April 2010

National Parks23 Apr 2010 09:32 am

SAGU-Teddy Bear Cholla kjr

Hike along the Douglas Spring Trail to Bridal Wreath Falls, Saguaro National Park. Kurt Repanshek photos.

Besides cactus, the author also came upon snakes. And in a national park, no less!

Whippets23 Apr 2010 08:11 am


Blogs22 Apr 2010 01:17 pm

Ian has started an urban farm blog, Oakland Farming, and it turns out that the organic lettuce he planted last year re-seeded itself and has provided more food than he can possibly eat.

Check the link in the sidebar, too.

Hopefully he’ll add some photos…

Environment22 Apr 2010 11:57 am

Glue traps for mice and rats.

It started innocently enough as an attempt to get rid of some pack rats around my home – a frustrating process as many Tucsonans know well….

I purchased two large glue traps, which are coated with a scented sticky substance that attracts rats or mice, which then get stuck.

The traps worked as advertised, catching three small pack rats. But I was horrified to discover that one trap also held a Western screech owl, an adorable species about 8 inches tall, which has had its habitat hammered by development. It wildly flapped its wings, trilled and barked, in a futile effort to escape.
Now what to do? An Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum staffer told me to call Janet or Lewis Miller at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northwest Tucson. Janet told me to carefully wrap the bird in a towel and bring it in….

Lots of human activities maim birds and animals but one of the worst, according to the Millers, are glue traps, which ensnare screech and elf owls, Gila woodpeckers and cactus wrens….

Lewis first used mineral oil to dissolve the sticky substance on the screech owl’s feathers and beak; then Janet used a small dropper to feed it liquid electrolytes to replace those lost by the bird during this horrific experience. A volunteer readied a cage in a warm area. A wash with Dawn dish soap will follow and plenty of feedings over the next couple of days. As of this writing, I don’t know whether my screech owl will survive.

Misc22 Apr 2010 10:50 am

The stars rotate around a giant saguaro, of course.

Timescapes: “Death is the Road to Awe” from Tom Lowe @ Timescapes on Vimeo.

(via huffpost)

Reader Photos22 Apr 2010 10:08 am

Auntie Rachel was near Vulture Mine Rd. NW of Wickenburg, Az when she took these last week.


Opuntia basilaris


Ferocactus wislizenii with the less common yellow blooms.

Photography21 Apr 2010 12:40 pm

We call this color Lemonade. Echinocereus grandiflora “Lemonade”.

Ian took the picture yesterday between the storms.


Questions21 Apr 2010 10:34 am

We saw Euphorbia Characias ssp. Wulfenii and Euphorbia x martini on your blog. Are they evergreen plants? Since they’re listed as perennials, we’re worried that they would die back or be half-dead in the winter. Our project is in San Jose, where winters can get down to 24 degrees F.

Thank you,

Both of these are hardy and evergreen in San Jose, and we do have E. martinii in stock (as well as a bunch of other evergreen spurges). We do have some other Euphorbias that are deciduous, but not these. Perennials here in California are often evergreen; we use the designation perennial (survives year after year) in distinction to annual (survives only one year), and we also refer to whether plants are evergreen or deciduous.

Actually, we don’t use the label “annual” on any of our plants, since this is California where lots of plants that are annuals elsewhere are perennials here and we choose not to grow any outdoor plants that don’t survive the winters.


Reader Photos21 Apr 2010 06:58 am

From Aunt Rachel, NE of Hyder, Az up in the hills.


Any guesses as to the Opuntia species? I think we can eliminate the Mojave Grizzly Bear cactus, since it’s not in the Mojave. And yet, it’s almost certainly one of the Opuntia  polyacantha’s, and the spination does look most like O.  polyacantha v. erinacea. I’ve only ever seen it with yellow flowers, but my copy of Anderson says it can have pink flowers. Thus I think we can determine that this is a Grizzly Bear cactus, just not a Mojave Grizzly Bear. Since it’s found in the Sonoran Desert, I think we can call this a Sonoran Grizzly Bear, also O.  polyacantha v. erinacea, and chalk up the flower color to natural variation.


Nursery20 Apr 2010 09:24 am

So here’s the story.

