nectar source for many of the smaller butterflies and even some of the larger ones and many other insect pollinators. For instance I get Coronis fritillaries feeding upon California buckwheat flowers on my property.
Eriogonum nudum (6 plants) This plant is used by Tilden’s blue in the San Gabriel Mountains and near Tilden’s blue in some of the Desert Mountains of Death Valley. The gorgon copper uses it as a larval food plant around Frazier Park and areas north, east, and west, but not from Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino Mountains south and east. It is a favorite larval food plant by the acmon blue. There are many varieties of this plant with some races being sympatric and kept genetically separate by blooming at different seasons. The one being grown here is a variety found to the north.
Eriogonum parvifolium (1 pot) This plant is the larval food plant for Euphilotes battoides allyni or the endangered El Segundo Blue. This butterfly is restricted to a few areas along the coast and areas around Lompoc in Santa Barbara County. It is a great nectar source and is fairly well adapted to xeric habitats. It is also used as a larval food plant by some members of the Apodemia mormo complex, Strymon melinus, Icaricia acmon, and probably other lycaenid larvae.
Eriogonum umbellatum nevadense Sulfur flowered buckwheat blooms in early spring, often May and early June depending upon elevation. There are many butterflies that use it as a larval food plant. Amongst these are the blue copper (Lycaena heteronea), the cythera metalmark (Apodemia mormo cythera), the lupine blue (Icaricia lupini), the ancilla blue (Euphilotes ancilla), and the battoides blue (Euphilotes battoides). The flowers of this buckwheat are extremely attractive to butterflies.
Eriophyllum confertiflorum (3 plants) Golden yarrow is a very easy composite to grow. It is not a food plant, but a late spring nectar source. It seeds readily once established.
Gutierriezia californica (10 pots) California matchweed is another plant that blooms in late summer. It is not a caterpillar food plant, but a good nectar source particularly in areas where there is nothing else in bloom. Second brood Apodemia virgulti use this plant as an important nectar source in my area.
Hesperoyucca whipplei (6 plants) Our Lord’s Candle is common throughout the hills that surround Anza Valley. It is relatively easy to grow. It is neither a larval food plant nor a nectar source to butterflies. There is a specific yucca moth that pollinates this plant and without it the plants will not seed themselves.
Horkeliella congdonis (6 plants) Congdon’s false horkelia, a member of the cinquefoils of the Rose family, is a rare endemic plant. It prefers sandy soils and washes. The flowers are a good nectar source for many butterflies. It is closely related to the Horkelia and is potentially used by rural checkered skipper (Pyrgus ruralis) where it is found in the Sierra Neveda.
Justicia californica (2 pots) Chuparosa is the caterpillar food plant for the tiny checkerspot (Dymasia dymas). It is a wonderful nectar source for hummingbirds. If you are located in the Anza Borrego area or close to the low desert’s edge you may want some of these plants. I have found it does not survive heavy frosts in my yard in Anza, but is supposed to come up from surviving roots. Even though I do not have this butterfly survive in my yard it often migrates in from the Anza Borrego Desert. Sometimes it can be common in my yard due to its ability to migrate long distances despite being small.
Keckiella antirrhinoides (15 pots) This bush penstemon unlike the following has yellow flowers. This penstemon is the main larval food plant for the chalcedon checkerspot along the desert edge and in many of the desert mountains of the Mojave Desert. It is a great nectar source for hummingbirds.
Keckiella cordifolia (8 plants) This bush penstemon has beautiful red flowers. Unlike many of the other bush penstemons this species requires a little more surface water and often grows around springs and creek beds when found in the inland valley. This penstemon often acts as a vine in its growth and will climb other structures. It is a larval food plant for the chalcedon checkerspot. It is rarely used as a nectar source by some of the larger butterflies. California dogfaces though like red flowers that require long proboscises.
