Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mammillaria seed pods

These Mammillaria have been pollinated artificially during the winter and spring and are now producing seed pods. Some have and can be expected to flower again.

This picture shows the fruits of Mammillaria haageana ssp. schmollii (bottom of first picture). Immediately above to the right is M. formosa and to its left is M. clavidiae. Just visible in the right hand corner is a form of M. haageana found at Colonia De 

Los cruces, Puebla. On the left side is M. bocensis.

This picture shows the fleshy fruits of M. petrophila L. 052. This plant comes from Southern Baja California, Mexico.

Also visible in this picture are the dried fruits of M. elongata.

This plant comes by the tongue- twisting name of M. huitzilopochtli. There are several forms of which two can be seen in this picture. All forms of this species comes from the Tomellin Canyon of Oaxaca. The seeds were obtained from the plants discoverer, the late Dr. Alfred Lau.

Immediatly visible to the left is M. saxicola and M. sempervivi.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yellow flowered Mamms

This dainty cactus rewards the grower with showy and lemon-scented yellow flowers. Mammillaria surculosa is reported from the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi. In the wild it forms dense mats.

In cultivation it quickly clusters in a few years. The flowers are very individual for this genus with crocus-like petals.

This and the following plant were previously placed in the genus Dolichothele due to the large tubercles and relatively large flowers. Dolicothele has been relegated to Subgenus under Mammillaria.

Mammillaria baumii is another sweetly-scented yellow-flowered charming plant. In habitat it is often found in the shade mostly on bare rocks.

It comes from the Mexican State of Tamaulipas. I have seen this species near the town of San Vicente where it forms sizable low mats.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ortegocactus macdougallii

This interesting cactus is only found in one small area, on Cero Cantaro, at San Jose Lechuguiri, Oaxaca.

The plant is named after Francesco Ortega who first brought the plant to the famous botanist Tom MacDougall and subsequently named by Alexander in 1961.

There has been attempts to refer this plant to the Genus Coryphantha but due to its isolation it must have evolved from an early ancestor which branched into Coryphantha and Ortegocactus. Philogenetic studies conducted in 2002 places this cactus between Coryphantha and the genus Neolloydia.

I have seen this plant half buried in scree in its habitat. The area is quite inaccessible. I have had to take several lifts which took me half a day to arrive. It grows on limestone rocks. Habitat cacti can develop the same red marking as their counterparts in cultivation.

The plant is small but will eventually clump. Plants in cultivation are usually grafted but I have grown these plants on their own roots without any problem.

Top picture shows a plant in cultivation.

Middle picture shows the habitat of Ortegocactus.

Bottom picture shows a clump of Ortegocactus macdougallii in habitat. The ruler is 15cm long (6inches)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Small Cacti

Gymnocactus saueri
was rediscovered by Friz Maurice in the 80's after being discovered by Baum and P. Sauer in 1925 and described in 1928 by Bodeker and remaining undiscovered since that time.

This Gymnocactus Saueri produced a dozen flowers.

It comes from Salamanca near san Vicente, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Echinocereus Laui was discovered by Alfred Lau in 1974 and subsequently named for him. It comes from near El Trigo ranch, East of Yecora from the State of Sonora, Mexico.

It will eventually cluster after some time but the plant remains small.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mammillaria painteri forma monstrosa

Mammillaria painteri fa. monstrosa is a well known form in cultivation. I have had Mammillaria bocasana cv. caterpincy. I suspect that both are the same cultivars.

Echinocereus davisii X E. pulchellus v. sharpii

This is a hybrid between Echinocereus davisii and Echinocereus pulchellus v. sharpii. Only this plant survived and it has been grafted on a pereskiopsis.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A few Mammillaria in flower

Mammillaria albata is considered a synonym of M. hahniana (M. bravoae) by some authorities and by others as a form of M. geminispina. Whatever it is, it is a very beautiful form. This form comes from Pedro Montoya (San Ciro) in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Mammillaria petrophila is another beautiful cactus and rewards the grower with bright yellow flowers at this time of year. It hails from Southern Baja California, South of La paz, Mexico.

Mammillaria hernandezii is one of the smallest in the Genus Mammillaria and also displays some of the largest flowers for its size. From Sierra Mixteca, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Mammillaria laui v. subducta is one of three varieties of the same species found by Dr. Alfred Lau in the vicinity of La Reja, in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The other two being M. laui v. laui and M. laui v. dasyacantha.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mammillaria bocasana

Mammillaria bocasana cultivars can be found in many forms. Some of them are so bizarre that it takes some persuasion to believe that they are bocasana at all.

This picture shows a double headed normal M. bocasana. It produces yellowish-white flowers and long thin pink fruits.

This picture shows M. bocasana v. splendens cristata. The plant resembles M. plumosa.

M. bocasana 'Fred' is a monstrose form of the species. There are several stories circulating of how Fred got its name:

1. It is attributed to Frank Harwood., which having had visitors asking what it is he replied ' I do not know, let us call it Frank'. This was in the early Seventies or late sixties.

