From the Digest

Plant Info

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New Aloe Hybrid: Aloe ‘Bokeh’

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By Hammy Sorkin – When I noticed two separate Aloe hybrids blooming at the same time in late 2021, I got a botanically perverted idea. With a sterilized paintbrush, I took pollen from the flowers of one and transferred it onto stigmas of the other. The resulting plant was named “Bokeh” after the photography technique of using a blurred background. The plant displays unique characteristics for aloes. …

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To Spine or Not to Spine: A Succulent Journey

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By Emily Hall – When I first began collecting succulents, it was all about the spines. Perhaps my Midwestern suburban life was too dull, and I craved the kind of danger that only plants that could take out an eye would provide. It was cacti for me, and the spinier the better. Gradually, however, my collection has softened. A row of Adenium obesum, spineless and charming, now sits in my south-facing kitchen window. …

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I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now

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By Eric Driskill – When I heard about and joined the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society, I wasn’t new to growing and collecting cacti, but I had no idea how little I knew. Joining our local society, I was immediately amazed that there were even a couple of other people who enjoyed these plants enough to collect them, much less join or participate in a “society.” …

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Big and Tall

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By Joe Merkelbach – Looking at the entries in this year’s show, I was struck by the idea of how large some of our plants can get in habitat. One of my entries, Aloe dichotoma, a show-worthy specimen which I received last year, was grown to reflect this notion. The plant in its native southwestern Africa habitat is a tree form …

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Threatened and Endangered Succulent Species

By Joe Merkelbach – The threatened and endangered succulent species and subspecies on the United States listings include some California dudleyas and agaves from Arizona and the Caribbean. There are four agave species listed by the Center for Plant Conservation. None are listed as threatened or endangered on the United …

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Keeping the Pieces

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By Joe Merkelbach – The HSCSS connection with the Missouri Botanical Garden makes us aware of the many ways that plant conservatories and gardens are very important in keeping plant species alive all over the earth. The recent promise of a restored show house for desert plants is a thrilling prospect for all our …

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Bring Them Back Alive

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By Joe Merkelbach – It is interesting to me that the hot spot of cactus and succulent collection actually seems to be in Europe. The age of exploration was aimed at bringing plants of economic value back to the continent. Spices of high value were a primary reason for the beginnings of exploration. As the ability to bring …

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Cactus Pointers

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By Joe Merkelbach – Everyone knows that cactus plants have sharp spines. But actually, not all species do, but spines are a true and defining scientific characteristic for the family. Less well recognized is why cacti have spines and how they benefit the plants. To understand the why of spines, a good approach is to go …

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