NEW PLANTS! Schlumbergera russelliana in the center, Mammillaria senilis on the right, Parodia crassigibba on the left on 11-30-20.
Hello everyone! I hope this post continues to find you well. We had a cold spell but it didn’t get quite as cold as the forecast said. The north wind picked up over the weekend and I begin to wonder… I covered the Phlomis and put the plastic on the windows in the chicken house. It was a nice sunny day and rather pleasant but it is supposed to be in the 20’s (F) at night for several days with daytime temps between 41-50° F. Chance of rain on Thursday and partly cloudy through Monday…
As I mentioned in a previous post, I ordered a few new plants from Succulent Depot on Ebay. The order confirmation said they would be here on December 3 but they arrived on November 30. I debated whether or not to add one of those heat packs to the order but it looks like they came through fine.
Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-10.
I knew the Schlumbergera russelliana was coming as a rooted cutting, but I was surprised when this many came and how big they actually are. There were five nicely rooted cuttings. They look like they got a little cold in transit but hopefully, they will be OK. The top segments may not make it… By the time I finished this post on Wednesday evening, the top segments are very droopy and the tips are drying. The lower segments look fine, though…
Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-11.
This is either a genuine Schlumbergera russelliana or perhaps an x buckleyi hybrid (The Buckley Group). The seller has them listed as Schlumbergera bridgesii, which is sort of what they are, except that name is now a synonym of S. russelliana. This species is normally considered the true Christmas Cactus because it flowers a little later than its cousin Schlumbergera truncata. As I mentioned in a previous post, Schlumbergera truncata (and the Truncata Group) are called Thanksgiving or Holiday Cactus. For both, flowering is triggered by decreasing day length and temperature. I am not sure if they will flower at the same time if they are treated the same or not. Both will flower any time of the year if their light and temperature are controlled. The x buckleyi hybrids (The Buckley Group) are a cross between the two species but are more like S. russelliana in appearance. Their segments are “scalloped” rather than having hooks or claws like S. truncata or the Truncata Group. Their flowers will look similar, but they hang downward rather than being held more or less horizontally.
Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-12.
I had ordered a new bag of pumice from General Pumice a few months ago but I hadn’t even opened the box. I had forgotten I ordered a larger size, I think 1/4″, so when I opened the box I was a little dumbfounded for a minute. Anyway, I mixed Miracle Grow Potting soil with the new pumice, 50/50 and potted the cuttings right away. When I was putting the cuttings in a pot, I decided I would take two of the cuttings to Mrs. Wagler. She was very happy to get them. A few more of her S. truncata have opened, but most are still in bud. I told her about how easy it was to pollinate the flowers and she was curious, so I showed her how to do it. Then I explained if it worked the fruit would stay attached when the flowers fell off. Then, after a year, you can squeeze the seeds out of the fruit and plant them. If they come up, it would take 2-4 years for them to flower… She agreed that was a long time to wait to see what happens.
Normally, when buying plants on Ebay I don’t look to see what else the seller has for sale. It is too tempting. This time, however, I did. Succulent Depot has several hundred listings for different plants and I found a couple I thought I would like. Of course, the reason I chose them was because I didn’t have any like them and/or they were weird… Strangely, neither one of them have common names… I think that makes four cactus in my collection without common names…
Mammillaria senilis after it came in the mail at 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide on 11-30-20.
There wasn’t much of a description on her listing about the Mammillaria senilis but I could tell it wasn’t any ordinary Mammillaria. Just look at those LONG, THIN, HOOKED spines! This plant came in a 2″ square pot and it measured only about 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide (ignoring the spines). It came wrapped in a newspaper but the cactus had been covered with tissue (like what you blow your nose on). When I was removing the tissue, the hooked spines stuck in my fingers. While I was pulling my fingers off of one hand, they stuck on my fingers on the other hand. They don’t just poke, they hang on… 🙂 I could have carried the plant around hanging by my fingers.
The species name is pronounced SEE-nil-is and it means “Of an old man”… Well, he wasn’t bald. 🙂
Mammillaria senilis on 11-30-20.
Besides having 4-5 central spines (upper and lower with hooks), it also has 30 to 40 radial spines PER tubercle!!! Its tubercles also have wool and bristles. It grows from 6-8″ tall x around 4″ when mature and branches basally to form clumps. There are actually several species of Mammillaria with these hooked hairs (unless “they” decide they are all the same species eventually). Maybe make a new genus called Hookalarria. 🙂 You saw that first here on the Belmont Rooster, so it will be Hookalarria L.Mil. 🙂
LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says Mammillaria senilis grows on moss-covered boulders in pine forests in Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa in Mexico around 7,800 to over 9,000 feet (2400-2800 meters) above sea level. Hmmm… We are only 912 feet above sea level here! Growing at that high of an altitude, they are cold hardy down to around 20° F (-5° C) with reports as low as 14° F (-10° C) and lower.
The great thing is that this plant is supposed to have LARGE bright red-orange flowers. Then again, if it is Mammillaria senilis var. albiflora, it will have whitish flowers. It could also have yellow flowers. GEEZ! Since it is small, I am not counting on flowers for quite a while… Maybe by then it will make up its mind. I will put a label in the pot that says “THINK RED” to encourage it.
Parodia crassigibba after it arrived in the mail on 11-30-20, #766-6.
Well, this one isn’t near as exciting or dangerous. The listing was for a Parodia werneri but that name is now a synonym of Parodia crassigibba. You would think when they choose a name they would go for the one that is the easiest to pronounce. I think par-ROH-dee-uh WER-ner-ee is much easier to say than par-ROH-dee-uh krass-ih-GIB-uh. This plant is sold under both species names…
This plant is only 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide…
Parodia crassigibba at 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide on 11-30-20, #766-7.
This cactus started out its life growing in somewhat rocky soil in the Rio Grande Do Sul area in southern Brazil. Minding its own business and getting along happily until its life was turned upside-down. The area started being converted into agricultural land for crops and grazing and now it is an endangered species. For many years, teams of researchers scoured the area naming and renaming many species of cactus. It was a disaster!
I wrote several paragraphs several times about this species name. I kept deleting it because I thought it was a bit too much. Then I kept doing it… That’s why it has taken me so long to finish this post! Personally, I think they accepted the wrong name but I am not going to go into the whole ordeal. Maybe on its own page when I get it finished. It is a perfect example of how many explorers/researchers/taxonomists, etc. had their own opinions and gave them several different names in multiple genera. The Parodia genus is complicated…
Parodia crassigibba on 11-30-20, #766-9.
This is one of the smaller growing species of globose shaped cactus. Mature specimens only grow to about 6-8″ tall (depending on which website you look at). The species grows 10-16 ribs (mine has 13), and has broad, chin-like tubercles between the areoles (Hmmm… That’s what the experts say, but I thought areoles grow on top of the tubercles…). It has 6-14 radial spines that are somewhat appressed and, if there is a central spine present, it points downward. You can actually pick it up without getting stuck. It is normally a solitary growing cactus, meaning it doesn’t normally grow in clusters, BUT sometimes it does. Hmmm…
I will end this post now because I went and did it again. I brought home four more unlabeled cactus from Wal-Mart on December 2. I have two figured out, but the other two are complicated. They are making me wonder about my Mammillaria hahniana… I may have been calling it the wrong species since 2016. GEEZ!!! Surely not. 🙂 I will say it again, I do not like the word “variable”.
UNTIL NEXT TIME… Be safe, stay well, and always think positive. Be thankful and roll with it. 🙂