Cactus Blog

Former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Quote of the Day

The man from Massachusetts in <span style="font-style: italic;">this</span> year’s presidential race said:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">“You know, I’m an English literature major as well. When we say, ‘I saw the <span style="font-weight: bold;">Patriots win the World Series</span>, it doesn’t necessarily mean you were there…&quot;</span><br /></div><br /><a href=";entry_id=1518" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Mitt Romney on CBS.</a><br /><br />

Letter to the Editor

The original article this letter is referring to was something about public art, but it’s hard to tell from the letter itself. From the <a href=";entry_id=1517" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Arizona Republic letters page</a>:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">We need shade. The diaphanous flexible nets would probably work great for shade. But a blooming cactus flower does not give much shade, so let’s try another design that would be a roof.</span><br /></div><br />No way.<br /><br />

More on Peyote

As if yesterday’s Peyote posting wasn’t enough, in which we passed on everything we know about the cactus, and linked to an article about how tourists in Mexico were decimating the wild population, now here comes a story about the Texas variety of Peyote. <a href=";entry_id=1516" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">From Reuters</a> we find out that they are having similar problems with dwindling numbers of peyote plants in the wild. In Texas the problem is not wasted hippies, but stems largely from lands being used for hunting preserves for the wealthy. Dick Cheney often shoots captive animals there.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;"> The profession seems barely legal in a nation perennially at war with drugs, but in the peyote region there is nothing clandestine about it.<br />
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Morales has a big sign out in front of his modest home that proclaims &quot;Mauro Morales — Peyote Dealer, Buy or Sell Peyote.&quot;<br />
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It includes his phone number should any prospective customers pass by.<br />
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&quot;It’s a business,&quot; he said with a shrug of the shoulders in a recent interview. &quot;It’s the only income I got.&quot;</span><br /></div><br />More after the break…<br /><br />
<br /><a href="">Continue reading "More on Peyote"</a>


People want to know about Peyote. So here you go, a blog entry with the word in the title, so you can find this information easily when you google the word Peyote. It’s an illegal drug in the U.S. We don’t sell it. We don’t have it. I’ve never tried it and wouldn’t know how to, so don’t ask. However, I do know that it is becoming more rare in the wild, threatened, endangered even. And it has very pretty flowers. From the <a href=";entry_id=1514" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">San Diego Union-Tribune</a>:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;"><img width="280" hspace="5" height="185" border="2" align="left" src="/blog/uploads/misc/news-peyote.jpg" />This ground-hugging native of Mexico’s northern desert is in danger of disappearing, a victim of psychedelic tourism, silver mining and greenhouse tomatoes….<br />
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(T)he Huichol Indians… have used peyote for hundreds, possibly even thousands of years, in ceremonies to communicate with their gods….<br />
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As they walk through the desert toward their holy mountain, towering above the mining town of Real de Catorce, they run into foreign tourists with stupefied smiles, sucking hallucinogenic juice from the revered plant….<br />
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</span><br /></div><br />Now you know everything you need to know so don’t go stealing it from the wild and don’t ask me nothing because this is all I know.<br /><br /><br /><a href="">Continue reading "Peyote"</a>

Virginia Succulents

They grow them indoors in the winter in Virginia, so the <a href=";entry_id=1513" title="–gardening-greenh1210dec10,0,4856769.story" onmouseover="window.status=’–gardening-greenh1210dec10,0,4856769.story’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Daily Press</a> tells us.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Late February is a good time to get your seeds started if you want some maturity for a springtime display in your greenhouse, or want plants ready to go into the ground after the last killing frost. Many succulents are dormant, making it an easy time to clean them up, repot and check for insects. Those that are still growing should be watered, but sparsely.</span><br /></div><br />That’s a lot of advance planning for a home based hobby greenhouse.<br /><br />

Republican Quote of the Day

&quot;After 10 full years inside the GOP, 90 days among honest criminals wasn’t really any great ordeal.&quot;<br /><br />Allen Raymond in <em>How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative</em>. Via <a href=";entry_id=1515" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Talking Points Memo</a>.<br /><br />


The <a href=";entry_id=1512" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Arizona desert perks up</a> after it rains.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">As a metaphor for hope and renewal, there’s nothing quite like rain in the desert. Just two weeks ago, after a string of brutally dry months, the cactus pads were shriveled. The virtually indestructible creosote had brown brittle leaves. Smaller plants such as bursage were reduced to bundles of sticks. Then came the rain. The desiccated moss on rocks burst into brief life. Within days, tiny leaves appeared on plants that looked dead. And the cactus plumped out.<br />
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– Kathleen Ingley, editorial writer</span><br /></div><br />And we find that the entire nursery is so pretty when a sunny day follows some heavy rains. On the other hand, rain after rain just makes me soggy. Oh, and the plants too.<br /><br /><br />


