In Issue 19:

By Chuck Staples
2002 Mid-Iowa C&SS, USA

Ramblings of a Succulentophile
by Meena Singh
from the isocs Journal - India

Grafting - Good or Bad
By Ram Gandhi
from the isocs Journal - India

Opuntia articulata var. oligacantha
by Meena Singh
from the isocs Journal - India



By Chuck Staples, 2002 Mid-Iowa C&SS, USA

1. This author has written a book on the genus Lithops:
a. Gert C. Nel (1885-1950) c. Steven A Hammer (1951-)
b. Desmond T. Cole (1922-) d. All of the above

2. The body of Lithops is made up of 2 split leaves with tops that are:
a. pointed & toothy c. truncated & windowed
b. rounded & smooth d. none of the above

3. The subspecies, Lithops gracilidelineata subsp brandbergensis, is named after:
a. Curt Brandberg c. a river in SW Africa
b. a mountain in Namibia d. none of the above

4. The species, Lithops aucampiae, is named after:
a. Miss Juanita Aucamp c. Mr C. C. Aucamp
b. a campsite in South Africa d. a sandstone outcrop

5. The dominate color of the Ltithops flower is:
a. white b. brown c. red d. yellow

6. These terms are used in describing a Lithops:
a. face, lobes, fissures c. opaque, translucent, window
b. island, channels, grooves d. all of the above

7. Who has emerged in recent years as the leading researcher on Haworthia?
a. Bruce Bayer b. Alfred Lau c. Gordon Rowley d. Ernst van Jaarsveld

8. The first written record concerning Haworthia appears to be that of:
a. Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1777) c. Heinrich Oldenland (1663-1697)
b. Jan Commelin (1629-1692) d. Johann Dillenius (1684-1747)

9. The first to separate the genus Haworthia from genus Aloe was:
a. Gilbert Reynolds (1895-1967) c. Werner Rauh (1913-2000)
b. Henri Duval (1777-1814) d. Friedrich Welwitsch (1806-1872)

10. The author that first described Haworthia attenuata was:
a. Adrian Haworth (1768-1833) c. Louisa Bolus (1877-1970)
b. Selmar Schoenland (1860-1940) d. Henri Duval (1777-1814)

11. The author that first described Haworthia truncata was:
a. Adrian Haworth (1768-1833) c. Louisa Bolus (1877-1970)
b. Selmar Schoenland (1860-1940) d. Henri Duval (1777-1814)

12. The author that first described Haworthia variegata was:
a. Adrian Haworth (1768-1833) c. Louisa Bolus (1877-1970)
b. Selmar Schoenland (1860-1940) d. Henri Duval (1777-1814)

13. The author that first described Haworthia arachnoidea was:
a. Adrian Haworth (1768-1833) c. Louisa Bolus (1877-1970)
b. Selmar Schoenland (1860-1940) d. Henri Duval (1777-1814)

14. The primary habitat of Haworthia is from this country:
a. Namibia b. Zimbabwe c. South Africa d. Botswana

15. This genus is similar to the genus Haworthia:
a. Astroloba b. Chortolirion c. Poellnitzia d. all of the above

16. This Haworthia species has slender, grass-like leaves:
a. H. bayeri b. H. emelyae c. H. lockwoodii d. H. wittebergensis

17. This species (first described in 1932 by Karl von Poellnitz {1896-1945}) was changed to this varietal status under H. truncata in 1966 by Brian Fern (1937-):
a. var. tenuis b. var. maughanii c. var. turgida d. var. bruynsii

18. The species Haworthia bruynsii is named after:
a. Mr. Bruyns b. Mrs. Bruyns c. both

19. The species Haworthia koelmaniorum is named after:
a. Mr. Koelman b. Mrs. Koelman c. both

20. The species Haworthia blackburniae is named after:
a. Mr. Blackburn b. Mrs. Blackburn c. both

[See answers elsewhere in this issue.]


Answers to Quiz Time #23

1. d. all of the above. Nel wrote his book 'Lithops' in 1946. Cole wrote a number of books on the subject of Lithops, including the popular book 'Lithops - Flowering Stones' in 1988. Hammer wrote a recent book 'Lithops, Treasures of the Veld' in 1999.

2. c. truncated (flat) & windowed.

3. b. a mountain in Namibia. Note that SW Africa was the name of the country before Namibia; an arid country in southern Africa along the Atlantic Ocean; about twice the size of California. The Kalahari Desert runs along part of the eastern border and the Namib Desert runs along the west coast with a high plateau in between these two deserts. Curt Brandberg is a fictitious name.

4. a. Miss Juanita Aucamp. The -iae following the consonant 'p' is the Latinized feminine gender (as is -ae following a vowel). The masculine gender uses endings -i or -ii.