Our customers demanded Tuesdays be added to the schedule, so we complied. We’re now open 7 days. And here it is our first Tuesday open and it’s pouring. Fortunately for me it’s my day off, but the rest of the crew is at the store all alone and wet and no customers, so will you do them all a favor and stop by today – the rain should be stopped between 10 and 2 if weather.com is correct – and give them some love?


Reader Photos20 Apr 2010 09:18 am

You are all welcome come over to see our beautiful bloom! Only 24 hrs!
There are 7 more on this plant and several more on ajoining one!

Sent from my iPhone. Shelley


I think there are more than 7 coming, I see some small buds just getting started there.

Questions20 Apr 2010 07:16 am

I purchased this lovely little variegated agave (Tag just said Agave ‘mediovariegata’) on a recent trip to California. One pup was visible at the soil surface. When I pulled it out of the pot, I found half a dozen more pups trying to grow out the drainage holes (see attached photo). How is best to handle the subterranean ones? Can I separate them now, or should I put it in a bigger pot and let them make their own way to the surface?

agave mediopicta

Much thanks,


The name is Agave medio-picta “Alba” and it will eventually get 6 ft. across. Congratulations on all the hidden babies. You can go ahead and separate them all now if you want, and get each pup into its own pot with a fast draining cactus soil. Gently pull them off, and they should separate without needing to cut.


Nursery19 Apr 2010 11:59 am

It’s a tequila agave, a variegated tequila agave, going out the door.

Agave tequilana variegata.


Environment&News19 Apr 2010 11:01 am

Even with the development crash in Nevada, the edges of Las Vegas are still growing. This time into protected cactus territory.

A state-protected cactus may become a thorny snag for a developer with plans to build a subdivision near Red Rock Canyon….

But growing on the hillside land is the Blue Diamond cholla, a stubby, big-needled cactus that is among 24 plants the state considers “critically endangered.”…

Public opposition to Rhodes’ plan is growing among those who want to protect the cactus.

Well now that is a first – a group of Nevadans trying to slow development encroaching on the desert!


Blue Diamond Cholla is Cylindropuntia multigeniculata and the picture is from Bird and Hike, plus they have a dozen more photos including bright yellow flower pictures of the Blue Diamond. Nice!

Photography19 Apr 2010 08:58 am

Another day, another cactus flower opens. This time it’s white. And not just white, but the most fabulous white flower you’ve ever seen. It’s enormous too. Add white to the bright pink and peach colors so far.

2010-04-19 09.00.09

Echinocereus grandiflora hybrid.

Photography18 Apr 2010 10:55 am

And then they were all open.

Misc17 Apr 2010 10:19 am

Maybe it’s not the google that got me here; maybe it’s the imagination of the American People, as reflected on the google.

Whatever it is, I went to the google and searched for photos using the phrase, “cactus horseshoe”. Really, I couldn’t be more random than that.

va 116

Amazing. It is a cactus horseshoe lamp. I bow down to the power of the google and the unbounded fruitfulness of the American imagination.

Questions&Reader Photos17 Apr 2010 07:31 am

Yes we can!

First, we have the preliminaries:


My name is Liz and I had been looking on your site for awhile to find out the type of wonderful cactus that I have. I have had this cactus for a long time but never knew what type it was. I have looked into books and browsed around I have seen many that look similar but can not pin point it. I was wondering if I could email you a picture and you could help me identify it?

Thank you,

Hello Liz,

We would be happy to try and ID your plant, email a photo or two and we will do our best.


Now we have the main event:

Good Afternoon Hap,

Thank you for taking the time to do this for me! Here I sent a couple of pics!

New Image2 New Image1

And finally, the ID:

Hello again Liz,

It looks like you have a nice Echinopsis aurea or commonly known as “Golden Easter Lily Cactus”. Native to Northern Argentina. It can be a bit rot prone so watch so be careful not to over-water and next time you repot I would suggest a chunkier cactus blend that is mostly 1/4″ lava or pumice, since these guys will often turn to mush if they stay too wet.

Take care,


Photography16 Apr 2010 01:54 pm

And it’s peach.

Echinocereus grandiflora hybrid, with 4 flowers open all at once. As it’s early, and still pretty cool out, they could last 4 days!


Whippets16 Apr 2010 12:55 pm


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