In Issue 24:

Succulent Of The Month: Adromischus
By Phyllis Flechsig
from Palomar C&S Cactus Courier

Care of New Plants
by Meena Singh

Aloe ferox
by Meena Singh

ALOES - Small and Beautiful
by Ram Gandhi
Indian Society of C&S ISOCS Journal
gasteria (at)

CAUDICIFORMS- The Fat Bottomed Plants
by Ram Gandhi
Indian Society of C&S ISOCS Journal
gasteria (at)

Namaqualand Wanderings
By Kim Hamilton
Australia C&S Western Suburbs Cactus Club Journal

Growing Euphorbia Millii Hybrids In Vietnam
By Nguyen Phu Anh Tuan
Danang Cactus Club, 53 Le Hong Phong St, Danang, Vietnam


Succulent Of The Month: Adromischus

By Phyllis Flechsig - Palomar C&S Cactus Courier

Some lovers of succulents are enchanted by fiercely armed plants, some by gorgeous flowers, some by a thickness of stem that indicates great age; but some of us are really delighted by plants that look good enough to eat. If you are of this last persuasion, then Adromischus is just what you are looking for. It doesn't hurt that the plants are permanently small, have pretty (if not really showy) flowers, often have thick or tuberous roots, and are easily propagated from leaves.

It is these leaves that are the real draw: oddly shaped, interestingly marked, sometimes (you might think) dipped in coarse sugar, and endlessly variable.

An adromischus ( the name means ``stout stalk'') is a small shrublet, native to South Africa's Cape Province or Transvaal, with persistent leaves arranged in a spiral on the main stem and a spike of small upright flowers with five fused petals. Flower color is usually white to pink to lavender, except for A. phillipsiae, where the flowers are orange and hang down; there is some controversy as to whether this species really is an adro. Some adros were originally described as cotyledons, and many new species were named over the years since the genus was first described in 1852. In 1978 Helmut Toelken revised the genus, divided it into five sections according to flower form, and combined, or ``lumped,'' many species. After much study he had to conclude that some species were extremely variable in leaf shape; for instance, he combined A. hallii, A. geyeri, A. kubusensis, A. blosianus, A. antidorcatum, A. alveolatus, A. herrei, and several others into A. marianae and its varieties. As a result, just about any adro with spindle-shaped leaves, plain or fancy, rough or smooth, can be confidently termed Adromischus marianae. All members of this group are well worth owning; they are all very attractive. Other, well-known species are such ones as A. cooperi (A. festivus is a synonym), with fat leaves mottled with dark red; and A. cristatus with green leaves that have wavy edges. A. leucophyllus differs from all other adros in having flat leaves that are completely white.

Adromischus are fairly easy to grow and to propagate. Bear in mind that many come from winter rainfall areas of South Africa and therefore want winter water. To start a new plant, twist off a leaf; dry it a few days, lay it on a pan of soil with the stem end inserted just a little way into the soil, and it will do the rest. Do not remove the original leaf until it has dried up.

Pilbeam, John. The complex Adromischus marianae complex. Cactus File, v. 1, no. 2, Aug. 1991, p. 4.

Toelken, H. R. New taxa and new combinations in Cotyledon and allied genera. Bothalia, v. 12, no. 3, p. 377.

Pilbeam, John, Chris Rodgerson and Derek Tribble, Adromischus. Cactus File Handbook 3, England, 1998.

Pictures by the author:
Adromiscus cooperi
Adromiscus cooperi 2
Adromiscus cristatus
Adromiscus phillipsiae
Adromiscus spp
Adromiscus triflorus
Adromiscus trigynus


Care of New Plants by Meena Singh

The season of annual flower shows in Delhi is just round the corner. Flower shows for us is synonymous with the opportunity and prospect of buying new plants from the many nurseries that set up their stalls at these shows. Fine, we go gaga and buy many plants but then what? What do we do to ensure that what we buy is going to survive and grow well?

Let me share my experiences and tell you what I do. In India most succulents are sold bare root with some having a bit of moss tied round their roots. As they have traveled long distances to the shows and have remained packed for some time, I take the earliest opportunity to inspect the plant and their roots. What I am looking for are dry and dead roots. The first thing I then do is to clean the roots, cut away dead ones and remove any soil sticking to them. I then dunk them in an insecticide solution, just in case. I then hydrate the roots for 5-10 minutes in boiled water with just a touch of sugar added to it. This ensures healthy root development once potted up.

