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[ Echeveria (Echeveria prolifica) | Posted on June 14, 2019 ]

Prolifically offsetting Echeveria with small rosettes. Leaves are pale glaucous green, often with pinkish tips in strong light. Flowers are bright yellow and bell-shaped with exserted stamens, with unusual features for an Echeveria (perhaps more closely allied with E. amoena and Cremnophila). Offsets by stolons to form dense, spreading mats.

Originally described in 1978 from material in cultivation in central Mexico and probably still not yet found in habitat. All cultivated plants are assumed to be clones of the original. Distributed as ISI 1388 in 1983.

[ Century Plant (Agave mitis) | Posted on June 9, 2019 ]

Attractive small agave from the Huasteco region, especially the Sierra Madre Oriental, in central Mexico. May grow on sheer rock faces, often in cloud forests. In contrast with most agaves, this plant is perennial and can survive by axillary branching after it flowers, forming large clumps over time in cultivation. In habitat, due to rocky substrates, it is often unbranched.

Leaves are soft and fleshy. Teeth are relatively short and frequently (but not always) bicuspid. Inflorescences are unbranched and clavate, usually densely flowered. Flowers are green on the outside but may be various other colors on the inside. This plant is often shaded in habitat and tolerates part shade in cultivation.

Formerly (and often still) known as A. celsii; discussed by Gentry as such. A pale gray, glaucous plant called albicans (described as its own species and later lumped with calsii/mitis) also has distinct floral features, including larger tepals.

[ Aloe (Aloe karasbergensis) | Posted on June 9, 2019 ]

Attractive solitary or offsetting aloe with pale gray glaucous leaves that have longitudinal lines and essentially no marginal teeth. From a very dry winter rainfall area in northwestern South Africa and Namibia, and very suitable for dry Mediterranean-type climates. Tolerates heat and thrives in sun, though the leaves may end up somewhat bleached. Somewhat vulnerable to rot in cultivation, especially when kept too wet.

This aloe is very similar to Coral Aloe (Aloe striata), found mostly to its south, and has historically been lumped with it, but differs in floral features as well as leaf color (gray not green). The flowers are reddish rather than orange and shorter; the inflorescence is very densely branched and pyramidal, rather than flat-topped. Also similar to Mbashe Aloe (Aloe reynoldsii).

[ Hairy Green Aloe (Aloe tomentosa) | Posted on June 8, 2019 ]

Large, usually solitary Arabian aloe which is grown for its striking flowers, which are tomentose (wooly) and appear on very highly branched (and rebranched) inflorescences. From northern Yemen at altitudes from 2400-3100m. Flowers are yellowish green and covered with dense, wooly fur (thus the name). Inflorescences are not tall but may have dozens of branches. Reasonably common in cultivation, compared to other aloes with hairy flowers. Natural hybrids with Aloe vacillans exist. Distinct from the Somalian A. molederana, a smaller plant with less rigid leaves and much smaller teeth.

[ Aloe (Aloe lanata) | Posted on June 8, 2019 ]

One of the largest Arabian aloes, with densely pubescent (very hairy) flowers, to 4-5 feet wide. Solitary or occasionally offsetting. Found in one location at 2130m in Yemen. Described in 2007. Inflorescences are tall and multibranched; flowers are large and red and covered with golden hairs. This plant is similar to the Yemeni A. lavranosii but can be distinguished by its larger size and much wider flowers.

[ Aloe (Aloe lavranosii) | Posted on June 8, 2019 ]

Solitary or occasionally offsetting Arabian aloe with pubescent (hairy) or glabrous (non-hairy) flowers. Medium size, with brownish green leaves that may turn bright pink or other funky colors with drought stress. As of 2010, this species also includes plants originally described as A. splendens and A. doei. The flowers may be quite variable, in terms of pubescence (or lack thereof) as well as color (yellow to various shades of red). Inflorescences are tall and multibranched. From Yemen. Described by Reynolds in 1964 (the 2 species which have been lumped were described by Lavranos, after whom the earlier plant was named, in 1965). Similar to A. niebuhriana, an offsetting plant with shorter, less branched inflorescences.

