Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cactus confusion

Sometimes the labels on plants are less than enlightening, and often the confusion gets even worse when I start looking them up. I'm not sure about the common names applied to either of these cactus, but they both do seem to be related and are maybe different forms of the same species.

The cactus in the picture below was labeled "Peruvian Torch" Cerus peruvianus. When I first purchased it I thought the new growth at the base, was a different type of plant, but as those little leaves grow I am wondering if they won't fatten into the same shape as the main plant.



I bought this next cactus around the same time as the one above and it was labeled "Curiosity Plant" Cereus peruvianus monstrose cristate. It appears to be similar to the one above except it is covered with golden spines.

6 comments:

Deborah Godin said...

Boy, don't get me started on this topic! I'm the type of person who can't go out for a nature walk w/o a packsack full of field guides, one for everything. No wonder I'm putting my chriopractor's kids through school! But it's always the flowering plants that give me the most trouble. Between the common and Latin and nick-names, it's so hard to keep everything straight!

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

In the first picture, it looks to me like you have a stray Mother-of-Thousands (Bryophyllum daigremontianum) plant in with the Cereus.

mr_subjunctive said...

What Nancy said.

Dee said...

Thank-you both for identifying that little guy! My initial thought when purchasing it was that it was a hitchhiker, but the more it grew and the way the colors blended so well with the original had me doubting my initial feelings. I guess I will wait a little longer and try and separate the two. Any advice for doing that?

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I don't think the little interloper is very fussy. I would just scrap aside the stones and take a knife and cut down in the soil between the cereus and bryophyllum and then dig out the plant and root. I would do it soon because the longer you wait the more intwined the roots will get. It is big enough to move.

Cattleya said...

Just remember that once the Mother-of-Thousands gets big enough to bloom, you'll have, well, thousands. :) So make sure it's in a place where you wouldn't mind it having lots of babies. They're hard to get rid of once that starts, but the flowers are pretty.

Monstrose cacti are cool, sort of like the crested saguaros you might see around Tucson. Cristate (crested) and monstrose on the tag both refer to that unusual growth habit, though I think the exact term depends on how many growth points the plant has. I had a crested Aeonium once that was very unusual-looking, it was hard to even tell what type of plant it was. Enjoy!