05/04/2022

Home from doggie daycare.
I need to look this one up again but we have a lot. It’s native. It’s Solanaceae. Edit: Mom says Solanum ptycanthum.
Yellow flax (Linum rigidum) and showy evening primrose.
The sadly too common Canis bordum
A winecup seedling!!
More winecup seedlings!!
A few leaves have stayed green on the fragrant sumac. I’ve been using the terracotta pot to dribble out more water to it.
Desert blue curls!! (Phacelia campanularia). I was really baffled about the little purple spotted seedlings but this is it. Yay!!
Cactus planter prickly pears doing well.
Asian long bean from my aunt are growing well.
Knock on not-rotting wood, the Roman chamomile hasn’t been eaten by earwigs unlike the last batch.
Pink buckwheat blooming.
Mom, is this the Liatris from home? (Also some pretty Dicanthelium grass)
Widow sedum about to bloom!

Sunday garden check up

Blue flax seedlings are getting tiny new leaves.
Possibly a false gaura! It looks different from the common volunteers!
Two Datura wrightii seedlings!
A senna hopeful.
It is actually a bit rough, so maybe this is the rough leaf sunflower??
A redbud I potted up last year.
The Euphorbia from Mom and Dad’s house is perking back up.
Roman chamomile did well while I was gone!
Lettuce and bok choy doing good.
Two more fluttermill Missouri primrose seedlings up!
The horse crippler cactus transplanted from Mom’s garden.
I’ve put a drip on the ground plum (actually a legume) since yesterday, as it seems to be having a rough transplant. This is also into the rock garden.
In the rainbow garden, a mystery seedling. Maybe two leaf senna???
Butterfly milkweed is coming up in rainbow garden.
Maybe another butterfly milkweed? It’s in the right place.
A single cilantro seedling. The only one in the yard. In that crack.
A winecup from two years ago.
Purple prairie clover from two years ago.
Maybe Liatris leaves? It’s in the right spot.
Another mystery seedling.
Tall vervain is perking up a bit.
Ten petal anemone are perking up too!
Greeneyes getting bigger!
My blue stars are blooming!
Salvia azurea leaves.

Dixon Water Foundation morning

Bladderpod with small native bee
For someone who is probably growing this fellow’s relative, I sure have a hard time identifying cacti. I believe it’s Coryphantha sulcata based on having one central spine per areole. Here’s my baby.
Mom looks at photos she is taking.
Mom takes more photos.
It’s a magnificent creek!
Bubbles on moss.
Neat rocks the creek goes through.
A mournful thyris moth. We saw more in redbud flowers. I think it may have been getting water here, because if you zoom in you can see its proboscis out.
A cricket frog!
Another big view. You can see a redbud in the woods.
Englemann daisies growing above the creek! They’re much smaller than the ones in my garden. Presumably less water.
A white bush honeysuckle (a native one, Lonicera albiflora) branches over the creek.
This is probably a hawthorn shrub. Thanks to Abby for the suggestion that helped me look it up! There seem to be a lot of very similar species.
Here’s the probably-hawthorn trunk.
This seems familiar.
Ah ha!  A Missouri fluttermill primrose!  Note the red speckled and sort of square long flower bud.
An old seed pod at the base of the primrose plant. The leaves are much less red than the ones in my garden.
Ceanothus herbaceus, redroot or New Jersey tea.
Here are the leaves. I am growing its relative C. americanus (also called New Jersey tea) in my garden, from seeds bought from prairiemoon.com.
Blue flax!  It’s probably Linum pratense, which is an annual.  Apparently it does intergrade with the perennial Linum lewisii which is what I planted in my yard.
This flax hasn’t bloomed but you can see the leaves are very like the L. lewsii ones in my yard.
Another Englemann daisy demonstrates how adaptable this species is, growing up on the barrens away from the creek.
Just to the left, just below the middle of this picture is another fluttermill.
Cymopterus, a very early blooming wildflower, starts to go to seed.
I think this must be a much younger fluttermill Missouri primrose that has already bloomed.
This is prairie burnet.  I’d never noticed it before.  Thanks to Abby for the identification!
Yellow star grass (not actually a grass).
Another fluttermill primrose, this time in a big beautiful mound.
The face of abandonment.
Another dog who didn’t get to go.

By popular request: germinating native cacti

A few caveats

  • To my knowledge, none of the cacti around north-central Texas or central Oklahoma are legally endangered or threatened, but cacti can be highly desirable to plant collectors. So, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure any cactus seeds you have acquired are from a sustainable and legal source! The three species I have grown (below) are relatively common.
  • I am assuming in this blog post that you are growing within the native range of the cacti so that outdoor temperatures are not a concern once established.
  • I don’t really know what I’m doing. I have managed to get three of our local species (Escobaria missouriensis, E. vivipara, and Coryphantha sulcata to grow, but only the two Escobaria have as yet made it to a stage where I think they’ll live. The first C. sulcata died after sprouting, and the one I have now may or may not make it.
  • When I have encountered cactus genera in articles and resources, it appears the species in the genera Coryphantha, Escobaria, and Mammillaria seem to get reassigned among each other periodically, so I’m going to guess that similar conditions apply to all. I will specify the species given if it’s one of the three I have grown that are common in our region.

