Photography24 Jul 2008 10:37 am

And it’s on such a soft and fuzzy plant, no less.

Uncarina peltata

It’s a shrubby caudex that will grow to 10 ft. tall. It will have golden trumpet flowers with a spectacular purple throat, I assure you. Stayed tuned for more photos as this bud opens, petals wide open.

We grow these indoors here. Maybe you can have them outdoors where you are. Where are you? These Uncarinas look to me like they’re from the Arabian peninsula. Maybe I’ll go check that out for you. Hold on while I google it.

Nope! They’re from Madagascar, like every other fantastical plant on the planet.

Photography23 Jul 2008 09:12 am

Yesterday the flower almost opened, but not quite. Now it’s fully open.

Echinopsis pachanoi

Pretty spectacular giant white blooms.

Photography22 Jul 2008 02:32 pm

Ferocactus pottsi

These barrels are from Mexico and get around 16″ across, plus a whole lot taller eventually. We’re not really sure what species this is, but we’ve done our best looking through all our sources to identify it as F. pottsi. We waited for the blooms, which are yellow thus ruling out F. diguetii, to be sure.

I like this picture of the buds better than the picture of the yellow blooms I have. Kind of looks Eastern Orthodox.

I may share the bloom photo too; who can tell for sure what I’m thinking.

Photography22 Jul 2008 09:21 am

It’s late in the day, and this flower is trying to open before evening, but it won’t make it. Tomorrow….

So for now it has taken on this very weird floppy partially open look.

Echinopsis pachanoi, San Pedro Cactus

From Peru, so they tell me. This plant is very popular with the college students here in Berkeley, not that I would know why. We recommend you plant it in your back yard, where the college students won’t find it.

Maybe tomorrow if the bloom is fully open I’ll take another picture. Would you like that?

Photography21 Jul 2008 04:12 pm

Here we have a lovely spotted flower coming out of some standard-issue green stems with little spiny pointy things.

Huernia guttata reticulata

Shall we look closer?

Click the closeup for a bigger closeup.

Now this little gem is an easy to grow, easy to bloom plant from South Africa, Western Cape, that rewards with many thick green 3″ stems. They form a dense mat that can produce many of these flowers with variable sized spottings. Some have big red spoltchy spots, while others have tiny little fine spots. All have that very interesting structure inside, protected by some little bloom spines! They are a carrion flower, and so attract beetles and such. It’s a ground hugging bloom which is how I know it’s for beetles and not flies.

We keep them indoors where the beetles don’t find them, because that’s just the way we are.

Photography21 Jul 2008 10:05 am

It’s true, the Old Man Cacti all have blooms too.

Pilosocereus leucocephalus, also known as the Woolly Torch

Variable columnar cactus from all over South America. Gets the woolly, or hairy, “cephalum” near where it’s going to bloom. It’s an indication of sexual maturity in the plant. However, unlike true cephalum which are thickly hairy at the top or on one side only, this cactus will get a full column of hair up and down, with just a little extra dollop of hairiness near the bloom spots. It’s special. Also faster growing than the Oreocereuses. Will get over 20 ft. tall.

This is not a plant we are selling at the nursery. This picture is from my front yard garden. I had to bring the black backdrop home from the store to take this photo. But I forgot, so I found a piece of gray construction paper and used that as a backdrop and then made it black in photoshop. You’d never have known if I hadn’t told you.

Photography20 Jul 2008 11:06 am

Ferocactus gracilis ssp. coloratus

Baja California native. Solitary barrel to 12″ dia., eventually 4′ tall.

Photography19 Jul 2008 04:21 pm

Yesterday I posted a picture of this plant in bud, now the bud has opened and the bloom is yellow, just like I promised.

Parodia ottonis

You get a real feel for how big the flower is compared to the body of the cactus. I tend to focus a lot on the blooms this time of year. (Well, through the spring and summer months…) They’re so pretty. But I’ve been told context is important too, so here’s some context for you.

Photography&Science19 Jul 2008 12:43 pm

Cereus c.v. monstrose – Each is a clone of a virus-ridden parent. Many variable parents give us many variable monstroses.

In case that wasn’t entirely clear, what’s going on is a perfectly normal smooth vertical cactus like the Cereus peruvianus from Peru catches a virus and the resultant form is known as a “monstrose.” Sometimes, you get a crested plant, but in this instance, you get this monstrous form of all these bumpies up and down the trunk. Good stuff.

Now, if you let it go to seed, generally the virus will not be transmitted to the babies, and the plant will revert to its original form (which it can do anyway). So you propagate these exclusively by cuttings. This means that any individual variations in the monstrosenesses will be carried identically by the cloned babies. And any variations between plants means they came from different virused parents.

