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Photos, musings, and flashes of brilliance from the staff at The Ruth Bancroft Garden
Polygala virgata and Acacia pendula #winningcombination (at Ruth Bancroft Garden)

Polygala virgata and Acacia pendula #winningcombination (at Ruth Bancroft Garden)

Ferocactus is a genus of barrel cacti from Mexico and the southwestern United States, with the species varying greatly in size, spination, and flower color. This one is the orange-flowered F. pilosus, from north-central Mexico. Its flowers do not open as widely as those of other species, but their vivid orange color is eye-catching. Plants may be single, but often they form a clump, with the stems starting out globular and becoming columnar with age. In nature, plants may be up to 3 meters tall, but I have not seen plants of that size in cultivation. The particular specimen shown has more of the wispy hair-like spines than one usually sees in the species, but the stout red spines are always present.
-Brian

Ferocactus is a genus of barrel cacti from Mexico and the southwestern United States, with the species varying greatly in size, spination, and flower color. This one is the orange-flowered F. pilosus, from north-central Mexico. Its flowers do not open as widely as those of other species, but their vivid orange color is eye-catching. Plants may be single, but often they form a clump, with the stems starting out globular and becoming columnar with age. In nature, plants may be up to 3 meters tall, but I have not seen plants of that size in cultivation. The particular specimen shown has more of the wispy hair-like spines than one usually sees in the species, but the stout red spines are always present.

-Brian

Glottiphyllum is a genus in the Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae) native to South Africa. G. regium is one of the larger species, and comes from the Little Karoo. Like other species of Glottiphyllum, it has bright yellow flowers.
-Brian

Glottiphyllum is a genus in the Ice Plant Family (Aizoaceae) native to South Africa. G. regium is one of the larger species, and comes from the Little Karoo. Like other species of Glottiphyllum, it has bright yellow flowers.

-Brian

Euphorbia stellispina is a wonderful species from the west-central part of South Africa. Its armature looks quite ferocious!
-Brian

Euphorbia stellispina is a wonderful species from the west-central part of South Africa. Its armature looks quite ferocious!

-Brian

Here are two Mexican species of Mammillaria in flower. The first is M. haageana (M. dealbata), and the second is M. flavicentra.

-Brian

This is one of my hybrid Gasterias, and has not yet been named. I like it because of the pale milky color of the leaves and the white margins. At some times of the year a pinkish tinge adds a nice touch.

-Brian

Opuntia erinacea is a cold-hardy species from the western United States, and it is quite variable. The pink-flowered form in the first photo has short spines, while the yellow-flowered form in the second photo (O. erinacea var. ursina) has very long white spines.

-Brian

Agave bovicornuta, from northwestern Mexico, is the first species to come into flower this year at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. The flower stalk actually started to emerge in the fall, but it stalled during the cold weather in winter and only began to flower in early April.

-Brian

Albuca was formerly included in the Hyacinthaceae, but in the new arrangement of monocot families it is put in the Asparagaceae. In any case, it is a genus of bulbs closely related to Ornithogalum (well known for the Pregnant Onion (O. longibracteatum, often grown under the name O. caudatum). With Ornithogalum, all 6 tepals spread outward, but with Albuca the 3 inner tepals stay cupped together, while the outer 3 splay outward when the flowers reach maturity. White tepals with a prominent green mid-stripe are a typical color scheme. This paricular plant is a small species with grass-like leaves, cultivated under the name Albuca ‘Augrabies Hill’. This name refers to the location in Namaqualand (the northwestern corner of South Africa) where it comes from.

-Brian

Euphorbia stolonifera is one of the “pencil-stemmed” species, and is native to South Africa. It has leaves on its new growth, but these do not persist for very long.
-Brian

Euphorbia stolonifera is one of the “pencil-stemmed” species, and is native to South Africa. It has leaves on its new growth, but these do not persist for very long.

-Brian