Contents Volume 24. No 3
|Editorial and more||Trevor Wray|
|2013 Season's Events||Diana Capel|
|New Cactus Country||Trevor Wray|
|Fenland Wanderings||Roland Tebbenham|
remember we used to buy habitat Sarcocaulon
from South Africa. Well not me; I couldn’t afford them. Now the genus
is called the less familiar Monsonia.
Whatever you called them the plants never seemed to thrive; they would
have the odd leaves and flowers but rarely rooted. What a contrast to
see them in habitat. This Monsonia
near Rosh Pinah in Southern Namibia was a ball of flowers. Oh to be able
to copy this in cultivation! Or perhaps you do?
The images below were not in the printed edition of NN and show more of Monsonia (Sarcocaulon) patersonii in habitat near Rosh Pinah, Namibia.
Monsonia (Sarcocaulon) patersonii in habitat near Rosh Pinah, Namibia.
EDITORIAL and more.....
here we are again with some trivia in another edition of NN.
‘Houseleek’ but not as you know it!
may not be familiar with the ‘water houseleek’, Stratiotes
though you might guess it looks like an Aloe, (oides
= Gr ‘like’). I suppose it does. In fact the plant is a native aquatic with
the more usual common name of ‘water soldier’. It is called ‘Water Aloe’
in the US and considered an invasive ‘alien’, (= introduced), plant.
If you consider that the plants we grow are a bit weird try this… Stratiotes is a localised wetland plant of Britain and in particular East Anglia. It is dioecious, (having male and female flowers on separate plants) and all the plants in the UK are females, (which is one factor to its distribution). No doubt introduced for its medicinal value: “the plant is said to be of use in the treatment of St. Anthony’s Fire and also of bruised kidneys”. So now you know.
spend most of the year under water but come to the surface to flower in summer.
you want any do not collect it from the wild; two aquatic plant dealers were
fined an awful lot of money (under the Wildlife
and Countryside Act 1981
for that). Just see me.
my curiosity roused, (and it was raining outside), I researched other plants
called ‘houseleek’ which were not Sempervivum. I quickly came upon the
‘tree houseleek’ which is one common name for Aeonium
Also the ‘Giant
from Gran Canaria unless it is the Lanzarote Giant Houseleek (from Lanzarote) or
the El Hierro Giant Houseleek,
get the idea.
is also the ‘small houseleek’ which is Sedum
was still raining so I looked for ‘aloides’.
a fine bit of tautology) is a moss which looks like one, (a small one, as is Pogonatum
haircap) and this is also a British native.
a bulb. Guess what, the leaf
rosettes are Aloe
is a member of the Crassulaceae
is a mesemb. As is Aloinopsis.
I was puzzling what this has to do with Aloe
as they are warty things and look nothing like them. Historically they were in
the section Aloidea
which then included that Nananthus.
Rather obscure thinking.
is also Ledermanniella
suppose in this little survey I should include Bulbine
the family Xanthorrhoeaceae.
Either a botanist who couldn’t spell or a perfectionist because ‘aloe
like’ should in fact be alooides.
Aloides sounds like a species but turned out to be geographically connected to
Aloides a place on the island of Crete. As was Arxaia Aloides, a
village in Crete, but I am sure you knew that.
which sounds rather illegal but is a strange rap You-tube type video in a
strange language. Alkaloids are of course definitely illegal.
you can find any more I promise not to print them.
Maihueniopsis molfinoi flower near the Hostería El Unquillar, Susques, Argentina, with a zoom-in to see the mites
through my Argentine images there is always something new to notice. On a
picture of a Maihueniopsis flower (I had this as a Cumulopuntia at the time) I noticed the interior was crawling with tiny
‘spiders’. Well I guessed they were spiders because they had eight legs. One
advantage of high resolution images is the ability to zoom in. I took four
images, (bracketing they call it), a few seconds apart and judging by their
relative movement the spiders were highly mobile; at least for their size.
web search brought up crab spiders as living in cactus flowers, though the image
looked nothing like these spiders. A web search then for crab / spider / cactus
/ flower produced the ‘Spider Cactus’ or Gymnocalycium
but only because of its spines!
