In This Issue:

Spoon Gardens
by Kathy Malon, St. Louis Spoon Fan
Henry Shaw Cactus & Succulent Society

Adventures with Jerry Barad
by Michael Louie (San Mateo, CA)
San Francisco C&S

Pleasures of Dorstenia
by Carl Frederick (San Anselmo, CA)
San Francisco C&S

Quiz Time # 21
Chuck Staples
2000 Mid-Iowa C&SS


Spoon Gardens
by Kathy Malon, St. Louis Spoon Fan

There's a class in the Henry Shaw Cactus Society show called "spoon garden." What is that, you may ask?

Exactly what it sounds like, a little dish garden in a spoon. The length of the spoon is restricted to six inches and what we use are the ceramic type spoon with a flat base.

First, think small. Tiny stones, miniature animals, small shells; all these things make interesting landscaping for your spoon garden. Plants should be in scale to look good. Check your cactus and succulents for tiny offsets. Small cuttings are also go materials.

What do you use to hold this all together? Elmer's glue of course, or any other white, sticky glue. You want glue that dries clear. I arrange my materials roughly. Then remove and add a nice thick layer of glue. Let the glue get tacky. Now place your rocks and other objects. You can let that dry or start adding plant material before the glue sets up.

Our show lasts for nine days and we try to use material that will hold up for nine days. It's a good idea to water well any plants you plan to use for cuttings a day or two before starting construction.

Got the rock and props and plants arranged? Happy with it? But, you still have a bit of "ground" showing? Use a little sand, it makes a great concealer and sticks nicely to the glue.

If you are transporting this: beware! Do not leave your spoon garden in a hot car. The glue starts melting and things fall off.

I forgot about one after a show one year and it wound up stuck in a pot. It got watered - thank you Mother Nature. A year later the cactus were still alive. Spoon gardens are intended to be like arrangements or cut flowers but sometimes you get lucky. It's amazing how much abuse a cactus can take.


Adventures with Jerry Barad
by Michael Louie (San Mateo, CA), San Francisco C& S

Many of us enjoyed the wonderful program that Jerry Barad shared with us in July. Jerry is one of the foremost connoisseur collector of succulents of our time having traveled to almost all the habitats of where succulents grow. He has also been active as the President of the CSSA, writing interesting articles about habitat, horticulture and propagation of succulents. His pictures and descriptions of the amazing pollination of asclepiads will always be a source of entertainment, bewilderment and intrigue.

I had the fortunate opportunity of visiting Jerry and Bea Barad's beautiful home in Flemington, New Jersey during the summer of 1998. The Barad's home included acres of wild woodland overlooking a serene valley with a ranch house. A formal full size swimming pool, Jacuzzi, koi pond and large fishing pond were just some of the amenities to enjoy. The large greenhouse full of cacti and succulents were the real treat for the exotic plant lover. A true connoisseur's collection of textures, colors and shapes from all over the globe. The most impressive sight were the giant caudiciforms grown in the ground of the greenhouse and reaching massive girth and heights. The blooms of odd asclepiad flowers made a lasting impression on all the senses.

In July of 2000, Jerry had the opportunity to visit me in San Mateo and spend 2 days of quality time. He was in California to visit with family and took two days for an excursion into the succulent collections of Northern California. We woke up around 6 AM on Tuesday morning and photographed the two Aloe polyphylla in full fruit (over 280 seed pods!). The graceful spirals were between 2.5 and 3 feet across.

It was then a race up the peninsula across the Golden Gate bridge into Petaluma to visit Jerry Wright's at the Great Petaluma Desert. Jerry specializes in caudiciform plants and raises a lot of his own seed. His greenhouses were neat and orderly and plants were healthy and thriving. Thriving beds of Xerocysicos sp., Alluaudia, and Adenia were an impressive sight. The world of caudiciforms epitomize horticultural anthropomorphism. Fantastic and arousing shapes stimulate imagination sometimes making us blush. One of the highlights was seeing a very squat variety of Pachypodium lealii v. saundersii. The atypical compactness of this plant will surely make it a favorite among caudiciform lovers! Jerry Wright shared a lot of his cultural techniques and an understanding of the challenges of operating a succulent nursery. We had a wonderful time!