[ Dhofar Aloe (Aloe dhufarensis) | Posted on June 6, 2019 ]

Attractive solitary aloe with essentially toothless, glaucous gray or blue-green leaves that have some spots only when young. Tolerates heat, sun, drought, and some cold, but not shade, in cultivation. From the Dhofar Province of Oman, into Yemen. Described by Lavranos in 1967. Flowers are red and powder-dusted, with greenish white mouths, and appear in late spring or summer. Inflorescence may be unbranched but usually has 1-2 branches, and racemes are relatively tall and sublaxly flowered. Related to A. serriyensis, a smaller plant with more defined teeth from Yemen.

[ Pachycereus (Pachycereus gatesii) | Posted on June 1, 2019 ]

Narrow endemic from Baja California Sur which resembles the much more common Senita (Pachycereus schottii) except in the number of ribs (10-15 instead of 4-13) and certain floral features. Like its close relative, this cactus was formerly known as Lophocereus, can grow rather branchy and develops a pseudocephalium at maturity. The ends of mature stems have lots of long, flexible, brushlike spines, and this area is where pink, strictly nocturnal flowers and small red fruit appear. Pollinated by the Senita Moth. From the southern Magdalena Plain of BCS.

[ Senita (Pachycereus schottii) | Posted on June 1, 2019 ]

Shrubby or treelike spiny cactus from Arizona, Baja California, and Sonora. Young plants and lower stems of older plants have the regular juvenile spines, which are short(ish) and rigid. The tips of older stems (the terminal few inches to 3 feet or more) form a pseudocephalium with lots of long, flexible gray spines. This is where the nocturnal white or pink flowers appear, as well as the small, red fruit (which is edible but not as good as that of Stenocereus thurberi). Pollinated by the mutualistic Senita Moth (Upiga virescens). Stems have various purported medicinal uses.

Different varieties have been described. This plant was formerly placed in Lophocereus, which has been lumped with Pachycereus, but is pollinated by moths instead of bats. A popular spineless, monstrose version (Totem Pole Cactus (Pachycereus schottii 'Monstrosus')) may be more common in cultivation than the wild type. A very similar plant, Pachycereus (Pachycereus gatesii), is much less common in cultivation and grows in a limited area of Baja California Sur.

[ Echinocereus (Echinocereus barthelowanus) | Posted on May 30, 2019 ]

Clumping spiny hedgehog cactus from islands near Bahia Magdalena on the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur. May form clumps to near 3 feet wide. 8-10 ribs, 5-9 central spines. A close cousin of Coast Hedgehog (Echinocereus maritimus), a coastal species found to its north, but with different colored flowers (pink instead of yellow). Poorly known.

[ Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii var. bigelovii) | Posted on May 30, 2019 ]

This variety of the extra-spiny Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) is very common in cultivation and in habitat (the Mojave, Sonoran, and Lower Colorado Deserts of the extreme southwestern US and Baja California). Compared to var. ciribe found mostly to its south in a restricted area of Baja California Sur, it has more spines, less firmly attached segments, and non-proliferating fruit, relying more on asexual reproduction.

[ Ciribe (Cylindropuntia bigelovii var. ciribe) | Posted on May 30, 2019 ]

This variety of the extra-spiny Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) (formerly its own species) is endemic to the Sierra La Giganta of Baja California Sur. Compared to var. bigelovii found mostly to its north, it has fewer spines, more firmly attached segments, and proliferating fruit, relying more on sexual reproduction.

[ Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) | Posted on May 30, 2019 ]

Extra-spiny cholla which is as dangerous as it is ornamental. Do not consider planting this cactus anywhere near traffic, especially children or pets. The spines are quite sharp and barbed, like other chollas. The segments are easily detached and travel if given the chance, thus the name "jumping cholla". Removing the segments from the skin tends to be quite painful and can lead to further injury. Somebody thought the spines looked fuzzy and cuddly from a distance, thus the name teddy bear cholla, but that name is rather ironic given the nature of the beast. Plants in nature typically have a main stem that turns a dark color near the base. Plants in cultivation, not subjected to traffic, tend to be rather bushier near the base.

