Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tiptoe Through the Tulips: Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus)

Several things collided at once to lead to this new feature on HIAHS. One is that I seem to need a motivating reason to post periodically, or we'll end up with no new posts here. Another is that we have a bunch of plants in our yard (!It's really ours now, so I better get a handle on it!) that I really need to identify -- who knew that California plants would be so different from the Texas plants I already know? As a result, I'll be taking a picture (or multiple pictures) each week of plants in the yard here, and then working on identifying them. And you'll get to be witness to all the botanical mistakes that I'll make along the way. Lucky for you!

Our first entrant for TTTT is this lovely hanging cactusy thing in the yard:

It hangs in the trees, and the blooms are 4-5 inches across. It appears to be one of the many epiphyllum hybrids (not sure which one, but it might also be a type of disocactus, but that seems less likely). Sometimes referred to as Orchid Cacti (though those bloom strictly at night, and ours is more of a day-time bloomer), they shouldn't be watered more than once a week, as they get grumpy if too moist. Mostly, though, they just pick up moisture from the air, so they do fine on their own. Usually they will flower in the couple of days after being watered, so if you're coming for a visit, remind me to water it, so you can enjoy all the pretty flowers on it in person.

I hope my tentativity (sounded better than tentativeness in my head, grammar be darned) with plant identification gets better. I think we all will be able to see pretty clearly why I didn't become a botanist.

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