Beloperone californica - Justica californica




Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, southern Arizona, northwestern Mexico and throughout Baja, California.



Rocky slopes and along desert washes, mostly below 2500 feet.


Tubular, deep-red flowers bloom on and off throughout the year. A 2-lobed upper and 3-lobed lower lip, with a white-tipped anther, grow in terminal clusters up to 2 inches long. Followed by a 2-celled capsule.


This grayish-green shrub grows up to 5 feet high. It is mostly leafless but has many dense, soft, hairy branches. When present, the oval, grayish-green leaves grow 1/2 to 1 inch long. They, too, have fine hairs and fall during cold or drought.

This member of the large, tropical Acanthus family (Acanthaceae) is the only New World genus that extends north into the US. The common name chuparosa, "sucking rose" in Spanish, is abundant with nectar, making it popular among various birds, especially hummingbirds. Quail and house finches eat the seeds. Known locally as honeysuckle, chuparosa is said to have been eaten by the Papago Indians.

-- A.R. Royo


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