Moth Orchids

We have a new flat of small Phalaenopsis in. Just in time for Thanksgiving! I wonder what varieties these are? I have no idea. Here’s a good place to look them up. I’ll wait while you go look them up.

That’s a lot of hybrids!

More California Canyon Plants

Here are a couple really nice desert plants from the same Tahquitz Canyon Trail in Palm Springs as the cacti below.

But they’re not cacti! Not even succulent. How do they survive?

Honey Mesquite – Prosopsis glandulosa

Chuparosa! (Justica californica) I love that name! And winter bloomers in the desert are especially welcome. It’s in the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae) along with such popular plants as Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis) and Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes). Hey – we just got some Hypoestes in for the houseplant room for winter. Nice!


Prickly Pear Fruit, Palm Springs

Two Palm Springs posts in a row? I must have recently visited that lovely desert city in the desert.

Did you know it’s in the Sonoran Desert? And it borders on Joshua Tree NP? Do you wonder if I made it into the park?

Tahquitz Canyon Trail

Palm Springs has some nice desert trails.

This is the story of one of them, the Tahquitz Canyon Trail.

Opuntia basilaris – Beavertail

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa – Buckhorn Cholla

And another Opuntia basilaris! Beavertails for everyone!

Earth Star

Cryptanthus zonatus – I don’t know the cultivar name for this one, but it’s probably one of the many C. zonatus varieties.

These are semi-epiphytic, so you can grow them with very little soil. We’re growing this lovely little bloomer in a big terrarium.

Crested Barrel Cactus, Palm Springs

Ferocactus cylindraceus

I’ve never seen a crested Ferocactus like this before.


In case you were wondering where I found this, it was Indian Canyon, above the Murray Canyon Trail. Nice! If you are going there and want a more precise location so you can find it too, you can probably check the data associated with the photo. I don’t know if the data survives the posting, so if not you can email me for the location data.

Barrel Cactus, Joshua Tree NP

Hanging off the side of a cliff! Nestled in a rock!


Ferocactus cylindriceus, also known as F. acanthodes or California Barrel Cactus or even Miner’s Compass (because it always leans to the South.)


In case you were wondering, I also had to climb up the cliff to get that picture. No tricks were involved.

And next to it was this cute little baby cactus! Also growing in rock.


Variegated Foxtail

Yesterday I blogged the Blue Foxtail Agave.

Today we have Agave attenuata “Variegata.” Unlike yesterday’s plant, this is a new cultivar to us and as you can see they have a very distinct white edge.

We think they may not be hardy here so we have them in the Houseplant room.

Blue Foxtail

Agave attenuata “Nova”

I don’t know why I haven’t taken any pictures of this one before – it’s the really blue colored of the Agave attenuatas so everyone wants one.

Airplant Nest


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

Go baby… Go baby…

Barrel Cactus Bloom


I’m sick today, but I thought you might like this picture of a late blooming Ferocactus emoryi. I took the picture yesterday before I went home sick. Have I made myself sound sufficiently pathetic? Yay!

Silver Torch

A nice late-blooming Cleistocactus straussii.



This photo of Parodia submammulosus is better, more vibrant than the one I blogged last month. Also, it’s nice to know they’re still blooming this late in the year.

Pink Stonecrop

Sedum sieboldii is a low-growing evergreen variegated stonecrop with pink flowers. And it’s hardy to below 0F. As are most stonecrops.

The tag in the pot is letting me know it’s Parent Stock, so I’m not allowed to sell it. We don’t have any others available for sale, so this post is really just a tease. Next year we’ll have another crop and by fall it too will be blooming. If it doesn’t sell out early like this year’s crop did. Hah!


Naked Buckwheat

Eriogonum nudum “Ella Nelson’s Yellow” is the latest of the native yellow buckwheats to hit the streets. And it’s pollinating season for them too.

Native pollinators are so cute!

