This plant reminds me of that infernal question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in the case of chuparosa, which comes first, the flowers or the leaves?
When you live in an arid clime, and one where the temperature can drop south of the freezing point (not all deserts are hot all the time), it behooves you to get into the world and spread seeds first.
So it’s not unusual to see chuparosa flowers on leafless or nearly so branches. It’s a striking sight — bright reds and hits of yellow against pale grey stems.
When there’s more water you can afford to go green.
Chuparosa is Spanish for hummingbird and it’s a favourite of hummers. And since the plant can flower several times during the year, it can be a regular source of food for them and other animals as well.
Chuparosa Justicia californica (aka Beloperone californica)