Cactus and Succulents forum: Beautiful Melocactus matanzanus

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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 28, 2018 4:41 PM CST
I really love this form with its its striped glaucous plant
body. Some plants are just beginning to pop cephaliums:

Thumb of 2018-12-28/jamesicus/e27590

Pic taken this afternoon at my home. Plants growing in 7cm (3 1/4") plastic pots in my standard soil mix.

[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 28, 2018 5:28 PM (+)]
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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Dec 29, 2018 1:44 AM CST
Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
Zone11a w/ lots of winter rain
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Crazycactiguy
Dec 29, 2018 4:36 AM CST
These are gorgeous james! I have never seen it on a matanzanus before. They can't be hybrids right? i assume it's impossible to cross pollinate a melocactus before it self fertilizes right?
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 29, 2018 9:12 AM CST
Crazycactiguy said:These are gorgeous james! I have never seen it on a matanzanus before. They can't be hybrids right? i assume it's impossible to cross pollinate a melocactus before it self fertilizes right?

No answer so far Ccg. They came up this way in a seed flat.

Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Dec 29, 2018 9:57 AM CST
HI James. They look very well grown. I wish I could grow cacti there in Tucson, but would prefer to live where there are almost, four typical seasons. I think summer is hot, once the temperature hits 85! But, back East where I am, at least there isn't any frost predicted for the next week. I hope it stays like it is today, all winter long.But January & February, can bring a sudden change, with some snow accumulation.
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 29, 2018 10:42 AM CST
ShawnSteve said:HI James. They look very well grown. I wish I could grow cacti there in Tucson, but would prefer to live where there are almost, four typical seasons. I think summer is hot, once the temperature hits 85! But, back East where I am, at least there isn't any frost predicted for the next week. I hope it stays like it is today, all winter long.But January & February, can bring a sudden change, with some snow accumulation.

Hi SS. I have grown cacti for the past eighty years in northern England, south Texas, Japan (briefly), Southern California, central Florida and, for the past forty eight years or so, here in southern Arizona. Where I grew up in northern England 80F was considered a heat wave! I will take southern Arizona any day Smiling


[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 31, 2018 3:04 AM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 29, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Crazycactiguy said:These are gorgeous james! I have never seen it on a matanzanus before. They can't be hybrids right? i assume it's impossible to cross pollinate a melocactus before it self fertilizes right?

I have been contemplating your questions, ccg, and I am not sure about any of that. As I said, as far as I can recall, the entire seed flat consisted of plants like this.

Zone11a w/ lots of winter rain
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Crazycactiguy
Dec 29, 2018 4:33 PM CST
jamesicus said:
I have been contemplating your questions, ccg, and I am not sure about any of that. As I said, as far as I can recall, the entire seed flat consisted of plants like this.



Thanks james!
It's just that i was wondering if it's possible to hybridize melocacti since they immediately self pollinate and are mostlt cleistogamous
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 29, 2018 4:38 PM CST
Crazycactiguy said:

Thanks james!
It's just that i was wondering if it's possible to hybridize melocacti since they immediately self pollinate and are mostlt cleistogamous

Good thought ccg - I don't know the answer.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
Dec 30, 2018 11:50 AM CST
I think there is at least one reported natural hybrid: M. x albicephalus. Although it is listed in the d-base here as a regular species, but when you look for more info on that plant searching under x albicephalus yields way more results. If indeed a hybrid, it would suggest that hybridization is at least possible.

As to the awesome striping on those matanzanus plants, I would postulate that on any glaucous plants this striping can develop if given the right conditions. I am not sure how exactly, but if I compare it to banding on glaucous agaves I note that people here in the hot desert of Arizona have a much easier time getting that kind of banding, especially those who water from the top compared to people who have milder summer climates or who have in the ground irrigation. Not to say that people with in the ground irrigation cannot get banded Agaves, but if I compare my garden Agaves - watered from the top with a hose and relatively infrequently to those of a good friend who lives nearby who has a well maintained irrigation system that runs very regularly - with a yard that was show cased in an issue of Phoenix Home and Garden. I would say that my plants show way more banding even on plants where I have pups from his original plant mine will be banded and his will be not or only minimally.

I water my cacti on the same water schedule and some have developed awesome banding as well as shown here on a Cardon, which I have posted pictures of in a different thread. However notice that there even is som banding apparent on the green P. marginatus:
Thumb of 2018-12-30/mcvansoest/e9d2ec

Not to say that genetics are not all involved, but it seems that growing conditions and care have a significant part to play.
It is what it is!
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
Image
jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 11:58 AM CST
mcvansoest said:I think there is at least one reported natural hybrid: M. x albicephalus. Although it is listed in the d-base here as a regular species, but when you look for more info on that plant searching under x albicephalus yields way more results. If indeed a hybrid, it would suggest that hybridization is at least possible.

As to the awesome striping on those matanzanus plants, I would postulate that on any glaucous plants this striping can develop if given the right conditions. I am not sure how exactly, but if I compare it to banding on glaucous agaves I note that people here in the hot desert of Arizona have a much easier time getting that kind of banding, especially those who water from the top compared to people who have milder summer climates or who have in the ground irrigation. Not to say that people with in the ground irrigation cannot get banded Agaves, but if I compare my garden Agaves - watered from the top with a hose and relatively infrequently to those of a good friend who lives nearby who has a well maintained irrigation system that runs very regularly - with a yard that was show cased in an issue of Phoenix Home and Garden. I would say that my plants show way more banding even on plants where I have pups from his original plant mine will be banded and his will be not or only minimally.

