Monday, October 17, 2005

Mammillaria solisiodes

Mammillaria solisiodes blooming in my collection today, October 17th, 2005.

John Pilbeam in his old book, Mammillaria - A Collector's Guide, describes this species as "a challenge to grow for any length of time, this beautifully spined species is much sought after. Seed is ... difficult to raise, the young plants painfully slow growing and prone to damp off. Mature plants ... have a nasty habit of dying in the spring... as though this species cannot accept captivity." This is one of many special plants introduced to OCSS collections over the past several years by OCSS member Paul Davydov. The mature plant pictured is on it's own roots and was blooming today, October 17th, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gymnocactus species nova

Gymnocactus species L1159 blooming in Hamilton, October 16th.

This plant arrived here from nurseries in California labelled as L1159 Gymnocactus species nova. In fact when I compare it to the literature I'm not sure why it's considered a species nova because it looks like Gymnocactus viereckii to me. It was blooming in Hamilton, Ontario Sunday October 16th.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Three stemmed cleistocactus straussii added 16" on shortest stem this summer!

Last year I was trying to push my Cleistocactus as much as possible by fertilizing a lot. It did grow a lot adding about a foot on each of 2 stems and near the end of summer beginning to sprout a 3rd stem. I theorized then that probably the tallest stems would begin to grow less and shorter stems would grow more as the plant reached it's genetically controlled maximum height. This year I barely fertilized the plant at all almost ignoring it. The result was that the tallest stem reached 61" high adding only 3" this year. The second tallest stem added only 5" to finish at 55" tall. The shortest stem however grew a phenomenal 16" this year to finish at 23" in height!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Lithops planting in Hamilton blooming October 11th, 2005

Fall is the time of year when many of the South African mesems are at their best. Although many of my Lithops (they belong to the mesem family) have been doing pretty well all summer many have just reached the peak of their flowering cycle now in early October.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mammillaria pringlei

Mammillaria pringlei blooming October 9th in Hamilton, Ontario.

This plant probably has the longest non stop blooming streak of any cactus in my collection. It started blooming in spring a few weeks after it was moved outdoors and still hasn't stopped. At about 20 cm high and 15 cm wide it appears to be as large as this species ever gets according to the literature. Another one of those treasures from Sorensen's!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The great migration

A tray of smaller cacti from an exposed bed coming back indoors October 8th.

The great migration of succulent plants back indoors has begun at my place in Hamilton today. With a daytime high of only about 12C today and the promise of a clear night I'm guessing temperatures just shy of freezing will be seen tomorrow morning. A number of plants from my open bed which were exposed to the heavy rains yesterday were moved back indoors. Among these cold sensitive Euphorbia's and moisture sensitive cacti. One particularly cold sensitive Melocactus from my covered bed was also brought indoors. The rest of the collection will move in soon as well. Adeniums, Pachypodiums, some epi's and new seedling cacti have already been making daily moves indoors for the night for about a month.

Last year I waited until the end of the first week in November before bringing in anything. By that time several light frosts had already occured and a severe killing frost threatened. Snow was falling as I struggled until midnight to move in my large collection indoors. Later some Adeniums and a Melocactus were found to be casualities because of this late exposure to the cold.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Coryphantha palmeri

Coryphantha palmeri blooming October 6th in Hamilton, Ontario.

Although flowering in general in my cactus collection is clearly now subsiding many species are still blooming. Among these the genus Coryphantha are still producing many new buds promising flowers for some time to come. Pictured above is a plant of Coryphantha palmeri which was blooming today October 6th. Although only 6cm in diameter this plant was started from seed way back in 1986. The seed was collected from wild plants in Mexico by Dr. Alfred Lau, the famous field botanist who specialized in cacti.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lobivia acanthoplegma v. patula

Lobivia acanthoplegma v. patula blooming October 5th, in Hamilton, Ontario.

This plant has been putting out a few flowers continuously every day for several weeks now. Another recent amazing acquisition from Sorensens my plant is almost as large as the largest of this type in habitat according to the literature. In Cacti the Illustrated Dictionary by Rod and Ken Preston-Mafham they write that this form occurs "in an unusual habitat for a Lobivia on flat alluvial land where farming and building have rendered this beautiful variety virtually extinct."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Astrophytum asterias blooming October 4th in Hamilton.

Today seemed to be a day for Astrophytum's to bloom. Three species were flowering in my collection at once, A. asterias, A. myriostigma and A. ornatum. A. asterias has a reputation as being particularly difficult to grow and large specimens like this one are exceptional. The ornatum flower on the other hand is the largest of the trio measuring in at around 9 cm diameter.

Astrophytum ornatum blooming October 4th in Hamilton.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Turbinicarpus lilinkeuiduus blooming in Hamilton, Ontario, October 3rd, 2005.

The genus Turbinicarpus is a group of miniature cacti that don't exceed about 3 or 4 cm in diameter in the wild. Cultivated plants can be larger and may offset and cluster unnaturally making a much larger plant. Never the less this is the sort of group where a collector could easily fit an impressive collection of the various species on a single windowsill. It seems many closely related forms appear in habitat and many have been given invalid names as illustrated by the long list of names in Kohres seed catalogue. The plant in the photo is exactly one of these plants started from Kohres seed with the odd name Turbinicarpus lilinkeuiduus which is no doubt invalid and just a form of something else like schmiedickeanus. My plant has been putting out a continuous stream of flowers for several weeks now and was blooming again today, in Hamilton, October 3rd, 2005.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gymnocalycium occultum

Gymnocalycium occultum blooming in Hamilton, Ontario, October 2nd.

Seemingly just to prove the fall flowering is wide ranging across many genera my Gymnocalycium occultum bloomed again today. Gymnocalyciums are relatively easy to grow and popular among collectors. Occultum is sometimes synonymized under other names like bodenbenderianum or quehlianum. Whatever the real legitimate name should be it appears habitat plants of these types don't get much larger than 7 or 8 cm in diameter according to the literature. My plant at about 12 cm diameter appears therefore to be an unequivocal giant, the product of favorable conditions under cultivation presumably.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Lobivia obrepanda v. calorubra

Lobivia obrepanda v. calorubra blooming October 1st in Hamilton, Ontario.

There is nothing particularly rare about this plant and the plant itself looks quite ordinary but the flowers are amazingly beautiful in my opinion. According to Walter Rausch's Lobivia books Lobivia's are extremely variable in the wild and flower forms with white, red and purple often occur within the same species. The pink shades fading into whites on my plant strike me as sublime. I found it blooming this morning, October 1st, with 4 large 4 inch diameter flowers.