2. From Ron Studior, a now out-of-business nursery in Texas, in the sixties.

3. Chuck Hanson's Arid Lands Greenhouses in Tucson, Arizona in the eighties.

Since then several other monstrose forms have appeared that are not 'Frank'. The one on the left is a typical example. It produces montrose and cristate forms on the same plant and grafted cuttings can take their own shape.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mammillaria albata

This cactus has been referred to M. geminispina v. leococentra. It has shorter spines then M. geminispina.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cactus Chimera

The name Chimera comes from Greek mythology refering to a fire-breathing she-monster in having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.

A Cactus Chimera result when two grafted cacti get distinct characteristics of two species on the same plant. In this case a Gymnocalycium mihanovicii cv. 'hiboton' was grafted on Myrtillocactus geometrizans.

Somehow the DNA of the Myrtillocactus passed to the Gymnocalycium and the result is a mix of two species in one. The species showing both of the two species characteristics.

Note: Chimeras are not hybrids. Hybrids occur with the fusion of two gametes from each individual.

Chimeras are very rare and highly valued. Nobody knows how they occur. It could be the result of a viral infection.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lobivia silvestrii

Lobivia silvestrii variegata is one of the most commercially available cacti. The Chinese are selling them in their thousands. These variegates have to be grafted because they lack chlorophyll.

Christate variegates of this species have been making it to collections. There are several forms of Lobivia silvestrii because they have been hybridised extensively with other Lobivia species and with Echinopsis. Hybrid species are selected mostly for their pretty flowers which range from yellow to red and there are some with bicolored flowers.

Other variegates have been selected for body colour or thickness. Thus, one can find orange coloured L. silvestrii. I find that the yellow variants turn dark orange at the top when held in very strong sunlight producing flower shoots that not all of them open.

Lobivia silvestrii was named Chamacereus silvestrii when it was first discovered. It was eventually placed in the Genus Lobivia and subsequently the Genus Echinopsis, because the Genus Lobivia has now been amalgamated with Echinopsis. A trend not everyone agrees with. The common name is peanut cactus.

The debris on some of my pictures are caused because I am always accidentally toppling the cacti in my greenhouse due to lack of space.

The monstrose plant on the left is also the same species. It is a mutation that has occurred in a private cactus collection in Malta. I have seen similar mutation forms (yet distinct enough), from Spain eBay sellers. The monstrose form is not very easy to keep and needs to be re-grafted after a few years.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Aztekium hintonii monstrosa

This is a proliferous form of Aztekium hintonii. The Genus Aztekium consists of only two species A. ritteri and A. hintonii.

A hintonii was discovered only in 1991 together with another new species Geohintonia mexicana by George S. Hinton. Both species of Aztekium and Geohintonia grow on vertical gypsum hills in the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Cactus badges from Poland

This is a set of 16 badges from Poland. I do not know why they did not write the name of the cactus club on the badge. Would have been more interesting.

Polish cactus club badges (2)

Cactus badges from Poland

Polish cactus clubs are very prolific as regards to badges.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Astrophytum caput medusae

First described as Digitostigma caput medusae, this plant clearly belongs to the Genus Astrophytum. Discovered as recently as 28 August 2001 and described in 2002. The cactus on the left is not a normal plant as the tubercles are much more succulent.

I am not sure if this is a hybrid or whether it is just a freak. I aquired it from eBay. Compare the tubercles with that of a normal plant (see below left). Probagation is by seed or by tubercle grafting. Each seed pod produces few seed. The tubercles are very easy to graft.

The name caput medusa refers to the thin long tubercles resembling the Greek Mythological woman Medusa whose hair was turned to snakes.

When first appeared on the market the seeds were selling as much as 5 Euro per seed and young plants for 100 Euros.

Obregonia denegrii

This fabulous cactus is one of my favorites. It has dark green stem and the cristate form is much sought after by collectors. I have had the pleasure of finding species of these cacti at San Vicente, Tamaulipas, Mexico. They are very difficult to find.

Variegated forms of this cactus are now making their way to collectors. One can find partially variegated and complete variegated forms as in this picture. Variegated forms have to be grafted because of lack of chlorophyll.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A few more Astrophytum hybrids

Astrophytum can be induced to offset by beheading them. Grafting the pups would increase their rate of growth dramatically. In winter some of the variegated forms will turn orange to red and back to yellow as the weather will gradually warm up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Astrophytum myriostigma crest

Again, this shows how diverse Astrophytum cultivars can be. This one is a cristate form of A. myriostigma.

See also my older posts for more freaky Astrophytums.

Astrophytum crests and monstose

Astrophytum ornatum on its own roots. A very large cristate form.

A. myriostigma monstrose. This is actually a hybrid and is known as 'lotusland'.

The picture on the left shows another type of myriostigma which offsets at the top as well as from the side. This is called proliferous type and strictly speaking is not a monstrose but an aberration non the less.

This is a monstrose form of A. myriostigma. Each individual part is small unlike its original species.