February 2010

Science21 Feb 2010 11:20 am

Oh yes, you read that right.


Biofuel cell inserted in a cactus and graph showing the course of electrical current as a function of illumination of the cactus (black: glucose, red: O2).

The picture is not big enough to be able to tell what species that is, but I’m guessing a cereus of some type.

With this advance, you could attach a wire to a cactus and you can power a fan  to cool yourself off in the desert. (Well, that’s my interpretation. Your mileage may vary.)


California Native Plants20 Feb 2010 12:52 pm

Coreopsis gigantea


Photography20 Feb 2010 10:16 am

Cotyledon ladismithensis


Whippets19 Feb 2010 07:55 pm

In Houston

Misc19 Feb 2010 12:36 pm

I don’t have a lot to say today, having spent the morning with a plumber in the house trying to fix the hot water heater.

Here’s an old photo.


Astrophytum capricorne

Whippets19 Feb 2010 07:43 am

Chanel wins hound group at Westminster. She beat out a greyhound named Erasmus. Apparently the last time a whippet won grand champ at Westminster was 1964. This year a scottish terrier seems to have won. Ridiculous!

Photo: Ch. Starline’s Chanel. Credit: Henny Ray Abrams / Associated Press

That is one gorgeous bitch. She seems to be looking right at me in that photo.

The one thing Benjamin just can’t seem to manage is getting those ears flat back like that. He has very expressive ears.

Photography18 Feb 2010 02:12 pm

Yes, I know, aloe week was last week. And yet the aloes keep blooming. What am I supposed to do, ignore them?

This Aloe humilis isn’t even blooming yet, but look at that crazy stalk. And if you look deep into the rosette, you’ll see another one coming.


Photography18 Feb 2010 09:56 am

Aloe striata is one of the most popular aloes worldwide.

I don’t actually know that. In fact I just made it up on the spot. I blame Joe Biden.


Nursery18 Feb 2010 08:40 am

Tylecodon wallichii parent plant is growing back nicely after cuts last year. We should have a couple of those babies available this spring, but not too many, considering how dangerous it is.


Misc18 Feb 2010 07:28 am

Citibank sucks.

That’s enough, because if you get me started on their latest scam, I’ll plotz.

Photography17 Feb 2010 10:41 am

The aloe blooms keep coming! And so do the hummingbirds.


Aloe “Yellow Torch” is an A. arborescens hybrid and quite stunning to boot.

Questions17 Feb 2010 09:09 am

Following up from an earlier post.

Hi Hap and the great crew at CactusJungle.
I hope you’re all doing well…

I have noticed one my Ferox’s leaves is turning brown and mushy. The plant has been under Neem/alcohol treatment for 3 weeks now. Should I just cut off the leaf close to the stem and dab on some 3% hydrogen peroxide? or should I leave it alone and continue with the Neem/alcohol regimen?


By the way, since the solution has alcohol portion (1/4 cup alcohol in 4 cups water); should I rinse off with water after each treatment?

As far as undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide, can I just spray the undiluted solution on leaves with fungus infected spots/patches? Thanks

Best, Faraz


I would cut the leaf edge about a half inch cut as close to the stalk as possible and then yank it off. The leaf should just peel off at the stem cleanly. Then spray/splash anything that is left with the peroxide.

You don’t need to rinse off after each treatment, and you can spray directly on the leaves!


Misc17 Feb 2010 08:20 am

Euphorbia wulfenii blooms

News16 Feb 2010 09:00 am

It’s a very foggy morning here in Berkeley, same all week, and yet…. The redwoods are doomed. As if the loss of 95% of their habitat wasn’t enough, now it’s the loss of summer fog.

The redwoods along our coast are highly dependent on fog as a source of water during the summer when water in the ground is scarce,” Todd E. Dawson, one of the study’s two authors, said in an interview. “Foggy nights are needed to rehydrate the trees that can’t tolerate long droughts.”

Mature redwoods are unlikely to die if the decrease in fog persists, he said. But fewer seeds are likely to sprout, take root and grow to maturity.

The map included with the article shows Berkeley being redwood habitat, and yet the redwoods were all cut down here long ago. Our house was built out of local redwood timber in 1920. So all we can say is, less fog in Berkeley might not be such a bad thing for the redwoods that aren’t in Berkeley anymore anyway. Further north, on the other hand, is a disaster in the making.

Nursery16 Feb 2010 07:25 am

Keith is cutting up the big bamboo stakes and making pots.


That’s a Leuchtenbergia principis in it.

Misc15 Feb 2010 02:11 pm

The UK style of ID’ing a plant is to not ID it at all. Don’t believe me?


Here’s an article from the Guardian about identifying plants, and a picture of a Hoya flower. Try to find where they tell you the species name in the article anywhere, even among their list of hoyas. Good luck.


Pretty picture, though. I would guess it’s a cultivar of the fairly common H. carnosa. This is a picture of what they usually look like when we grow them. But they can also look like this. So that settles that.

News15 Feb 2010 11:05 am

Christian Democrat MP Jan Mastwijk suggested that rose growers might like to send Ms Van Wijk a cactus for Valentine’s Day. He accused her of “deceiving the public” and dismissed her claims as “far too black and white”.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Ooooh, busted. I bet there’s a whole story behind this little quote. A war between the cactus and rose growers of the Netherlands, perhaps?

News15 Feb 2010 08:57 am

I see that Fort Myers has a new public garden, at the Lakes Park.


A plant in the Cactus and Succulent Garden blooms at Lakes Park in south Fort Myers. (Amanda Inscore /news-press.com)

And I see they have aloes too. Good times.

They’ve also added community garden plots so the retired people living in condos can grow their own tomatoes.

“In my condo, we can’t have anything but potted plants. I miss growing my own tomatoes,” said Hurt, a retired Indiana teacher.For $50 a year, she’ll be able to do that in one of 53 plots, with soil provided by Lee County. The public garden area is arranged in a radiating sunburst pattern of raised beds – some of which are accessible to wheelchairs.

Now that’s service. My parents are retired just up the coast in Sarasota, where they don’t do any vegetable gardening. In fact, it’s probably for the best they don’t have access to something like this community garden, since they tend to kill every plant we give them, including the tillandsias which is very unusual since they’re in Florida where the tillandsias grow wild.

News15 Feb 2010 06:56 am

There’s a new group in Austin, Texas set up to Save the Cactus.


Now that’s a sentiment I can get behind; we should all help the environment by getting behind a cactus to save it. Pick your favorite! Save a cactus!

About 100 grass-roots supporters trying to keep the iconic Cactus Cafe from closing met on Saturday with plans to save and make profitable the landmark music venue.

Oh, well, I guess that’s a worthwhile cause too, what with Austin not having a lot of other music venues in the city.

Misc14 Feb 2010 12:46 pm

The large Aloe feroxes produce a lot of blooms, and if you don’t clean them up off the leaves, they’ll damage the leaves permanently.

Good thing Keith is on top of it.


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