August 2010

Questions31 Aug 2010 12:57 pm

Dear Cactusblogger,

I live in South America, Surinam and work in a tropcal plants nursery
(family owned). I’ve been making a catalog of our plant for years now
(what can i say, grandpa’s been negligant), as we have well over a
million plants. I’m constanty running into a dilemma about an agave we
have. Whenever i try to categorize it i basically flip out!Is it an
americana, is it not an americana. Some sites say it’s an americana
others say it’s not. So, my thought was, perhaps you could help me. I’m
sending you a picture!Please help!Do you know the real botanical name?

Many thanks in advance,

Our answer after the break… (more…)

Misc30 Aug 2010 07:14 pm

I highly recommend clicking the photo to see the full sized photo.


News30 Aug 2010 02:12 pm

Near Needles, CA, there is a new blue cactus mural in a VFW hall.

The U.S. Census Bureau used it as a training center for area workers earlier this year. The Audubon Society uses it as a temporary headquarters during bird counts at nearby Topock Marsh.

Artist Myke Burkhart works on a mural. BILL McMILLEN/The Daily News

“It’s a multipurpose room,” agreed Auxiliary President Deborah Blizzard.

Soon, it will look like a new facility, thanks to some major facelifting.

News30 Aug 2010 09:34 am

I spent the first part of this week in Vancouver with my daughter and design partner, Sam, and a big shopping list….

Sam and I love succulents for their architectural structure, cool colour palette and low-maintenance nature – we travel a lot, so only having to water them once or twice a month is brilliant.

My comments about this fabulous designer trip to the succulent markets of Vancouver? I would say they should have purchased more sedums. Really now, sedums are going to be the hot plant in interior decorating next year, and the whole aeonium craze is just so 2006. If you want to show how dated your palette is, just add a cabbagy echeveria to the dining room!

How-to30 Aug 2010 07:32 am

Epiphyllums are popular wherever they can be found. I would suggest, humbly, that it is because of the amazing flowers.

Cuttings from the plants are easily rooted. From spring until fall, the plants can grow outdoors in hanging baskets attached to tree branches, providing filtered light. The baskets can be lined with coconut fiber and filled with cactus soil, both to ensure excellent drainage….

When temperatures drop, baskets need to be moved to a protected location that has bright natural light.

I don’t recommend that you click through to the article that this lovely photo comes from. I have safely excerpted as much as you need to know about epi’s. Whatever you do, don’t read the part about how they fertilize. Noooo!!!!! Oh, the humanity.

We use a well balanced slow-release cactus fertilizer, and add extra fish bone meal to encourage blooming. If you want to use a liquid fertilizer, only use a low-strength organic product for strong healthy growth.

We water them once a week, and plant them in our jungle cactus/orchid mix soil which is very similar to a cactus soil, but has chunks of coconut husk chips in it, and extra slow-release organic fertilizers.

Definitely use a hanging basket, coir-lined if possible. And don’t forget to share your cuttings with your friends.

Recipes29 Aug 2010 04:49 pm

I googled for a cactus recipe, and jumped forward to the 100th page, and came up with this.

Queso Fundido de Nopales
2 cups nopales, scraped, washed and cut into strips
1 cup ground chorizo sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Chihuahua cheese, grated (available in Mexican food stores, or substitute shredded Monterey Jack)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced

That sounds delicious. I may actually have to try one of these recipes someday, and this sounds like a good one to start with.

Click through for the instructions.

Misc29 Aug 2010 12:20 pm

Spooning amongst slugs- photographic evidence.


Misc28 Aug 2010 04:19 pm

Have you noticed how most cactus cartoons aren’t funny? I wonder why that is. Maybe the desert makes for dry humor.

Contests28 Aug 2010 11:54 am

And Tom J in Denver is the winner.

People found way more errors in that tiny article than even I had imagined. Wow!

And that had come from the BBC, no less.

Contests&News27 Aug 2010 10:40 am

It’s a contest! But first, an article for you to read.

Usually these are just local stories in local papers around the world. But apparently this one made the BBC.

Rare cactus flowers after 50 years

An Agave Victorinae Reginae cactus has flowered in a UK garden after 50 years of growth.

The plant, which belongs to Barbara and John Long, recently grew to more than nine ft… according to the BBC.

I don’t know if the errors are the BBC’s or the local newspaper’s.

Now the CONTEST part:

Shall we catalog? I count 4 major errors in this excerpt alone. Add your guesses to the comments. One lucky winner correctly naming a botanical error, chosen at random, will win a free cactus greeting card from my collection of cactus greeting cards. Cactus Jungle employees not eligible, Keith.

News&Science27 Aug 2010 09:39 am

I’ve been blogging a lot recently about the fruit of the cactus. The cactus fruit! Tunas and Dragonfruits etc.

Now the domesticated desert pitaya, from Stenocereus pruinosus, has been tracked back to original populations in the wild.

