CACTUS AND SUCCULENTS—DESERT IMAGES
Pelargonium tetragonum Red flowered fishhook cactus Cristate cactus
Several of us visited the Desert Images Cactus and Succulent Nursery in Ojai in
July. What a fantastic place! Have you ever seen so many cactus and succulents?
And they even had some species of Pelargonium.
The cactus family specifically includes only those plants which botanically belong in
the family Cactaceae. These are plants whose flowers have many petals and numerous
stamens. We usually think we know what a cactus plant looks like but, in fact,
not all of them are barrel-shaped, covered with spines and live in the desert. The
nursery has representatives of all types of cactus, including the spineless epiphytic
one that are usually found in the “jungle”. Many of their plants were in flower and
the color range is extensive. They range from the brightest red/scarlet, to white, to
subtle pinks and lavenders, to yellow and gold. No blues. Probably the most unusual
was the columnar type with flowers adapted to pollination by hummingbirds.
But then they also had many cristate forms which look like thorny, floppy pillows.
The rows of golden barrel cactus made an impressive sight.
The succulent category of plants includes anything with a water storing stem, leaves
or roots. Many different flowering plant families are represented here. These included
the unusual Madagascar family Didieriaceae, the grape family (imagine
grape leaves on a fat papery stem), the composite family (imagine thistle flowers on
a snake like stem), the fig family (Dorstenia, imagine an unrolled fig fruit), the
gourd/squash family with tiny pumpkins on a woody base, Among the most noteworthy
was the spiny Pachypodium (like a spiny oleander on steroids) with seed
pods the size of bananas.
The nursery is a tribute to constant care and was neat and tidy. The owners were
there to answer questions. Do I need to say the prices were very reasonable? This is
a nursery not to be missed.