Contents of the Winter 2012 Northants News
National Show 2
A strange one at the National
'Is Pygmaeocereus ever allowed in the
There is so much to see and do at the National. I was rushing round trying to identify outstanding plants to photograph and also snapping some to remember something about them. So… coming to the Cereus class there was a plant labelled as a Pygmaeocereus. Now I seem to remember that this genus is classified in the Echinopsis Group for show purposes and I was right. Close scrutiny of the show card showed no indication that the judges thought this was NAS. (Not According to Schedule.) Surely our judges at National level would not have missed this? The plant did not have a prize card so its relevance in the class was perhaps academic. I snapped its picture to remind me to look it up on my return.
did the learned tomes (and the internet) have to offer about Pygmaeocereus
goodness; did this plant have a twisted taxonomic history!
behalf of NN readers your Ed spent two hours trawling the internet and poring
through musty journals. My large collection of German KuaS journals is missing
1975 with ‘Was ist Pygmaeocereus
The article which would surely, I imagine, answer my queries. So back to the
appears that the plant was described as a Pygmaeocereus
by Backeberg in 1963 in Descriptiones
Cactacearum Novarum, a journal that Mrs Dell thinks is grossly misspelt. The
plant was discovered by Ritter in 1957 at Pativilca on his travels in Peru. He
described it as Haageocereus
the fourth volume of his ‘Kakteen in Suedamerika’. This was the
undescribed name (nomen nudum) it was called at his sister, Hilde(garde)
Winter’s, nursery. (You know her from the plant Hildewintera or Winterocereus,
Cleistocactus winteri so
she got a mention regardless.)
The name ‘lanuginosa’ means woolly spined, an appropriate name for
this unusual plant. These days it is considered to be just a woolly spined form
internet suggests that there is only one clone of H.
which is often grown in a grafted, cristate form. Reversions of this give the
finger-like joints which can be rooted (with difficulty) to give the form seen
in the exhibit at the Show.
now the plant is a Haageocereus
it was correctly entered in the Cleistocactus Subgroup. I see the grower was Ian
Robinson so ‘spect he only calls it by this name to tease us.
Roaring Trade at the National
(A quick look round the trade
stands at the Show)
was some discussion on the Forum that ‘bigger is best’ when it comes
to showing. Since ‘maturity’ (which is a posh way of saying size),
counts a fair bit when judging, size does matter. But this is only when all other factors are the same. Condition
especially is important; then there is presentation, difficulty, rarity
and freedom from pests.
I saw Tina’s Idria
columnaris at the National with a ‘First’ card I was amused.
It was rather like a baby elephant is cute. I have seen this plant in
habitat in Baja California, Mexico and this one was definitely a baby…
but as I say, cute!
In habitat it normally grows as a single stem to 50 ft high. Some plants, perhaps with a damaged growing point, branch part way up and these are used as luxury nesting sites for birds. Others get bored with trying to be the tallest and bow gracefully over until the tops brush the ground. These are the easiest plants to photograph for close-ups of the flowers or to collect the seeds.
Right: Tina’s first prize Idria columnaris in the Didieria class at the 2012 National.
originated from Doug in Kempston who bought it 30 years ago. No doubt it
originated from habitat when this was legal and not even considered
immoral. So it has had many years of cultivation in the UK. Perhaps in
another 50 years it will be shoulder high. I wonder how old the habitat
I have never cultivated this species but observing them growing from the beaches high into the mountains would suggest they probably need ‘normal’ cactus treatment and might tolerate a little frost. Certainly it was snowing at one habitat I saw them, (in April). They make attractive seedlings in a bonsai fashion but the chances of you nurturing them to real maturity, and by that I mean flowering, is remote. Doug reports that it grew new branches but never increased in length in all the time he had it. We will watch Tina’s Idria with interest.
Final Report from the Show (That will be it for another four years.)
As I was packing up,
I was able to snap a few images of other exhibitors hauling their monster
plants away. Literally- some were on wheeled trolleys.
clavarioides that won Best Cactus was carried out on a
made-to-measure stretcher by two strong guys. Three strong guys then
manhandled it into the back of an estate car, (rear seats down), where it
took up half the space.
When I got home it was time to look through the 628 pictures I had taken. (Not 628 different views I hasten to add, some were duplicates to allow for light and colour levels.)
those backs! Those
monster plants are returned to their homes. Perhaps to be trundled out for
the next National. Only four years to wait!
them was an image of a superb Obregonia
don’t especially remember the plant but from the image it appeared to
have been second in its class. I think that this was the plant I would
really have liked to have grown myself. Over the years I have raised them
from seed and small seedlings and over the years they have faded away
within a year or two. I doubt I have ever grown one bigger than 3 inches.
This one was simply superb. I suppose someone will now tell me it’s
grafted! Anyway, stimulated by this specimen I bought a pair of youngsters
just half an inch across. Hope springs eternal...
Left: The Ed’s most envied plant at the Show. An ancient Obregonia denegrii. And it only came second in its class.
the Keyboard of a * BOT
have heard that a new Guide to Shows is to be produced to follow on from the
ninth edition we are using for this year’s National Show. This will be
introduced in time for the next show. Your intrepid reporter understands that in
the spirit of fair competition two new rules will be included.
labelling requirements will be introduced to include a barcode to ensure the
taxon is accepted by the New Cactus Lexicon. Should a plant be presented without
a properly marked label it will be marked NAS.
winning plants (First, Second, Third and HC) will be subjected to random DNA
tests to verify their identities.
afraid … be very afraid; the DNA police are on the march.
understand I must remain anonymouse.
* BOT: Yes, the Ed had to ask as well. It’s a member of the Board of Trustees. There are probably several sitting not far from you at a NMK meeting. And yes, we are just joking. I think.