From the Digest

Plant Info

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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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Cactus in the Cold

By Joe Merkelbach – We tend to think of cacti and succulents as plants that require heat and aridity to thrive. There is enough fact there for it to be generally true, but there are succulents that require lots of water in their growth periods and many cacti that tolerate temperatures below freezing while conserving …

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Dish Garden Basics

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By Dorothy Weitz – There are many types of dish gardens, for which all the same principles of construction are followed. The most important factors to consider are the plan or theme, proportion of plants to container, and proportion of decoration to the plants. A large container does not necessarily have to be planted …

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Cactus Coloration

By Joe Merkelbach – One of the valued uses of grafting cacti – and perhaps other succulents, although I do not know of specific examples – is to keep alive specimens that lack the ability to make their own food via photosynthesis. Since I’m presently teaching a biology course chapter on photosynthesis, I thought I would …

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