From the Smithsonian <a href=";entry_id=1511" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Catalog of Botanical Illustrations</a> comes this amazing plate:<br /><br /><img width="402" hspace="5" height="546" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/smithsonian15.JPG" /><br /><br />© Smithsonian Institution<br />
Plate Number: 15<br />
Publication: The Cactaceae Vol. 3 Pl 22, Fig 1,2,3 and 4<br />
Client: Britton, N.L. and Rose, J.N. – Size: 11×14<br />
<br /><a href="">Continue reading "Cactus"</a>

Apple Lemon

We had the company party last night and I’m still a little groggy. I made cranberry margaritas which were very popular with the young crowd.<br /><br />And on top of that the new Mac broke again yesterday. I hate Apple. But I’ll get around to some cactus blogging soon enough, I’m sure. We’ll just let the aspirin kick in first.<br /><br />

Link of the Day

<a href=";entry_id=1509" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">jardinagens</a> has a lovely little succulent garden that looks newly planted. But I don’t read portuguese, so I can’t be sure.<br /><br /><br />

North Carolina Cactus

They like them their cactus in winter in North Carolina. So says

Perhaps not enjoying the magnitude of poinsettia’s notoriety as a holiday symbol, a Christmas cactus in full bloom is no less stunning. A virtual heirloom, the long-lived plant is often passed down through the generations. Difficult to kill, even for this experienced flower hunter, our plant’s Achilles heel appears to be improper watering techniques. This year half the plant succumbed to too much water due to inadequate drainage from the base of its pot. Fortunately, this situation was timely corrected and the remaining half is right on schedule for a Christmas crescendo….

North Carolina’s wild native cactus, Opuntia humifusa, does have typical cactus features, and lives up to its common name, prickly pear. Producing an attractive spring-blooming flower, prickly pear can only be dealt with using extreme caution and adequate protection since the spines can cause injury and pain. Pets and children must be protected from contact with prickly pear plants.

Oh, they’re just talking about the christmas cactus like everyone else this time of year. Everyone must be pretty sick of poinsettias.



What do Cactus and Asparagus have in common? Why, US Farms, of course. <a href=";entry_id=1507" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The Resource Investor</a> recommends investing in a company called US Farms because they are diversified beyond food crops into cactus and aloe too.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">In the first quarter of each year, US Farms is one of the largest U.S. growers of asparagus….<br />
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At first glance, US Farms looks like a fairly normal farming operation. It is a diversified farming and nursery company. The nursery unit, which provides a full range of ornamental products like Aloe Vera, Cactus, Jade, Palm Trees and Cycads, is a relatively small unit of the company, providing only about 4% of sales. The biggest revenue generator currently results from is the growing and brokering of the food crops, asparagus, tomatoes, and garlic, and the growing and harvesting of Aloe Vera for use as an ingredient of patent medicines and cosmetics.</span><br /></div><br />I can’t say I know anything about this &quot;investing&quot; thing they’re talking about. All I know is that if you bought any securities, especially of the SIC variety, over the last 5 years then there’s a good chance you own a piece of the mortgage mess and have less liquidity and more risk than you ever imagined. Good luck with that.<br /><br />There is this other tidbit in the article too:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">One of the ideas under investigation is the potential of some of the cacti and succulents, including types of Aloe Vera, as a remediation crop for old mining properties. Aloe Vera will grow on some pretty sparse soil, with limited moisture required, so the plants might work in areas that don’t freeze and have soil with little contained humus.<br /><br /></span></div>


We’re coming up on a week of rain, starting last night. So make sure your cacti and succulents have good drainage. If they’re in pots and sitting on a concrete deck, then for god’s sake lift them up on pot feet already so they can drain out the drainage hole in the bottom.<br /><br />I’m just cranky ’cause I’m going to be outside at the nursery in the cold and rain all day today. <br /><br />

Christmas Cactus Questions

Everybody wants to know about the christmas cactus this time of year. How to take care of it, how to get it to bloom.<br /><br /><a href=";entry_id=1505" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Our secrets to your success are located here</a>.<br /><br />And then here’s the <a href=";entry_id=1505" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Ontario (CA) Daily Bulletin</a>, as they get questions.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q: How do I maintain the gorgeous Christmas cactus which I just purchased?<br />
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A: Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera, is native to the jungle as an epiphyte, (it grows in the trees). It is not a desert plant; therefore it does best in rich porous soil. The arching, drooping branches are made up of flattened, oblong, scalloped-edged, 1-1/2 inch joints. These branches are green, smooth, and spineless. A well grown plant can become 3 feet across and hanging below the raised pot, sometimes reaching the floor.<br />
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The flowers are long-tubed, with many petals about 3 inches long. Most varieties are red, but the new hybrids are pink to fuchsia, and a rosy purplish red in color. A large plant could have hundreds of flowers at this time of the year.<br />
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Water frequently and use a diluted liquid fertilizer every 7 to 10 days when the plant is growing and flowering. It does best in bright indirect sunlight with night temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees and 70 degrees or higher in the day. After the blooming period, do not water, except to keep the soil moist.<br />
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To help bud set and flowers at the holiday time, keep the plant where it is cool (55-60 degrees) with 12 to 14 hours of darkness. This should be done in November.<br />
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Schlumbergera, truncate, (Zygocactus truncates) is also known as Crab Cactus). The joints are 1-2 inches long, sharply toothed with two large teeth at the end of the last joint. Short tube flowers with pointed petals bloom from November through March. Colors range from white, pink, to salmon and orange. This plant has been nicknamed the Thanksgiving cactus as it begins to bloom at this time.</span><br /></div><br />Now you know everything.<br /><br />

