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Cactus and Succulents!


Yuccas and Pachycereus! (and an aloe too)

White Spined Golden Barrel Cactus


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?

Living Stones

I see we have some vibrant and colorful Mesembs in full and gorgeous colorfully bloomed.


Lapidaria margaretae


Lithops salicola

The plants are barely even visible under those giant and colorful flowers.

Living Stones Succulents

These are our newest cutest little Living Stones in the Mesemb Family (Aizoaceae, Subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae)

Lapidaria margaretae

Lapidaria margaretae

Lapidaria margaretae flower

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

Oscularia caulescens has the most adorable (i.e. unpronounceable) common name – Dassievygie.

Mixed Succulents, Alamo

Mark and Bill were happy to share their lovely mixed Succulent pots.


Echeveria “Doris Taylor” and Graptopetalum paraguayense seem to dominate. Is that a Graptoveria “Debbie” I see in back? And the bowl is Ironstone. We don’t stock Ironstone at the store, but we can special order it in.

mixed sempervivums

Sempervivums are hard to ID, but I’m going out on a limb here and say its Sempervivum “Pekinese”.

mixed sempervivum

Sempervivum arachnoideum in bloom in a hand-poured sand-cast “stone” trough.

What a pleasant group of succulent pots!

California Native Agave


Agave shawii is a coastal California native, Southern Cal. and Baja, but still coastal so you know it will do well in Berkeley and nearby. While the rosettes will get 2 to 3 feet across, taller than wide, they will also form large clusters so the agave can take over an area easily 10 feet across if you let it. And with those gorgeous red spines on the new leaves glowing in the California sunshine why wouldn’t you let it? Once they’ve formed a large enough cluster it would be difficult to remove, so make sure you have it in a place you want it.

Full sun at the coast, it could do with afternoon shade further inland.

Should not bloom until 15 to 20 years old, and then the bloom stalk could be particularly impressive for such a smaller species – up to 40 feet tall? Harsh!


Gold Butterflyweed

Nicole took home this adorable little caterpillar but not before I got a photo and edited it on my phone with cute editing software. And the plant underneath of course is aButterfly Milkweed.


Asclepias “Silky Gold”

Native to South America
Semi-Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Moderate
Size: 3 to 4 ft tall

Brilliant gold-yellow blooms atop each stem in fall. Green leafy stems. Hardy to 15F. Can be grown as an annual; collected seeds can be planted in spring. Attracts Monarch butterflies.

Variegated Corncob Succulent

euphorbia mammillaris variegata

Portrait of a Euphorbia mammillaris variegata coming into bloom with all the pretty colors.

It is from the Little Karoo region of South Africa. It will grow maybe a foot tall and will sprawl outwards with many new branches growing along the older branches. Read More…

Rare Succulents, Whitesloanea Edition

Whitesloania crassa flower bud

Whitesloanea crassa is a rare and unusual succulent in the Stapeliad Family (Actually the Dogbane Family Apocynaceae or the Milkweeds Family Asclepiadaceae, depending on who you ask.)

And then that cute little flower bud opened up and we had a beautiful and vibrant and hairy flower.

Whitesloania crassa flower

They come from the hills of Somalia where they grow with just a little bit of sun and in very gritty soil with very little water. That’s exactly what I would have guessed! We tend to reduce the water in the winter down alm,ost to nothing, but not quite. In summer I keep it in a hot window and water with half as much as my other succulents, but once per week.

Join me after the break to see what a branching Whitesloanea looks like. Read More…

More Prickly Pears and Beavertails

Some closer-ups of yesterday’s Opuntias. Plus a bonus flowering cholla, also theoretically an Opuntia, but not exactly.


Blue Beavertail


Used to be an Opuntia, now considered a Tacinga, though still in the Opuntiodeae tribe.


Close up of a different Beavertail Cactus!


Bonus cholla… Used to be an Opuntia, now a Cylindropuntia.

