Rockoff’s Urban Butterfly Tree

by The Editors on July 29, 2007

Carlsbad Biologist Jim Rockoff’s sculpture “Lepidoptree” is one of 30 Urban Trees adorning San Diego’s Embarcadero as part of an commissioned art project by the Port of San Diego.

Rockoff’s design was inspired by witnessing a gulf fritillary butterfly laying its eggs on a vine last fall. His tree, the closest to nature’s version, depicts each of the insect’s life stages, from chrysalis to butterfly. Before maturing with striking orange wings, the thorny caterpillars dine on passion fruit vines.

The 12-foot-tall “tree” is made of aluminum, hand-carved balsa wood, fiberglass, and latex paint according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Lepidoptree will be on display near the Star of India through June of 2008, so there is still time to go check it out.

[Link: San Diego Union Tribune]

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