I am always delighted when I discover that something in my garden is a California native whether it’s flora or fauna. In this case, it’s both flora and fauna. Purple sage is native to California and the Valley Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa Varipuncta, is the largest of California’s three species of carpenter bee, measuring an inch or more long. This female (females are all black) looked larger than an inch to me. I think the tinge of gold on the bee’s fuzzy head is actually pollen probably from this sage blossom. Carpenter Bees are great pollinators although some do consider them pests. As their name implies, they construct their nests in wood, usually rotting wood. I think their pollinating ability far outweighs any destruction they might do.