All the brightly colored Christmas Cactus are out, and not a day too soon.
These are all hybrids from Brazilian species. Nobody knows anymore what the original species from the jungles were, but we like to think they are hybridized from Schlumbergera orsicchiana, which tend to be pendant and epiphytic.
All those green segments that look like leaves are really stem segments, and the cactus spines, as these are true cacti, come from the joints between the segments. The segmenting of the stems makes for easy cuttings.
Some would call these hybrids something along the lines of Schlumbergera orssichiana x truncata, but the truncata part of that was long ago gathered into Zygocactus, but then put back into Schlumbergera in 1967. So if you see these advertised as Zygocactus you should know that they are archaically sticking to the early 60s. Old people today.
Here are two very nice Parodias. Parodias are known for their yellow flowers, although not all Parodias have yellow flowers, but there is a yellow color known as Parodia Yellow so you can imagine that they are well-known for their yellow flowers.
Many people will argue over the shear number of Parodia species, even though many or most are really subspecies of only about 65 species.
Native to the South American Highlands. And Lowlands too.
First up is Parodia mueller-melchersii ssp gutierrezii, one of those cacti that have been wrongly categorized as separate species over the years, more recently known as Notocactus gutierrezii, a name that some cactus growers cling to out of tradition or anger or for the shear spectacle. Native to the Rio Grande do Sul in Brasil.
Next is the very attractive and slightly more common Parodia nigrispina, originally in the 19th century assumed to be part of the Echinocactus genus, but that’s ridiculous. These hail from the fine country of Paraguay, which I believe is in South America.
Kind of a very vibrant red against a sky blue backdrop, if you choose to photograph it that way, which I did because this particular Paws has very tall bloom stalks so it is hard to photograph it against the foliage way down below. Instead shooting up towards the sky works well.
Anigozanthos “Big Red”
Sun: Full Sun
Water:Moderate in Summer
Size: 4-6ft. tall
Vibrant fuzzy tall red flowers,blend well with red stems in Spring and again in Fall. Long lasting blooms are perfect for cut flowers. Hardy to 20F.
Nice cactus! I wonder what the flower will look like?
Gymnocalycium eurypleurum was only recently described, in 1979. Before that was it unknown? I don’t know. But it’s from Paraguay, so maybe it was known to some for years and only recently discovered by others who chose to publish its description. I should look it up in my catalog of the Journals of Cactus Science. If only I had one of those.
Cuphea “Strybing Sunset” has orange cigar-shaped flowers. It seems to like to bloom a very long time. All year long? Maybe!
Anigozanthos “Bush Dawn” has yellow Kangaroo Paw Flowers.
Yellow Kangaroo Paw
Native to Australia
Sun: Full Sun
Size: 4 to 6 feet tall
Clumps of grass-like foliage hold huge spikes of fuzzy yellow tubular flowers all spring through fall. Hardy to 25F.
We have a few larger specimens of the white-spined version of the classic golden barrel. We call it Echinocactus grusonii “White Ghost”. Some prefer to call it c.v. alba or even v. albispinus! Those people are ridiculous.
The golden-spined species is probably the most commonly propagated species of all time. But did you know that its native habitat in Queretaro, Mexico has been nearly eliminated by the construction of a dam?
Austrocylindropuntia verschaffeltii, formerly known as an Opuntia, is a small cholla from South America. Those little tubular red-purple things are leaves and they are only on the new growth – that’s how you know this is healthy! – and will drop off as the stems age. They get orange flowers, almost the same color as California Poppies.
These are a short plant, getting at most 12″ tall. Generally considered Bolivian, but also found South to Argentina.
While in the Opuntioideae Subfamily of Cactus, they are different than the Opuntias proper because they have cylindrical stems and are lacking the spine sheaths of the North American Chollas (Cylindropuntia).
Mammillaria schiedeana is a pretty little blooming cactus. There are potential subspecies names associated with this species but I think this is a specimen of the species.
They will form fairly robust clusters, though each individual stem is only 2″ diameter x 4″ tall max.
These are a generally solitary barrel from Durango, although we have seen some mature specimens forming a small cluster. My copy of Anderson’s The Cactus Family tells me that this plant is more properly called Ferocactus pilosus. Why didn’t anyone tell me?!?!@ On the other hand some have been known to call this one Ferocactus pringlei. So many names!
Now I am embarrassed.
Do you know why they call it a Fire Barrel? I can only guess.
Euphorbia ammak, this may also be called the “Green Form” but then the real species E. ammak is a green species and the standard variegated E. ammak is more properly called E. ammak “Variegata” or better yet Euphorbia candelabrum erythreae variegata.
That’s kind of crazy that we would call one plant by another plant’s name. Why would we do that?
This one will get as tall as your ceiling, and no taller. That’s because you will have to prune it down when it gets that tall, and not later.
Yesterday I posted some gorgeous agaves but I forgot one!
Agave schidigera “Shira ito no Ohi” is the smallest of the group. It will be 16-18″ when full grown, and quite filiferous. Stripey too.
People seem to like the closeup shots of the agaves. They’re very scenic. Like this one:
Agave “Quadricolor” is very toothy with occasional offsets and will top out at about 2 feet across. The leaves are very stiff and the spines are very rigid and so this is a dangerous plant to put in the parking strip next to your house. Maybe in the backyard?
Agave “Blue Glow” is the classic new hybrid small agave that will top out at 18″ and will glow red with backlighting. So please set it in the ground where you will get some sunshine backlighting these gorgeous red spines.
And a bonus Agave parryi to enjoy, too!
Cleistocactus ritteri in bloom with some late flowers. They usually flower in spring and early summer. The stems will get 3 to 4 feet tall, and branch from the base only. Generally pretty upright, they occasionally like to lean outwards and sway to the breeze. And they’re from Bolivia!
These are our newest cutest little Living Stones in the Mesemb Family (Aizoaceae, Subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae)
And the flowers! Oh the yellow flowers…
And a bonus Mesemb! This one isn’t a Living Stone Mesemb, but an Ice Plant Mesemb, and quite the hadry little flowering plant.
Oscularia caulescens has the most adorable (i.e. unpronounceable) common name – Dassievygie.