Is that more clear?

Now if you would like to know more you can find it here.

Many cacti and succulents grow… with an apical meristem, the dominant bud at the very top that contributes to its pyramidal form… This gives them their symmetrical shapes. Occasionally something happens to that meristem and it mutates. One growth point turns into many, forcing the top of the plant to fans out into a series of mini-points. The result is that the top of a pointed cactus produces a crest that can look very much like a rooster comb.

In other cases, the mutation may occur throughout the plant, not just at the top. Growth points originate all over the stem or branches causing very irregular growth. The result is a monstrosity, and while the plant remains the same species, it may bear very little resemblance to its kin.

Oddly enough an occasional crest, or monstrose, branch will appear on a normal plant. Sometimes a monstrose plant will revert to normal growth. It’s a genetic crap-shoot and Mother Nature holds the dice.

Photography18 Jul 2008 09:38 am

Parodia ottonis

This little bud will open into a large and pretty yellow flower. This little plant will have about 6 flowers this year. Parodias are very popular with the local bee population. Not as popular as the Echinocereuses of course, but popular enough that they have their own myspace page.

Some say they will get to 6″ diameter, while others claim they will slowly pup. I do not support such reckless claims until I have seen them myself. I have only ever seen this particular parodia at about 3″ across. However, they are not all solitary, but some have already begun to pup. Therefore I come to the conclusion that I can believe what the books tell me or I can believe my lying eyes.

Speaking of which, I have started wearing reading glasses this year. I still have good distant vision, still being the first one to see street signs coming up, but now I can’t read a friggin’ menu without my costco reading glasses.

Photography17 Jul 2008 10:47 am

I learned a new word today. How shall I use it in a sentence? Will it be cheap or will it be splendid?

Pachycereus pringlei – Cardón

A classic column from Baja, faster growing than the so-slow Saguaro, spinier than the salubrious San Pedro and far more elegant than Eve’s Needles.

How did I do?

Photography16 Jul 2008 01:26 pm

Opuntia violacea

A lot has been said about this wonderful plant.

So I will leave off with this: Michael Dukakis is a childhood friend of my mother’s. Don’t you just love it! Random personal details! And sometimes they’re even true! Like this one! It makes me laugh.

Photography15 Jul 2008 11:12 am

You’ve watched the videos, you know the score, but what does it look like? Why here it is.

It’s the Operculicarya decaryi, after all. From Madagscar. Kind of a stylized photo, but you get the idea.

Photography14 Jul 2008 11:11 am

Hoya “Chelsea”

I’m not feeling like writing anything about these waxy vining dangling succulents in the asclepiad family. instead I would like to write about the Red Sox. But I won’t.

Photography13 Jul 2008 11:04 am

Most of the aloes have already bloomed. But here we have a summer blooming aloe.

Aloe nobilis

Clumping rosettes, deep green tinged with dark red.

Also in summer the sun is directly overhead when I take these pictures so the lighting is very different than in spring.

Photography12 Jul 2008 08:57 am

Some of my headlines are getting shorter. Not really more to the point, I don’t think.

Pereskia grandifolia

A primitive cactus. And by that, I mean it’s not even a succulent. It has true cactus spines and all, but it also has true leaves. And it sure is shrubby, and pink-beflowered.

I used to live in Alaska. For 4 years. One summer I drove around the state doing ADA surveys for government buildings. I flew into the villages that weren’t on the road system.

I just thought you should know.

Photography11 Jul 2008 09:51 am

Yes, more. Another Echinocereus grandiflora. They just won’t stop blooming. It’s not my fault, it’s in their nature.

Well, I suppose it’s pretty. Just don’t look too deep or you’ll get lost in there like the bees do.

Photography10 Jul 2008 10:48 am

We do some orchids at the nursery. Some Odontoglossum, an occasional Oncidium.

We also like the mini Phalaenopsis, like this one:

Photography09 Jul 2008 11:30 am

It’s been a week filled with California Native blooms, and now it’s finally back to the cactus blooms. You know you were waiting for them. Now they’re back.

Echinopsis marsoneri

These are getting ready for another round of blooms in 2 to 3 weeks, but they’re pretty much finished up with this round. So no whining when you come to the nursery and they’re not in bloom this week.

Anyway, I blogged this plant last month, so you can go read all about it there, if you are so inclined.

Photography05 Jul 2008 03:59 pm

…caudex photo, since I had previously posted strange bloom photos and now today I’ll post some leaves. Now you can puzzle the pieces together and figure out what the whole thing looks like!

I hope you are having a happy holiday weekend. I am.

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