Since I buy many different kinds of plants, I have to separate them into roughly two lots. One lot is made up of cacti grafted on a variety of stocks and the other, mostly succulents, on their own rots. Both need different soil mixes. For grafted plants I use deeper pots and a more loam based, rich soil mix that suits their requirement of more water retention. For my succulents I use a very porous, soil less compost to which all nutrients, including micronutrients, have been added. This meets their requirement of no ``wet feet''. I must add here that I use a moderately moist mix for potting up.

If the plants have been purchased by mail order, then also they are received bare root. I follow the same regimen. After the plant is potted, I keep them in the shade for about a week. After a few days I spray the plants with a fungicide solution. After about a week they are ready for their first watering, again with fungicide added to the water. Now they are ready for their permanent home.


Aloe ferox by Meena Singh

The genus Aloe has been grouped with other lily like plants in the family Liliaceae. Aloe vera, a well-known garden escape, naturalised in many parts of the country, has been in cultivation in India for ages. In recent years many other species have been introduced. They have become favourites, both amongst succulent plant enthusiasts and other garden lovers, because of their stark beauty that make them suitable plants for various settings.

Aloes come in all sizes. They can be large tree growing ones or multi stemmed or stem less or dwarf or grass Aloes.

Aloe ferox or the ferocious Aloe, is a robust single stemmed Aloe with a large but single rosette of leaves, growing up to 2m high. Old specimens in habitat have been known to reach up to 5 m in height. In its juvenile stage only the rosette of leaves can be seen, the trunk developing with age. Like all other single stemmed Aloes, it only occasionally branches in the upper part, especially if and when the growing tip gets damaged. Broad leaves are dull green to greyish green in colour. Dark brown spines are present along the edges and sometimes on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. Old leaves are persistent, even when dry, and don't fall off but remains like a skirt, clothing the base of the trunk. Flowers, usually bright orange red but some times red or yellowish, grow on branched racemes in the winter months in habitat and early spring in India.

Aloe ferox originates from South Africa and is a widely distributed species growing in a wide range of habitats - from mountain slopes to rocky places as well as flat open areas. It has shown itself to be adaptable, flourishing equally well in dry as well as wet locations.

In cultivation, like many other Aloe species, Aloe ferox, grows well in a warm climate. Being a hardy plant it can be easily grown in pots or in the ground, provided drainage is adequate. Once established it does not require too much after care and can withstand drought. Despite its hardiness it is well to remember that a healthy well grown plant thrives better and rewards one with flowers. Aloe rust, seen as round brown/black spots on leaves, some times infect Aloes. This is caused by a fungal attack and can usually be treated with `Blitox' but again prevention is better than cure!


ALOES - Small and Beautiful by Ram Gandhi

Aloes are the largest group of leaf succulents of the Lilly family. With over 400 species this genus is one of the biggest groups of all succulents. This number is further supplemented with a large number of hybrids, both within the genus and with other genera. This group of succulents is primarily from the African continent, spilling over to Arabia. They range in size from large trees over 15m tall to miniatures just 2.5 cm across. They are grown and enjoyed for the beauty of their leaves and flowers. Leaves can be plain, spotted, striped or a combination of the above. Leaf colour varies from very light grey green to dark green, tanning in the full sun to almost red at times. Leaves can be smooth, rough and spined. Flowers range in colour from white to yellow to orange and red. They are usually borne on long stalks well above the plant. This stalk can be single or branched.

With such a wide variety it can be difficult to select what to grow and what not to grow. In fact one can have a collection of Aloes alone. Considering the kind of garden space available to most of us these days, it is more satisfactory to grow a number of the smaller growing Aloes and their hybrids rather than the larger ones. Some species of the more easily available smaller Aloes are -

Aloe humilis - this is a very commonly available plant. It has blue green leaves with small spine-like projections on both sides of the leaf. It comes from South Africa. Individual heads are about 15 cm across and tall. It clumps easily and can form very attractive clumps. It flowers with thick spikes of orange-red in January- February. It can tolerate full sun in our conditions. It is of easy cultivation.