After leaving the Great Petaluma Desert, Jerry Barad wanted to find the Marin Cheese Co. that made the "Rouge et Noir" brand of fragrant cheeses. Following directions from the locals, we found this popular historical landmark over-looking a serene glade complete with a duck pond. We bought rounds of wonderful, ripe Camembert cheese to feast on with strips of freshly baked French bread. It was a wonderful, refreshing picnic that fueled us up for the rest of the day. We took the scenic back roads to return to highway 101 and drop in on Herman and Leah Schwartz in Mill Valley. The Schwartz' home has a breath taking view of the S.F. Bay and full vista of the 'City by the Bay.' The cool ocean breeze felt invigorating as we sipped on lemonade and caught up with old friends. But it wasn't long before we had to race back over the GG Bridge to set up for the July SFSCS meeting.

It is now nearly 7 PM and Jerry and I are setting up the two slide projectors for the presentation. Jerry delivered an inspiring program featuring the succulent flora and some fauna of Madagascar. The meeting was over around 10 PM and Jerry and I were ready for a good long rest.

But the next morning, it is up at 6 AM again. From San Mateo, we head south toward the misty Santa Cruz area to visit with the Naomi & Frank Bloss in Watsonville. The vast greenhouses were cool and bright and housed a treasure chest of succulent delights. The large-flowered Euphorbia milli hybrids (from Thailand) were a beautiful sight to behold. Naomi is indeed a true connoisseur that is propagating some super-clones of succulents collected from her trips to South AfriCA After a full morning of 'discovering' plants, we had a wonderful lunch at Cilantro's Mexican Seafood Restaurant, walked down memory lane and reminisced about old friends.

The next stop was Salinas. Bud, Evalyn and Edie Livermont have an enviable reputation of raising choice crassulas and growing them impeccably. Although the collection does not seem large, we spent hours admiring the collection of plants, spotless, each hand watered and weed-free. The more we looked the greater our appreciation grew. Among the treasures was a xTaciveria 'Ruth Bancroft' and some crested sedums and echeverias. The Livermont's collection is one of the most beautiful, tidy and organized collection we ever saw. The collection was absolutely enchanting.

As dinner time approach, Jerry and I whizzed back up to San Jose to visit Rowena & Steve Southwell in Blossom Hill. The Southwells have a gigantic collection of rare succulents. Rowena was able to furnish Jerry with a replacement plant of Haworthia 'Gerald Barad.' (an exceptional hybrid of H. maughanii and H. gigas that Jerry crossed some years ago). Rowena prepared a wonderful dinner and we looked at plants until 11 PM!! Another wonderful day filled with rare succulent plants and good companionship. Needless to say, we arrived back in San Mateo exhausted. For myself, the marathon of people and plants was a welcome break from the intense pressures of working for a startup biotech company. We covered over 400 miles in two days; I just hope I have the energy and stamina that Jerry exhibited when I reach 75!!


Pleasures of Dorstenia
by Carl Frederick (San Anselmo, CA), San Francisco C& S

As my tastes change and I collect different plants I always seem to return to certain species as favorites. One of the definitions of "favorite plant" would have to include the criterion that it grows for you, doesn't just sit there! One of the most vigorous (but not rank-growing!) genera I've found is Dorstenia, a genus in the family Moraceae which includes ficus (figs). Let me append and amend that comment right away to say that due to my inexperience, I have killed two geophytic dorstenias recently: D. benguellensis and D. cuspidata, beautiful little tubers that I got earlier in the year. After this failure I have some advice to those that would not follow in my footsteps.

To restore these tubers I would now pot them up in dry soil, barely-exposed. Until the weather is warm enough, consistently 60 F minimum at night and very warm during the day, I'd provide very light misting to the tubers, just enough to prevent wrinkling. The plants should be kept in partial shade while dormant. Then, when warm enough and growth begins, light watering commences and at the same time provide systemic fungicide/pesticide and very weak rooting hormone (in fact, I think I'd give them a dip in the systemic before potting them up to try and keep critters at bay). If the plants don't appear to be rooting, then something is wrong. Make sure the tubers have room to expand laterally as they swell with water. Gradually move to brighter light. Enough geophytic digression! Let's move on to some pachycaul species.

The most sought-after plants include the Somalian D. gypsophila and the Socotran D. gigas. The former is known from only a small area growing in pure gypsum (open clay) and is apparently difficult to grow. D. gigas can grow into a giant, 8 feet tall or more and is easier than D. gypsophila if kept warm. I saw two fairly large D. gigas at UC Davis earlier in the year, one of which must have been over 4 feet tall and had so many branches that I didn't bother to count them. It's apparently a seed-grown plant started in the 60's from seed field-collected by Lavranos. Neither of these plants is widely available and both are choice. D. foetida is a really interesting species. A person could easily amass a large collection of different clones of this very variable species. According to the most recent literature on the subject, all the various clones labelled D. crispa, D. horwoodii, D. (Mecca), D. (Mait Escarpment) are likely to be in the foetida complex. Plants have green or brown caudices and a variety of leaf ha bits from long and narrow to short and broad, from flat to very undulate (thus the species name "crispa"). I have a few different plants of this complex and they're great because they can grow in a variety of situations from shade to full sun, just changing their habit to suit conditions. In winter they appear to be somewhat cold-tolerant, especially if kept fairly dry. When growing, on the other hand, these plants love water! The flowers look a bit like miniature sunflowers and are generally produced abundantly on D. foetida.