Eriogonum nudum “Ella Nelson’s Yellow
Naked Buckwheat

California Native
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 1 to 2ft. tall

Widely distributed from the Coast to the Sierra Nevadas. Small grey-green spoon-shaped leaves with 18″ tall bloom stalks and large yellow bloom sprays. Attractive to bees. Deer resistant. Hardy to 10F.

String of Hearts

Ceropegia woodii variegata

That’s a bloom sticking straight out from the side of the plant into the black backdrop.

Why? What did you think it was?

Let’s talk Family Resemblance. These look like they should be related to the Stapeliads. Are they? Let’s check.

Well, they’re in  Apocynaceae which is, as we all know, is known as the…. Dogbane Family!

And what’s the Sub-Family? Asclepiadoideae! Hmmm. Didn’t that used to be it’s own family? Asclepiadaceae? The Asclepiads? Yes! Yes, it did. And what about the Stapeliads? Have we forgot the Stapeliads? Well now they’ve decided to give the Stapeliads their own Tribe in the Asclepiads Subfamily of the Dogbane Family. And that Tribe is called… Stapeliae. Huh. So they are related, but not quite the same tribe. Good to know.

(also, they’re related to the Hoyas, too.)


Easter Lily Cactus

It’s one of the pink flowering Easter Lily Cactus, and I think it’s Echinopsis eyresii, and that’s what we have it labeled, but then I wonder. What if it’s really E. oxygona? What if I’ve made a HUGE mistake?

As it is, it has those long tubular flowers, and in this particular case it’s hanging off the side of the pot rather than the more standard straight up.

Late Bloomer

Here’s an unnamed Ferocactus with a late summer bloom. Nice!

Purple Beardtongue

Penstemon “Enor” is our latest of the Beardtongues. It has a particularly deep purple colored flower and particularly deep green colored leaves. It’s a very hardy and robust Penstemon that won’t look ratty through half the summer. Hardy down around 10F. Maybe down to 0?

They do need full sun and a fast draining soil, but you knew that. They will keep blooming starting around this part of summer and all the way into the late fall, at which point you can cut them back, but you should still have some nice green foliage through the winter.


Mystery Cactus

Parodia erinacea

This came to us as a mystery cactus, and then it bloomed, so it was easy enough to see it was a Parodia. But our books list all kinds of Parodias as other names, like this one which was listed as a Notocactus, so I had to know in advance that there was a high likelihood that the Parodia was listed as a Notocactus – and there it was! Then I took out my trusty copy of Anderson and looked up the old Notocactus name and found it was an archaic synonym for the correct name.

So what does our trusty Anderson have to say about this lovely plant with a cephalium? It’s one of those plants that is often partly submerged when found in nature – you can tell because it has that flattened globose form. The fruit, if this is successfully pollinated (we do have 2 in bloom right now!) will be pink. The seeds are bell shaped. And the distribution is Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Thanks, Anderson!

Another Gymno Photo

Gymnocalycium ragonesei

I blogged this last week, and now another one of these beautiful Argentine barrels has bloomed and the flower is even more pretty than the last one. (Now to be sure, it is also prettier, but not just prettier, but also more pretty.)

Now what are the odds that I’ll blog a third specimen in bloom? Pretty good considering we have one with 6 buds getting ready to open. Maybe today… Maybe tomorrow…

Ice Plant

Delosperma “Fire Spinner”

Yes, it is a lowly Ice Plant from South Africa. But it is the fastest selling new Ice Plant we’ve ever had. Once it started blooming they’re flying out the door. Or gate, as it so happens, since we don’t have a door.



Eriosyce islayensis is from Nazca, Peru. Hard to find in the wild since these dark spiny barrels disappear into the gravel beds. Until it has fruit! The bright pink fruit are easy to spot from even a few yards away. But once the fruit are ripe, the seeds are wind blown and then there’s just the cactus left again until next year.

In Peru they are generally watered primarily by the fog. These have to be kept very dry, so that means they are an indoor plant – yes, even in San Francisco.

While very spiny, they are quite variable in the wild. The yellow flowers are a give-away.

September 2023

US Constitution


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