Tag Archives: caterpillar

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Perhaps if we renamed them

Did you know?

About a year ago a friend of mine was out trying to buy milkweeds for her gardens. That reminded me that I wanted a milkweed, too. I went searching but couldn’t find regular, everyday milkweeds at any of the nurseries. I’m thinking that, perhaps, if we were to rename them, say, butterfly bushes, the nurseries might carry them. Anyways……..

The last nursery I stopped at had an interesting tree near the checkout stand. Looked like this:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

I wandered around the nursery looking for plants that I didn’t have, that I needed, that I wanted. I found a few, but I kept coming back to that tree with the Chinese lanterns hanging on it.

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

I had not seen any for sale so I asked about it. The plant lady told me that it was a Gomphocarpus physocarpus, that it was in the milkweed family, and that it always had monarch caterpillars and butterflies on it each year. She said she thought it was about ten years old.

I asked her if she had any for sale. She had “a few in back” so she went to get me one. It was just a little thing on July 17, 2018:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Here is what mine looked like on May 26 when I saw the first monarch butterfly on it:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

It looks like this today, full of Chinese lanterns:

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

This thing blooms year-round, and I have seen monarch butterflies on it, lots of caterpillars, but no chrysalises. I’m thinking there might be some predators around who snack on the caterpillars before they can hide in their chrysalises.

Here is a 31-second video of a monarch caterpillar chomping down on it:

Out & About San Diego — #4: Go to an orchid show, come home with….

Out & About San Diego

Three friends and I went to Balboa Park to go to the San Diego Orchid Society’s winter show yesterday. I came home with 132 pictures of orchids, but I also came home with this picture:

Monarch butterfly in San Diego


That’s a male monarch butterfly. A female would have a little black dot on its wing.

After leaving the orchid show, we went over to the Botanical Building, just a few hundred feet away from where the orchid show was. The Botanical Building was also full of orchids but nothing that we hadn’t already seen at the orchid show.

That beautiful monarch butterfly was sitting outside the entrance to the Botanical Building when we went in. I would have stopped then to take its picture, but there was already a group of photographers waiting their turn. Since I have pictures of monarch butterflies, I decided to skip the monarch line.

When we came out, our monarch was still sitting there but there was no line. So I quickly made a line of one and came home with that picture.

Right next to where the monarch was sitting is a California milkweed (Asclepias californica), which I just identified tonight while writing this post. Monarchs love milkweeds, basically needing them to survive.

During the summer the milkweed is full of monarch caterpillars:

Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego


Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego


Monarch caterpillar chrysalis, September 2011, San Diego


Here is a picture of the flowers of the California milkweed:

Flower of the California milkweed


Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D and post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.


This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat