Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Chuparosa (Justicia californica) is one of our native shrubs that has been adopted by the horticulture industry to be cultivated and planted throughout the urban area. Also known as hummingbird bush, the tubular flowers are stocked with nectar to lure their co-evolved pollinators. Look closely at the flowers and you'll see the pollen bearing anthers and pollen receiving stigma positioned perfectly so that the pollen will be dusted onto a hummingbird's head, and then dabbed onto the stigma of the next flower it visits.

Last week here in Phoenix, sub-freezing temps wilted the already blooming stems of chuparosa around our neighborhood. But any native plant that has made it through thousands of years of our erratic winter weather can bounce back from a freeze pretty quickly. Indeed, just one week after the last freezing morning, the local shrubs are back in business, which makes our hummers really happy!

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