Any guesses as to the species of them all? I gave good hints.

Aloe africana

Aloe africana 2

Aloe africana

Single stemmed to 12ft., solitary rosette with marginal spines. Hardy to 25F.

Aloe africana 1

The common name in South Africa for this lovely tree aloe is Uitenhagse-aalwyn. The bloom stalks on top of these 10-12ft. trees will get an additional 8 feet taller. Impressive! They’re found in a small part of the Gamtoos River Valley east to Port Alfred, particularly the Uitenhage District, hence the common name. Lowland, it grows coastally.

The Gamtoos River Valley is… so peaceful, so serene, so close to nature,  its hard to believe that Port Elizabeth`s Green Acres Shopping Centre is only 55km away!

Narrowleaf Milkweed


Asclepias fascicularis is my favorite California Native Milkweed this year. I don’t know how I’ll feel next year since there are so many beautiful milkweeds in the world and a few of them are California’s own. Check back!

Chalky White Goodness


Echeveria cante is a rare Mexican species that we’ve been growing for a few years now. They’re very popular. Like this one we’ve always only put them out for sale when they were big enough that we were certain they would be hardy enough to survive. This year we tried a crop of smaller plants, but not a lot of success. It looks like we will have to wait for them to grow bigger. Anyone have any ideas on how to keep these looking great when young?

Here, have a bloom photo.


Cactus Flowers

Do you like pictures of cactus flowers? Do you like it when I use fancy hoity toity filters on the pictures to make them all fancy? Like this one?

Echinopsis subdenudata

Echinopsis subdenudata

If you would like to see more of these crazy filtered cactus bloom photos then come join me on the Instagrams.

And just so you know most of the pictures I post there are not filtered to the edge of respectability like this one. This one was special.


We seem to be selling a bunch of perennial daisies around here at the cactus store this year.

And I’m not even mentioning all the Cape Daisies. Here too. Even more Cape Daisies!

How did a cactus store come to sell so many daisies, you may ask? I tells you there’s a reason for it. It may have to do with the fact that they are often low water and easy to grow here in Berkeley and perennial so they come back every year and rebloom – no need to plant new flowers every spring. Or it may have to do with the fact that cactus flowers only last a few days and people like longer lasting flowers to fit between their occasional ly flowering cactuses too.

Or maybe they just like them.

Did I mention they’re all in the Asteraceae (Aster) Family? Also known as the Sunflower Family? And they all have disk flowers?

asteriscus maritimus

Asteriscus maritimus is a Canary Islands native known as the Gold Coin Daisy.

Aster frikartii Monch

Aster frikartii “Monch” is a hardy Aster hybrid. Lovely colors.


Erigeron glaucus is the classic favorite California Coastal Seaside Daisy.


Erigeron glaucus “W.R.” is a smaller more lavender cultivar. That disk has a lot of colors in it right now.

leucanthemum aglaia

Leucanthemum “Aglaia” is a frilled Shasta Daisy. Large flowers on tall stalks.

So now you know why a cactus nursery has daisy flowers.

Desert Rose

Adenium arabicum

Adenium arabicum

Rare with a large caudex base up to 2 ft. across with long stems, bonsai style. Keep dry in winter; Hardy to 35F.

From the Arabian peninsula, these want as much blasting sun as you can give them. With good air circulation and some heat you should be able to ward off the spider mites. For the rest of us – watch for spider mites.

Fireworks Display


Epiphyllum in bloom just in time for the July Fourth holiday. It’s doing its own fireworks display!

More Cape Daisies

We’ve had a lot of fun with all the very colorful South African daisies. They are so easy to care for, what with not doing much at all for them besides watering less than you might think, and deadheading too. Here are the latest blooming Osteospermum at the nursery.


