If there were no lilies in the world, succulents would rank first on my list of favorite plants: I love their different textures, unusual shapes, and chameleon-like reactions to heat, humidity and time of day. What’s pale green in the morning may look whitewashed at noon or red tinged by nightfall, like this Echeveria Elegans:
There are over 150 recognized species of Echeveria, and though most exhibit standard mat-form rosettes (like Elegans,) others are strangely shaped like this one:
If the word ‘cristata” sounds familiar, you may be remembering my Mother’s Day Mutant with the cristate defect causing horizontal, wavy stem growth. Because the stem on the Echeveria above is flat yet undulating, the green, leafy, top-growth forms haphazard rows instead of neat rosettes. But there’s another more interesting fact E glauca ssp. pumila preserves its cristate properties even when reproduced from small cuttings or single leaves!!! If I hadn’t tried it myself, I mightn’t've believed it…look!
Six months ago, a small, leafless section of the original plant broke off, so I unceremoniously popped it in the ground. At the time, I was doubtful such a tiny, unrooted piece would survive, and I definately had NO knowledge of cristate mutations! Ahhh, live and learn (literally!)
I also recently (as in yesterday! ) figured out why only one of my Opuntia species has been flowering:
Unlike the Eastern Prickly Pear, the other Opuntia variety in the Ranchero is spineless:
Apparently the lack of spines indicates the original Ranchero Opuntias are most likely hybridized specimens created for use as cattle feed. Although flowering isn’t impossible, it’s less likely because ”forage” varieties are grown for their edible thalli (pads) which can be fed raw to livestock or cooked for human consumption. The botanist behind these genetics was Luther Burbank, and you can read more about his work here.
Until next time….
- Succulents, Garden Markers, Dinner, and Gardening Partners! (blogwhenyoufeellikeit.wordpress.com)
- Succulent Hoarder (thefolia.com)
- Flowers At Home (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Cactus Flower (georgeweaver.wordpress.com)
- Cactus Apple (georgeweaver.wordpress.com)
- Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Sonoran Desert (southwestexpeditions.wordpress.com)
- Desert Blooms (karenalma.com)
- Capturing The Moment – Cristate (or Crested) Saguaro (kenneturner.wordpress.com)