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Old 2021-10-10, 00:17   #12
Dr Sardonicus
 
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Cacti in the genus Schlumbergera are popular house plants. The type I've seen the most has vivid red flowers, and is known as "Christmas cactus." My mom had a couple of those, and also one with salmon-colored flowers.

I'm not sure where the name "Christmas cactus" came from. Perhaps the bright red flowers with a background of dark green leaves reminded some people of a lighted Christmas tree.

I heard they were supposed to bloom around Christmas, but the ones my mom had apparently didn't get the memo. They sometimes bloomed around Christmas, but more often it was around Thanksgiving (late November) or Easter. Sometimes they'd bloom during the summer.

During the warm months she put the largest one (which had red flowers) outside. The leaves grew out quite a way, and were not symmetrically distributed. As a result, the wind knocked the stand over a couple of times. It would get repotted and just keep going.

It got a thorough trimming one summer while it was outside, courtesy of Bambi's Pruning Service. It survived.
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Old 2021-10-10, 08:09   #13
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I really like caudex plants.
But I have not yet gotten to the point where I would start growing them at home.
Caudexes are plants with a turnip-shaped stem, like a baobab.
The most famous and possibly widespread caudex plant is adenium.

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But I consider Pachypodium rosulatum to be the perfection of the caudex form.

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For a year or two now, I have been suppressing the desire to have a sample of such a plant at home.

My favorite gloxinia are not caudex plants, as turnip is not a stem, but a root.
But I have tried to grow gloxinia with an incompletely buried tuber.

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I would say that they do not like it.

Last fiddled with by greenskull on 2021-10-10 at 08:21
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Old 2021-10-11, 14:47   #14
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When we left Romania in 2000 (that's the year!) we had about 200 cacti, of about 40 different species, all in pots and jars (most as small as an yogurt, i.e. 150 ml up to to 1-2 liter plastic pots, but also some as big as 5 or 10 liters pots) squeezed in our parents apartment, and it was a pain in the butt (literally, see the story** below) to move them into the balconies in the summer and back inside in the winter. We got into arguments with our parents sometimes, due to the space they took in the winter in the beginning, and later we made special shelves for them, to keep them inside in the winter.

Sometimes they made very nice flowers too, and once we had an opuntia that made fruits and we tried to eat the fruits because we read in a book (no wikipedia at the time, hehe, but we had many books about cacti too) that some species of cacti bear comestible fruits (well, we didn't know about the dragon fruits at the time, either; now in Thailand, it is one of our favorite fruits). The opuntia's fruit had an interesting taste, but we didn't eat much, as we were afraid (and worried for a while after that day too) that it may be poisonous or something. But we didn't die, so probably it was edible, but we were at the time more stupid than currently...

We had most of them from exchanges with friends or we bought them from shops, but we also successfully bread mamilaria, opuntia, echinopsis, ferocactus, and few other we can't remember now. We also stole many of them, yep, there is a popular belief that if you ask for a seedling/bud/cut of a plant, it will not "catch" and it will not grow, but if you steal it, it will. So, as cacti are known for budding a lot, and sometimes the buds just fall down (but not always!) I was "profiting" of that every time I was visiting a local botanical garden or flower exposition (and even flower shops, you spot a cactus with lots of buds, take the pot in your hand, look a bit at it, put it back, but a bud or two remain in your hand, "accidentally", without anybody seeing it). Friends also give some to us as presents, as they know we like them. It was a very cute collection which won us a lot of "respect", as those things were not very common at the time, and at the place (i.e. winters with a meter of snow and -30°C).

By the way, there is a variant of opuntia which is very well acclimatized to the cold Romanian climate, it can even stand the minus 30°C we have in winter, assuming you don't let it freeze for long, i.e. an occasional overnight freeze like it has in its natural environment in the desert too, will not kill it. Most people keep it inside anyhow, during winter, and it will make beautiful flowers in the spring/summer when it finds the sun (actually, the light is more important than the temperature or the watering, for most of the cacti). Sometimes it goes by the popular name "limba soacrei" (the tongue of the mother-in-law) probably due to the flat rounded shape full of very sharp, and extremely painful to touch, spines. Recently this name is also given to species of agave, dracena, or asparagus, that look like long tongues, but my mother knew better .

After we left, our relatives divided the "collection" between them. Few were still alive and doing well in 2015 when we last visited the country.

-------------------
**The story: once in the summer some nieces visited us, on the way to their grandmother (my mother-in-law). They were in elementary school (like 9 and respectively 13 years, or so), and going to spend the summer holiday at the countryside, but they also were going to bring their grandma a new dog. The old one just died few weeks before, after many years of service, and now the farm needed a new dog. So, the nieces got their hands on a VERY nice puppy, not very young and not very old, just nice to spend the rest of his life at the farm. I don't want to go into details about that (and I don't really remember how they got it, if they bough it, or found it, or somebody gave it to them), anyhow, they arrived by train from the big city, quite late in the evening, by themselves (no parents), with the dog in a basket, and they had to sleep in our house, because they were tired, it was late, and from our town to the village where the farm was there are about 4 to 5 km to walk. That means in my parents' apartment, where we (my wife and me, married not for long) were living at the time. So, my wife prepared a nice bath and a good bed for the nieces, but what to do with the dog? The nieces took one of my tool boxes (I had absolutely no chance to say anything on the subject, hehe) which was empty at the time, my wife gave them an old blanket and they prepared a soft bed for the little mongrel, of course, in the balcony, as neither my mother nor my wife liked to have a dog in the house, especially as he already did some mischief before the "bed time".

