Given recent volatility in traditional markets, not to mention the goings-on in the crypto world, it probably was inevitable that purveyors of gold would make their own run at nervous investors; their advertisements are everywhere. While I don’t intend to start stashing gold coins in the closet as a hedge against inflation, I am a great fan of gold — especially the floral variety.
Year after year, the dependable Camphor Daisy (Rayjacksonia phyllocephala) brightens our coastal landscape in nearly every month, but especially from September through January. The plant is blooming now in even our most droughty areas, and its flowers are providing nourishment for a variety of insects. Just for fun, I thought I’d look through my archives to see what past years have offered.
Even in January, this Calligrapher Fly (Toxomerus marginatus) and a friend found flowers in bloom. This species of hoverfly benefits gardeners; it not only sips nectar, it feeds on aphids.
It’s not hard to spot a Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata). This one was nibbling on the plant’s ray flowers. You can see a bit of evidence at the far left.
Bees of every sort adore this flower. Here, an American Bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus) uses its long tongue to gain nourishment.
More than bumblebees visit the flowers. This Southern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa micans), still out and about in December, seems to be luxuriating in the floral wealth.
The soldier fly family name, Stratiomyidae, was derived from the Greek word stratiotes, or ‘soldier.’ The name refers to abdominal markings that resemble military uniform hash marks. In this species, Nemotelus kansensis, the pattern is especially clear.
There was a time when I believed this pretty white-striped insect was a bee; in fact, it’s a Yellow-shouldered Drone Fly (Eristalis stipator), a species of hoverfly that’s often mentioned as a bee mimic. It fooled me.
In the past week, all of the refuges have received from a half-inch to an inch of rain. That’s enough to coax even more gold blooms into existence, and to coax at least a few gold-lovers into investing more time with them.