Flowers are pale yellow, green, white, or shades of red and appear in late winter and spring. Fruits are green to yellow and spineless, often sterile due to fertility problems with mostly triploid plants. From the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, as well as the Lower Colorado Desert in the rain shadow of far NE Baja California and far SE California. Var. ciribe (formerly its own species) is endemic to the Sierra La Giganta of Baja California Sur; it has fewer spines, more firmly attached segments, and proliferating fruit, relying more on sexual reproduction.

Roots are used medicinally by the Seri to make a diuretic tea. Fruits collect moisture from nighttime condensation and may provide a valuable source of water for birds during times of drought.

[ Matraca (Peniocereus johnstonii) | Posted on May 30, 2019 ]

Baja California endemic cactus with long, skinny, relatively unbranched 3-5 ribbed stems arising from fleshy, engorged roots (like other members of the genus). May grow to several feet high, with a sideways, clambering habit. Large, nocturnal, fragrant white flowers appear in late winter, followed by oval red fruits with weak spines. Uncommon in nature but found in Baja California Sur along the Gulf coast, and on nearby islands. Both the fruit and the roots are edible, and the latter are said to have various curative properties.

[ Club Cholla (Grusonia invicta) | Posted on May 26, 2019 ]

Very spiny, mat-forming opuntioid from Baja California with many low stems to 18 inches high, often extending to several feet wide. Marked tubercles with many sharp, flattened spines. Yellow flowers appear in spring; moderately fleshy and very spiny fruit follows. Endemic to Baja California, from Bahía de Los Angeles in the middle of the peninsula almost to the Cape, as well as San Marcos and Carmen Islands; common in the Vizcaíno Desert, along the Gulf coast, and on the Magdalena Plain. Easily confused with Echinocereus.

[ Biznaga de la Isla Santa Cruz (Mammillaria albicans) | Posted on May 26, 2019 ]

White Mammillaria from Baja California which branches at the base, forming clumps to about 8 inches tall. The color comes from the spines and axillary wool, which obscure the pale green stems. Endemic to Baja California Sur, mainly along the Gulf coast, from Loreto to the northern Cape region, and various islands. Flowers are white or pinkish white.

[ Mammillaria (Mammillaria blossfeldiana) | Posted on May 26, 2019 ]

Baja California endemic Mammillaria found on the Pacific coast near the border between BC and BCS, and on Cedros Island. Solitary or occasionally branched, with low-growing stems to 1-2 inches in diameter. 4 dark colored central spines, 3 straight and the lowest one longer and hooked. Pinkish white flowers and orange-red fruit.

[ Creeping Devil (Stenocereus eruca) | Posted on May 26, 2019 ]

Unusual, low-growing spiny cactus from Baja California with long, prostrate stems that lie flat to the ground, the tips somewhat elevated, rooting as they grow. Gray-green stems with 10-12 ribs and 1-3 central spines. Large nocturnal flowers appear in summer; round, red, spiny fruit ripens in the fall. A narrow endemic of Baja California Sur which appears in alluvial soil of the Magdalena Plain near the Pacific coast.

[ Ocotillo (Fouquieria burragei) | Posted on May 26, 2019 ]

Rare ocotillo which is endemic to Baja California Sur, found on the coast of the Gulf of California from Mulegé south to La Paz and on a few islands. White to pink flowers appear in late winter. Form is roughly intermediate between F. splendens (the true ocotillo) and F. diguetii (a tree), with spiny, whip-like stems.

[ Ocotillo de Tehuacan (Fouquieria purpusii) | Posted on May 25, 2019 ]

Large, slow-growing spiny plant with a bottle-shaped stem, growing tree-like with age. Rare in cultivation and in habitat (the Tehuacán Valley of Puebla and Oaxaca in south-central Mexico). Prized for its unusual and distinctive caudex, which is perhaps most like F. fasciculata, among the Fouquierias. White flowers.

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