Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

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Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#1  Postby Stone Jaguar » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:17 am

I had a very large and reasonably complete collection of epiphytic cactus (excepting Rhipsalis spp.) during much of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. This was dominated by the Mesoamerican species, mostly grown from cuttings taken during my own field collections throughout south Mexico and the CentrAm isthmus. While I gave away most of the nocturnal-flowered species about five years ago, I still grow a few day-flowered Disocactus spp. in California, as well as the Upper Amazonian Selenicereus (formerly Strophocatus) wittiii and an interesting, apparently undescribed Selenicereus sp. from western Belize.

A series of photos below. The red and purple-flowered Guatemalan and Honduran cloud forest endemics (D. quezaltecus, D. nelsonii var. hondurensis and D. biformis) are all still uncommon in cultivation. Photos taken in my garden in Guatemala and greenhouse in SF California. Seed-grown hummingbird hybrid of two of these spp. off my Guatemalan plants just began to flower this year. Blends colors and form of both parents evenly and looks like a winner if it mass flowers as well. The D. wittii pic is of first stray flowers last year...now a large plant that flowered beautifully in the spring but forgot to take pics. Color very unusual and a fully flowered plant is a very showy spectacle.

Disocacti first:

Disocactus biformis Zunil.JPG
Disocactus biformis Zunil.JPG (60.05 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Disocactus nelsoni var. hondurensis.JPG
Disocactus nelsoni var. hondurensis.JPG (66.26 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Disocactus quetzaltecus.JPG
Disocactus quetzaltecus.JPG (58.82 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Disocactus quezaltecus corolla detail.JPG
Disocactus quezaltecus corolla detail.JPG (33.39 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Disocactus biformis x quezaltecus - Copy.jpg
Disocactus biformis x quezaltecus - Copy.jpg (62.92 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Disocactus wittii - first flower.jpg
Disocactus wittii - first flower.jpg (85.91 KiB) Viewed 145 times


A couple epiphyllums I was very fond of. The giant Epiphyllum oxypetalum grew on a corner of my main terrace, facing the street. This Chiriqui highland form of E. thomasianum would usually hold 8"/20 cm wide flowers fully-expanded for as much as two nights and almost two full days; along with S. chrysocardius, my favorite white-flowered epicactus.

Epiphyllum flowering VH.jpg
Epiphyllum flowering VH.jpg (56.39 KiB) Viewed 143 times

Epiphyllum oxypetalum flower detail.JPG
Epiphyllum oxypetalum flower detail.JPG (61.77 KiB) Viewed 145 times

Epiphyllum thomasianum - Panama form.JPG
Epiphyllum thomasianum - Panama form.JPG (49.69 KiB) Viewed 145 times


A few uncommon selenicereus:

Selenicereus wittii day flower August 2016.jpg
Selenicereus wittii day flower August 2016.jpg (90.28 KiB) Viewed 143 times

Selenicereus vagans - Tehuantepec.JPG
Selenicereus vagans - Tehuantepec.JPG (76.89 KiB) Viewed 143 times

Selenicereus inermis and testudo.jpg
Selenicereus inermis and testudo.jpg (133.89 KiB) Viewed 143 times


Cheers,

Jay
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Re: Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#2  Postby Azuleja » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:28 pm

They're all spectacular. It's very hard to choose a favorite. The D. wittii does look like a winner with those bicolor buds. It would be neat to have a garden area filled with night bloomers, but more often than not I'd probably miss the show.
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Re: Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#3  Postby Stan » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:36 pm

I get not wanting to test the bay area's winter mildness with plants that could face harm. But some of those would do fine outdoors I'm willing to bet. I saw a large E.oxypetalum growing nearby. I should have taken a photo of it. Not in bloom though.
I've been trying to find Disocactus. My one Epiphylum in a tree seems to want to always bloom. It was not like that in a pot. Something's a trigger. Disocactus is like it x 10.
Are you keeping them at SF state?
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Re: Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#4  Postby Epiphyte » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:37 pm

Great collection! Thanks for sharing! The only two of those that I have are Epiphyllum oxypetalum and Disocactus amazonicus. Three years ago my friend grew the second one from seed and gave me a compot. I didn't think it would make it outdoors here but so far I haven't lost a single seedling. They are pretty slow though. Maybe one or two are approaching blooming size.

One epiphytic cacti that I really like is Hatiora rosea...

Image
Hatiora rosea, Papilionanthe vandarum, Kalanchoe uniflora by Epiphyte, on Flickr

For some reason though it's not a consistent bloomer. Plus, I wish it hung down more. One species that has been on my want list for a while is Disocactus aurantiacus. I've seen it for sale on eBay a couple times but it was too expensive. I have several different Rhipsalis, a few of which are growing on my tree, but none of them are show-stoppers.

Your Disocactus are really neat! The next time that they bear fruit I'd definitely be interested in trading for some seeds.
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Re: Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#5  Postby Stone Jaguar » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:54 pm

Thanks.

Stan, the plants I have here are housed in a commercial greenhouse complex in SSF. Yes, there a plenty epiphytic cacti spp and hybrids that - unprotected - can handle the climate here, but few of those shown. Both D and S wittii are lowland tropicals that usually struggle with even mildly cool temps, particularly the latter.

Epi, nice Hatiora clump. There are a number of central Mexican and Guatemalan epicacti, now placed in Disocactus but formerly in Aporocactus and Heliocereus (IMO, a perfectly "good" genus), that come from high elevations and would thrive down south with supplemental water in the summer. I used to grow several very showy ones that put on a good display every year, like Dspeciosus, cinnabarinus and ackermannii. I'm sure there are people growing all of these outdoors year-round in SoCal. The first is easy and has at least three color variations in the wild, so nice species to play with in cultivation.

IME, many epicacti species are self incompatible. Certainly, I can't recall ever having had one of mine respond to hand pollination attempts involving a single clone, but they do hybridize between spp and across genera very promiscuously so amateur collectors often assume they've selfed. I only generate rooted cuttings in the US.

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Re: Epiphytic cacti - common & rare

Post Number:#6  Postby Stan » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:22 pm

Locally,you can see Hatoria growing in those large hanging Epiphyte walls at Flora Grub. I hate to say my effort with it ended one cold rainy winter..it rotted. But that was years ago,and today it would not be sitting in a plastic pot all winter. It would be on something like my Trachycarpus trunk or at the least in coco fiber.
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