Aloe aristata - a very attractive stemless Aloe from South Africa. Its appearance is quite unique, with its dark green leaves marked with white spots and tubercles with soft spines on both surface of the leaf. The leaf end is marked with a distinct terminal awn. Individual heads reach a maximum of 15 cm. In habitat it is often found in groups and has spikes of reddish flowers. I have not seen it in flower in cultivation. In fact most often one finds its hybrids for sale rather than the true species. It is of easy culture.

Aloe juveana - a long stemmed Aloe from Africa. For a long time it was thought to be a garden hybrid till a few years ago when it was discovered in habitat. It has light green spotted leaves with a few teeth on the margins growing on elongated procumbent stems. It is shy to flower but its unique habit makes an attractive pot full.

Aloe rauhii -- a beautiful Aloe from Madagascar with grey green leaves marked with rows of parallel dashes. It has small teeth on the margins of the leaves. It reddens in the winters to look beautiful. Leaves spread out to form rosettes up to 20 cm. across. Small flowers are borne on thin stems and are of orange colour. It clumps easily and does not have too many cultural requirements. It does however prefer some relief from the summer sun to prevent burning. It is one of the parents of a great many very attractive small growing hybrids.

Aloe jucunda - a Madagascan miniature, with individual heads not much larger than 5-6 cm. across. It has smooth, glossy, dark green leaves marked with whitish streaks with a few teeth on the margins. These turgid leaves recurve and look very nice. It slowly clumps to fill out small pans to form very attractive small domes. To reach this state, however it requires patience and a careful hand with watering. It is not too difficult to grow individual heads but one should to aim to grow a small pan full.

Aloe descoignsii - dubbed as the smallest Aloe species in the world. It too comes from Madagascar. Individual heads are under 5 cm. tending to form small clumps with age. The dull grey green concave triangular leaves are marked with whitish specks. Small orange flowers are borne on slender stalks. It is truly a gem of a plant. It requires a somewhat shadier location and careful watering.

Aloe haworthoides - this gem of an Aloe comes from Madagascar. Individual heads are usually not more than 6 cm. across. Individual leaves are dark green and covered with hair like bristles, which make it quite unique in its appearance. It likes slightly shady conditions and is not very fond of our summers. It will flower once established.

Aloe albida - not an easily available plant but one to look out for. It belongs to a distinct group of Aloes from South Africa called Grass Aloes. These long narrow leaved Aloes are marginally succulent. This particular species is one of the easier ones to cultivate. It has dark green leaves with small teeth at the margins. It has white flowers.

A number of attractive hybrids can be found now and then. To mention a few cv. `Midnight' - an A. rauhii hybrid. With individual heads up to 20 cm. across and leaves heavily marked with white dashes, it makes a good addition to the collection. The lower leaves tend to become reddish in good light, offsetting the new more greenish ones.

X A. descoignsii - I am not sure of its name. It might be a cross with A. haworthoides, showing intermediate characteristics. It forms attractive clumps, which flower easily.

cv. `Hey Babe' -- another beautiful A. rauhii hybrid. It forms 8 cm heads of a grey- blue colour and flowers easily.


CAUDICIFORMS- The Fat Bottomed Plants
by Ram Gandhi

Succulent plants have evolved to store water in some part of their body in order to tide them over periods of drought i.e. shortage of water. The storage organs of these plants can be their leaves, stems or roots. True caudiciform plants are those plants that have a fat storage organ from which climbing or twining shoots arise. These shoots are often annual, although in cultivation they might persist throughout the year. This storage organ can be stem or root or a combination of both. For most collectors this definition has been extended to include almost all plants that literally have a fat bottom or a lower organ.

Technically plants with thickened lower stems are called Pachycaul plants. They have four major divisions -

1 - Phanerophytes - where the 'fatness' is all above ground and the growing point is usually 25cm. or more above the ground, e.g., Adenium, Cyphostema.

2 - Chamaephytes- where the `fatness' is above ground but the growing point is less than 25 cm. or less above the ground, e.g., Dioscorea elephantipes

3 - Hemicryptophytes - where the fatness is hidden in the ground but the growing point is at ground level, e.g., Euphorbia fusiformis.

4 - Geophytes - where not only is the `fatness's underground but also the growing point, e.g., Ceropegia bulbosa.

For the not so serious, all fat bottomed plants are `Caudiciforms' and we shall use that as our definition.

