One of the first things we planted in our yard area almost two and a half years ago were some aloe vera plants. They grow quite freely here and we were happy with the way they filled in empty spaces quickly. We have watched them go through their growth cycles now for two complete years and were happy to see the plants in our yard beginning their flowering stage recently.
Since these plants get regular watering they produce flowers each year. The flower stem starts out as a small stick in the middle of the plant.
Every few days the small stalk grows about a foot taller.
Until the stalk gets to about four or five feet tall and the green flower buds open up to a yellow flower.
Even those these flowers are not yet fully open, we are excited to see them because the flowers attract hummingbirds. Aloe vera flowers must have particularly sweet nectar, because hummingbirds will hover around these flowers for hours for a week or two after they open up.
The reason this is exciting to us is that we purchased a hummingbird feeder when we were in the United States. We hung it from a bamboo stake near the aloe vera plants.
We can see the hummingbird feeder from our front room and from the table where we have the computer, so our hope is that the aloe vera plants will attract lots of hummingbirds who will then discover the hummingbird feeder and make it a habit to visit our yard all year long.
We will keep you posted if and when that develops.
Meanwhile, while I was out watering and checking on our plants I dislodged a walking stick from where it was hiding on a branch in our garden. Two and a half years ago, I discovered the largest walking stick I have ever seen on a plant in our back yard. This walking stick was perhaps ten to eleven inches long. I took some pictures of the walking stick then, but that was before I discovered how to use the macro-focus setting on my camera. This is a picture of the long walking stick walking away.
It was a pretty interesting insect, but without the macro setting it is hard to see much detail beyond the fact that it looks like a stick with six jointed legs.
Since the walking stick I discovered the other day fell down onto a green leaf and was out in the open, I decided to grab the camera and see if I could get close-up shots to see more detail in this unique insect.
This insect was only about four inches long. Walking sticks have the ability to change colors to their surrounding and as long as they stay still on a small twig, they look exactly like what their name implies – a stick. This one had fallen from a brown twig onto a green plant and had not yet changed colors.
I got in close as he walked farther out on the leaf. His jointed legs and clawed feet make it easy for him to walk along many different plant surfaces.
I read that some walking sticks have wings, but this guy had a sorry excuse for wings that appeared more like a dorsal fin.
His multifaceted eyes are located half-way out his long nose and he had a little narrow tongue extending from the bottom of his front section.
I found out later that walking sticks can spit an acidic mixture into a person’s face from two to three feet away, so I was lucky that only my camera was within range! Another thing I discovered is that this type of walking stick can leap rapidly several feet to flee from danger.
Luckily this guy posed still long enough for us to share these pictures with you before he leapt to the safety of the bushes where his excellent camouflage protects him from most would be predators here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!