5. d. yellow. A few are white.

6. d. all of the above.

7. a. Bruce Bayer (pronounced Buyer).

8. c. Heinrich Oldenland - a Dane physician & botanist; master gardener & superintendent of the Dutch East India Company garden in Cape Town, South Africa; used pre-Linnaeus botanical plant names in Latin, e.g., 'Aloe africana folio in summitate triangulari, rigidissimo marginibus albicantibus', now known as Haworthia marginata. Jan Commelin was a spice merchant, pharmacist & botanist & was commisar of Dutch East India Company; wrote a couple of books. Johann Dillenius was a German botanist and professor of botany at Oxford, England; drew and etched drawings in his own publication: "Hortu Elthamensis" in 2 volumes in 1732. Carolus Linnaeus was a Swedish nature researcher, physician & botanist who founded our 'modern binomial nomenclature system of organizing plants, animals & minerals into classes, orders, genera & species' in 1735.

9. b. Henri Duval - a French physician, botanist & succulent researcher.

10. a. Adrian Haworth.

11. b. Selmar Schoenland.

12. c. Louisa Bolus.

13. d. Henri Duval.

14. c. South Africa.

15. d. all of the above. There have been attempts to relegate all 3 to Haworthia.

16. d. H. wittebergensis.

17. b. H. truncata var. maughanii.

18. a. Mr. Bruyns.

19. c. both.

20. b. Mrs. Blackburn.


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


Ramblings of a Succulentophile
by Meena Singh
from the isocs Journal - India

`Succulentophile' is a word you wont find in any dictionary but for all of us in the hobby of growing succulents it holds a great deal of meaning. It is our identity - it identifies us, in the words of my fond husband, as a bunch of loons who go gaga over some spiny plants'!! What does he ever mean? What spiny plants? Doesn't he know that all succulents don't have spines? And so what if they do? So do roses and bougainvillea, to name a few. And those are more vicious and cause greater damage than our poor cacti spines ever do. But the part of the statement I wholly agree with is that bit about being a `bunch of loons' I am loony about my beautiful succulent plants, thorns and all.

Succulentophilly, like any other hobby, has its trials and tribulations as it has its joys. For me the joys far override the trials. When I see my large, over a foot across, Echinocactus grusonii, I remember the small seedling I purchased 15 years ago. The joy it has given me all these years, and also when it will flower one day. It was bought as part of a `collection of 12 assorted cacti' from Kalimpong. I was just beginning to get interested in cacti then and did not know much about growing them. I was working then and living in Hyderabad. I had met a couple who had a lovely collection of cacti. They gave me a couple of pups and addresses of cacti nurseries in Kalimpong. I began by ordering the above mentioned '12 assorted cacti' and then '12 assorted mammillarias' and so on. These gave me joy when they grew big and flowered. They gave me joy when I could share pups with friends.

Over a period of time I find that my interests have changed a little. The `other succulents' have slowly edged in and taken over. Unfortunately the nurseries in India cant meet up with my desires now, I have to look further a field. I read books and surf the net and see not only what gems there are in cultivation and how they are grown but also what is new in the hobby. Acquiring them is one of the trials faced. Also there are very few books on the subject in India. These books can be ordered but plants are more difficult. One manages.

What can be more joyous than seeing my Uncarina grandidieri tree in full bloom in spring? Or for that matter the Adenium flowers in their myriad shades of white to deep red. The Aloes also flower at the same time and the purple sunbird then becomes a regular visitor. As it sips nectar it pollinates. When I am very lucky, it builds its nest in the aradarium and raises its family there. At these times I forget the fact that I cant buy plants that I want easily or buy prepared compost. I forget the mealy bugs and the rot that often comes with high humidity and torrential rains during the monsoons.

Finally I remember all my friends, all over the world, who have given me so much love and have become a part of my family and me. Thank you God for succulentophilly!!!


Grafting - Good or Bad

By Ram Gandhi , from the isocs Journal - India

Grafting in succulents has occasionally raised some controversies. It can really not be called good or bad, as its use can vary from almost being essential to commercial exploitation. I shall discuss some pros and cons as I see them and would invite other members' thoughts on this.

Grafting in Cacti

We see grafted cacti commonly in our country. Most of the plants in the market are produced from offsets and not from seed sowing. While it is essential for all non-chlorophyll plants and almost essential for cacti such as Sclerocacti and their like to be grafted (as they are very tricky grown on their own roots), most other cacti do well on their own roots.

