"Little Plum"


Lewisia longipetala is a native.

I wonder what Cal Flora says about it?

Communities: Subalpine Forest, Alpine Fell-fields

Lewisia longipetala, a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is endemic (limited) to California alone.

Observations by County: Click county name to view observations. [Number of observations in brackets].
El Dorado [7], Nevada [6], Placer [2].

OK, so then what does the USDA say?

Lewisia longipetala (Piper) S. Clay – Truckee lewisia

Symbol: LELO2
Group: Dicot
Family: Portulacaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit: Forb/herb
Native Status: L48 N

Very interesting…

Of course, “Little Plum” is a hybrid, so who knows.

These blog posts where I farm out the tough work is pretty easy on me. I wonder what any of that info above really means. Well, let’s start with the word “Dicot.”

Dicot: Simply put, the first leaves of a flowering plant that come out of a seed are called cotyledons, and if there are 2 leaves the plant is called a dicot and if there is only one then it is a monocot.


"Pink Ice"

Protea flower about to open up, if its not too cold today.


"Subjunctive Plant"

In continuing our series of haworthias in February, I see we come upon this lovely green rosette with see-though tips.


Haworthia retusa, also known as the Subjunctive Plant. Apparently some of these haworthias do have common names if you dig deep enough for them.

"Sunset Strain"

Another one of the brilliantly colored California Native succulent Lewisia cotyledons, this one is from the “Sunset Strain” family of cultivars.

"Tropical Peach"

The Echinocereus grandiflora hybrids are popping out all over.

It’s still a little early for the bees, but in the next couple weeks they’ll be getting drunk on these flowers by the gross.

"Woolly Fruit"

That’s the greek meaning of the genus name, so I’ve been told.


Eriosyce esmereldana

This is a special plant, very sexy, with a very rot-prone taproot. From Chile, of course, as are all eriosyces.

I wonder what the rest of the plant looks like? It’s not very big. Check back tomorrow, and maybe we’ll take a look.

A Cactus Blooms in Spring

Rebutia narvaecense
Small whitish barrels with 1″ flowers in vibrant pink, as if I had to tell you. This is the first bloom this year, but you can see more buds there too. They will bloom into the summer, at which time the Rebutia muscula will then take over with its incredible orange blooms, as if I had to tell you.

A Couple of Pretty Succulents


Echeveria “Perle von Nurnberg”
6″ rosettes w/cupped purple leaves
Hardy to 25F 
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water


Echeveria “Afterglow”
Rosettes to 24″, powdery Lavender leaves best in full sun.

Hardy to 25F 
Cactus Soil
Low Water

A Few Days Ago…

…I posted a strange bloom photo of a Cyphostemma juttae. And people asked us what the rest of the plant looked like.

Now you know what the caudex looks like. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some leaves.

A Lack of a Common Name Never Stopped Me

I’ve decided to feature Haworthias this month on the Cactus Blog.

Haworthias are a pleasant little succulent because they are the best shade-tolerant succulents around, consistently building a loyal following by eschewing the sunshine.

They are from South Africa, just like their relatives the Aloes.

I’ll bet there are all kinds of local common names for these plants, but I don’t know them. I’m ignorant that way.


Haworthia attenuata

A Little Bit of Limericking

I feel a limerick coming on, so you may want to back away from the computer as quickly as you can.

A girl with a hat on her head
Was sitting in the middle of a cactus bed
She was wrapping a present
The garden was pleasant
So the garden gnome being wrapped she did wed.

I warned you.

Here’s a wedding picture for posterity:

Adenium somalense – Desert Rose

I’ve brought the Adenium somalense into the photography studio for it’s 2nd bloom flush of the year and taken a portrait of the plant. The problem is I can’t decide which picture I like better. Can you help me decide?

If you click on each photo you get an enlarged closeup of the center flower.

1. This is the plant with the flowers.

2. This is the plant with the flowers with another plant behind with leaves. It’s funny the way they sometimes bloom before they leaf out, but the one in back with the leaves also has buds.

Aeonium "Velour"

Aeonium “Velour”

There are so many named Aeonium varieties and colors and hybrids and slight variations depending on the amount of sun that I’m hoping we have the right name for this one.

