Chuparosa

Common Names:
Chuparosa, Hummingbird Bush, Desert Honeysuckle
Scientific name:
Justicia californica
Synonyms:
Beloperone californica
Elevation range:
250 - 3,300 ft
Flowering Months:
March, April, May, June
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
Pollinator or food source for:
Notes:
Attracts native bees, Attracts butterflies, Food for birds
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Sonoran

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Chuparosa in the desert

Justicia californica has a tubular red flower (rarely orange or yellow) with a downward-facing lower lip to serve as a nectar guide for pollinators.  Coyote Creek, Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 2010     

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Chuparosa in the desert

If you find Justicia californica blooming, there are sure to be hummingbirds nearby. Red, tubular flowers such as this species are a favorite food source.  Coyote Creek, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | March 2, 2010    

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Chuparosa in the desert

The bright red flowers of Justicia californica easily draw birds and insects seeking nectar, especially butterflies. It is a native garden favorite for this reason. Joshua Tree National Park | February 2014    

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Chuparosa in the desert

Branches of Justicia californica are woody and a dull gray-green color with a very short layer of hair. Joshua Tree National Park | February 20, 2014   

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Chuparosa in the desert

Justicia californica is a small, often rounded shrub that grows at low elevations in California, Arizona and southward into Mexico. Palm Springs, CA | March 2016     

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Chuparosa in the desert

A barely visible White-Lined Sphinx Moth wings are beating so quickly, it could be mistaken for a hummingbird. Here it hovers above Justicia californica inserting its long proboscis (tongue) into the tubular flowers to obtain nectar. Joshua Tree National Park | February 2015   

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Chuparosa in the desert

Justicia californica is mostly drought tolerant but will drop its leaves to conserve energy. It does require some moisture and is usually found growing in washes or at the base of large hills or mountains. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 31, 2010    

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Chuparosa in the desert

The genus (Justicia) of this plant is quite large and occurs only in tropical locations, except for a few  that extend northward into the US, including this one.  Joshua Tree National Park | February 2015    

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Chuparosa in the desert

Justicia californica provides a colorful addition to the wilderness landscape in early spring. Palm Springs, CA | February 2013     

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Chuparosa  in the desert

Justicia californica with mountains as a backdrop. Rockhouse Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | December 2005     

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Chuparosa  in the desert

Justicia californica just beginning to emerge in spring. Short, fuzzy hairs on the leaves are visible in this photo. Siphon Draw Trail, Tonto National Forest, AZ |  March 2013    

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Chuparosa  in the desert

This Justicia californica has what appears to be a Desert Tortoise burrow underneath. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | February 2015