A. Grafting of Offsets:

This is mostly done for commercial purposes. The advantages are production of a large number of plants in a short time, good flowering, more offsets and rapid increase in size. The disadvantages are that the scion (grafted plant) gets a bloated appearance and tends to get unduly tender. The most important disadvantage, that is not seen so obviously, is the loss of genetic variability which one gets from seed raised plants. Most people are getting the majority of their plant from a single plant. In India we commonly use the following plants as stock plants (with their relative merits and demerits).

1. Acanthocereus sp. Commonly called `triangular cactus'. This misnomer comes from the fact that most often the stem has three wings/ribs. The advantage of this stock is that it gives the fastest growth to the scion but also tends to distort it. It is also thought that this stock has a short life but this is not really true. It requires a good root run and consequently does well in beds. If grown in pots, I find it does well in larger pots with a rich loamy soil and once established it takes a good amount of watering.

2. Lemaireocereus pruinosus This is a good stock, as it takes better to lack of watering. On this the scion grows at a slower rate but then also tends to get less easily distorted. It also has the advantage of having a better surface cut to sit the scions on.

3. Mytrillocactus geometrizans It is a smaller version of the above but personally I do not find it very handy. It also has the disadvantage of not having any real thorns to tie the scion on.

B. Grafting of seedlings

This is indeed a good way of not only getting the very small seedlings to attain a decent size in a reasonable time, but also has the advantage of not distorting the shape of the plant. In fact the extra nourishment reaching the plant seems to get channelled into producing pups/side shoots that can then be separated for vegetative propagation. In fact species that are difficult to grow on their own roots can use the root system of the stock by burying a short stock completely in the soil.

Grafting of other succulents

These plants are usually grown on their own roots and grafted only in the uncommon instance of plants that are impossible or nearly impossible to be grown on their own roots. In recent times grafting has become more common to create greater availability of plants for collectors.

A. Grafting in Euphorbias

This done primarily for various species e.g. E. abdelkuri, E. horwoodii, E. piscidermi and crests. In recent times growers in Thailand made available grafted E. milii hybrids by the hundreds in a very short time. Initially it was thought that they were not suitable for being grown on their own roots but it is now known that grafting is resorted to for the quicker multiplication of the selected cultivars.

B. Grafting in Adeniums

This has recently been most evident in plants coming from Thailand. It has suddenly made available to the collector selected cultivars of Adeniums with not only white flowers but with a host of other colours, variegated leaves and crests that were earlier thought almost impossible to obtain.

C. Grafting in Asclepiads

This is not really needed in our country but is of great benefit in some of the wetter countries of Europe, helping to grow plants like Carallumas, Stapelianthus and related genera. The stock most often used are tubers of Ceropegia woodii.

Grafting thus can be used to very good effect but one must take care to know what one wishes to achieve by this technique of propagation. Care must be taken to maintain the true characteristics of the scion.


Opuntia articulata var. oligacantha

by Meena Singh
from the isocs Journal - India

The Opuntia immediately brings to mind an insidious, flat padded, branching cactus, most readily identified by laymen as a `cactus'. It is known to be invasive and associated with those dangerous glochids that all collectors have, at some time or the other, been painfully acquainted with. This genus is not a hot favourite with most due to its spite nature and propensity to grow large and unmanageable. What most of us don't realise is that the genus Opuntia is a vast genus of plants that come in all shapes and sizes, armed and unarmed. This diversity gave rise to its revision and creation, at one time, of separate genera e.g. Cylindropuntia, Coryopuntia, Micropuntia, Tepherocactus etc.

Members of the geneus Tepherocactus, a low clumping genus from the southern parts of South America were originally part of the genus Opuntia. Later they were separated and the genus Tepherocactus was set up in its own right. It has now been put back in its original genus but as a sub genus. Tepherocacti do not have flat pads but have globular ovoid or short, cylindrical-jointed, lightly attached stems, often with well-developed spines.

Opuntia articulata Pfeiffer ex Otto var. papyracantha (Phil.) Backeb. Now known as var. oligacantha is one of the well known group of papery spined Opuntias. After this group was separated from Opuntias the name of this species was changed to Tepherocactus articulata var oligacantha. This species from western Argentina, is a low growing species forming loose clumps of elongate globular joints, up to 5 cm long and 3.5 cm wide, dull greyish green in colour. It has small brownish areoles with large dense, brown glochids that bear 1-3 flat, dirty white papery spines, 6-8 cm in length. White to pink flowers, about 3 cm long, with prominent yellow stamens are produced in mid summer.

Although easy to grow, it is slow growing. It can form large mounds in time but with the smallest of disturbance the lightly jointed stems fall apart. Like an Opuntia pad, each of these stems can be rooted. It requires bright sunlight and a well drained soil mix. The papery spines too are delicate and get damaged easily. A lovely specimen of this plant can be seen at the HUDA Cactus garden at Panchkula near Chandigarh.