Our source for the name is this book by Rudolf Schulz.

Aeonium Blooms

Aeonium arboreum
These blooms can take a lot of energy out of the plants, and can cause some of the rosettes to die back, even setting the plant back a couple years. Not as bad as some other Aeoniums, especially the ones with the pyramidal bloom stalks. But they’re pretty.

Aeonium urbicum

We had a different plant labeled A. urbicum. But then we decided we were wrong. And that this one must be A. urbicum. What do you think?

Aeoniums are difficult. There aren’t a lot of good pictures from which to ID them. We’re clearly going to have to get the big Aeonium book from Australia. That’ll be fun. Then we’ll change all the names around again.


It’s very confusing, all the different types of aeoniums. For instance, the popular “Schwartzkopf” is a cultivar  off a subspecies off a species. So it could be properly called Aeonium arboreum ssp. atropurpureum c.v. “Schwartzkopf”. And then we have our own cultivar off that! very subtle differences.

Here’s our current list starting with A. arboreum.


Aeonium arboreum

more… Read More…

Aeoniums, Part 3

Today we feature 2 smaller rosette aeoniums, that grow about 3ft. tall and are very branchy.


Aeonium holochrysum


Aeonium balsamiferum

Now we started with a crop of the holochrysums, and then when those were big, we bought another seedling tray of the same thing. When they were big enough, we potted some and sold the 2nd tray as holochrysums also. But when the rest grew bigger we realized they’re not the same plant. I’ve decided the 2nd plant is balsamiferum. It’s also possible they’re the same species, but different cultivars or subspecies.

But they look different enough to me that I can’t in good conscience call them the same plant.

Also, these are summer photos, when the rosettes are at their smallest. In the winter they’re a lot more full. But interestingly, these 2 shrink up more than a lot of our other aeonium species.

African Aloe

It must be winter-growing-aloe-bloom-season in the Bay Area!

aloe africana

Aloe africana is an African Aloe also known as African Aloe. It’s from South Africa, of course. The Eastern Cape. These are some very orange flowers. The plant itself is a single-stemmed, generally solitary tree aloe to 10ft. tall. The marginal spines are vigorous, though not so large or numerous as to be hazardous.



Calibanus hookeri, a caudiciform member of the Agave family (Agavaceae) which we already said was maybe actually in the Lily family, but let’s not get that started all over again.

Here are the blooms. This is a male plant, as we can tell by the blooms. For some reason all our plants that we see bloom are male, and so that explains why we do not get seed.

As you can clearly see with this super slo-mo closeup, there are stamens there, composed of the little pollen-covered anthers on top of the slender filaments, but no pistils, i.e. the often quite graphic stigma in the center on top of the ovules.


Agave Cactus

Yes, that is the common name for this member of the cactus family that looks like it should be in the agave family.

Leuchtenbergia principis is from the Chihuahuan desert and unlike the agave it can bloom and bloom again, every year. Though they do not bloom young, so you may have to wait 10 years to see such a vibrant yellow flower.

Those weird papery spine things on the ends of the arm-like thingys are in fact the spines, true cactus spines, coming off the “arms” which are not branches or stems or even leaves, but what is a tubercule. Cactus are soooo interesting!

They need a tall pot, since they have a big and ruddy taproot.


Airplant Nest


The baby is in a nest of Tillandsia usnoides! Awwww, so cute!

Go baby… Go baby…

Airplants and Terrariums

We are really full up with airplants and terrariums of all kinds.

Tillandsia bulbosa

Tillandsia xerographica

Tillandsia xerographica x brachycaulis

Tillandsia tenuifolia “Blue”

Tillandsia stricta “Pink-Bronze”

Tillandsia ionantha “Mex”

Tillandsia butzii

Albuca Bloom

Albuca namaquensis
Winter growing bulb with curly leaves. The sun was very bright when I took this photo. Maybe too bright for the delicate petals.

Alert the Local News!


It’s an agave coming into bloom. Agave funkiana. It’s still on the floor at the nursery, but I took the price tag off and moved it out front for display. The bloom is growing fast. Soon it will finish its cycle and die. Oh how we will miss you, funkiana, my friend.

November 2021

US Constitution


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