Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recent new plants: Agave, Zamia, Pachycereus, Myrtillocactus

It's fairly normal for me to go through periods of buying the same kind of plant, or sometimes even multiple copies of the exact same plant, and then realize that I was doing this only somewhat later. Most of my orchids all arrived at about the same time, for example, as did most of my African violets (which also all left at about the same time, too: African violets are social plants, and travel in swarms).

Lately I seem to be having a cactus period: in addition to the Astrophytum ornatum I mentioned a while ago, I've also gotten a couple other cacti recently, plus an Agave which, though not a cactus, shares enough characteristics with cacti that I think we can include it as an honorary cactus for these purposes.

Myrtillocactus geometrizans ("whortleberry cactus"). Or at least that's how Lowe's had it marked. I blame Cactus Blog for this one: they'd posted about Myrtillocactus a couple times in the days before I bought this (mid-August). I'm not positive, but I think the cost was something like $4 or $5.
UPDATE: I now believe this is probably not a Myrtillocactus after all, but a Stenocereus pruinosus. This is based on their respective photos at

Pachycereus marginatus, I think. I'd wanted one for a while, but it took me until mid-October to remember that there were some at the ex-job. Not positive on the ID, but hopeful. It cost about $5.
UPDATE: I now believe this is an Isolatocereus dumortieri. Which I am okay with.

Zamia furfuracea? It's a very young Zamia ("cardboard palm" -- though it is neither), anyway. From a hardware store in Iowa City. We'd had these at work before, as much larger, less full plants, and they stayed around for over a year without selling. Then they suddenly all got scale of some kind and we threw them out. (It was more like seven out of eight got scale, and we couldn't be positive about the eighth.) I would have bought one way earlier, but for size and price. This was very reasonable ($6-7?), and only in a four-inch pot, so it got to come home with me about three weeks ago.

Agave 'Blue Glow.' Speaking of getting things in that then don't sell, I suspect Wallace's, in Bettendorf, is feeling this a little. They have a lot of fairly cool Agaves there in four-inch pots, which I think they got in in the spring for people to use in succulent plantings outside. They still have a lot of them left as of Halloween, when I bought this. 'Blue Glow' is supposed to be a hybrid of A. ocahui and A. attenuata. Leaves are a very cool blue-green, and have yellow and red spines on the leaf edges which are easier to see in the full-size picture. This was also about $6, and the plant had offset, so I got two plants out of it.


Anonymous said...

Great chubby little cycad. I'm jealous and puzzled because I happen to really like cycads and they are the one group of plants that I don't seem to be able to keep alive. Being such a primitive group of plants, you'd think that they would be the last plants to object to the fact that my gas stove/lights/refrigerator are pumping out contaminents into the air. Didn't they go through this in their youth, back when the dinos roamed? Ferns love it. Maybe they realize that outside their windows it is - actually - Maine. As in cold. Snow. Icy blasts of salty air off the bay. Whatever, they languish and eventually pass into the great green beyond.

May your little fella flourish and grow. (Poisonous as all heck, though.)

Peter said...

The Pachycereus might be marginatus, but it's a lot spinier than any of ours, and there are some much spinier ones like P. schottii.

And that was a very good price for the Agave Blue Glow - they're all grown from tissue culture which makes them more expensive than other agaves. We won't sell them until they're 5 gallon size because of that, but I've seen them in 6" for as much as $30 at other nurseries.