Lathyrus vestitus (2 plants) This wild pea is beautiful when it is in full bloom. It often grows in partial shade of red shank and climbs up these bushes. In the east this genus of plants is commonly used as a larval food plant by the silvery blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus). I suspect it is used by the northern cloudy wing (Thorybes pylades). The flowers of this plant are not normally used as a nectar source.
Linum lewisii (3 plants) Wild flax is common in woodland clearings. It is rarer in the foothills. It is found in the eastern Mojave Desert. It has a long bloom season and has beautiful blue flowers. On hot days these flowers dry up and fall off the plant before noon, so it is often best to view them in the morning when a plant can be covered in blue flowers. Despite the number of flowers produced by this plant it is not an important nectar source. It may be a larval food plant for the variegated fritillary (Euptoieda claudia) when it wanders into an area with this flax. The larvae of these fritillaries feed largely on flax in Arizona and neighboring New Mexico.
Lupinus excubitus (3 plants) The grape lupine, like other perennial lupines, is a very difficult plant to grow for long periods in pots. It generally requires deep sand. Lupines are not generally an important nectar source for butterflies since the flowers are difficult to access by insects other than bees. It is an extremely important larval food plant for many of the small blue butterflies. The Boisduval or icaroides blue does use lupines as nectar sources, which is not surprising since it uses lupines as caterpillar food plants and lupines can be the only nectar plant in the habitat. These species include the rare arrowhead blue (Glaucopsyche piasus), the silvery blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus), the Melissa blue (Lycaeides melissa), the Reakirt’s blue (Hemiargus isola), the ceraunus blue (Hemiargus ceraunus), the icarioides blue (Icaricia icarioides), and the acmon blue (Icaricia acmon).
Nolina parryi (2 plants) Parry’s beargrass is only a larval food plant for the gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus). During dry years when little else is blooming I have found the flowers of this beargrass are extremely valuable to hairstreaks in the Satyrium genus.
Oenothera californica (3 pots) California dune primrose is relatively common in the Anza area along the edges of roads. It is not a food plant, but it is a nectar source for some bees. I have not seen butterflies visiting these plants. Once established it forms stands of beautiful flowers.
Penstemon incertus (10 plants) My wife loves this showy penstemon so I have planted many of them in the yard. This penstemon blooms in summer and remains light gray green throughout the year. It is not a larval food plant but would be great as a hummingbird nectar source. Often I see Massarid wasps visiting the flowers of this plant. It has light blue flowers.
Penstemon rostriflorus (6 plants) This penstemon, which I am calling Penstemon rostriflorus, is late blooming so is excellent for hummingbirds during the late summer and fall migrations. It tolerates a little more shade than other penstemons. It has orange red flowers.
Penstemon spectabilis (1 plant) Showy penstemon is the second most common penstemon (to Penstemon centranthifolius) in the Anza valley area. It is not a larval food plant as far as I know, but it is a nectar source for large butterflies and particularly sphinx moths and hummingbirds. It has blue-purple flowers
Phragmites australis (1 plant) The common reed is a native grass that can be used to replace the non-native and invasive Arundo. It is not a nectar source, but it is a larval food plant for the rare Yuma skipper (Ochlodes yuma).
Potentilla glandulosa (2 pots) Sticky cinquefoil is an occasionally used larval food plant for the endangered Laguna Mountain skipper (Pyrgus ruralis lagunae) which is on the federal endangered list. I have found larvae of this skipper on the trail up to the Palomar Observatory from a campground in the Palomar Mountains. It appears that this endangered skipper has been extirpated from the Laguna Mountains. The flowers of this cinquefoil are sometimes used as a nectar source by butterflies, but are not as good as the other larval food plant Cleveland horkelia (Horkelia clevelandii). The seed source is not known since it came from a plant bought from Theodore Payne.
Prosopis pubescens (2 plants) The screwbean mesquite is an extremely valuable tree or large shrub. It is thorny and has catkin flowers that are visited by many bees and some butterflies. These flowers are a larval food plant for the ceraunus blue (Hemiargus ceraunus), the Reakirt’s blue (Hemiargus isola), the marine blue (Leptotes marinus), the leda hairstreak (Ministrymon leda), and the gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus). The leaves are used as a larval food plant for the Palmer’s metalmark (Apodemia palmeri). In fact the Palmer’s metalmark seems to prefer the screwbean mesquite over the honey mesquite.
