Location: Riverside County, California
July 25, 2014 5:48 PM
dear what’s that bug?
i believe this to be a queen butterfly on a desert willow flower.
is this correct?
this was taken in riverside county, california.
Your butterfly is certainly a Queen, but we are not so sure about the desert willow. In our memory, willow has flowers that are catkins, like pussy willows. Unless desert willow is not a true willow, we do not believe the Queen is nectaring from a desert willow. That stated, we decided to research and we learned at Las Pilitas Nursery website that Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis, is a native plant, but it does not provide the family name. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: “Named for its resemblance to willows, this popular ornamental tree is actually related to catalpa trees, Yellowbells (Tecoma stans), and Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans).” The flower does remind us of catalpa flowers, which we grew up calling “Cigar Trees.” According to the US Forest Service site: “It is a member of the Bignoniaceae family, and is most closely related to the genus Catalpha Scop.”
this is one of the problems with common names.
this tree was observed in its natural environment, some miles up the mountains at whitewater.
it is a chilopsis linearis and, yes, it is a member of the bignoniaceae family. it could be ssp arcuata.
the “chitalpa” is a cross between desert willow (chilopsis linearis) and the southern catalpa, which is the ornamental people call “desert willow”, which we see on the streets of los angeles.