Tag Archives: Stapelia

2013 OKC Cacti and Succulent Show

Christie, Myla and I attended the Central Oklahoma Cacti and Succulent show and sale in Oklahoma City a couple of weeks ago.  This is a really good annual show with tons of plants for sale and a small show area for nice specimens.  Even though I am not mired in the cacti/succulent hobby, there are plenty of plants that are tempting and others that are neat to just view from outside looking in.

Checking out a neat Euphorbia
My pretty girls with a blooming Adenium

It was also a lot of fun to surround the little one with plants again.  She is going to be quite used to spending time in gardens and plant shows.

A neat Euphorbia
Another neat Euphorbia

As always, there were hundreds of different Euphorbia.  I was tempted to buy a couple, but I restrained myself.  In the end, I only bought a single plant, Stapelia flavopurpurea, which fit my qualifications of being a good value, already rooted (I’m not good at rooting cacti/succulents from cuttings), and already fits in one of my collection niches.  The plant has a couple of small buds, so I hope to share some bloom pictures in the next month.

Tray of starter plants.

There were many trays of very reasonably priced starter plants. You could start a collection on a limited budget and get a nice variety of plants.

Adenia spinosa
Haworthia truncata
Haworthia truncata flowers

Sometimes it is confusing to me why certain plants are included in the cacti/succulent hobby.  For instance, how does the beautiful prize-winning Operculicarya (below) qualify as a cacti or succulent?  I think this hobby grouping is loosely defined, unlike many other plant societies (Orchids, Begonias, Aroids, for instance), which are specific taxonomic families.

Operculicarya decaryi
Trichocereus bridgesii monstrose

In the assorted monsters category I found the Trichocereus (above), reminiscent of the graboids from Tremors or the asteroid worm creature (exogorth) that tries to eat the Millennium Falcon. Also there was the strange show plant, the hybrid Euphorbia GH211 (below), which could have been in any number of Sci-Fi movies.  Just imagine a crowd of screaming people running away as it trudges down the street, maybe devouring a dog that couldn’t get away fast enough.  Yes, it has definitely been in a movie or two.

Euphorbia GH211 hybrid

It seems this annual show is going to be a fixture for me.  I was told that next year’s show is going to be even bigger and held at a larger venue.  My name is on the mailing list, so I should be notified as it approaches.  I look forward to it!

OKC Cactus and Succulent show

Before diving in, I must confess that cacti and succulents are not my passion. There are a couple of groups that interest me, like Stapelia and related genera. I decided to stop by the show and sale of the Central Oklahoma Cactus and Succulent Society last weekend because I figured it would be interesting to see, take photos and learn more about these plants.

Rhytidocaulon macrolobum
Rhytidocaulon macrolobum

I was surprised to see more plants of interest to me than I had expected. The “show” plants were neat, but primarily plants that I enjoy looking at and that I don’t have a great desire to grow myself. However, I found many plants on the vendor tables that were of interest to me. The first being the plant pictured above and below. Maybe you think it’s ugly, but look at those awesome black flowers!

Rhytidocaulon macrolobum
Rhytidocaulon macrolobum

There were quite a few Pachypodium on display and for sale (sorry, no pictures). I had just been giving a tour at the Myriad Gardens on Saturday afternoon, where the Pachypodium are 10 feet tall!

Euphorbia knuthii
Euphorbia knuthii

There were so many Euphorbia I couldn’t count them. As I was telling my tour group, Euphorbia has to be the most diverse genus I know. If you read my old post on Euphorbia you would have seen everything from the Poinsettia to the dangerously spiny plants, like the one I purchased this weekend.

Euphorbia cylindrifolia
Euphorbia cylindrifolia

The Euphorbia pictured below has a growth habit more like Mamillaria (those spherical cacti with spines all over them).

Euphorbia valida
Euphorbia valida
Dyckia marneir-lapostellei
Dyckia marneir-lapostellei

Check out the ghostly colors of the Dyckia and Crassula.

Crassula deceptor
Crassula deceptor

The little Avonia was quite adorable. It looks like a miniature and really doesn’t look real.

Avonia quinaria v. alstonii
Avonia quinaria v. alstonii

You have probably already seen my cucumber orchid. Now I see there is a cucumber succulent!

Senecio pendula
Senecio pendula

Sansevieria has quite a dedicated following. This show had two plants, one being the famous Sansevieria masoniana, with big floppy leaves. The other was more to my liking, Sansevieria scabrifolia.

Sansevieria masoniana 'Mason's Congo' and Sansevieria scabrifolia
Sansevieria masoniana 'Mason's Congo' and Sansevieria scabrifolia

Most of the plants I am showing won an award, but the cactus below won “Best Cactus.” Check out that long fur hanging off of the pads.