Now, imagine middle of the night and everybody sleeping in the apartment building block, where like 30 or 40 families were living, when suddenly a dog starts yelping like somebody is pulling its claws one by one. Fire alarm is nothing in comparison. There was nobody sleeping in the block in the next 20 seconds, people were going into balconies and cussing hard, haha. The little cur decided to play around in the balcony instead of sleeping, and as he tried to smell (or wrestle with?) a cactus, he got few needles into its nose, and probably he was quite scared and retreated in big hurry (and big shame). As he retreated, he just succeeded to impale his ass soooo hard in a big cactus which was behind of him. I mean, there was a lot of space in the balcony, and none of us had foresee that the dog will decide to play around in the middle of the night, instead of sleeping. Then he started crying and screeching like crazy.

Guess what was LaurV doing at 3:00 AM? We had to take it in the house and hold it tight and pull the spines from his butt one by one with some tweezers. He didn't say anything during the process, except whining from time to time, after which he slept under the bed like a baby, the nieces thought it died. True story.

Later, he became so big, and served at the farm for more than 8 or 9 years. He has his tomb somewhere there, but I bet he never forgot what a cactus is...

Last fiddled with by LaurV on 2021-10-11 at 15:39
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Old 2021-10-12, 02:48   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
<snip>
By the way, there is a variant of opuntia which is very well acclimatized to the cold Romanian climate, it can even stand the minus 30°C we have in winter, assuming you don't let it freeze for long, i.e. an occasional overnight freeze like it has in its natural environment in the desert too, will not kill it. Most people keep it inside anyhow, during winter, and it will make beautiful flowers in the spring/summer when it finds the sun (actually, the light is more important than the temperature or the watering, for most of the cacti). Sometimes it goes by the popular name "limba soacrei" (the tongue of the mother-in-law) probably due to the flat rounded shape full of very sharp, and extremely painful to touch, spines. Recently this name is also given to species of agave, dracena, or asparagus, that look like long tongues, but my mother knew better .<snip>
The common name "mother-in-law's tongue" for the popular houseplant now classified as Dracaena trifasciata has been around at least since I was a tyke - far longer than the plant's current scientific classification.

It used to be in a genus named Sansevieria, but a few years ago that was lumped into the genus Dracaena.

The reclassification goes up to the Family level. Dracaena used to be in the family Ruscaceae, but that family was reclassified as the subfamily Nolinoideae of the family Asparagaceae. I have also found listings of Sansevieria in the subfamily Agavoideae of Asparagaceae as well. But Agavoideae used to be treated as a separate family, Agavaceae.

In any case, it's a low-maintenance succulent with attractive, variegated foliage that tolerates low light and neglect. But if you overwater it, the roots will rot and it will die.
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Old 2021-10-12, 02:55   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
The common name "mother-in-law's tongue" for the popular houseplant now classified as Dracaena trifasciata has been around at least since I was a tyke - far longer than the plant's current scientific classification.
The other "mother-in-law's tongue"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieffenbachia
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Old 2021-10-12, 16:07   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
The other "mother-in-law's tongue"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieffenbachia
Huh, never heard that one before. I had heard about the name "Dumb cane."
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Old 2021-10-13, 02:16   #18
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Told ye! My mom knew better. No spines, no mother-in-law's tongue. And making your mouth numb so you can not speak? No way! hihi
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Old 2021-10-13, 22:27   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
When we left Romania in 2000...
... never forgot what a cactus is...
Wow! :)
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Old 2021-10-13, 22:36   #20
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Here is mother-in-law's tongue. It is Sansevieria.

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Old 2021-10-13, 23:56   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
Told ye! My mom knew better. No spines, no mother-in-law's tongue. And making your mouth numb so you can not speak? No way! hihi
Dracaena trifsciata doesn't have spines, though the leaves do have pointed ends. I assume the common name "mother-in-law's tongue" is in honor of the long, relatively slender pointed leaves which are somewhat suggestive of long tongues with pointed ends.

I confess to being a bit puzzled at this name also being applied to Dieffenbachia. The leaves are oblong and ovate, but IMO not particularly suggestive of tongues.

I did find another common name for Dieffenbachia, "mother-in-law plant." This has the connotation of the plant being a way to silence mothers-in-law, who are reputed to talk in an annoying or distressing manner.

But Dieffenbachia AKA "Dumb cane" does not make the mouth numb. Quite the contrary! The "raphides" (needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate) released by chewing on the plant cause pain and swelling inside the mouth, making it difficult or impossible to speak.
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Old 2021-10-14, 15:52   #22
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Default "Glowing Cacti," eh?

I wondered if there was such a thing. There is a "grafted moon cactus" which is a hot pink color, in contrast to the green "host" cactus it's grafted on to, and is therefore sometimes hyped as "glowing," but when I see something described as "glowing," I want luminescence!

I found something in the "Close, but no cigar" category. Not a glowing cactus, but a succulent that does glow in the dark.

Nine years ago, a company in the Netherlands (Amigo Plants) came out with Glowing Star in the Dark Echeveria.

They fertilize them with high-level radioactive waste apply a phosphorescent coating while the plants are growing, so the effect doesn't fade away too soon. The substance they use is not proprietary, and is said to be non-toxic, but they have patented their application process.

The things were offered a couple of years ago for aound $6.00 at some ALDI stores (a discount grocery chain).

People have created actual bioluminescent plants by genetic tinkering, as described here

No bioluminescent cacti - yet - as far as I can tell, but who knows what they'll come up with next?

Googling "bioluminescent cactus" turned up a UV-reactive glass bong.
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