The Cactus Explorers Club

Cactus Explorers
Introduction The Cactus Explorers Club describes itself as “An Informal Group for Cactus and Succulent Enthusiasts.” They are located in the UK and seem to have boundless energy and love for the hobby because they regularly publish a quality journal…

Delosperma Has Obvious Seeds

Delosperma 'oberg', Bahamut Chao
(Photograph: Delosperma ‘Oberg’, Bahamut Chao) Introduction Delosperma is a genus of succulent plants commonly found in southern Africa. (But, where does D. madagascarensis come from?) Delo is from Greek:  visible or obvious. Sperma is from Latin: seed. The Details When the seed…

An Aloe with Bitter Nectar Attracts Specific Birds

Black-eyed Bulbul on Aloe vryheidensis
(Photograph = Black-eyed Bulbul on Aloe vryheidensis, Martin Heigen) Introduction Plants and their pollinators go together, like lock and key. The usual pollinators are insects and birds. Aloes are generally bird pollinated. But there is specificity. Just any bird won’t do.  It…

Opuntia Beer? It’s Real.

Opuntia Beer Label
The Newspaper clipping says it all. Boulder, CO – “Really? A sour ale with a dose of prickly pears and patiently matured in first-use, small-batch tequila barrels for 9 months? Damn straight. Damn good!” That’s the simple description Avery Brewing…

Cauduciform Plants and Pachycauls

Adansonia gregori
(Picture = Adansonia gregori) Introduction Cauduciforms are an unscientific collection, across divisions, orders and families; they are also known as fat plants. A common denominator is the perennial swollen caudex/bulb/stem/rhizome (generally above-ground parts and not like bulbs). Usually the caudex…

Polyploidy in Cacti

Opuntia pinkavae, octoploid
(Photograph = Opuntia pinkavae, octoploid, Chris Ginkle) Introduction Polyploidy refers to the doubling (or more) of chromosome numbers in plants, animals, and other organisms. For instance, cacti have a minimum of 22 chromosomes in adults. But this has doubled in…

A Brief Primer on Aloes

Aloe flowers
(Picture = Aloe flowers) Introduction The majority of Aloe species are found in southern and eastern Africa, with a large number in Madagascar too. They are found in arid and semi-arid areas, typically savanna or rocky areas. They range in…

Opuntia mojavensis

Opuntia mojavensis
(Photograph = Opuntia mojavensis in winter) Introduction Opuntia mojavensis is an enigma. The only historical drawing shows 2 spine clusters and an immature fruit. The herbarium sheet (lectotype) also has limited material. The Details Britton and Rose reported that the species…

About the Ecology of Haworthia koelmaniorum

Haworthia koelmaniorum
(Picture = Hawortial koelmaniorum) Haworthia koelmaniorum is a rare plant endemic to Mpumalanga, South Africa. It is slow growing, and its ecology is poorly understood. Better knowledge is required to prepare conservation plans. Details The seven known populations of H.…