Search Results for 'pear'

California Native Plants&Plants14 Aug 2015 12:52 pm


Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly Milkweed
Native throughout the US
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Prefers Full Sun, Handles Light Shade
Water: Moderate, drought-tolerant
Size: 2 feet tall

Dies back in winter and re-sprouts from its underground tuber each spring. The brilliant orange or red flower clusters appear in midsummer followed by attractive green pods.

Reader Photos24 Jul 2015 11:34 am

John from Maryland sends along a photo of his blooming Stapelia and a very nice Echinopsis hybrid.

I just wanted to say hi, and share a couple of photos of my plants with you. I came across your site a while ago and check your blog often. I live in Salisbury Maryland…all the way across the country.

I have a lot of cactuses and succulents. We cannot grow many of them in the ground here (except some prickly pears) so I have to bring them in and out each summer.

Carrion Cactus

Anyway, attached are 2 photos – the first is my favorite cactus. I cannot help but laugh at its beautiful shape. The second is a Stapelia gigantea. It had one flower so far this year. The flower was about 15 inches across and very stinky.

Phalluseae Cactaceae

I love your blog. Next time I’m out that way, I’ll come into your shop.

John Mosher


Science08 Jul 2015 10:40 am

Well obviously you can plant cactus and succulents in your front yard to reduce your watering. Why else are you re4ading my blog? Cactus are also the future of desert-grown food supplies. Well you knew that already too, anyway. But now IO9, the sci-fi website, wants you to know that Cactus may be the future of bio-fuels. Who knew!?!


As drought strikes broad regions of the world, farmers are focusing on the crops that can feed people—not the crops that can power their cars. But what if there was an energy crop that could grow where traditional crops can’t? Even in a drought? Enter the cactus.

The prickly pear cactus is one of the more common cacti in our world. It’s also a member of a unique group of plants that use an unusual photosynthesis pathway that evolved due to extreme growing conditions, in arid climates with long, hot, dry days and cool nights….

CAM plants have a special way of going about the business of photosynthesis: They only absorb carbon dioxide when it’s cool out, which means they don’t lose as much moisture as they would during the sunny, hot daylight hours. Then, when the sun comes up, they close their stomata—their pores….

Though there’s plenty of research to be done on how these plants would do as bioenergy fuel, Mason and his co-authors suggest that prickly pear could help make biogas—or gas which is made when organic matter is broken down without oxygen—along with other forms of bioenergy like bioethanol.

Whew, that’s a lot of science!

Cactus&Plants06 Jul 2015 08:06 am


Tunilla erectoclada

Mini prickly pear, pads 1-2″ groundcover

Hardy to 25F 
Full Sun to Part Shade
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Photography22 May 2015 08:13 am


Echeveria lilacina


Echeveria setosa v deminuta

Now appearing at Cactus Jungle!

Recipes24 Nov 2014 06:33 am

And just in time for the holiday. The one that is coming up this week, not the one coming up next month. Although it is in time for that holiday too.

Tom’s Pricklypear Cactus and Cranberry Jelly

I have a large pricklypear cactus growing outside my back door. Most years… it produces large numbers of dark pruple-red fruits. I make these into either jelly or syrup, depending on whether it sets or not. This year, I turned my less bountiful harvest into a variation on cranberry sauce–the jellied kind….

24 or so ripe pricklypear cactus fruits
1 bag fresh cranberries.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 box pectin
3 cups sugar

Click through for the full instructions.

And who is this Tom and why should we follow his recipe? He’s Tom Fitzmorris of WWL AM870, a talk radio fixture in the Gulf South Region with a food show. On the radio! I trust him. I really do.

Carnivorous Plants03 Nov 2014 02:24 pm


These are the blooms on one of our Nepenthes sanguinea, and it appears we have a female! Seeds, too?

California Native Plants23 Aug 2014 09:20 am


Mimulus aurantiacus
California Native
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Low
Size: Shrub to 3ft.

Commonly found growing wild on California hillsides. Orange flowers appear sporadically throughout the year. Much more drought tolerant than other mimulus. Deer resistant. Hardy to 25°F.

