Friday, August 26, 2011

Lithop & Silver Torch Cactus as one of 12 bizarre real plants that look like sci-fi alien monsters

I've read the website about the weird plants that look like monsters. Lithop and Silver Torch Cactus are one of them even though I think Lithop is really a cute succulent (which is not easy to grow.)
In the article, you will find more plants which really look horrible and like monsters or alien.

Link :

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus - living rocks

Scientific name: Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus

Origin: Mexico (Coahuila to Queretaro)

Habitat and Ecology:  Commonly called "living rocks," they are widely distributed as a large number of small, isolated populations, generally on limestone derived gypsum silt plains and on hills. The area where they grow must be quite wet during the rainy season (Summer). These plants are extremely hidden as they blend in well with the terrain around them resembling dried mud.
When they are found, it is usually due to their pinkish flowers. In times of severe drought the whole above-ground portion of these plants can shrink and be covered by mould, but the taproot remains alive.
Although they can form clumps, often only a small disc of tubercles can be seen flat at the soil surface, however these plants grow a large tap root below the surface of the compost.

Root:  Each plant has a large turnip-like taproot, which lies below the soil surface and serves for water storage.

Cultivation:  The plants need deep pots with loose mineral soil with a well-drained stuff. They need a good amount of light, a place near the roof of the greenhouse helps drying the pot after watering.
Watering and adding fertilizer can be done weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough. Kept this way, plants will show a healthy, although slow growth. They are frost hardy to -10°C.

Propagation: By seeds, remembering that seedlings dislike strong light and dry conditions.  It will be great if the seeding pot can be repotted frequently.
Eventually, when they become mature, they attain a maximum size of 5 to 9 cm. But plants are often grafted to accelerate growth as they would generally slowly grow, but the grafted plants are typical rather tall growing or become multi-heads plant, compared with plants on their own roots that are usually very flat to the ground.

Flowers: A. kotschoubeyanus have a woolly crown, from which emerge bright pink-violet flowers up to 2.5-5 cm, 2 times wider than long when fully expanded. Flowers last for 3 to 4 days.  
Blooming time: from mid-August onwards, and is easy to set seed on, it produces some interesting hybrids with other Ariocarpus species

Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus is a variable species:

· Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus forma mostruosa
· Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus forma prolifera
· Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. albiflorus
· Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. elephantidens (which are larger, highly textured, triangulate tubercles, and a deep purple flower with little or no white content)
· Ariocarpus kotschoueyanus var. macdowellii
· Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. sladovski differs from the other red flowering A. kotschoubeyanus (for having a smoother and shiny epidermis)