Opuntia tequiliana
Opuntia tequiliana - Look at that fur!

The only Stapelia-like plant in the show was this Huernia. It was a really big plant that is supposedly just 3 years old. It must be a vigorous grower.

Huernia thuratii
Huernia thuratii

I ended up purchasing 4 plants, 1 of which was an orchid. I had been told by some friends that Eulophia petersii is easier to find at succulent shows than at orchid shows, since it likes to grow so dry. I was talking with a vendor at this show and he was telling me about how he once heard someone describing this plant as having “orchid-like flowers”…

Huernia hystrix
Huernia hystrix

Two of the plants that I purchased are from my Stapeliae: Huernia hystrix and Stapelia hirsuta. The S. hirsuta is the one that gets really hairy flowers. It is also probably the species that is most similar to my Stapelia gigantea, which grows really well for me. So I feel confident I can get it to bloom eventually.

Stapelia hirsuta
Stapelia hirsuta

The last plant I purchased is the Euphorbia, which I mentioned earlier in this post. Dangerously spiney!

Euphorbia aeruginosa
Euphorbia aeruginosa

I don’t plan to become a cacti and succulent addict, but I would like to go to this show again in the future. There were definitely some neat plants.

Trip Report: The Audubon House

While in Key West last month, we visited “The Audubon House.”  You would think with a name like this that the house would have once been under the ownership of someone with the name of Audubon.  It turns out the connection is a little less direct.  John James Audubon, the well known historical figure for his art depicting American birds, traveled to the Florida Keys in 1831 in order to paint the native birds of Florida.  While he was in the Keys, he stayed at the house next door to this house.

The Audubon House
The Audubon House
John James Audubon's travels through Florida
John James Audubon's trip to the Florida Keys

The house has been preserved and connected with Audubon because he admired the gardens while he was in the area and supposedly painted some of the trees and plants into his portraits of various Florida birds.  The gardens have been kept in great condition as a tribute.

Roseate Spoonbill portrait by John James Audubon
Roseate Spoonbill portrait by John James Audubon - my favorite from the Florida collection.
Tree loaded with blooming orchids in front of Audubon House
Tree loaded with blooming orchids in front of Audubon House

The house is now a shrine to his work and has a very nice garden outside.  We toured the house and gardens outside, enjoying the beautiful setting.  I think Christie and I could settle into this house just fine.  The trees outside are covered in orchids, and many of them were in bloom for our visit.

Brassavola orchid
Brassavola orchid
Crinum lily bloom
Crinum lily bloom

Other interesting plants filled the flowerbeds, including a couple of large Crinum lilies, some yellow Walking Iris (Neomarica longifolia), and a nice Chenille plant (Acalypha hispida).

The yellow walking iris - Neomarica longifolia
The yellow walking iris - Neomarica longifolia
Chenille plant - Acalypha hispida
Chenille plant - Acalypha hispida

There were lots of Calatheas scattered throughout the gardens, and concentrated here and there.  I have seen these growing in many botanic gardens, but not very often in an outdoor setting.

Calathea Peacock (so the sign reads)
Calathea Peacock (so the sign reads)

The gardens also contain some Florida native plants, which would have been important to Audubon, as he preferred to paint his birds sitting on authentic trees and plants to the area where he would find them in nature.  One of the natives I really liked was this cycad, Zamia floridana.

Florida native cycad "Coontie" - Zamia floridana
Florida native cycad "Coontie" - Zamia floridana
Christie under a nice Staghorn fern
Christie under a nice Staghorn fern
Philodendron stenolobum
Philodendron stenolobum

There were also some nice aroids, including this large Philodendron stenolobum (above) and Alocasia portei (below). I loved the pendant Anthurium vittariifolium, with its pink berries showing (two below) and now have a small seedling plant from a recent plant trade. I hope my plant is this attractive some day.

A large Alocasia portei
A large Alocasia portei (in the center of the image)
Anthurium vittariifolium with berries on spadix
Anthurium vittariifolium with berries on spadix
Chamaedorea metallica
Chamaedorea metallica

My second favorite palm in the entire family is Chamaedorea metallica, which is called the Miniature Fishtail Palm, or Metallic Palm.  It has silver-blue leaves and striking orange flowers and berries.  It is small for a palm, with a maximum size of only 5 or 6 feet tall, and it is therefore usually growing as an understory tree.

Bed of Sansevierias
Bed of Sansevierias - probably Sansevieria metallica.

