Monday, April 21, 2008

The power of grafting – 4th anniversary

Four years ago today, I grafted a tiny Lophophora williamsii (SB 854; Starr Co, Tx) seedling onto a robust Trichocereus pachanoi stock. The Lophophora scion has since grown to a width of 8 cm (~3.2'') and set 6 offshoots - the total width including the offshoots exceeds 13 cm (~5.1'').

Grafted Lophophora williamsii (SB 854; Starr Co, Tx)
Grafted Lophophora williamsii (SB 854; Starr Co, Tx)

The plant flowered throughout summer last year and many of the resulting seed pods are ready to be harvested. This season's first flower already appeared last week and the remains can be seen in the photo below.

Lophophora williamsii - ready for seed harvest
Lophophora williamsii - ready for seed harvest

Last year's flowers were allowed to self-pollinate with minimal human intervention. Today I harvested all freely exposed fruits and left the rest to fully mature. So far the result seems good as the plant set a lot of seed, time will show if it is viable.

Dried Lophophora williamsii fruit
Dried Lophophora williamsii fruit

Many of the fruits have a dry and brittle husk that is easily ripped and some of them almost spilled open when harvested. I probably ought to harvest the seeds sooner and not allow the fruits to sit and dry on the plant for too long.

Ripped Lophophora williamsii fruit with seeds exposed
Ripped Lophophora williamsii fruit with seeds exposed

As mentioned the plant has set lots of (selfed) seeds: the initial harvest totalled 101 seeds and there are still a few fruits left on the plant to be harvested later.

101 home grown Lophophora williamsii seeds
101 home grown Lophophora williamsii seeds

For comparison you can check the posts on the same graft as one, two, and three years old.

Anaglyph and "cross-eyed" 3D Lophophora images

I've always been fascinated by anaglyphs and "cross-eyed" images and their stereoscopic 3D effects. To celebrate the 4th anniversary of my Lophophora williamsii (SB 854; Starr Co, Tx) graft I've created a couple of stereograms depicting the plant. So whisk out your blue and red filter glasses, open the picture below in a separate, maximized window, and enjoy the mesmerizing 3D effects ;-)

Anaglyph image - Lophophora williamsii graft
Anaglyph image - Lophophora williamsii graft

The next stereo pair is in the "cross-eyed" format. This type of stereogram can be difficult to view until you get the technique right. However the color rendering is bright and accurate, something not easily achieved with anaglyphs. Open the image in a separate, maximized window for the best viewing experience.

Cross-eyed image - Lophophora williamsii graft
"Cross-eyed" image - Lophophora williamsii graft

While I was at it, I also made an anaglyph stereogram showing one of my Lophophora jourdaniana plants.

Anaglyph image - Lophophora jourdaniana
Anaglyph image - Lophophora jourdaniana

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Starting Pelecyphora and Lophophora from seed, 2008

Yesterday I started this year’s first batch of seed. I’m usally sowing my cactus seeds at the beginning of March, but I’ve been otherwise occupied so I had to start a bit later than usual. 30 seeds each of the following species were sown:

  • Lophophora williamsii (SB 418; Presidio County, Texas)
  • Pelecyphora aselliformis (MMR 111.1; El Pedernal, San Luis Potosí, Mexico)

Lophophora williamsii, Shafter, Presidio County, Texas
Lophophora williamsii, Shafter, Presidio County, Texas (photo from

I’ve been looking for L. williamsii originating from the Trans-Pecos region of Texas for a while, so I was pretty exited to find the SB418 seeds from Presidio County, Texas. I’m looking forward to see how these plants develop (and also bought a batch of these seeds to start in my coldhouse).

Pelecyphora aselliformis in habitat
Pelecyphora aselliformis in habitat (photo from

Pelecyphora aselliformis is a first for me. I’ve always wanted to grow this distinctive species but for some reason never got around to it until now.

The seeds were started as described in the post on growing cactus from seeds and are bought from Jan Martin Jecminek.

Most of the seeds I’m growing this year have been selected for their (alleged;-) cold hardiness and will be sown later in my unheated greenhouse.

Update - April 12, 2008
Prompted by Patrick's comment I decided to include more detailed information on how the germination progresses. 5 days after sowing the seeds one Lophophora and 8 Pelecyphora seedlings had germinated (L=1/P=8). After 6 days the numbers were L=6/P=14, after 7 days L=13/P=17, and today (day 8) L=15/P=20. This means that after 8 days the germination rates for the Lophophora and Pelecyphora seeds are respectively 50% and 67%.

