Horticulture in the Desert

a place to share and learn about plants in the Sonoran Desert

Archive for January, 2009

Cool Caudices (plural for Caudex)

Posted by VT Jenny on January 15, 2009

Dioscorea elephantipes

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Bombox ellypticum

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Calibanus hookeri

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Ferocactus latispinus

Posted by VT Jenny on January 11, 2009

Ferocactus latispinus – Horse-Crippler Cactus
Southern US to Central Mexico
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Ferocactus macrodiscus

Posted by VT Jenny on January 11, 2009

Ferocactus macrodiscus

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Stapelia scitula

Posted by VT Jenny on January 11, 2009

Stapelia scitula

Full to partial sun, shade, grows to 2-3″ in container, minimum temperature indoors 50°, intermittent bloomer. Hardy outdoors in zone 10 and higher.

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Cactus like to party in Winter!

Posted by VT Jenny on January 10, 2009

These cacti look like they have had a little too much eggnog or been around others that have. While this may look like a Styrofoam version of toilet papering someones house, this was done to help the cacti. The meristem, or growing tip of a cactus, is at the tips and is the most delicate and important part of a cacti. If the tip dies is cannot grow from that end anymore. The last photo shows a columnar cacti that lost it’s original meristem and now two laterals are growing. A good frost can damage the growing tip of some cacti. These styrofoam cups are “winter coats” for the meristem.
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Monadenium coccineum

Posted by VT Jenny on January 8, 2009

Monadenium coccineum has these unique asymmetrical flowers in a beautiful bright pink.

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Monadenium spinescens

Posted by VT Jenny on January 8, 2009

Monadenium spinescens has these interesting flowers with a soft green and pink color.

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Euphorbia blossoms

Posted by VT Jenny on January 8, 2009

The species Euphorbia has a wide variety of plant shapes, sizes and flowers. Most of their flowers are not showy, they are the reproductive parts and not much more. However if you take the time to really look at the Euphorbia blossoms they are uniquely beautiful and interesting. Often they look like they have water in each flower, but that is actually nectar. Look closely at these photos and you can see the liquid in each one.

Euphorbia milii v. splendens – pink, Euphorbia nesemanii, Euphorbia cooperi calidicola, Euphorbia weberbaueri, Euphorbia richardsiae

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Aloe dichotoma – Quiver Tree

Posted by VT Jenny on January 8, 2009

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pict00611Native to Western parts of South Africa and Namibia which are dry desert and semi-desert areas, the Aloe dichotoma is a unique tree aloe. The species name dichotoma means ‘divided in two’ referring to the branching structure where, after flowering, the branch then divides in two and continues growing.

The common name “Quiver Tree” comes from the native bushmen people using the branches to make Quivers. The interior of the branch is pulpy and easily hollowed out to make a nice tube for carrying arrows once a leather strap was attached.

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These pictures were taken in early January at the Desert Botanical Garden. They bloom in winter and love hot summers. In their native Africa they bloom in June, July or August which is their winter. They also tend to be sparsely watered by rain in winter when actively growing. Because of this be careful not to water much in the summer when it is dormant.

Aloe dichotoma is easily grown from seed and can be grown in a pot indoors until large enough to go outside in the garden, if you live in a dry hot climate. They are a slow grower but not too bad, they can grow 10 to 20 cm a year if happy with their conditions. The Quiver tree can handle a frost but can be damaged in a freeze. pict0003

The cross section of an aloe dichotoma can bee seen in the picture here. The dichotoma is on the right, sitting on top of a cross section of a Mexican Fan Palm – Washintonia robusta. The palm is obviously much denser than the pulpy dichotoma.pict0075

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