I have a few other species that are also quite interesting. D. hildebrandtii schlecteri has a fleshy green body in a sort of bottle shape and D. mannii is very similar. I must confess that these two plants look nearly identical to me but the sources from whom I obtained them both believe they have the names right. One more species that I grow, which may either lack succulence or be just slightly succulent is likely either D. drakena or D. contrajerva. This plant is growing from a wrinkled reduced stem and puts out big non-succulent leaves and large (for the genus) discoid flowers which look like they have been pinched into an almost taco-shell shape.

One of the fascinating aspects of these plants is that many are self-fertile and produce seeds regularly with no help. Notable exceptions to this rule are D. gigas and D. foetida (MaitEscarpment). In others, as the seeds mature they are squeezed out of the aggregate floral structure, called a hypanthodium, until they are ejected forcefully (dehisce). These plants end up appearing as seedlings scattered around the greenhouse. Normally plants doing this would be less desirable (we sometimes call 'em weeds) but the attractiveness of these plants makes me smile whenever I see another new pair of cotyledons in the dorstenian style. One of my favorite clones appeared in the pot of an asclepiad purchased at a show/sale last year. When it appeared I didn't know what it was but it had a fat stem so I left it alone. As it grew and began to reveal its identity I was thrilled because I didn't grow any dorstenias up to that time. It has remained more or less globular since, has a beautiful brown caudex, and is just now be ginning to branch.

Plants are generally easy from seed and produce very attractive small plants within a year. The habit of these plants is big plus for small spaces (or large entirely overrun spaces!). In the field some will grow to only an inch or so high, perfect plants for pot culture (thick, branching, squat stems). Another thing I like about my plants is that I don't really have names for most of the clones. I've collected them from here and there without data, some may be hybrids so they comprise a nice group of mystery plants which keeps it interesting if you like detective work. I believe these plants will be trendy eventually due to their small size, easy culture and strange flowers. Catch the Dorstenia bug, you'll be glad you did.


Quiz Time #21
Chuck Staples, 2000, Mid-Iowa C&SS

1. The following genus has been used to describe the Christmas Cactus:
a. Epiphyllum
b. Schlumbergera
c. Zygocactus
d. All of the above

2. The following species seems to be the current botanical name for Christmas Cactus:
a. Schlumbergera truncata
b. Schlumbergera russelliana
c. Zygocactus truncatus
d. Epiphyllum truncatum

3. These are cultivars of Christmas Cactus:
a. Christmas Cheer, Kris Kringle I & II
b. Christmas Charm, Christmas Flame, Holiday Splendor
c. Christmas Magic II, Christmas Fantasy, Sleight Bells
d. All of the above

4.The above 'cultivars' are:
a. cultivated varieties originating in cultivation
b. cultivated varieties originating in nature
c. winter hardy
d. not cacti

5. The bloom of the Christmas Cactus is triggered by:
a. combination of day length & temperature
b. night temperature down to 32deg F
c. watering
d. smiling at it

6. The natural habitat of the Christmas Cactus in #2 above originates from:
a. Argentina
b. Brazil
c. Central America
d. Mexico

7. Zygomorphic flowers of the Christmas Cactus are borne at the ends of the:
a. leaf joints
b. stem joints

8. Britton & Rose recognized 9 genera in the special Subtribe Epiphyllanae. This included the 3 genera in #1 above. Can you give me 2 more?
__________________________ __________________________

9. In habitat the genera in #8 above (Epis) grow in:
a. desert soil
b. crotches of trees in rainy forests
c. on desert plants
d. Asia

10. To get faster growth and flowers on Epis, they are frequently grafted on:
a. Alluaudia
b. Cleistocactus
c. Myrtillocactus
d. Opuntia

11. The type of grafting of Epis in #10 above is generally the:
a. stab incision
b. flat cut
c. V-shaped cut
d. angle cut

12. The general method of holding the Epi scion to the stock plant in #10 above is:
a. rubber bands
b. string tied to weights
c. tooth picks or long spines
d. any or all of the above

13. The Christmas Cactus branches dichotomously:
/_/ True /_/ False

14. The growth habit of Christmas Cactus is:
a. ascendant
b. pendant

15. During the hot summer time of the year, Christmas Cactus should be placed in:
a. shady area
b. shade in a.m. & sun in p.m.
c. full sun
d. sun in a.m. & shade in p.m.