Update - April 25, 2008
April 19 the germination numbers were L=16/P=24, on April 22 the Lophophora germination count had risen to 19, and today April 25 the counts still are L=19/P=24. So after approximately 3 weeks the germination rates for the Lophophora and Pelecyphora seeds are respectively 63% and 80%. It should be mentioned that one of the Lophophora seedlings died off but is still included in the germination count (as it actually started growing but didn't make it from there).

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873), Pelecyphora aselliformis

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873), Pelecyphora aselliformisI have just started my first batch ever of Pelecyphora aselliformis from seed and found this a good opportunity to post on plate 6061 from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine describing this peculiar species.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine has been published continuously since 1787 and is the longest running botanical periodical featuring color illustrations of plants. Below you’ll find what the magazine had to say on Pelecyphora aselliformis back in 1873 along with scans of the original illustration as well as the accompanying descriptive text.

TAB. 6061.


Native of Mexico.


Genus PELECYPHORA, Ehrb.; (Benth. and H. f. Gen. Plant., vol. i. p. 848).

PELECYPHORA aselliformis; Ehrenberg in Bot. Zeit., vol.i. (1843) p. 737; Walp. Rep., vol. v. p. 822; Salm-Dyck Cact. in Hort. Dyck. cult. 5, et adn. 78; Först. Handb. der Cact. p. 257; Labouret. Monog. Cact. p. 148. Illust. Hortic., vol. vi. t. 186.
VAR. concolor, petalis concoloribus.

This remarkable and still very rare plant, has been long known amongst Cactus growers, and has in fact been in the trade for many years, having been imported by the brothers Tonel from Mexico, where it was said to have been found with the equally anomalous Cactaceous genus Anhalonium, (Ill. Hort., vol. xvi. t. 605 a). It was first published by Ehrenberg, from specimens grown in Berlin in 1843, but nothing was known of its floral character till Lemaire, in 1858, published in the “Illustration Horticole” quoted above, an excellent figure of it with a very full and interesting description.

The specimen here figured was forwarded by Mr. Justus Corderoy of Blewbury, early in June last, with the observation that the flower differs markedly in colour from that of Lemaire’s plant, which has an outer series of pale petals, whereas those of this are uniformly of a rose-purple, like the inner series of Lemaire’s. Though so unlike other Cacti in the sculpturing of the stem and its mammillae, Pelecyphora is not essentially different in these respects from Mammillaria ; the mammillae (which Lemaire regards as abnormal petioles and calls podaria) are vertically oblong, and crowned vertically with two contiguous rows of flat short horny cuspidate processes that overlap horizontally, and resemble the teeth of a comb ; these are analogous to the spines of a Mammillaria, but instead of being free and projecting, they lie flat, and are adnate to the ridge of the mammilla. This double series resembles curiously a wood-louse, with which insects the plant seems covered, and which fact has given it the trivial name of aselliformis.

DESCR. Stem tufted, dark green, shortly cylindric, three to four inches high, one and a half to two inches in diameter, often constricted about the middle, apex rounded. Mammillae spirally arranged, vertical, one third of an inch long, rhomboidal in a tranverse section at the middle, compressed laterally at the crown into a ridge, and contracted to a narrow base, woolly in the axils ; spines minute, short, flat, cartilaginous, linear, oblique, subfalcate, pungent, bifariously arranged on the crest of the mammilla, adnate to its surface with free tips. Flowers clustered towards the top of the stem, one and a half inch in diameter, sessile. Ovary small, naked, oblong, sunk in the axils of the mammillae. Perianth-tube short, free, naked, funnel-shaped ; segments in about four series, obovate-oblong ; acute, rose-purple. Stamens very numerous, inserted in the mouth of the tube, filaments slender, multi-seriate ; anthers minute. Style columnar ; stigmas with four erect lobes.---J D. H.

Fig. 1, front and 2, side view of a mammilla ; 3, flower laid open:- all magnified.

OCTOBER 1ST, 1873.

Pelecyphora aselliformis, Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873)

The scans are courtesy of the Botanicus Digital Library, Missouri Botanical Garden and are free for non-commercial use, as long as attribution is provided.

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