Holy Tornado

To see the soul of your comrade listen carefully to his music.

Friday, August 11, 2006

THE ORCHID CACTUS




Certainly not the prettiest plant I've ever had, in fact when it isn't blooming it is probably the ugliest. The long stems stretch out in every direction as if trying to grab you.
But when it blooms, you forgive all it's faults.

The Orchid Cactus is actually of the epiphyllum, a species native to the jungles of Central and South America, as well as Mexico. The word epiphyllium in Greek means "upon the leaf' and the flowers appear to bloom directly in the leaves. Jungle Cacti, however, have no leaves; their leaf like parts are actually thickened stems or branches. These stems are typically flat but often grow in a triangular shape.
Unlike most desert cacti, epiphylliums are not covered with hard spines. They do, however have hair bristles or tiny spines in the areolas. Some can poke into your skin.

In their native habitat, the epiphytic species often grow in forks of trees or in rock crevases where their small roots take hold in decaying vegetative matter. Some are rooted in the ground and use aerial roots to climb up tree trunks. They draw moisture from humid air and tropical rains.

My Orchis Cactus was started from a 8inch long flat piece of stem/leaf, about 10 years ago. They are easy to grow, but mine would not bloom until it became rootbound.
They are hybridized now and there are many colors to choose from.

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