Since this is a form of evolution rather than a characteristic of a particular plant, the caudiciform plants belong to a number of different plant families. To familiarise us with this concept, probably the most common examples for us come from vegetables that we eat. This includes Yam (Jimikand), Sweet potato (Shakarkandi), Tapioca and Dioscorea. Of these only some Dioscoreas fall in the realm of succulents because of the area where they grow. The other plants mentioned are basically food stores rather than water reservoirs. Therefore they become vegetables rather than succulents. Since most succulents belong to families that are partially succulent, line of differentiation can be very thin.

Within the frame work of ``Caudiciform'' succulents the most commonly encountered plant is:

Adenium obesum - this is actually a pachycaul plant. It is a very rewarding succulent to grow. With its attractive flowers this plant is found quite frequently in the collections of general plant lovers. Grown well it truly lives up to its name of `Desert Rose'. In Delhi it generally flowers twice a year - late spring and post monsoons. In a more moderate climate it will flower around the year. Numerous flowers in all shades of pink and red make it a very attractive plant specially, with its thickened stem that looks different and attractive. Of late it has come into a lot of prominence due to availability of a large number of cultivars.

Ceropegia bulbosa - a true Indian caudiciform. Of the about 44 species of Indian Ceropegias it is probably the only one that is found all over India including Delhi. It has two forms, C. bulbosa v. bulbosa with ovate leaves and C. bulbosa v. luschii with lanceolate leaves. Its tubers are edible and have a sour sweet taste. Other Indian caudiforms are Cayratia carnosa, Corollocarpus epigeus, Momordica dioca, Dioscorea species etc.

The genus Euphorbia is a very large genus. Some of the plants of this very varied genus are cadiciforms. The most commonly encountered species is E. knuthii. This plant develops very attractive root masses from stem cuttings. Other plants of this genus that are commonly seen are E. flanaganii, E. clavigera, E. tortirama and E. heydiotoides. The Indian representatives are E.fusiformis, E. meenae.

Kedrostis africana is another plant that will form a caudex from cuttings and also has nice attractive leaves.

Pterocactus and Wilcoxia (now Echinocereus) are cacti with prominent caudices.


Namaqualand Wanderings
By Kim Hamilton

Australia C&S Western Suburbs Cactus Club Journal

During August 2000, Pat Dixon and myself decided to travel to South Africa for the Succulenta 2000 conference, to be held in Cape Town at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We decided that seeing that we had traveled all that way we may as well see some of the country as well, for this reason we signed up for the post conference tour to Namaqualand.

Where is Namaqualand you ask? Namaqualand lies in the west of South Africa, and spans two provinces, Western Cape and Northern Cape. The area extends from the Orange River, southwards to the Ofifants River; eastwards from the sea to just east of Springbok, Garnoep and Kliprand; and to the foot of the Bokkeveld Mountains; and then to Vanrhynsdorp. The area covers 55,000m~ in total. Namaqualand can be divided into five geographic regions. The flat plains of the KnersvIakte in the south; the granite hills of the Hardeveld; the Kamiesberg uplands; the sand expanse of the Sandveld; and in the north-west the Richtersveld.

Namaqualand lies within the winter rainfall area of South Africa, and is often covered with fog and dew, which makes the mornings quite cool. The fog fortunately lifts mid morning on most days.

We did not see all that Namaqualand had to offer, with only seven days to explore, but our days were jammed packed with plenty of plant spotting and making new friends among the other travellers. For a couple of days 1 could not work out why my neck and shoulders were so sore. Then it hit me; we were always looking down for plants and I always had a camera around my neck! The best investment 1 made before leaving Cape Town was a vest with heaps of pockets. It got a lot of use over the next week.

DAY 1. August 26th

We began at our hotel in Cape Town, where our mini bus turned up to load ourselves and our luggage for the trip. We also meet the other travellers in our group, and met our guide Robin Fransen and our driver Dries. The other people in our group, were from England, USA, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.

