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Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Like Senna Artemisioides

I like feathery cassia, or senna if you will, because it blooms in mid-winter with a bloom so furiously yellow it invokes the sun even on a sunny day; the thin leaves create beautiful patterns of shadow on the house and sidewalk; bugs look really good among the silvery and interesting foliage; when you look through the plant you'll see a mysterious multi-dimensional ambiance unfold before your eyes; the shiny mahogany seed pods hang on to contrast with and accentuate the next year's bloom.

So the senna artemisioides has just started blooming and the flowers attracted a very young katydid nymph. You can see some chew damage there on the blossom. I also found a syrphid fly pupa, and a harlequin bug (murgantia histrionica) among the leaves along with several tiny monarch caterpillars.

Which is weird since monarchs don't feed on senna. These caterpillars are probably just visiting while they get ready to molt. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for the cloudless sulfurs to grace my plants with eggs but I'm beginning to think they do not favor the feathery cassia of the the thin dry-ish leaves as a larval food plant.


jo said...

Good morning,
I'm getting itchy now :-)
Think I'll come back when the butterflies are out.

Darla said...

Nice yellow. I didn;t have any sulphurs on mine last year either. Although we raised a lot of monarchs from the milkweed.

Kate said...

Hi, Vanessa!
First time visitor, great stuff. This looks like the Oregon wildflower I see everywhere on my beach hikes. Could it be the same thing? Very pretty.