Questions28 Jun 2014 09:26 am


I was looking at your very helpful blog and was wondering if you had any insight to the below. My cactus recently had a bit of scale and once I removed it with a tooth brush it began to discolor with brown/black spots. I’m not sure if this is caused by the scale or if it is rotting and what my next steps should be. I bought some organic neem oil and treated it on Saturday evening but wanted to see with you if you think this is the right approach or what you would recommend. (I have attached a photograph for your reference) do you think there is any possibility this cactus could live?


Additionally I have another cactus potted in the same pot which appears to be healthy but I wanted to see if you think it is ok to leave it or if I should repot the ‘sick’ one.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your help!



I can’t tell what is going on from the photo. That wouldn’t have been caused by the scale. Generally we don’t recommend using a toothbrush since the bristles can be too firm – a soft paintbrush dipped in alcohol is sufficient to remove scale. It is possible that the skin of the Cereus was damaged and now has a fungus or other rot-related issues, but I can’t be sure. Neem wouldn’t have caused it unless you sprayed in direct sun, but it would help with any fungal issues. Or it can also be something entirely unrelated to the scale removal.

I would definitely separate the two plants, clear off all the soil from the clean one’s roots, and plant in a new pot with fresh cactus soil. If you live near Berkeley you could bring it in and we can help you with that.


Berkeley Gardens&Berkeley Succulents13 Jun 2014 08:30 am


Page Street, Berkeley

Cotyledon orbiculata in full bloom. Now that’s a nicely shaped shrubby and chalky succulent, just like your mother used to make.

And in case you don’t also follow me on instagram, here’s the instagrammed and filtered version that appeared there.


Which do you like better?

Plants21 May 2014 08:46 am


Huernia schneideriana is the blood-red Dragon Flower.

Long recumbent stems can reach 20″, small burgundy flowers.

  • Hardy to 20F
  • Part Shade
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water

This Carrion Flower in the Stapeliad Family, which is now Stapeliae, the Stapeliad Tribe in the Milkweed (Asclepiad) Family, which is now Asclepiadoideae, the Asclepiad Subfamily in the Dogbane Family, Apocynaceae.

So to recap, Carrion Flower, Stapeliad, Dragon Flower. But not in the Stapeliad Family as once thought and not in the Asclepiad Family as once thought since Stapeliads were moved as a tribe to Asclepiads which were moved as a subfamily to the Dogbane Family which got a lot bigger, and this recap failed in being a recap and ended being more of a restatement of the facts as they appear.

And what does the rest of the plant look like? Here is a picture of the unflowered stems.


Plants28 Mar 2014 12:48 pm


First up us a lovely little Prickly Pear, Opuntia “Baby Rita”.

That sure is a nice plant. Small pads, brightly colored flowers, low growing, and prolific. I better get started parenting one of these.

National Parks&News&Travel21 Jan 2014 12:13 pm


Although it’s not the largest saguaro ever discovered, the colossal specimen along the Dutchman’s Trail in the Superstition Wilderness is a commanding presence. Balancing a massive, Medusa-like crown of spiny arms and isolated in a landscape where neighboring saguaros sport more modest profiles, this impressive plant grabs the spotlight.

But, it might not stand for much longer. An ominous gray scale on its north side and what appears to be a lightning strike in its core may spell its doom…

And then there’s the whole location and hike and map and description information so you too can go and see this mountainous cactus before its gone.

The hike begins at the Peralta Trailhead on Bluff Spring Trail…

News&Recipes14 Jan 2014 11:39 am

Orange County has a lot of prickly pear cactus growing, so the local newspaper, the OC Register, recommends you eat your share of the delicious green vegetable. Not only do they say it’s delicious, but it’s rich in anti-oxidants too. So it must be good!

cactus grill

Strips of grilled cactus leaves taste delicious combined with pepper jack cheese on an open-faced sandwich.

You won’t be able to read the whole article unless you are a OC Register subscriber, which I am not. So I haven’t been able to verify that there recipes are worth the effort. But the picture looks good.