What we found is that the people of the Tehuacan Valley are carefully selecting and cultivating cacti to produce the pitaya they want,” says Dr. Alejandro Casas, who was a member of the research team.

“They’re not attempting to produce one type of pitaya. They have a rich understanding of the cacti and are able to produce fruits with a variety of colors and tastes,” adds the expert, which is an ethnobotanist.

Pitaya are the fruit of cacti, and the main reason they were domesticated in prehistory in the first place.

“We found that the forest cacti showed more diversity in their genes than expected. It is not a case of finding a simple transition from wild to domesticated plants,” the team member argues.

“The methods of propagation of cacti by the traditional farmers, including the production of a variety of fruits, help increase the genetic diversity of the cacti. This is a crucial strategy in conserving the genetic resources of Mesoamerica,” he adds.


Unfortunately they included a Ferocactus picture with the article.

And we all know now that ferocactus fruit is small and not as delicious.

Here’s the delicious desert pitaya, not to be confused with the jungle pitaya, also known as the dragon fruit, or the mountain pitaya, also known as the cactus apple.

Whippets27 Aug 2010 07:27 am


Blogs&News26 Aug 2010 02:20 pm

The Manila Times, or some such newspaper, reports the diet and beauty secrets of the local celebrities. And not to ruin the surprise, or anything, but it’s cactus.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, whose svelte figure and flawless skin are the envy of women half her age. Known to be a health buff, she uses exercise facilities at home to squeeze workouts in between official appointments and inspection trips. Vegetables and fruits are the mainstay of her daily fare. This diet includes a colorful exotic fruit that will soon be one of her province’s major crops: dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit, that is the fruit of the mysterious jungle cactus, Hylocereus. Unlike ferocactus, hylocereus fruit is delicious.

I love local news reports like this. It really makes no sense, and yet that’s my sense of humor for you.


And not really all that mysterious since it’s available in grocery stores around the world, apparently. Maybe not Iowa, but we could all go over to Plants are the Strangest People and ask.

Recipes26 Aug 2010 10:06 am

Ever have a hankering for caramel cactus? Didn’t even know it was possible?

Create an exotic dessert with grilled cactus chunks over vanilla ice cream. Toss 2 cups cactus chunks with ¼ cup sugar and grill over medium-high heat. Serve over ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.

Photography26 Aug 2010 08:24 am

Also known as the Kebab Bush.

Crassula rupestris

From South Africa, specifically around the areas in southern Namibia, the Richtersveld, Namaqualand Ceres Tanqua Karoo, Worcester Robertson Karoo and Little Karoo.

This is the first year we’ve grown this. It looks a lot like the various C. perforatas, but then I haven’t watched it grow for years yet.

They say it is hardy to 25F.

Misc25 Aug 2010 12:57 pm

I think the picture says everything. I don’t really need to add a comment, do I? No, I don’t, but I will after the photo.

Moss bathmat! Moss! it’s a bathmat! Oh, the humanity.


News25 Aug 2010 09:20 am

We can’t be sure whether an exotic cactus from Mexico might be growing in the Queensland outback, but if Bob Katter was a scrub bull, you’d be wary of him, fearing he’d been grazing on mescaline.

I don’t know what this means. I often have trouble translating Aussie into English. The article is about an election, and the fate of the independents. And the lead to the article is the cactus metaphor above.


News25 Aug 2010 07:38 am

A few months ago I blogged about some Shoe Cactus, women’s shoes that had been reprurposed as cactus planters.

Broadsheet at Salon has finally gotten ahold of one and it turns out it’s an art piece by Rachel Mahlke,

…to “show that there is danger and pain behind plastic representations of beauty” and to comment on American conceptions of femininity — but these creations are open to all sorts of feminist perspectives. Maybe you see a powerful juxtaposition of natural beauty with unnatural beauty standards, or a quirky fusion of crafty, D.I.Y. feminism with sex worker activism.

…Some will thrill at the idea of a stripper shoe bearing “baby aloe plants with serrated ‘teeth’ along their fleshy green leaves.” (Vagina dentata, anyone?!) Others — like those friends of mine with copies of “Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease Collection” — will identify more with the sweet and feminine look of this platform planted with a pastel succulent and an airy bed of light-green moss.


Misc24 Aug 2010 10:13 am

Here are some fruity pictures from around the webosphere.

Ferocactus acanthodes Photo from Cactus Art

Ferocactus cylindraceus Photo from Bird and Hike

Ferocactus wislizeni Photo from Cacti Guide

Ferocactus macrodiscus Photo from Cactus Art

Reader Photos24 Aug 2010 07:00 am

We put together some mixed succulent pot centerpieces for Zeny for her husband’s surprise 60th birthday party, which I hear really was a surprise, and a big success.

Here’s another mixed pot Zeny put together from our plants.

Nice! They tell me the Senecio in back is already outgrowing the pot and may need to be cut back.

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