Diplacus longiflorus

Week 17 in the PerpJo. There’s a lovely orange/red specimen of bush monkey flower growing in Legacy Park. I first assumed it was scarlet monkey flower but that has quite different leaves, and simpler flowers. I’m confused about the Latin names of the various species. Some sites say that Mimulus changed to Diplacus. Some sites say the reverse. Regardless, the various monkey flowers are important butterfly host plants and a nectar source for hummingbirds.

Gopherus agassizii

Our friends Lola and Lynne have a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) which they inherited from their neighbour. The species is native to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is the official state reptile in California and Nevada.

G. agassizii lives for 50 to 80 years. Stallone is in his mid-twenties, healthy and strong. I hung out with him on their back lawn today while he munched on rose petals, his favourite snack.

fostering plant love

We kicked off the 2023 Junior Ranger program at Malibu Creek State Park today, with my session on plants. We had 23 kids in our target age group (7 to 12 yrs old) plus another 40-odd parents + older/younger kids. Many questions were asked. Many leaves were fondled. I think we all enjoyed ourselves—I know I did!

One enthusiastic young miss informed me that she wants to be a veterinarian. And because she loves animals, she also loves plants, because animals need plants. And we humans need both animals and plants. We are all connected. Yes, wise one, we are.

lizard fun

I was thrilled to see my first horned lizard on this morning’s hike with Vic and Annette. Huge kudos to A. for spotting this guy in the shadows. The Blainville’s Horned Lizard is a flat-bodied lizard with a wide oval-shaped body. Adults can vary in length from 2.5-4.5 inches / 6.3-11.4 cm (snout to vent) and have enlarged pointed scales scattered on the upper body and tail, and a large crown of horns on the head. Their biggest claim to fame is that they can squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes for a distance up to 5 ft / 1.5 m.

We also spotted a pair of side-blotched lizard having a cuddle in the middle of the trail. Ah, spring!