Thursday, June 21, 2012

OKC Cactus and Succulent show

Before diving in, I must confess that cacti and succulents are not my passion. There are a couple of groups that interest me, like Stapelia and related genera. I decided to stop by the show and sale of the Central Oklahoma Cactus and Succulent Society last weekend because I figured it would be interesting to see, take photos and learn more about these plants.

Rhytidocaulon macrolobum
I was surprised to see more plants of interest to me than I had expected. The "show" plants were neat, but primarily plants that I enjoy looking at and that I don't have a great desire to grow myself. However, I found many plants on the vendor tables that were of interest to me. The first being the plant pictured above and below. Maybe you think it's ugly, but look at those awesome black flowers!

Rhytidocaulon macrolobum
There were quite a few Pachypodium on display and for sale (sorry, no pictures). I had just been giving a tour at the Myriad Gardens on Saturday afternoon, where the Pachypodium are 10 feet tall!

Euphorbia knuthii
There were so many Euphorbia I couldn't count them. As I was telling my tour group, Euphorbia has to be the most diverse genus I know. If you read my old post on Euphorbia you would have seen everything from the Poinsettia to the dangerously spiny plants, like the one I purchased this weekend.

Euphorbia cylindrifolia
The Euphorbia pictured below has a growth habit more like Mamillaria (those spherical cacti with spines all over them).

Euphorbia valida
Dyckia marneir-lapostellei
Check out the ghostly colors of the Dyckia and Crassula.

Crassula deceptor
The little Avonia was quite adorable. It looks like a miniature and really doesn't look real.

Avonia quinaria v. alstonii
You have probably already seen my cucumber orchid. Now I see there is a cucumber succulent!

Senecio pendula

Sansevieria has quite a dedicated following. This show had two plants, one being the famous Sansevieria masoniana, with big floppy leaves. The other was more to my liking, Sansevieria scabrifolia.

Sansevieria masoniana 'Mason's Congo' and Sansevieria scabrifolia
Most of the plants I am showing won an award, but the cactus below won "Best Cactus." Check out that long fur hanging off of the pads.

Opuntia tequiliana - look at that fur!
The only Stapelia-like plant in the show was this Huernia. It was a really big plant that is supposedly just 3 years old. It must be a vigorous grower.
Huernia thuratii
I ended up purchasing 4 plants, 1 of which was an orchid. I had been told by some friends that Eulophia petersii is easier to find at succulent shows than at orchid shows, since it likes to grow so dry. I was talking with a vendor at this show and he was telling me about how he once heard someone describing this plant as having "orchid-like flowers"...

Huernia hystrix
Two of the plants that I purchased are from my Stapeliae: Huernia hystrix and Stapelia hirsuta. The S. hirsuta is the one that gets really hairy flowers. It is also probably the species that is most similar to my Stapelia gigantea, which grows really well for me. So I feel confident I can get it to bloom eventually.

Stapelia hirsuta
The last plant I purchased is the Euphorbia, which I mentioned earlier in this post. Dangerously spiney!

Euphorbia aeruginosa
I don't plan to become a cacti and succulent addict, but I would like to go to this show again in the future. There were definitely some neat plants.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Plumerias from seed

If you ever visit Hawaii, you will see Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, all over the place.  They are a succulent-like tree that can get to be 20 feet tall or more in a tropical setting.  They will be covered in lightly colored blooms that are used to make the Hawaiian leis.  For the last five years or so, I have been growing a couple of Plumeria from cane cuttings that were purchased in Hawaii as souvenirs.  My largest plant is a single trunk that is about 40 inches tall now.

These Plumeria "yearlings" were started from seed more than a year ago.
Last year Leslie sent me some Plumeria seedlings that she had grown from seed which she ordered from Thailand.  Those plants have been growing steadily (see photo above) and I am anxious to see them bloom.  I have them sitting in full sun and I am keeping them watered on a daily basis.

These Plumeria "weeklings" have just been growing a couple of weeks.
When I met up with Leslie in April, she gave me some more Plumeria seeds that she had ordered from Thailand.  The seeds are similar to the little winged seeds of maple trees.  I stuck the fattest part of the seeds into the soil, with the wings sticking out.  In just a week or two the plants had begun to sprout.  Now I have about 30 little Plumeria to add to the six I got from Leslie last year.  And I still have lots of seeds I need to plant!

These Plumeria "monthlings" have been growing a little more than a month now.
I am amazed at how easy it is to germinate these seeds and turn them into little plants in such a short period of time.  I will soon have Plumeria growing out my ears.  (On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have stuck those seeds in my ears.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Daisy Orchid in bloom

The Daisy Orchid (Cirrhopetalum makoyanum, synonymous with Bulbophyllum makoyanum) is given its common name due to the way its flowers are arranged to look like the petals of a Daisy, or really any other flower from the Asteraceae family (like Sunflowers, Chrysanthemums, etc).  In truth, when you look at this orchid it is not a set of petals you see, but a grouping of several tubular flowers arranged so that they splay out from a center point.  Of course, the "flower" of a daisy is also not singular.  The entire Asteraceae family is made up of plants that have composite flowers, which is to say that where you think you see one, you actually see many.  This is so common among flowering plants, I think the exception might be the rule.  Truly! Anyway, that's not why you clicked on this post.  You came here for pictures, gosh darnit!  Okay, calm down, angry masses.  Here come the pictures.

Cirrhopetalum makoyanum
Here you can see the flowers in all of their glory, from above, looking like a daisy.

Cirrhopetalum makoyanum
In the final photo you can see the individual flowers a little better, as they were unfurling and beginning to fan out into the daisy shape.

Cirrhopetalum makoyanum