Cactus Blog Archives

Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Winter Succulent Damage


Hi cactus jungle

A few of my cacti have struggled after the rains.

I have attached a photo and I’m wondering if you can tell me what is happening with this plant.

Is it a lost cause😞? If not, how can I help it?

Thank you
Brian

Brian,

The plant is a Euphorbia, and hopefully it is just the tip that got damaged in the winter. Depending on where you live, they are only semi-hardy here in the Bay Area, so they can take damage to the tip when we get below freezing, or with heavy rains, or especially with both (See: This year.)

You can cut the top part off the plant and it looks like the damage is limited there. Cut at an angle, using a bread knife, and make sure the flesh is clean and white. If there is still some rot there, cut lower. Be careful when cutting a Euphorbia as it has a caustic milky-white sap. Where gloves, long sleeves, and eye-protection. Spray the cut end with Hydrogen Peroxide and put a paper bag over it to keep the sun off it until it is healed. Good Luck!

Peter

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Haworthia Questions


Hi Peter
Would you be able to tell me the name of the succulent in the attached?

And perhaps more importantly, what is happening with the dry, papery bits toward the crown? Can this plant be saved? I am not sure what to do next. It was lovely and plump and then this started happening and I am not sure what I did (or am doing)

Much thanks to you!
Ann

Ann,

The plant is a Haworthia. It looks like it’s growing towards sun, maybe not enough sun where it is? It’s doing well since it can handle lower light levels for a succulent, but the result is the long stems with the dried leaves along it. You can pull them off or leave them in place, doesn’t really matter. But it is time to repot into a fresh fast-draining cactus soil and a larger pot.

Peter

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Cactus ID Is Difficult 


Hello!

I recently purchased a cactus to put on my windowsill to brighten up my room a bit, my problem is that I threw away the container right after I repotted it and now I don’t know what it is exactly. Could you help me?

The pot it’s in in this picture is four inches across and the ends of the spines are a dark red color.

Thank you so much!

Emma

Emma,

Hard to know for sure at that size, but I would guess a Gymnocalycium, although my 2nd guess would be a Ferocactus. If it blooms young, it’s probably a Gymnocalycium. Also, it looks like it could use more sun.

Peter

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Blooming Cactus 


Rebutia heliosa v melanistic

Origin: Bolivia

Description:
“Short Spined” variety

Clustering small stems, variable red to magenta flowers, spiraling ribs with prominent tubercles. Elongate areoles. Short, tiny brown spines. Purple-tinged stems in full sun.

Characteristics:
Full Sun to Part Sun
Ultra Soil Blend
Low Water

Size: Clusters of 1″ stems

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We Get Florida Cactus Questions


Hello,

I live in Florida & would like to plant some cacti in my front courtyard.

Do you know some names of cacti that do not grow too big in size for me to plant in that area?

Kathleen

Kathleen,

Florida is a big state with many different climate zones. Also, if you are interested in true spiny cactus, most of them are not going to do well in most of Florida due to humidity. However if you are looking for more succulent plants then there are many that can do well – I would ask that you visit your local nursery and they will be best able to get you something that is climate appropriate where you are.

Thanks,
Peter

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A Pitcher Plant Correction!


Subject: Re: April New Plants
From: Les
To: Cactus Jungle

Hi. Just an fyi: Sarracinia Bug Bat (?) is best known as Sarracinia Minor.

Sent from my iPhone

Les,
It’s been brought into our collection as a Hybrid. It may have also been a common name for S. minor, but we are referring to:

“Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’ is a pitcher plant that was hybridized.. by Larry Mellichamp at University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens… Sarracenia ‘Bug Bat’ is most likely a cross of Sarracenia (alata × psittacina) × minor var. okefenokeensis….

“The name Bug Bat was coined about 2005 by David Crump alluding to the shape of the pitchers resemblance to baseball bats, and then associated with catching bugs.”

Thanks
Peter

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Medusa Cactus


Ben brought in his gorgeous specimen Astrophytum caput-medusae, although he prefers to go by the name Digitostigma caput-medusae, which is considered a non-recognized name by the science boards that decide these things.

Ben says we may have some available to sell at the Cactus Jungle in a year or two. Nice! Thanks, Ben.

The horns are the cactus’ tubercles, i.e. what in most cactus are little bumps on or along the stems, here have gone wild and formed these giant spotted horns.

And the flower is cresting! Another closeup of the flower after the jump… (more…)

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Urban Farming in Berkeley


Apparently we not only have our local Urban Adamah urban farm, on land, but we now have at least 2 new roof-top urban farms in Berkeley.

What?!?

From Berkeleyside,

Photo: The rooftop farm created by Top Leaf Farms at 2201 Dwight Way in Berkeley. Photo: Alix Wall

Whatever challenges a rooftop presents, though, are not apparent to a farming novice visiting the roof on Dwight. One can walk through numerous terraces and see neat rows of crops growing; it looks no different than a regular farm, except for the fact that you can also see the tops of nearby office buildings and past those, the Bay Bridge in the distance.

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Cape Daisies for Spring! 


The range of Osteospermum colors is quite pleasant, and they’re hardy in Berkeley, growing year round and blooming from March through October! They’re opening up everywhere around town. These are on Ashby Ave. 

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Rare Terrestrial Orchid


We’ve started growing Eulophia callichroma, an African pseudobulb terrestrial orchid found from Tanzania to Swaziland, presumably low-water – and we’ll see! But we’ve already got our first plant to flower, so that’s a good thing.

It’s a tiny flower and that’s the best picture I could get without lights and a tripod, which are elsewhere right now. But you can surely get the gist of it!

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Carnivorous Plants and Convergent Evolution


Nature has the story.

(B)y studying the pitcher plant’s genome — and comparing its insect-eating fluids to those of other carnivorous plants — researchers have found that meat-eating plants the world over have hit on the same deadly molecular recipe, even though they are separated by millions of years of evolution.

“We’re really looking at a classic case of convergent evolution,” says Victor Albert, a plant-genome scientist at the University of Buffalo, New York, who co-led the study…

(C)arnivory has evolved repeatedly in plants, probably to cope with the nutrient-scarce soils in which they grow, Albert says. “What they’re trying to do is capture nitrogen and phosphorus from their prey.”…

(T)he new study is important because it demonstrates how this convergence can occur down to the molecular level, …says Aaron Ellison, an ecologist at Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts….

Gaining the ability to eat an insect is of little use if a plant cannot first entrap one, and here evolution has come up with more diverse solutions, Albert notes.

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