Australian Cactus

Parkes, New South Wales has a blooming plant, and it’s a cactus! This is big news in Parkes, I’m sure.

And it will greatly surprise you to learn what they are – cactus flowers!

The cactus plants were put in by well known local native gardener, Herb Unger, now in his 90s.

I’m getting tired of these local newspapers expressing surprise that a cactus is flowering. It’s kinda stupid. Maybe I should stop posting these entries. On the other hand, I could just make fun of them more. OK, so I’ve resolved: more stupid local newspaper articles! More of everything here on cactus blog! w00t!

Santa Cruz Style

There’s something brewing in the air in <a href=";entry_id=1501" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Santa Cruz</a>, if you know what I mean, wink-wink-nudge-nudge.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Thousands of cacti — many more than 12 feet in height — line Linda Martin’s home….</span><br /></div><br />Yes, it’s cactus in the air in Santa Cruz.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Martin’s mini-botanical garden, which may sound to many like it belongs in the countryside, resides at Loma Vista Estates, a Capitola mobile home park for seniors that was only recently filled with more cement than greenery.</span><br /></div><br />Some like it prickly, I guess.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br /><img width="400" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/1196922121CSS329.jpg" /></div><br /><br />

Louisville Succulents

The <a href=";entry_id=1500" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Courier Journal</a> reprints an old column, seemingly every year now, that gives houseplant advice. Like this:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Succulents. Most are pretty easy to keep going. There are lots of succulent desert-type holiday mixed gardens out there.<br />
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The main succulents this year are the new Calandiva series of Kalanchoe with more spectacular, roselike flowers that hold for almost two months.</span><br /></div><br />The column was originally printed in 2005, so do you think the &quot;new&quot; calandivas are still the hot new plant? Come by the nursery some day and find out for yourself. (Hint: the older style, less-rose-like Kalanchoe blossfeldiana are all the rage this year.) Anyway, shouldn’t an editor have checked the column for dated info before they reprinted it as current? I’m just saying.<br /><br />

Staten Island Cactus

They have cactus on <a href=";entry_id=1499" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Staten Island</a>? You mean the one in New York City? Who knew such a thing was possible, certainly not me.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Each year Cacti and Succulents have become more popular as houseplants. The variety of unusual forms, their slow growth, their relative freedom from insects and disease and the little effort required to grow them, all have contributed to their popularity….<br />
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Is there an empty corner in your living room that needs &quot;something?&quot; Do you have a window that needs a hanging plant, or a sitting room that could use an eye-catching accent? Cacti and Succulents might just be what you’re looking for….<br />
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Angela Doglio is a member of the Great Kills Garden Club and past director of First District Federated Garden Clubs of New York State.</span><br /></div><br />The Staten Island <a href=";entry_id=1499" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Ferry</a> is only a quarter, the best deal in town.<br /><br />

Link of the Day

<a href=";entry_id=1502" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Giant Gay Flesh-Eating Rats</a><br /><br /><br />

Plenty Magazine

Their motto is <a href=";entry_id=1498" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">&quot;It’s Easy Being Green&quot;</a> and here they demonstrate with news of some newly liberated wild lands.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Nearly two dozen members of a New Mexico non-profit, three geologists, sundry guests, and one reporter bowed their heads to 30-knot winds last Saturday to hike up 6,272-foot Chupadera Peak in central New Mexico’s Chihuahuan desert. The motley band was celebrating the unique purchase and donation of this $62,000 rock.<br />
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The cacti and cresote covered mountain rises abruptly on the western side of the Rio Grande floodplain. As part of the Chupadera Mountains, it provides both high elevation habitat for songbirds and serves as a natural wall protecting the wetland stopover home for more than 50,000 wintering birds.<br />
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A birding group called “Friends of the Bosque” will give this 140-acre chunk of mountain to Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a roughly 57,000-acre area of protected land in New Mexico. The refuge will in turn ask Congress to designate the land as wilderness.</span><br /></div><br />More after the break….<br /><br /><br /><a href="">Continue reading "Plenty Magazine"</a>

Cactus on TV

Mythbusters used some of our cacti as set dressing for the episode where they tested chile pepper myths.

