(These paragraphs are moved and modified from yesterday's post, because this is the only way Blogger would let me upload the rest of the photos.)
On this photo, the stalk labeled B has lots of healthy flowers. Stalk A, however, has 27 buds or flowers toward the top, and 19 empty flower stems below. I did a small census elsewhere in the neighborhood a week later (6/10), and checked out two stems. One had a single developing green pod on a stalk of 40 flower stems, the other had four pods developing out of 45 flower attempts. In that admittedly small sample, then, we had a success rate of 5.8%... so far! Those five pods haven't made it to ripe yet!
We saw another plant on which all the flowers had shriveled beyond recognition. The stalks, on 6/10, were covered with black and ashy white residue, no flowers or pods survived… Besides predation by Mule Deer, then, these flowers face other threats, which sometimes get the better of them.
Here a pair of Ladybird Beetles patrol healthy buds, while nearby, another shoot faces a serious infestation of yellow aphids. Even the ants are rallying to the defense, and I believe the small white specks may be eggs of the ladybugs, soon to hatch into helpful larvae, devouring even more aphids. (Please click photo to enlarge those cute little aphids!)
As if that weren't enough, Book Lady tells me she encountered a spider eating a Yucca Moth on one plant. Could that be part of the pollination problem? Stay tuned, for the rest of the story...
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