I water my cacti on the same water schedule and some have developed awesome banding as well as shown here on a Cardon, which I have posted pictures of in a different thread. However notice that there even is som banding apparent on the green P. marginatus:
Thumb of 2018-12-30/mcvansoest/e9d2ec

Not to say that genetics are not all involved, but it seems that growing conditions and care have a significant part to play.

Some good thoughts and postulations there Thijs. All of my other Matanzanus issues have the "traditional" apple green plant bodies.

Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/1d34e6
Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/a882ae

Added via Edit: Yes, I have noticed the banding that you show on your P. Pringlei on my own plants - I think you are on to something here Thijs.
[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 30, 2018 1:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Dec 30, 2018 12:43 PM CST
I thought 'banding' was due to the quicker growth spurt, after a dormant periods, & I could see similarities to this in other cacti, where there is a slight reduction in the ribs, or lines, showing the annual growth cycle. Maybe less obvious in greenhouse grown, or actually more pronounced, depending.... As younger plants may not show much at all, since they may tend to stay in a more continual state of growth, for several years, or only a slight reduction, so it isn't as apparent.

@jamesicus, What are some of the eldest, or oldest cactus that you have managed to maintain? I am just curious. Glad to see you still taking care of those cacti! Thanks, Shawn .
Zone11a w/ lots of winter rain
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Crazycactiguy
Dec 30, 2018 12:58 PM CST
You should sell one to a commerical grower where they blind the cactus and graft all the offsets the blind them and so on until they have a commercial stock for sale. I would love to get my hands on this beautiful form
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Dec 30, 2018 1:07 PM CST
I always wanted a melo with a cephalium. Cot close once, but it wasnt meant to be....
Well,i have a few seedlings now, both store bought, and seed grown....
Maybe ill get lucky.....
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
Plant Identifier Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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mcvansoest
Dec 30, 2018 1:12 PM CST
James, I think you can actually see some incipient banding on a few of the plants in the picture with the 4 Melocacti.

SS, if it was solely due to the plant going dormant, the banding on my Cardon would suggest it has had hundreds of dormant periods, which is not impossible, but a plant going dormant is usually seasonal, so it would imply you could use that kind of banding to get a sense of the plant's age. I am pretty sure my Cardon is not that old... I think the dormancy banding is more apparent in slight narrowing of the cactus, which you can see in my picture where the spines get a little shorter and the trunk on the cactus gets slightly narrower.

I guess one could argue that in the hot summer if watering is sporadic and growth is water limited the plant may go semi or partially dormant between waterings and then after watering grows a bit. I am just not sure that would be due to the plant entering true dormancy as to just having a pause in active growth, as true dormancy is something that plants take a while to 'wake-up' out of.
The connection to banding in agaves is probably just one of very similar appearance, but observing it in plants that are growing together in the same conditions makes it is easy to draw such parallels. The main reason, I have been intrigued by this is because in Agaves banding is often a desired appearance and has been the cause for a lot of speculation given that in milder climates especially, it is much more difficult if not close to impossible to get a plant to develop that banding. Even plants like Agave zebra, which is named for the characteristic banding, will not develop the banding or develop it only very poorly.
It is what it is!
Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 1:13 PM CST
ShawnSteve said:I thought 'banding' was due to the quicker growth spurt, after a dormant periods, & I could see similarities to this in other cacti, where there is a slight reduction in the ribs, or lines, showing the annual growth cycle. Maybe less obvious in greenhouse grown, or actually more pronounced, depending.... As younger plants may not show much at all, since they may tend to stay in a more continual state of growth, for several years, or only a slight reduction, so it isn't as apparent ……………

Good thoughts and information, Shawn.

…………… What are some of the eldest, or oldest cactus that you have managed to maintain? I am just curious …………….

Hard to define, Shawn. Every year I take and root cuttings from my Arrojadoa rhodantha plants that in turn were taken other years - I got the original plant (long since dead) from Harry Johnson over sixty years ago, so my present rooted cuttings are indirectly from a plant that old.
Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/ec6a73
The oldest original plant growing on its own roots is this forty five year old Uebelmannia pectinifera:
Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/582d3f
These Discocactus placentiformis were about forty years old circa 2000.
Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/8ea669

I should add that the ages of those plants are my best guesses (and my memory is not very good these days).
[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 31, 2018 2:58 AM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 1:30 PM CST
I grew this Melocactus pachycladus from seed about thirty five years ago (?) and it has been up-potted many times. Here it is staged outdoors in my front garden patch for the summer:

Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/ed51e4

[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 31, 2018 3:03 AM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 1:36 PM CST
Crazycactiguy said:You should sell one to a commerical grower where they blind the cactus and graft all the offsets the blind them and so on until they have a commercial stock for sale. I would love to get my hands on this beautiful form

I have never sold one Cactus during eighty years of growing them (although I have gifted many plants). I will see if Don Vitko would like to propagate this form

[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 31, 2018 3:06 AM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 1:40 PM CST
skopjecollection said:I always wanted a melo with a cephalium. Cot close once, but it wasnt meant to be....
Well,i have a few seedlings now, both store bought, and seed grown....
Maybe ill get lucky.....

I wish I could find a way to legally send you Cactus seed, Stefan, for I really like your boundless enthusiasm. But I am too old to become a scofflaw - it would have to be done in a completely legal manner.

[Last edited by jamesicus - Dec 30, 2018 1:49 PM (+)]
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Name: James
Tucson, Arizona (Zone 9b)
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jamesicus
Dec 30, 2018 1:58 PM CST
One last "old Cactus" pic. I believe this Melocactus harlowii (?) is over thirty years old - it has been up-potted numerous times:
Thumb of 2018-12-30/jamesicus/e54a17

How's that for a cephalium, Stefan?

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