News&Travel13 Jan 2014 10:06 am

Apparently a local Landscape firm in Austin, TX has now opened a Succulent Store.

If an alien race were to land in Austin for the purpose of surveying our dynamic with our natural world, they might surmise that Austinites in particular have a symbiotic relationship with succulents, as it appears nearly no stylish home or business can be caught without a sweet succulent adorning a corner, tabletop, window sill or bedside table….

Austin residents have a recent reason to rejoice (whether you love succulents or not): Austin landscape design + build firm Big Red Sun has reopened their nursery… at 1311 E. Cesar Chavez St. at Navasota.

Nice frontage. I’ll check them out next time I’m in Austin. It’s been a few years.

News10 Jan 2014 08:06 am

From the local newspaper in Lincoln Nebraska, the Lincoln Star-Journal, comes a story of a small flowering cactus.

Desert Cacti come in all sizes, from ones that barely show in the soil like the LIVING ROCKS (Lithops). They consist of two flat leaves, fused together, with only a slit between them. At maturity, Daisy-like yellow flowers appear from the slit, usually larger than the leaves. When the flowers dry, the “stones” shrivel and a new set appears from the slit. It takes patience to wait for this and you can kill them with too much water.

Now I’m not going to go ahead and correct this little article, but be forewarned that local newspapers often make large botanical errors.

Berkeley Gardens&Cactus&News&Plants07 Jan 2014 10:43 am

The Desert Sun has a suggestion of what to do with all your spare cactus. Make a fence! They have good ideas for using some of the taller prickly pear species, or if you prefer the more modern look they recommend a few different column cactus that will work for fences. Like the Fencepost Cactus, of course.

One first-hand account from mission days explained the cactus fence solved the problem of little suitable timber in coastal Southern California. The cactus fence was devised as a substitute. They were started by cutting paddles from well established cactus that reach the height desired. They’re inserted into the ground in a tightly spaced row where they root and grow quickly if watered. Prickly pear fences were not only perfect for containing livestock; they effectively protected the homestead from hostiles. No living thing on this Earth will penetrate a dense prickly pear hedge.

The cleanest living fences are made of fence post cactus, Pachycereus marginatus. These minimally spined upright cactus stems are ramrod straight, making the most amazing green walls. The best example I’ve ever seen was at the ethnobotanical garden in Oaxaca, Mexico where the fences are crisp and straight.

We use a giant cholla for fencing, both at the nursery and at home. Austrocylindropuntia subulata makes for a very good fence. Very spiny. Fast growing. Dangerous to try to breach. And pretty magenta flowers too. What more could you want?


National Parks&News06 Jan 2014 03:42 pm

In Arizona they are saving the Saguaros one RFID tag at a time.

(S)eeing saguaros disappear from federal lands, Saguaro National Park came up with a modern solution: radio frequency chips.

With the territory so vast and little chance of catching thieves in the act, land managers insert tiny chips into cactus bodies so they can track them down if stolen.

“We’ve literally chipped hundreds of saguaros we think are in at-risk areas — the size and location that could put them at a high risk of being poached,” said Paul Austin, chief ranger at Saguaro National Park, who said cactus poaching has declined since chipping began about five years ago.

Saguaros are Carnegiea gigantea of course. Named for the Robber Baron Carnegie, they are the only plant in the genus and no one has the courage to move it to another genus of plants to which they are closely related. Of course, most botanists would refer to Andrew Carnegie as a Philanthropist, which might be why they’ve kept the name.

Berkeley Succulents&Cactus01 Jan 2014 10:47 am

Opuntia Berkeley

Spruce Street, Berkeley

Opuntia species with a lot of ripe red fruit.

And here’s the ripe red close-up:

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit

Succulent Wreaths&Travel24 Dec 2013 07:39 am

It’s starting to look a little snowy in Idaho and Hap’s Mom’s cactus is covered in snow. Brrrr…

Idaho Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus in Snow

Idaho Cholla Cactus

Cholla in Snow

Idaho Agave

Agave in Snow

Succulent Wreaths in California

And for effect, our last few Succulent Wreaths in the California Sunshine before the Christmas Break.