We left Cape Town around 8.00 am for our journey northwards along highway 7, towards our first overnight stay at Clanwilliam. Our first stop was about 100 km from Cape Town, at Eendekuil, a small community just off the highway. Here we found our first of many mesembs, the queer Diplosoma retroversum. These plants were found on a quartz hill near the centre of town. The locals were very surprised to see a bus load of people with their heads down. We left this site after 20 minutes and proceeded onto Clanwilliarn to drop of our trailer of bags, and pick up our lunches. We then set off to through Pakhuispas, along the edge of the Cederburg Wilderness Area. Our first stop along here was alongside of Lois Leipoldtii's(a doctor, poet and author) grave site. One of the first plants we spied was a Aloe hybrid. We then started to clamber over boulders and through prickly bushes. The climb was worth it though, here we found several species of conophytums, adromischus and a crassula.

Further along the road we stopped at a spot that had an embankment with what looked like Masonias on them, but they turned out to be Whiteheadia bifolia, which had just finished flowering. We climbed the small embankment and found several species of euphorbia, and a couple of Quaqua mammillaris in fruit.

Crossing the Doring River we stopped at a farm, near Doringbos, which housed within its environs a wealth a succulent species including tylecodons, othonnas, adromischus and others. It was here that we ate our lunch and then passed any leftovers to the local workers from the farm, which was well received. We probably spent at least an hour here, scrambling over hills and finding all sorts of succulent plants. We then headed back to Clanwilliam for dinner and bed.

After a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, which we soon got sick of, we set out northwards again, this time towards Vanrhynsdorp. We only had a couple of plant stops on this day. The first stop was on the road to GraafWater, with Argyroderma subulatum then onto an area known as the Knersvlakte, the premier site of quartz fields. This was a exciting stop, we spent at least an hour here, walking over small hills. This area was bounded by a road on one side and a railway fine on the other. We found heaps of plants here including: conophytums, monilaria, crassula, cheiridopsis, tylecodon, etc. Further towards Vanrhynsdorp, we stopped for lunch alongside the road, with an abundance of lachenalias, members of the Hyacinthaceae, in flower. These are little bulbous plants, with beautiful flowers.

That afternoon we spent at the Kokerboom nursery, in Vanrhynsdorp. This was a great place for looking around, especially for the stapeliad lover. I found huge specimens of hoodia, trichocaulon, and other stapeliads, all in flower or fruit. There were also large specimens of aloes, cheiridopsis and other mesembs. After several hours at the nursery we made our way back to our Bed & Breakfast, where it was discovered that we were to be separated into three different B&B's. This did not go down all that well with the organisers, but there was little we could do about it. Pat and I spent the night at the Troe Troe B&B, the home of Gerrit & Gretchen van ZyL

DAY 3. August 28th

Another breakfast of bacon and eggs we were again on our way northwards. This was to be a long day in which we covered approximately 257 kms. Our first stop was along highway 7, about 20 km north of Vanrhynsdorp. We encountered argyrodermas and dachylopsis once again on quartz. The next stop was a little further down the road at an area called Douse-the-Glim. This is an area again on quartz, just off highway 7. Here we spied Oophytum nanum in flower, which was a nice contrast against the white of the quartz. Also with the oophytums were dachylopsis and argyroderma. At this spot we also had to watch where we put our feet, otherwise you ended up standing on a plant. I walked around on tippee toes.

The next stop was at Bitterfontein. Once again we encountered several species of conophytums and one species of euphorbia, also argyrodermas, and crassulas. We then continued on to Garies, the heart of Namaqualand, and home to one of the best wildflower displays in the country (after a good rain season). We dropped off our trailer here and then headed off east towards Witwater. On the way to Whitwater we stopped along Studerpass for another excursion amongst the boulders. Here we spied more lachenalias, conopytums, anacampseros and Cotyledon orbiculata. We decided this would be a good spot for lunch (cheese and ham sandwiches again!). Then we continued on to Whitwater. Among the plants we found here were ruschia, cotyledon, cheiridopsis and antimna. We were to continue further to Platbakkies but our driver, Dries, was worried about the state of the road and doing damage to the bus, so we returned to Garies and picked up the trailer and continued on to Springbok for our overnight stay.

DAY 4. August 29th

Finally a day where we could chose what we could have for breakfast. We ordered but it took about 45 minutes before we got our food. Today would be a good day for plant spotting. When we got on our way we headed north towards Steinkopf and the border with Namibia. Our first stop was approximately 32km north of Steinkopf, in area near the Blesbaerg Mine (crystal). Amongst our finds here were Saracaulon crassicaule, Euphorbia namaquensis and a few shrubby mesembs, we also had a visitor at this stop, someone's dog. No-one saw where he came from, and as soon as we got back on the bus he took off again. The next stop was back towards Springbok, about 20 km away from the first stop, the area looked like it had been used a rubbish dump at some time. I would rate this spot as the best spot of the whole week. We spent at least an hour and a half here. Amongst our finds here were, conophytums, crassulas, trichocaulon, other stapeliads, avonia, and the only lithop we saw all trip. The whole group split into little groups and went exploring, when someone found anything interesting we called for the others. We probably found more plants this way.