“Sunny Xena”


“3D Double Purple”


“Soprano White”


“Spider Purple”

Hedgehog Cactus in Bud and Bloom

Echinocereus reichenbachii baileyi

Echinocereus reichenbachii buds are very spiny.

Echinocereus reichenbachii baileyi bloom

And the blooms are very purple!

This is what I can tell you about Echinocereus reichenbachii. The species is quite variable and there are a number of subspecies that are also sometimes listed as separate species. I believe this one is the ssp. baileyi. Baileyi is from the Great Plains grassland, found in Oklahoma and Texas. It could be ssp. fitchii from Southern Texas and Mexico, but I don’t think so.

These will generally start off solitary and eventually fill out with as many as 12 stems for a single plant. The cylindrical stems will be fairly erect, green, and as tall as 10″ x 4″ diameter.


Barrel Cactus


Denmoza rhodacantha is interesting, don’t you think? Strange tubular flowers. Curved spines. And it turns out it doesn’t get much bigger around than this, but it will get taller. Interesting!

From the flower it is clear that it is related to the Oreocereuses, wouldn’t you agree?

Mondo Blooms

Ophiopogon Black Beard

Ophiopogon planiscapus “Black Beard”

Native to Japan
Evergreen Lily

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Moderate
Size: 12″

Slow growing, tight clumps of arching silky black grass-like blades. 14″ bloom spikes with white flowers. Hardy to 5F.

You can certainly see the quality of the flowers that would lead one to place these little grass-like plants in the Lily Family (Liliaceae).

Rose Easter Lily Cactus

The Easter Lily Cactuses used to all be Lobivias, except this one which was never known as a Lobivia.

Echinopsis leucantha

Echinopsis leucantha

This one used to be called Echinopsis melapotamica. Good to know!

Here’s a closeup looking deep inside the flower.

Echinopsis leucantha2

Wow! Interesting.

The cactus will get only around 5″ in diameter, and will grow to 14″ tall. They are generally solitary, but they do have huge wild spines. You can see a hint of that in the top picture, if you can look past those crazy beautiful flowers.

Found in nature in Argentina. Lucky Argentinians.

Natural Variation in the Parodia rutilans

Here are pictures of 5 different individuals, all the same species, in full bloom. So much variation! They are all Parodia rutilans. Here I blogged another Parodia that had significant variation as well.

Parodia rutilans 1

Parodia rutilans 2

Parodia rutilans 3

Parodia rutilans 4

Parodia rutilans 5

And finally what we have here is what we have identified as Notocactus roseiflorus, which my copy of Anderson insists is also Parodia rutilans.

Notocactus roseiflorus

That sure is a lot of natural variation for today! And to be clear, those really were all in bloom and fully open yesterday all at the same time. Nice!

Parodia Flowers

Below is a tricky one to identify.

First we have what is unquestionably Parodia rutilans:


Here’s a picture of the cactus under that giant yellow flower:


Every source I have indicates that P. rutilans and all of its subspecies all have brown spines. Now they can have a more purplish flower too. But the edges are purple, while the center still remains at least yellowish.

Then there’s this plant:


The cactus is superficially similar to the one above. But this one has very clear black spines that fade to gray. You can really see that in the picture. Other aspects of the spination are also very clear and clearly not Parodia rutilans or related subspecies. And while P. rutilans can have a purplish flower, it still has a yellow throat while this one has a whitish throat (the photo shows some reflection of the yellow stamens on the petals).

Also, this flower has had a lot of trouble opening without heat. It’s a spring bloomer and we usually do not have enough heat this time of year for this flower to fully open. So I have lots of pictures from the last few years of this plant with buds, but this is my first one with a fully open flower. Previously, from the spination and the buds I thought this might be an Echinocereus, and with the heat issue that makes a lot of sense too. But now that this flower is finally open I can say very clearly that this is not an Echinocereus.

What is the one factor that makes me certain? The purple stigma.

So what is it?

