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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Disocactus flagelliformis

This cactus has been in cultivation for really long  time. It was described by Linnaeus in 1753 as Cactus flagellliformis, and was a favorite in collections since that time. It can be successfully grown under common house plant culture, and freely blooms with its bright flowers. The species originates from Oaxaca state, Mexico.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ferocactus macrodiscus

Ferocactus macrodiscus is another spring bloomer. It is the smallest flowering Ferocactus species with pretty candy-striped flowers. Like other Ferocacti it is easy in culture but needs plenty of light and better grown in greenhouse or, climate permitting, outside. As the name implies, with age it becomes wide and flat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sclerocactus parviflorus

Sclerocactus is a genus that is considered to be notoriously difficult in culture, and plants are usually grown on graft. Proper stock allows plants look more or less naturally and often supports earlier and more proliferus flowering. My preferred stock for them is Opuntia humifusa.
If grown on own roots the natural cycle must be considered, with dry summers and wet winters. Larger plants are actually pretty robust, and in California climate do better if in winter kept outside of the greenhouse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Matucana aureiflora

This nice plant becomes more and more popular in collections. It is easy to grow and flower, and surely pretty.
This is the only Matucata with "normal", that is not asymmetrical hamming bird pollinated flower. Plants are flat-globular, becoming fairly large in time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pelecyphora strobiliformis

This unusual Mammillaria relative is well known but rare in collections, mainly due to slow growth. The species name refers to pine cone that the plant stem resembles with some imagination. Flowers are easily produced once plant riches the proper size.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha is likely the most widespread Opuntia species in USA. These frost and drought tolerant plants range from California to Texas and way north.
This pink-flowered form grows in Beaver Dam mountains, on Utah-Nevada-Arizona border. This area sees snow over winter and not much summer rains. The flowering period for this cactus is spring, when plants plum with water supply from winter snow and rains.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Opuntia basilaris, Joshua Tree NP

Showy pink flowers of O.basilaris are always a pleasant sight. It is one of the iconic plants of Mojave desert and adjacent arid lands, wide spread and common. The low plants are frost hardy and in culture require watering in late winter and spring to successfully produce blooms.
Flower buds are always produced at pad edges, usually close to the tip, and new segments develop from the pad base. That helps to recognize early the successful flower initiation .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Echinocactus polycephalius

The most hansom cactus of Mojave desert is no doubt Echinocactus polycephalius. It is large and very ferocious plant, almost never seen in collections. This species is not only large, but also slow growing. A decent size specimen grown from seed would have to be passed from generation to generation, as human life is too short for this plant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mammillaria schiedeana ssp giselae

Mammillaria giselae is a clumping plant with small heads and small flowers. The plant at picture is a paler-flowered specimen I have, showing just a shadow of pink normally present.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oroya borchersii

This nice golden-spinned plant by some reason is no a reliable bloomer in my collection. I suspect it needs to be kept cooler in early spring, with proper early watering. The small unusual flowers start as brilliant green buds, turning yellow only once large.
This species is well-known but still uncommon in collections.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Echinocereus coccineus

As bright as it gets, E. coccinneus with it's name-giving scarlet flowers is at it's prime. The flowers open early and stay open for a week.
This flower gives me some sense of perfection, looking both solid and vivid. This is the time when cactus grower feels satisfaction for all the effort he puts in, over the months and years.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thelocactus conothelos aurantiacus

Thelocactus conothelos aurantiacus is often overlooked gem. Plants have orange, red or yellow flowers and some forms have nice colorful spination like at the picture. When not in flower, at first glance the plant can be mistaken for Stenocactus, with dense radial spines obscuring the stem morphology. Of cause with Thelocactus there is no wavy ribs there.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Copiapoa humilis 'paposoensis'

Copiapoa paposoensis is a form of C. humilis, from higher elevation locality. It is one of the faster growing small Copiapoas, ready blooming in culture, and very popular.
Once mature, the plant forms whit cotton-like 'hear' at the top, and flowers emerge from there. The picture shows the first buds of this season on that plant, many more to come.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mammillaria aureilanata 'alba'

M. aureilanata is another winter blooming plant. It is a dwarf species, flat stem rises just above the soil level like a hairball. Flowers are on a large side among Mammillarias, and usually produced in mass.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Echinocereus pacificus flower

A week after, here is a flower of E.pacificus. It closely resembles flowers of related E. coccineus but smaller, and not bi-sexual (so called 'perfect'). The flowers are very bright due to green-yellow or orange-yellow center, and easy to set fruit when cross-pollinated.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mammillaria laui subducta

Mammillaria subducta first described in 1997 and already a very popular plant. It has an appearance of yellow ball, with stiff straight spines. Flowers are easily produced and very attractive.
The plant is easily grown from seed and available from specialized nurseries, and often seen in garden centers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mammillaria glassii ascensionis

This Mammillaria species is of relatively recent discovery, first described in 1979. Ssp ascensionis is a much larger variety with larger flowers.
M. glassii is one of a few Mammillaria species with hear-like spines, always an attractive feature on a plant. When grown on strong light, the plants looks like a white hair-ball, tiny red hooked spines barely noticeable.
The plant in picture slowly develops a cristate - as the growth point turned to growth line and becomes wide with every season. This feature, also called fascination in plants, is not too rare but uncommon.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ancustrocactus uncinatus 'mathsonii'

This is a short-spinned form of A. uncinatus, a slowish plant with late-winter flowers. Flower color is unusual. brownish. Flowers size is not so impressive, flowers pretty much hiding behind stout spines.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mammillaria senilis

This old classic is one of the most thought after Mammillarias. The plants are large, snow-white with dense spines, decorated with long pale-yellow tipped hooks. Showy flowers are among the largest in genus, the unusual shape strongly suggesting hummingbirds dependence for pollination.
Successful flowering of Mammillaria senilis is surrounded by some sort of mystery, but apparently there is no big secret there. Flowering buds are started fairly early by this species, as early as late August or early September. The plants need plenty of light in months prior, and in the fall to successfully develop them. The plants of 6cm diameter are ready to bloom, and some time in November tiny bright red buds could me spotted deep  in axiles. Early spring is when the flowers fully develop.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eriosyce subgibbosa 'nigrihiorrida'

Buds on E. nigrihorrida appear in late fall as small bright red spots under the dense spines protecting the plant apex. They slowly develop over colder winter months, to tall rocket shapes. Flowers finally open in late winter an stay open for couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Escobaria emskoetteriana 'runyonii'

Escobaria runyonii is another small and modest Escobaria, that eventually develops into pretty specimen. The plant in picture is just over 10 years old from seed. It blooms repeatedly from late winter through the summer.
This plant is somewhat sensible to the excessive heat and should be protected from the sun on the hottest days.

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