We then headed west of Steinkopf, amongst the finds here were Aloeframesii, Euphorbia dregeana, Conophytum elepticum v neobrownii, Drosanthemum hispidum and other shrubby mesembs. Our next stop was the lunch stop, (yes cheese and ham sandwiches, some over cooked sausages and a hard boiled egg). We had this under the shade of some gum trees, and a ruined house foundations. It seemed someone decided to build a house, or something, and then decided against it. It was nice to sit in the shade, with the temperature being in the high 20's. After lunch we were on the road again, this time we stop at an area known as Bulletrap. At last we finally stopped an area with numerous Aloe dicotoma's, we also found some Bulbine species. The last stop of the day was at Concordia, which is just north of Springbok. Climbing over boulders again we found conophytums, crassula, adrornischus and anacampseros. Several of the men decided to go climbing higher to look for more plants, I think they only found one aloe, I was glad I didn't join them. We overnighted in Springbok again.

DAY 5. August 30th.

The day started with an early morning telephone call from home, as today was my birthday. Once again we got to order what we wanted for breakfast, but had to wait 30 minutes or more for the food to arrive. We started to head back down highway 7, towards Cape Town. Our first stop was the wildflowers at Skilpad, at Kamieskroon. We were, unfortunately, a little to early and the flowers weren't all open. They still put on a great display, with many different daisy-like flowers, but also in amongst the flowers were pelargoniums, babina and some asclepaids. As we were leaving more different coloured daisy-like flowers were opening.

We started back down highway 7, towards Cape Town. We were treated for lunch today with a two course meal and some sparkling wine at the local town of Garies. This also gave us a chance to buy some souvenirs, and local crafts that were available at the local community centre. Back on the road and we headed for Nieuwoudtville, which was over Bokkeveldberg mountains. This was a quiet drive with most of us snoozing after our liquid lunch and exhaustion.

We crossed the mountains along VanRyhns pass, and managed to find a spot to pull over to take in the beautiful view, and also some plant spotting. We encountered tylecodon, cotyledon and crassula's again. We also passed the site where a tourist bus had gone over the edge of the mountain a few months earlier.

We arrived in Nieuwoudtville and were once again spread amongst three or four boarding houses, although these were all owned by the one person. After a lovely three course dinner, we watched a video made by the owner of the lodge about some Amaryllidaceae, a Brunsvigia 1 think, that had flowered during autumn. These plants only flower every couple of years. We were also told that where we were staying was considered a hamlet, not a town.

DAY 6. August 31st

We awoke to the 'hamlet' without water. We all got up ready to have our showers, and to our dismay there was no water. This did not go down to well. To top it off we encountered our first day of rain. After another breakfast of bacon and eggs we were off. Our first stop was Loeriesfontein Windmill Museum and Nieuwoudtville waterfall, along the Willems River. We all got out in the drizzle and went for a walk. Here we encountered Tylecodon walchii, Aloe comptonii and a Massonia sp. The array of plant species again Anacampseros, Haworthia decipiens, Notechidnopis framesii, and other genera of stapeliads were found here and the stapeliad buffs were again satisfied.

For something different today we were treated to lunch at a cafe in Calvinia. This was another welcome change from the cheese and ham sandwiches which we were getting used to. After having our fill of lunch it was back into the bus, and this time we headed towards Ceres. A quick stop along the roadside and we spotted Aloe variegata in amongst the grass. Further inspection of the area did not yield very much more, only another couple of aloe's like the one we had seen. Back onto the bus and further down the road we stopped at another promising area. We spied Euphorbia multiceps and another species of conophytum.

The day was starting to get a bit long, so we headed back to our 'hamlet'. Luckily when we arrived we finally had some water and were able to have a welcome shower to help warm up. Dinner was another traditional three course meal.

DAY 7. September l st.

