Tag Archives: cactus


Rebutia muscula
Copiapoa hypogaea var. barquitensis

One of the halls in San Diego’s Balboa Park almost always seems to have a plant show dedicated to one group of plant or another. This past weekend it was the turn for cactus and succulents, courtesy the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society.

This show featured an expected sampling of cactus, but a surprisingly low number of plants with colorful, splashy foliage like you’d find on some sedums or echevarias. Maybe some of them don’t transport so easily, and many others get too big to take to a show. Or maybe there’s a certain snobbery against easy-to-like plants that are probably a little overexposed in garden centers and home stores around town.

I'm not sure how to react to this entry, a carved up specimen of the common San Diego County coastal prickly pear, Opuntia littoralis. Most botanical gardens will have vandalized cactus and succulents, with initials carved into plants that will carry the scars for the rest of their lives. And here's another act of creative vandalism. It's fun, but I'm a little too uptight to enjoy it without feeling some guilt or dis-ease. But in the end it’s probably a better deal for the plant than to chop up the leaf for a big serving of nopales.

Notocactus leninghausii
Mammillaria carmenae
Sulcorebutia rauschii

Rebutia fulviseta--sorry for the awful focus on this one...

Euphorbia poissonii
Euphorbia unispina
And yet another euphorbia, this one E. misera, native right here in coastal San Diego County.
Oops...I didn't get the name of this wonderful wonder. Sorry. Maybe one of you knows? EDIT JUNE 12: Hoover suggested that this might be CalĀ­ibanus hookeri, and it looks like that is indeed the plant. Thanks, Hoover!
This decades-old specimen is Adenia glauca.

Whatever the reason for the dearth of “pretty plants,” weird was in, and I found myself gravitating to the side of the exhibition hall with plants that took up the idea of succulent growth habits and ran with it in ways you don’t see in cactus or rosette-forming succulents. Pretty many of them are not, but there’s a major cool factor with these.

Out of these I really grooved on the caudiciform species, plants that develop grossly enlarged stem bases, stems or roots to store water for the plant to use during the dry months of the year.

It was easy to snap up a big pile of photos at the show with my cellphone camera, but the quality of almost all of them was been pretty pathetic. Low indoor light = Slow exposures = Blurry photos. And controlling focus is really really touchy to nearly impossible.

I’m not about to give up my real cameras, but gosh these little devices are handy, like the convenient Hostess Twinkies of the photographic world. Amazing how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of convenience. Still, every now and then the photographic Hostess Twinkie goddess smiled on me and gave me sharp images that were focuses almost where I’d have focused with my camera.

Anyway, you might have guessed that where there’s a plant show, there’s usually a plant sale. But that’ll be the topic of a future post…



…and the winner in the category of Best Use of Barbecue Tongs in a Garden Setting goes to…

This sight comes from the cactus section of one of my local hangouts, Walter Anderson Nursery. Jenny had commented that someone had told her that they weed around spiny plant by using tongs. Here’s a similar use of tongs that makes for a less painful shopping experience…

first epipyllums of the season

There are gardens zones that I consider to be mainly my spaces, and there are others that I consider John’s. The pond/shaded patio area is largely his garden playground, and he has a number of potted plants, including several different kinds of epiphyllums, the orchid cactus.


For a couple months now, we’ve been watching buds develop on one of the epis. The plants aren’t labeled, and there are enough of them that you forget which one is which. As we watched the little buds we had no idea what color the flowers would be. Judging by the sepals on the outside–red, maybe?


Oops. It’s actually a pure white inner flower when it opens. Here you can see the white petals are ringed with red-tinged, yellowish/greenish sepals.


When a plant gets several on them at a time, it would be a traffic-stopper if we had traffic in the back yard… For a cactus, epipyllums are on the wimpy side. Like, you have to squirt water at them every now and then. And they don’t cope well with freezing temperatures. And they like mostly-shaded conditions. Other than that, they’re pretty easy–and spectacular starting about now..