16. Bring your Christmas Cactus in from outdoors after the first frost:
/_/ True /_/ False

17. Who first described the genus Epiphyllum?
a. NL Britton & JN Rose
b. AC Lemaire
c. AH Haworth
d. KM Schumann

18. Who first described the genus Schlumbergera?
a. NL Britton & JN Rose
b. AC Lemaire
c. AH Haworth
d. KM Schumann

19. Who first described the genus Zygocactus?
a. NL Britton & JN Rose
b. AC Lemaire
c. AH Haworth
d. KM Schumann

20. Who first described the genus Nopalxochia?
a. NL Britton & JN Rose
b. AC Lemaire
c. AH Haworth
d. KM Schumann


Answers to Quiz Time #21
1. d. All of the above. "Epiphyllum" appears to be the older genus described by Adrian Hardy Haworth (1768-1833) in 1812. However, the genus name "Epiphyllum" was first used by Paul Hermann (1646-1695), but was never published, so AH Haworth has been given credit on first publishing the genus name.
2. c. Zygocactus truncatus. However, in the 1992 booklet "Zygocactus (Schlumbergera) -- A Comprehensive & Practical Guide for the Weekend Gardener" by Mark E. Cobia, he believes the true Christmas Cactus would be a hybrid of the Schlumbergera russelliana & S. truncata. He thinks the name "Zygocactus" has replaced the name "Schlumbergera" as a genus name for the Christmas Cactus. It also appears that the species name 'truncat(a)(us)' is commonly used with most cultivar names. You will probably see either Schlumbergera or Zygocactus used to describe the Christmas Cactus. Therefore, if you chose either Zygocactus truncatus or Schlumbergera truncata, I'll give you credit for a correct answer.
3. d. All of the above. According to Mark Cobia, these cultivars of various flower colors all have US Plant Patent #s. All are cultivars of Zygocactus truncatus.
4. a. cultivated varieties originating in cultivation. Although in this instance 'a.' is the answer, cultivars of plants also occasionally occur in nature.
5. a. combination of day length & temperature. Primary trigger is day length, when it decreases to approximately 12 hours -- and night temperatures range from 40 to 65deg F.
6. b. Brazil -- a native of the Organ Mountains & other ranges in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
7. b. Stem joints. Although they look like leaves, the plant is full of jointed stems. Zygomorphic means capable of division into two symmetrical halves only by a single longitudinal plane passing through the axis--yielding only two mirror-images when sectioned.
8. In addition to Epiphyllum, Schlumbergera & Zygocactus, Britton & Rose in their Volume IV of The Cactaceae (1923) included the following genera: Epiphyllanthus, Disocactus, Chiapasia, Eccremocactus, Nopalxochia and Wittia in the Subtribe Epiphyllanae.
9. b. crotches of trees in rainy forests--mainly in porous leafmold. The root system is relatively small and require aerated soil to function properly. These Epis do not need deep feeder roots. In habitat rain is frequent enough to keep the leafmold moist, but not soggy.
10. d. Opuntias.
11. a. stab incision. Jerry Williams of Rainbow Gardens in Vista, California, uses this method, on the side of a large (spineless) Opuntia pad.
12. c. tooth picks or long spines.
13. True. These branches are composed of stems one to two inches long with a long flat areole at the end, where new growth normally comes from this end areole. Usually 2 stems emerge from the areole which is why the branching is call dichotomous.
14. b. pendant. They have a definite tendency to hang down, so make good hanging basket plants.
15. a. shady area. Hanging under a big tree during spring, summer & fall would be a good shady spot for these plants. The plants should be sprayed with water once in awhile during the very hot times of the summer.
16. False. Keep it out during cool periods, but bring it in before first frost.
17. Adrian Hardy haworth (1768-1833) in 1812.
18. Charles Antoine Lemaire (1800-1871) in 1858.
19. Karl Moritz Schumann (1851-1904) in 1890.
20. Nathaniel Lord Britton (1859-1934) & Joseph Nelson Rose (1862-1928) in 1923.

      20       First Rate
     18-19     Top-notch
     16-17     Worth-while
     14-15     Run-of-the-mill
   13 or less  Need-more-study