Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bugs Help ID Velvety Soft Mystery Plant

Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 20, 2009. Ants tending aphids on Velvety Soft Mystery Plant near Adelbert on the Red Car Property. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Last month, while shooting photos on the 18-Acre Elysian Park Parcel, I noticed ladybugs tending aphids on what turned out to be a plant with smaller, yet similar flowers as the Velvety Soft Mystery Plant. It turned out the plant on the 18-Acre Parcel was different variety of Milkweed.

On the Red Car Property, bugs were getting high off this plant's flowers in June. This was the first year I'd seen it flower on the Red Car Property.

It's worth noting, the ants in the above photo are a different species than the California Harvester Ants native to the northern end of the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, October 20, 2009. Some Milkweed survived the City's brush clearance in June and continues growing near Adelbert. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

A search of CalFlora indicates the Velvety Soft Mystery Plant is Indian or Kotolo Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa), a native plant. If you access the additional photos on CalPhotos, several photos show bugs similarly getting high off the flowers, as I witnessed in June.