What to plant in

  • Soil needs to be well drained. You could go with cactus/succulent medium, possibly sterilized or with anti-fungal liquid added (pg 3 of Newland et al. 1981 suggests “Captan fungicide”). I did this for last year’s baby. What I did for the first time I tried was random dirt similar to where they normally live – I filled my outdoor planters with some sandy loam and gravel from a berm in my yard. The three-tiered planter had a lot of germination for E. vivipara (at least 7 up, though I didn’t count how many I planted), only a few (two? I don’t remember) for E. missouriensis, and one for C. sulcata. Not all survived, however – see “What to do once they sprout”.
  • Perhaps a pinch of local dirt from near the same species of adult cactus to ensure they get suitable mycorrhizal partners (Carillo-Garcia et al. 1999; Harding 2017). Most sources I read about did not talk about this aspect of germination, so I imagine many can make it without it, but germination or survival may not be as good. I didn’t do this, but if I try again in the future I will see if it’s possible.
  • They may need a bit of richer soil, as might be found under a nurse plant such as a tree or shrub or neighbor plant (Carillo-Garcia et al. 1999; Muro-Pérez et al. 2014). However, not too rich, as more northern Coryphantha (like ours presumably) prefer less organic matter. But not much. No details are given on how much is too much. Think about where you find the little round cacti around here normally – it’s usually up on barrens or dry hilltops, not a lush forest humus layer.
  • Make the seeds’ environment humid. Page 3 of Newland et al. 1981 provides a recommended cactus sprouting soil recipe and humidity-containing bag. As it’s for Arizona, I imagine it would work just as well for our cacti farther east here (ie if Arizona cacti can take the humidity recommended, ours probably need at least that).

How to get them to sprout

  • Germination rates vary and fresher (ideally this season’s) seeds seem to be better. Love and Akins (“Second summary of the native seed germination studies of Norman C Deno: species with names beginning with letters C through E“, 2019, Native Plant Journal, vol. 20, issue 1, pp 65-97; not freely available online, so you’ll need to get it via interlibrary loan from your local library if you want it), actually have results for E. vivipara (22% germination in 1-4 weeks, at 70°F. with “a few more” seeds sprouting the following year) and E. missouriensis (65-80% in 1-6 weeks, specifically noted as being from freshly collected seeds, temperature not specified). For one Mammillaria species, less than a year old is best and two years was the maximum but germination was lower (Flores-Martínez et al. 2008). Another source said 2-3 years old at most, but I could only read the abstract as the rest of the article was in Russian. I would err on the side of planting sooner rather than later. My 2019-collected Coryphantha sulcata seeds (ie two years old) only had one germinate in 2021 and it took from Sept. 28 to mid December.
  • Surface sow. Most species, and this probably includes our local species (the three above at least) need light (pp 426-427, Barrios et al. 2020), so put them on the surface of the soil. Muro-Pérez et al. (2014) also argue against burying for a different species of Coryphantha.
  • Most cacti do well around 20-35 degrees C (aka room temperature or warmish), with an optimum of around 30 C (Figure 4, Barrios et al. 2020), including for temperate zone cacti (which is where we live).
  • I’m waiting to get this article via interlibrary loan and will update the post if it has anything new: R. BREGMAN, F. BOUMAN, Seed germination in Cactaceae, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 86, Issue 4, June 1983, Pages 357–374.

What to do once they sprout

Signs of life

Cat greets morning sun, waiting for his Doggie to return inside.
Lemon balm herb reemerging.
Mystery seedlings in the prickly pear planter. EDIT: These are baby anise hyssop (Agastache)!! Compare the seedlings on the prairiemoon.com website.
A speckled mystery seedling in the prickly pear planter.
Another mystery.
Tiny mystery.
Probably mare’s tail seedlings?
Probably white avens seedling?
In the cactus planter, this Escobaria missouriensis and its smaller sibling are doing well.
I think this is a winecup rosette. Hurrah! Don’t know why it didn’t bloom last year, but I’m glad one survived from two falls ago.
Whitlow-wort transplant is going to seed. May it come back next year!

Last week Nov. 12 hike, no dogs

Gracie needed a rest so Mom and I went out to the Grasslands sans dogs last Friday.  My home ecosystem! You can see Mom’s photos on her blog in two parts (posts start Nov. 14 and then there is a second one after).

This Escobaria vivipara cactus is surrounded by babies!!
Without my silly human finger.
Escobaria missouriensis has red fruit.
Native white honeysuckle bush has red fruit too!
Great Spreadwings have big yellow stripes on the thorax.  This set of ravines and seeps has always been a reliable place to find them.
Looking up out of the ravine at the surrounding red oaks.
Mom showed me her exciting find of this 6+ foot tall waterfall with travertine stalactites, maidenhair ferns (zoom in to find), and frostweed (at front edge of picture).
On the way back up the ravine I saw this tiny pokey spider.  Gasteracantha cancriformis.
It was steep!

A second cantaloupe and more sad caterpillars/happy wasps

Second Madhu Ras melon and there are more on the vine!!
The “cleaner” side of one caterpillar.
The more parasitized side of the caterpillar.
Now two angles on a second cat.
Note that the pupae have opened, because of the little can lid looking parts.
Last night I sprinkled some more basil behind the cherries on the ground and also in the planter.
This saguaro cactus was given to me and had been over watered, so it’s got some rot on top and near bottom. Hopefully it will recover now that I’ve put it in hot sun and just watered it once after transplanted. It should rarely get rain on it on the porch.