You probably already know that I like Stapelias. Am I crazy or do the buds of the Stapelia below look just as cool as the open bloom? Yes, I did bend down and stick my nose into the flower to smell the pungency. And yes, I did request Christie do the same. She grudgingly did so – after a third or fourth request.

Stapelia leendertziae
Stapelia leendertziae in bloom.

The Audubon House sits on a lot large enough to have several wandering paths through the gardens and 2 separate set-aside gardens: a water garden and an herb garden. The water garden was very tastefully designed, with some heron statues in the pond. I’m sure JJ Audubon would have liked to sit and stare at these nice statues.  The setting of this garden is similar to what I have talked about doing with a portion of our backyard, with the ground paved in either bricks or rock and a shallow pond or other small water feature.  Just a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the outdoors.

The appropriately decorated Audubon water garden
The appropriately decorated Audubon water garden.

Stapelia bloom opened

The event began Saturday morning.

I had been waiting for a week or more, not knowing how long the bud would stay so large before opening.  We had a little scare on Wednesday when Norman was shaken by an earthquake – a real one.  The US Geological Survey is declaring it a 4.3, after initially saying 4.5.  The Oklahoma Geological Survey is saying it was a 5.1.  Regardless, it was felt by everyone in town and as far away as the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area, the Tulsa metro area and southern Kansas.  That’s a pretty good distance – 3 states in all.

My Stapelia was on the front porch at the time and pretty top heavy.  It tipped over and the biggest bud tore just a little bit.  I was worried that it wasn’t opening because of the tear, but on Friday night I noticed that 2 of the “seams” of the bud were beginning to part.

Stapelia gigantea bloom
Stapelia gigantea bloom (click image for larger)

When I went to check on my Ficus seed trays Saturday a little before lunch time I noticed my Stapelia had finally opened.  You can see the tear in one of the petals above.

Stapelia gigantea detail
Stapelia gigantea detail (click image for larger)

The stink of the bloom is not very far-reaching.  You really have to get your nose up in it, but it smells just like a dead animal when you do.  We spent this weekend tiling our kitchen and when we went out to lunch we left the back door open with fans running.  When we got home I checked on my Stapelia again (of course) and found the largest housefly I’ve ever seen sitting on the bloom.  It almost looked like someone had gotten one of those fake plastic flies and stuck it on there just to give me a hard time.  I grabbed for my camera and the fly flew away!

Stapelia gigantea hairs
Stapelia gigantea hairs (click image for larger)

This Stapelia bloom is so interesting.  It’s close to a foot in diameter.  (I didn’t measure, but I really should do that tonight.)  It has long pubescens (hairs) all over the inside of the flower, which you can see pretty well in the photo above.  And it is striped with these red/brown lines which are more concentrated towards the center of the flower.

I put the plant on our dining table and laid the flower flat in order to take some closeup pictures.  As I moved the plant around, I noticed the petals of the flower would catch on the table and fold up a little bit, making the bloom look even more like the starfish that so many people have compared it with.  It truly looked like it was walking along the table.  It’s actually worth videoing – another thing to do this evening!

Yesterday (Sunday), the petals had already curved back behind the center of the bloom.  I don’t know how long the bloom will last, but I’m hoping for about a week, so that I can get all my friends to come over and see it before it perishes.

Stapelia bud soon to open

My Stapelia gigantea buds have been getting very large.  It seems like every day they are larger and can’t get larger, but the next day they surprise me.  I guess the species name gigantea is an apt description for this plant.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the largest bud opens in the next week or so.  The second largest bud will probably trail by a week.  If the smaller buds mature, they could be as much as a month later, since they are still pretty small.

Stapelia gigantea bud on October 1, 2010.
Stapelia gigantea bud on October 1, 2010.
Stapelia gigantea bud on October 6, 2010.
Stapelia gigantea bud on October 6, 2010.

To watch this bud grow more each day has been exciting!

Stapelia gigantea bud on October 10, 2010.
Stapelia gigantea bud "inflating" on October 10, 2010.

Recently the bud has been getting broader, almost as if it is being inflated like a balloon.  If you gently grip the bud you can tell that it is taught and seems like it will pop open any day.

Stapelia gigantea bud on October 12, 2010.
Stapelia gigantea bud on October 12, 2010.

I had to move all of my plants into the greenhouse last week (including my Stapelia) when we had a oncoming frost.  I’ve been moving it back out onto the front porch during the day to give it a little more light since my greenhouse is still shaded.  I don’t know whether I want it to bloom on the front porch, greeting visitors with it’s pungent odor.  Or I could move it into the greenhouse for the blooming event, but that will probably magnify the odor, since it is a confined space.  Hopefully I’ll have some open bloom pictures soon!