December 13, 2019

Wildflowers & butterflies

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Super Bloom Brings Brilliant Display of Wildflowers and Butterflies to California

By Judy M From Care2

Thanks to tremendous rains in recent months, there’s a super bloom in California, bringing with it the arrival of swarms of butterflies known as painted ladies. They’re amazing!

“Super bloom” isn’t actually a scientific term, but it’s used to indicate an explosion of wildflowers much bigger than the typical spring bloom. California has seen above-average rainfall this winter, which means that many of the state’s deserts and canyons are filled with wildflowers.

The right combination of rain and favorable temperatures, and not too much wind or heat, influences how spectacular the bloom will be.

Anza-Borrego

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This abundance of wildflowers is particularly magnificent In Southern California, where thousands of tiny bright blooms have emerged and are blanketing huge areas. Two of the best-known areas are Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and around Lake Elsinore, just south of Los Angeles.

According to the Wild Flower Hotline, sand verbena, Arizona lupine, desert dandelion, browneyes and desert sunflower are just a few of the species present here.

Californians are lucky: Super blooms generally happen only once every ten years, but 2017 saw the arrival of an equally brilliant display of wildflowers.

This explosion of multi-colored flowers is also providing a feast for swarms of migrating butterflies, the biggest in over a decade.

painted-lady

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Painted lady butterflies spend the winter close to the U.S.-Mexico border and head north in the spring. In the fall, their descendants head back south. Although they resemble monarch butterflies with their orange and black colors, painted ladies have a slightly different shape and are much smaller.

Sadly, the swarms of painted ladies consuming the flowers and laying their eggs don’t indicate a comeback for the monarchs.

“It has nothing at all to do with the monarch. It’s like asking whether a good year for the economy of Tanzania will be helpful to the economy of Sri Lanka. Probably there’s no relation,” explained Art Shapiro, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has studied butterfly migrations in California since 1972.

“There’s no missing them when they go like bats out of hell and they’re going in a straight line from southeast to northwest,” he added.

“I saw more butterflies in the last 10 minutes than I’ve seen my entire life,” Jason Suppes, an education specialist at an agricultural research facility in Irvine, wrote on Twitter.

These scenes of wildflowers and butterflies are magical in their ability to reduce stress and soothe the psyche — something we all need these days.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

For more on this story go to; https://www.care2.com/causes/super-bloom-brings-brilliant-display-of-wildflowers-and-butterflies-to-california.html

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