This was our final day and we headed our from Nieuwouldtville lodging and back on the road to Cape Town. We stopped for a photo at the top of Vanrhynspas, with the fog clouds hanging over the valley below. Then we continued on our way. Once the fog cleared we stopped for another photo, this time of our travelling group, as we were to leave one in Vanrhynsdorp. After dropping Stewart off, we continued down highway 7.

A quick stop was taken to view Euphorbia loricata growing along the roadside, near the Clanwilliam dam. We had yet another restaurant lunch at then continued on to Cape Town. We were dropped off at our hotel at about 4.00 pm in the afternoon, where some travellers had to quickly get their luggage sorted out, for they had flights for this night.

Pat & I stayed another night in Cape Town before heading out to Johannesburg with a four hour stop over, before boarding our plane for the long trip back to Australia.

Pictures by the author:
Aloe dicotoma
Euphorbia namaquensis
Cheiridopsis peculiaris


Growing Euphorbia Millii Hybrids In Vietnam
By Nguyen Phu Anh Tuan,

Danang Cactus Club, 53 Le Hong Phong St, Danang, Vietnam

In Vietnam some varieties of Euphorbia milii Ch. des Moulin, with red, yellow and pink flowers, can be found growing wild on the dry mountain slopes where soil is poor. Local people call these plants by the Vietnamese name of "Xuong Ran", which means "Snake's back bone". and collect them for their homes, where they are grown on balconies in containers or in the garden. These plants have a sprawling growth habit. People believe that having them in their homes helps to give protection from ghosts and other evils,

In 1995 our diplomats brought hybrids of E. milii into our country from Thailand, where they were grown in the King of Thailand's palace and were valued almost as much as orchids. Gradually the trend of growing this Madagascan euphorbia spread throughout Vietnam and eventually some 70 varieties were introduced. The Vietnamese name of "Bat Tien" meaning "eight fairies", is given to the hybrids, the name being taken the fact that often the flowers are grouped in eights. "Bat Tlen" differ from I'Xuong Ram" in that "Bat Tien" has a vertical growth habit and has, larger leaves and stems, The flowers are very attractive.

From 1995 to 1996 people in Vietnam grew only varieties of E. milii with small flowers [up to 10 mm in diameter], the colours being red, yellow pink and orange, then from 1997 to 1998, hybrids with medium sized flowers [up to 20 mm in diameter] and a wide range of forms and colours were grown, many being imported from. Thailand. From 1999 onwards even larger growing hybrids, with flowers of up to, 60 mm in diameter, were imported from Thailand, but although these plants are larger in stem size and leaf, their colouration is not so varied. Undoubtedly "Bat Tien" is the most popular plant of the new millennium as far as Vietnamese growers of cacti and succulents are concerned and, with their attractive flowers, the hybrids are considered most desirable. In some cities of the country exclusive "Bat Tien" clubs have been formed and these clubs organise shows and competitions to take place at the Lunar New Year.

Flowers of Bat Tien:


There is a very wide range of colours, from white to yellow, pink, green to orange, from red tomulticoloured hybrids. These hybrids can be pink-white with a red spot, yellow with green stripes, pink with a red border, white with a pink border, etc. Even in flowers of the same colour, the colour of thestamens may differ.


There are many variations of form, some flowersbeing boat-shaped, some looking like apricot flowers and some being twisted. The diameter of the flowers also varies. In healthy plants a succession of flowers is maintained and they hang around the pot and look very beautiful like orchid flowers.


We use two soil combinations

1. 30% dry cow manure

30% rice husk ash

40% sand & Clay mix

2. 15% dry nut husk

35% rice husk ash

40% sand & clay mix

10% biological fertilizer


Growing from seed is a slow process and seedlings take a long time to mature. We find that growing from cuttings is best. We dry the cuttings for about 4 days and then plant them in suitable soil and they root in about 7 to 10 days. We have also tried grafting to produce a plant with many differently coloured branches, but, although successful, theresulting plant was ugly and unattractive.


We often use NPK 10.30.30, and also have very good results with NPK If we use DAP it makes plants branch very freely which is useful for propagation purposes.


In the tropical climate of Vietnam we need to water our outside plants daily in summer. With so much sunshine and plenty of water the plants grow well and produce flowers over a long period. Plants grown indoors leaf more, not do not flower so well and the colour of the flowers is not so good.