Pseudognaphalium microcephalum (2 plants) The white everlasting is a larval food plant for the American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis). The American painted lady often oviposits within the flowers of everlastings where the larva will develop. Some of the other native everlasting species are not as attractive since their flowers do not clump as well and make a good food resource. The everlasting’s flowers are a nectar source but not frequently used.
Quercus agrifolia (8 pots) This coast live oak is a variety from inland California. It is a larval food plant for the California Sister (Adelpha bredowii). It is also used as a larval food plant by the gold hunter’s hairstreak (Satyrium auretorum). It is not a nectar source but some of the bugs (Hemiptera) that use the oaks may provide resources, such as honeydew, to some insects and possibly butterflies. The acorns for this oak were long and were collected along the eastern slopes of Palmar Mountain. These trees reach over 40 feet tall but can be kept pruned to bushes as found in some coastal oak trees.
Rhus trilobata (4 pots) The skunkbrush is a very valuable nectar source in spring. It is not a food plant, but a lot of butterflies will use this plant as a nectar source over others found during the same season. There is some mild toxicity to this plant that resembles poison oak showing a potential relationship.
Ribes cereum (6 plants) The wax currant is the major food plant for the Hoary comma (Polygonia gracilis) in southern California. It occurs at high elevations (above 5,000 feet). This currant produces a lot of berries that are probably is eaten by many birds.
Ribes divaricatum (4 pots) This gooseberry occurs along the coast in cooler climates and often along drainages. I do not recommend growing this plant in desert habitats without watering. I grow it along the creek that runs intermittently to my pond. It is a larval food plant for the tailed copper and the Oreas anglewing (Polygonia progne oreas). Some consider the Oreas anglewing a separate species from the gray comma.
Rosa californica (7 plants) This plant is our native rose. It requires a little extra moisture and often grows arouind springs. It is not a larval food plant and is not frequently used as a nectar source, but in drought years when little is in bloom butterflies will use its nectar. These bushes form bright red rose hips that are very attractive in late summer.
Rumex salicifolia (5 plants) Willow dock is the food plant for two native copper butterflies the great gray copper (Lycaena xanthoides) and the purplish copper (Lycaena helloides).
Salvia melifera (10 pots) Black sage is a common Salvia in southern California. It is not a larval food plant, but it is a nectar source for many bees. It is very drought tolerant, but may not be adapted to elevations above 5,000 feet.
Salazaria mexicana (3 pots) The Paper bag bush is in the Lamiacee with plants like Salvia. It is xeric adapted. It is not frequently used as a nectar source by butterflies, it is used frequently by bees and wasps. The flowers of this plant are beautiful.
Sambucus nigra (Blue Elderberry) (4 pots) I suspect this elderberry is a larval food plant for the echo blue (Celastrina ladon echo) since I have collected caterpillars off of [A pink flower on a plant Description automatically generated] the flowers and developing fruit of this plant in California, but there is evidence of an eastern elderberry species being toxic to eastern Celastrina. It is likely used by the brown elfin (Incisalia augustinus) as well. In any case the elderberry fruit are great human food plants. It likes sandy washes and once established is very drought tolerant.
Senecio flaccidus (3 plants) Shrubby butterweed is one of the best nectar sources for butterflies, but it is not a larval food plant. After good rains in the desert this plant will bloom and have all of the butterflies that became active due to the recent rains visiting it. This plant will bloom at practically every month of the year depending upon precipitation. I have seen it even bloom in late December. It seeds itself readily. It has yellow flowers and likes sandy soils.