I have a book that very clearly indicates that this is Notocactus roseiflorus. Case Closed? No! All Notocactuses have been moved into Parodia for a couple decades now, so then the question is what Parodia would this species name have been moved to. And unfortunately the answer is Parodia rutilans. Which clearly this is not. No way. Not even close. Not a subspecies. So I went back and did some more research on Parodia rutilans and the plant at the top and really, it’s quite certain. To quote my copy of Anderson, “Aureoles densely white wooly… Central spines light reddish brown, straight or pointed slightly downward…”

Now I had been using a made up name, Parodia rutilans ssp. roseiflorus to indicate the P. rutilans that had the purplish flowers as mentioned above, but that’s not a real name. I just made it up. So that’s gone by the wayside. So now I have to live with the fact that Parodia rutilans’ flowers can vary and rename all the ones with the brown spines to just simply Parodia rutilans.

And since I can’t come up with any other name ever attached to this black-spined purple-flowered cactus I will have to suffice with Notocactus roseiflorus for now. Unless someone can help me come up with another name that is current.


Blooming Barrel Cactus

It’s Spring, which means it’s blooming barrel cactus season.

Ferocactus glaucescens

Ferocactus glaucescens has paper-thin petals

Ferocactus pottsi

Ferocactus pottsi has vivid red and orange petals

Ferocactus robustus

And a bonus, new spines glow red on the Ferocactus robustus



Aporocactus flagelliformis is a South America epiphytic cactus, pendant to 4ft. long or so, that grows particularly well in cactus soil in a hanging basket. This one is covered with a lot of pink flowers right now. And a few weeds poking through that are hard to get out of the pot since these stems are very spiny.

It's the Continuation of Cactus Bloom Season

It’s the continuation of cactus bloom season around here, i.e. Spring!


Opuntia basilaris x santa-rita is a nice low spine hybrid that has remarkable fully saturated flower colors. We have a number of very nice plants out right now. Enjoy them!

These are going to grow about 2 feet tall, and spread quite a bit wider if you let them. We find they are hardy down at least into the mid-20s, and lower if you keep them really dry. These are very popular with the pollinators as they have a lot of pollen. Bees appreciate them.


Parodia leninghausii is the Golden Ball Cactus from Brazil. Central stems can grow as tall as 24″, surrounded by a host of smaller golden balls. While small the form is clearly ball shaped, but when taller they are slanted apically which is different than most other cacti. Unique! Also hardy into the mid 20s or so.

Spinning Ice Plants


Delosperma “Fire Spinner” is a very low growing, slowly creeping, member of the hardy Ice Plant Family, i.e. Aizoaceae. In case you were wondering why they are called “Mesembs” along with the Lithops and such, they are part of the Subfamily Mesembryanthemoideae. That’s a mouthful.

While a mat-forming groundcover may not be the most unique plant in the plant world, they do have a sparkly glistening coating on their green leaves. So that’s cool.

For some reason the “Fire Spinner” name is a registered trademark, so I probably should figure out how to include one of those r in a circle thingy’s appended to the name. But on the other hand this plant also seems to be called Delosperma “P001S” with the Fire Spinner part not even being part of the official name of the plant at all. Hard to know! This may mean something to someone or not.

As might be expected, these are hardy below 0F.

Another Cape Daisy

How could I forget this one?!? The bestest Cape Daisy of them all.

Osteospermum Sunny Xena

Osteospermum “Sunny Xena” so named because of the famed Xena’s famed sunny disposition.

Echeveria Hybrid Blooms

echeveria violet queen

Oooohh!!! Nice Echeveria “Violet Queen” hiding in that mixed wall panel with the yellow flowers poking out.

sedeveria bloom

Aaaahhh!! Nice Sedeveria, an interesting enough intergenic hybrid, hiding in that mixed succulent pot with the yellow flowers peeking out. Hypertufa pot by Urban Farmgirls of San Francisco.

June 2023

US Constitution


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