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.

Cape Daisies

Osteospermums are easy to grow in the Bay Area. You can pretty much ignore them and they make nice mounding perennials with lots of spring and summer flowers. They’re called, generically enough, Cape Daisy since they come from South Africa. And they’re daisies, i.e. in the Aster Family, Asteraceae, a very popular flowering family that includes Sunflowers, hence the other name of the family, the Sunflower Family. Daisies, Asters and Sunflowers!

These particular daisies are more closely related to the Calendulas, as they are included in the Calenduleae Tribe within Asteraceae.


Osteospermum “3D Double Purple” so named for the obvious reasons.


Osteospermum “Mara” is a pretty copper daisy.


Osteospermum “Nasinga Purple” – Now finally we get to the famous Spoon Flowers! So named for the obvious reasons.


Osteospermum “Nasinga White” has been the most popular of the Cape Daisies here at the nursery this spring.

Echinopsis Hybrid

Echinopsis (2)

This is a color we’ve never had before. Here we see this Echinopsis Hybrid with two blooms about to open in the early morning.


Here we see this same cactus in the afternoon after it has fully opened. (Moments later the plant was purchased and taken away!)

We don’t have an official name for this particular hybrid. What would you call it? “Ice Cream”? “Mill Valley”? “Fork and Spoon”?

More from the Cactus Bloom Season

It’s cactus bloom season, also known as Spring. Part 2.

I hope you are still enjoying these pictures of cactus flowers because we have a few more to share, right here on the cactus blog.


Echinocereus viridiflorus is the infamous green-flowered cactus, Green Pitaya, from the Plains States. That’s right – it’s native to a range from Texas to South Dakota, even found in a corner of Wyoming.


Opuntia erinacea, possibly a subspecies of Opuntia polyacantha, is the Mojave prickly pear. That means its a California Native!

yellow flowered cactus

Yellow flowered Echinocereus grandiflora “Sunshine Yellow”

How many flowers are there on this one yellow flowered cactus? A Lot.

echinocereus yellow


Cactus Bloom Season

It’s cactus bloom season, also known as Spring. Part 1.

I hope you enjoy pictures of cactus flowers because we have a few to share, right here on the cactus blog.


Echinopsis chamaecereus is the renowned Peanut Cactus


Epiphyllums are the seriously underrated Orchid Cactus


Echinocereus “White Lightning” is photographed in front of a Tequila Agave.

Echeveria Bloom and Musical Number

The prettiest Echeveria of all is:

Echeveria lindsyana

Echeveria lindsyana

Wow! If I didn’t have a nursery, and thus have a whole bunch of these Echeveria lindsyanas already, I would for sure buy that.

Some facts for you: From Mexico, as is typical of these Echeverias in the Crassulaceae Family. Hardy into the lower 20s, but probably not all the way down to 20F. They will form small dense clumps of 6″ rosettes. And they’re pretty. Oh so pretty. They feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any Echeverias who isn’t lindsyana tonight!


Echeveria Hybrids Dominate the Weekend

There are a lot of very Hybridized Echeverias on the Echeveria market. Some are from the 1950s and some are more recent. But they all are growing right now in our very spring weather. Every single one of them. And they are all showing great color in our very sunny spring. A lot of color!

Here are some that we like. I don’t have most of them named so I’m not including names with these, but some of them we do know the names and others I’m sure you also know the names, so there’s that.

Here we go!




Don’t forget to click your favorites to see a slightly bigger picture.

And we’re off again!




Wow, those are some colorful succulents. I couldn’t possibly have more. But I could! I do! And these are all out at the nursery right now. And even more than I’m showing here! So many that I couldn’t hold them all in this blog post.

On to the rest….





Cactus Flowers! It's Spring!

The Echinocereus grandifloras are in full bloom this weekend, so you know it’s spring out here at the Cactus Jungle.


We call this one “Amber Peach”


Rikki insists this one is “Tropical Pink”


I named this one “White Lightning”

In case you were wondering, these are all hybrids. They are intergenic hybrids between Echinopsis and Echinocereus. You may see these on various websites and at certain nurseries under various and sundry names. Some call them Trichocereus Hybrids or Lobivia Hybrids or Tricho-Lobivia Hybrids, however current taxonomy puts all Trichocereus and Lobivias into Echinopsis.

You may also see in certain quarters where they insist on particular cultivar names. However we have gotten our original parent plants for these hybrids from the original hybridizer and he does not name them himself. So we are free to call them by our own cultivar names. If you have better names for them than we’ve come up with, we’re happy to take suggestions!

Cactus in Bloom

Cactus bloom season has begun and first up are a couple of whitish-yellowish flowers.

Parodia crassigibba

Parodia crassigibba has highly variable flowers, as you can tell if you click the link. Maybe this is a different Parodia? Maybe it is the same?They do vary from White to Yellow to Pink, so it is quite possible

Gymnocalycium uruguayense

Parodia sellowii on the other hand is only supposed to get yellow flowers. So I must have it mislabeled. What shall I do to try to correct this horrible mistake? Obviously nothing before I post this. [Editor: It’s Gymnocalycium uruguayense.]


May 2020

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