Here’s a short video clip that we’ll leave up until they threaten to sue.

Cactus in London, take 2

I previously blogged about how you could now find cactus pads in fancy London groceries, but I was wrong. They’re in fancy London-based groceries in Arizona. Who knew. And yet, <a href=";entry_id=1496" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">the Daily Mail is telling Londoners</a> that cactus pads can cure hangovers. I don’t know how that will work if you can’t actually get the pads in London. Oh well. It’s a good story.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Discovery Sliced Cactus, £1.29 per jar<br />
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Waitrose and Morrisons<br />
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How it works: Extracts of prickly pear cactus have been shown by one U.S. study to alleviate the symptoms of hangovers, though it’s not clear why.<br />
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Tester’s verdict: Eimear O’Hagan, 26, from Belfast, says: &quot;Waking with a dry mouth and a sore head, I ate a few pickled cactus slices and went back to sleep.<br />
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&quot;They were OK if you like pickled food, but had no impact on the hangover. I had acid reflux later on.&quot; 0/10<br />
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Expert’s verdict: &quot;Extract of cactus is rich in antioxidants that can neutralise damage caused by free radical cells. Better taken before drinking not afterwards, so the body’s defences are primed.&quot; 8/10<br />
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Overall rating: 4/10 </span><br /></div><br /><br />

Aloe Gum

It’s winter in the U.S. which means it’s aloe gum season in Kenya.

The value of aloe gum is expected to double beginning next month with the planned roll out of a new policy allowing its export.

Export of the medicinal products was banned in the 1980s, confining growers to the low-paying domestic market.

Kavaka Watai, the coordinator of the aloe project at the Kenya Forest Research Institute, said the ban has seen most dealers revert to smuggling of the product, forcing the price to fall to as low as $2 per kilogramme.

I don’t know what this means. Do you? I thought not. But I am nothing if not a complete succulent blogger, including all kinds of things that you never knew you needed to know about. Like this aloe gum issue. Now you know.


The <a href=";entry_id=1494" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">SF Chronicle</a> writes about the new Sundance Kabuki Theater in SF and features a photo of the bamboo we installed there.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;"><img width="272" hspace="5" height="420" border="0" src="/blog/uploads/misc/dd_sundance12069lh.jpg" /><br /> Tall bamboo stalks rise from rusted steel planters in the lobby, which is finished with weathered, reclaimed lumber, stone and teal-blue ceramic tile. </span><br /></div><br />It’s a cold morning. I think I’ll start a fire soon.<br /><br />

Old Photo

<img width="432" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/cacti-1working.jpg" /><br /><br />Cactus photo taken in Cuba in the 1950s by Harold Hollibaugh<br /><br />

Apple Problems

Well I’m late blogging today since I’ve been on the phone with Apple all morning trying to get some missing software for the new macbook pro. The 3-year-old ibook died completely last week, and the new macbook had a hard crash the first day and now it’s missing a whole bunch of software that the tech support people will spend hours on the phone with me to try to find, but won’t just let me download the software from apple. So 4 phone calls later, still no help.<br /><br />

Link of the Day

A youth pastor at <a href=";entry_id=1490" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The Ignition</a> gets some cactus.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">I recently visited a friend of mine who lives (in) Temecula… He gave me some cacti…. He simply chopped off pieces of these different plants with a machete and told me to bury them in some soil.</span><br /></div><br />Then there’s something about christians needing roots like cactus and who knows what it’s all about. I just liked the part about the machete.<br /><br />

Buying Cactus in London

You can now buy cactus pads at the finest grocery stores in London, so says the<a href=";entry_id=1491" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;"> Times of London</a>.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">You won’t find spotted dick pudding and you can search in vain for a tub of Marmite, but Tesco’s stores in the United States do a nice line in patas de puerco – pigs trotters….<br />
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Take a quick walk down the aisle and…. among the fruit and vegetables sit prepacked cactus leaves.<br />
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It’s not exactly your local high street Tesco, but Britain’s top supermarket chain is looking at the bigger picture.</span><br /></div><br />OK, so it’s not in London after all. It’s a British grocery chain come to the US, and they have all those American delicacies we so love that the Brits won’t touch, like pigs trotters.<br /><br />

Orange County Cactus Show

<a href=";entry_id=1489" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Fullerton Arboretum</a> hosted a cactus show, and they got a surprisingly good turnout.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">&quot;There have been about 3,000 people in total to visit this weekend,&quot; said Cliff Meng.</span><br /></div><br />They like them some cactus in the OC. Plus it was free.<br /><br />




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