Senna roemeriana (2 plants) This Cassia (or Senna) came from Eddy County of New Mexico and is not native to California. It is likely used as a larval food plant by the cloudless sulfur (Phoebis senna) and the sleepy sulfur (Eurema niccippe). The native Senna used (such as armata and covesii) do not do well in Anza valley and Senna roemeriana survives the cold winters well unlike many other Senna species. These sulfurs only use species Senna as larval food plants and despite the absence of native Senna are fairly common in Anza Valley. They wander into our area from lower elevations. The advantage of this plant is that it grows at elevations above 4,000 feet in cooler climates compared to other Cassia or Senna species. Seems rather easy to grow and adapted to salty clay soils.
Sesuvium verrucosum (5 plants) Sea-purslane is one of our native ice plants (Aizoaceae). Surprisingly it is one of the larval food plants for the pygmy blue (Brephidium exilis). The larvae seem to be actually far more cryptic on the leaves of this plant than they are on any of the Chenopodaceae (Atriplex species and Chenopodium species). Sea-purslane though is a great nectar source for butterflies and will bloom most of the summer.
Simmondsia chinensis (2 plants) Jojoba is not a nectar source for butterflies, but it may be a larval food plant used by the brown elfin (Incisalia augustinus). I have often seen brown elfins in association with jojoba in the Wilson Valley area. The nuts of jojoba are used by wildlife.
Sisyrinchium bellum (10 pots) Blue eyed grass is an interesting native. It is neither a nectar source nor a larval food plant, but it will look nice in your wildflower garden.
Solidago velutina (4 plants) The California goldenrod is used as a food plant by the pallid checkerspot, but is not used by any southern California butterfly as a caterpillar food plant. This plant is extremely good as a late blooming nectar source. Monarchs in the east use this plant as a nectar source as it migrates south.
Sphaeralcea ambigua (10 plants) The apricot mallow is one of the best larval food plants for a number of butterflies and skippers. These species include gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), mallow scrub hairstreak (Strymon istapa), west coast lady (Vanessa annabella), desert checkered skipper (Pyrgus albescens), small checkered skipper (Pyrgus scriptura), Arizona powdered skipper (Systasea zampa) and the large white skipper (Helioptes ericetorum). It is rarely if ever used by butterflies as a nectar source. The flowers can be beautiful in the spring.
Stanleya pinnatta (6 plants) Desert plume with its long yellow flower plumes is an extremely beautiful plant. It is a very good nectar source for butterflies and many insects. It is also a larval food plant for the Becker’s white (Pontia beckeri) and the checkered white (Pontia protodice). It has a reputation of being somewhat difficult to grow, but I have found it easy. It likes sand and sun.
Stipa speciosa This bunch grass is one of the most common species in the Anza area and seems rather easy to grow. I suspect it is used as a larval food plant for the juba skipper (Hesperia juba).
Thamnosma montana (Turpentine Broom) (4 pots) This plant is a very drought tolerant member of the Citrus family (Rutaceae). It is a larval food plant for the desert swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes coloro). These swallowtails are extremely common on my property in the spring and late summer if there are summer rains. The adult swallowtails like to feed upon the nectar of the dark blue flowers of the turpentine broom. There are records of the giant swallowtail (Papilio cresophontes) using the turpentine broom as a larval food plant. I have seen several giant swallowtails in my yard and think this may be due to it using turpentine broom which is common along a wash in the BLM parcel just east of my property There is only one other member of the Citrus family found in southern California and that is the bush-rue (Cneoridium dumosum). I know little of the bush-rue, although observed it frequently during checkerspot surveys, and unlike turpentine broom there are no butterflies known to feed upon it.
Yucca schidigera The Mojave Yucca is the larval food plant for the Yucca Skipper (Megathymus yucca). The caterpillars of this giant skipper live in the suckers that come form from the main plant. In late summer they form tents of silk that come up from the main stalk of the Yucca.
BELOW ARE IMAGES OF 35 OF THE 73 SPECIES THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE.
ANNUAL NATIVE PLANT SALE
Saturday, Oct 3, 2020 11-4pm
Vail Headquarters in Temecula