I looked more closely at the ‘spiders’ I thought they didn’t really fit
here. How many legs does a mite have? It turns out that mites are also arachnids
(spider family) and these were definitely, probably mites.
often notice small bugs swarming in flowers. Most obvious seem to be beetles,
thrips and ants, with the odd bee visitor. Cactus flowers are a rich source of
food; nectar, pollen and relatively moist tissue in a desert. I have watched
ants cut up and take away whole cactus flowers. It is apparent that these
flowers are an important part of life for these creatures; but each flower lasts
only a day or two. Do all the occupants decamp to the next flower? What happens
when the flowering season ends? I am quite sure that cactus flowers are not
there only to keep cactus freaks happy.
a budget supermarket, (that rhythmes with baldy), there was a new line of well
grown cacti and succulents. Many were beginners’ plants, easy succulents grown
from cuttings, but there were some nice, seed-raised golden barrels and other
cacti. One species especially took my fancy; see if you recognise it from the
tag which said.
10.5 cm Pot
Care: Sunny place, can stand in direct sunlight. Ambient room temperature. Water scarcely. Avoid stagnant moisture. Fertilize in summer. Keep away from children. For decoration only, not for consumption. Produced in Italy.
advice, especially about the children and consumption. There were just the
two left and I bought both. The plants appeared planted in attractive
long-tom terracotta pots, which turned out to be planters with no drainage
holes. The plants had been grown in 10.5cm half pots and the compost was
pure peat, (or maybe similar).
price was £2.99, pretty fair for a supermarket cactus. Oh, the species?
They were Melocactus
just producing a cephalium. How do they do that for the price?
PS In the Word dictionary, how can matanzanus be Matanzas’s? And who or what is Matanzas? Oh, it is the Cuban province where a Melocactus can be found!
grow two clones of Echeveria
(Lau 036 and Lau 030), a species described in 1994 from Oaxaca, Mexico. They do
not look very similar and are from different locations, but the pictures in the
botanical description are a good match for my plants.
I bought a plant called Echeveria
(or ‘expatriate’ as Mrs. Dell would have it), apparently a dwarf offsetting
species resembling E.
I looked E.
up in John Pilbeam’s recent book on the genus Echeveria but it had no mention.
You will of course know that expatriate means ‘to
send out of one’s country, to banish to exile…’.
I was shuffling the pack in the greenhouse by selecting plants for a display and
noticed the ‘expatriate’ again. That evening I was making new labels and
cards for the display and idly entered ‘expatriata’
into Google. Bingo; there were several mentions and in particular the original
description of E.
I read, (in the small print)…
Garden of Carpenteria, California, offered plants propagated from Riha's
at one of Lau’s sites, L030 Laguna Encantada) but
under the name of Echeveria expatriata, a plant which is most likely of hybrid
of the other internet hits, also on Crassulaceae.com, described Echeveria
the hybrid Cremnophila
‘Microcalyx’. So not strictly an Echeveria
at all but a X Cremneria
do not seem attractive members of the family and this hybrid seems to follow the
image shows a plant body vaguely similar to E.
but with a long gangly flower stem nothing like my plant.
it looks like I wasted my £1; my purchase of Echeveria
is in fact Echeveria
However noticing that this version might be the clone propagated by Abbey Garden
and was collected separately from Lau 030 I shall watch for some slight
difference. I am getting to be really sad.
you want to read the online description of Echeveria
(which is a pretty, attractive dwarf species), go to …
second thoughts don’t bother typing this in; I am sure if you enter
Crassulaceae, subcorymbosa and expatriata into your favourite search engine you
will arrive at the original description of Echeveria
of the US journal.
plants have clustered well; (I should say E.
Lau 036, Lau 030 and the one called E.
if you want a (small) bit, (or bits), just shout.
we were at our display at Billing my attention was drawn to one of Barry’s
Lithops that was a bit strange. From one of the heads mini-molehills were
appearing. I can give no explanation for this and I am not sure what will happen
next, but we do occasionally see unusual things with Lithops.
second example is a three leaved head on a two year old seedling Lithops
This is fairly frequent especially with seedlings and during the winter resting
period the heads revert to the normal two leaved form.
I present a seed raised plant of Lithops
that is misbehaving. Some years back one head ‘changed’, (I presume I can
say mutated), and now half the plant looks different. I could never show the
plant now because no judge would believe that there was only one plant there.
Two plants in the pot would be an automatic NAS. I have seen similar plants in
other collections but this does seem a rare occurrence.
There is more worth reading in the Cole’s ‘Lithops’ book.
it just remains for me to hope you enjoy this issue and have a happy Christmas!