Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica

The California Tortoise shell likes Manzanita flowers for nectar. There are even more Manzanitas in California then Ceanothuses. The can be any where from six inches tall, Carmel Sur Manzanita to twenty foot, the Big berry Manzanita. They are also evergreen. The flowers are pink or white.
Tortoise Shell Butterfly sunning itself - grid24_12
The California Tortoise Shell one of the few times that it was sunning itself and let my photograph it.
The California Tortoise Shell Butterfly uses many, if not all, of the bush Manzanitas as nectar sources. So far we've seen them on maybe 20 different types of manzanita, occasionally on o the plants as diverse as Peach flowers and Ceanothus.

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Las Pilitas Nursery

The California Tortoise shell likes Manzanita flowers for nectar.

The Larva of the California Tortoise Shell Butterfly feeds on Ceanothus plants. There are over 50 species of Ceanothus found in California. They range in size from two foot anywhere to twenty foot and have flowers anywhere from white, to blue, to lavender. One of this plants common names is wild lilac. It is also evergreen making it an excellent garden plant!

 The California Tortoise Shell butterfly
has large fluctuations in population. Some years there is a huge burst in population ans in some there are very few to be seen. In years where the populations are greater there is more migration and these butterflies can be found in the mountains and northern portions of California.

Ceanothus thyrsiflours repens. - grid24_6
The Larva of the California Tortoise Shell feeds on Ceanothus thyrsyflorus repens
Buckbrush is the host of many butterflies. - grid24_6
Ceanothus cuneatus is eaten by the Larva of the California Tortoise Shell Butterfly.
The California Tortoise Shell Butterfly looking for mud - grid24_12
California Tortoise Shell sipping mud between the rocks.
Who needs to go hunting for big game, when the little game can be very challenging. Buy a camera and try to get good insects, butterfly or bird photos.
California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica, side angle - grid24_6
California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica sipping from a Arctostaphylos Sentinel
Arctostaphylos densiflora Sentinel manzanita with California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica - grid24_12
California Tortoise shell on Arctostaphylos Mama Bear
California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica side view. Against a tree trunk this butterfly can disappear. - grid24_12
California Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis californica side view. Against a tree trunk this butterfly can disappear.
Arctostaphylos densiflora harmony tortoise shell butterfly. Tortoise shell butterflies are very fuzzy. - grid24_12
California Tortoise Shell on Arctostaphylos Harmony