Posts Tagged: hummingbirds
It's all about the pollinators--whether they be bumble bees, longhorned bees, squash bees, sweat bees, honey bees or hummingbirds. Yes, hummingbirds...
A longhorned bee flies over a Mexican sunflower blossom (Tithonia) in Vacaville. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A squash bee, a specialist bee that forages on the genus Cucurbita, buzzes out of squash blossom in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee (Apis mellifera) and a yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) share a flower on the UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pollinators aren't just bees, butterflies, beetles and bats. They're also birds, like hummingbirds. Ornithologists tell us that hummingbirds can...
Hummingbirds eat insects and insects eat hummingbirds. Here a praying mantis lurks by a hummingbird feeder. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A hummingbird flies in for a quick burst of energy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Congratulations to community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: she was just...
A honey bee heads for a lupine blossom. Nectar-living microbes release scents or volatile compounds, too, and can influence a pollinator’s foraging preference, according to UC Davis community ecologist Rachel Vannette, recipient of a Hellman Fellowship. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The hummingbirds seemed apprehensive. They'd fly to the feeder, stop in mid-air, and turn back. What was keeping them from the feeder? A closer...
A praying mantis is sprawled out on a hummingbird feeder, as a hummer takes a drink. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The praying mantis moves to another spot. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Silhouette of the praying mantis lying in wait. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
I found this little gem by its lonesome on a shelf in the corner of an itty bitty hardware store mixed amongst some fuchsia and coleus. It immediately caught my eye with its upright stature and brilliantly colored flower. I’d seen similar plants in different colors elsewhere and knew them as Justicia brandegeana. The store owner told me it was called Shrimp Plant. I had also seen them more costly, so I quickly snapped it up without a second look and was happy to be taking mine to its new home.
As I ceremoniously carried him to his new home I noticed the tag with the care instructions, and then I noticed the scientific name…Pachystachys lutea. It certainly looked very similar. They are both in the same plant family Acanthaceae. The confusion came in because both are called Shrimp Plant. Because of the way the bracts are aligned and the actual flowers protrude, it makes it appear as a shrimp, hence the common name, Shrimp Plant, even more so if you come across a salmon colored variety of the brandegeana.
My new friend, the Pachystachys actually is native to Peru which makes them well tolerable of the heat; however they are actually shade plants. It would be great to see several of these blooming in some of the dark corners of my yard. Right now it is doing well in its original pot in the bright light of the fall sun but in the shade of my backyard awning. They can grow up to 5 feet tall in optimal conditions (the shrimp) can eventually get up to 7 inches. They can be propagated by stem cuttings and will keep their bushy habit with regular trimming. It usually blooms from spring through fall however can bloom all year if kept indoors in the cold seasons.
It does like to be watered every other day and when I’ve let it go more and it begins to droop, a good soaking and he’s standing upright within a few hours. They definitely attract hummingbirds as I’ve been “hummed” by an impatient one or two while I’ve been tending to it and the surrounding area. In the winter I plan to bring my Shrimp Plant indoors to avoid the cold and let it dwell happily as a houseplant and return him to the outdoors in the warmer weather.
Pachystachys lutea. (photos by Patricia Brantley)
Pachystachys lutea up close.