Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Pencil cactus

Yes, it's Saturday (forget this, it's Thursday, it took that long to get the image where it could be uploaded), but the idea to blog this came yesterday.  One to TPP's favorite winter flowering plants is a pencil cactus (Hatiora salicornoides, probably).  The stem segments are knobbier than most illustrations or photographs show, but haven't found a better candidate yet.  At any rate my plant is now a couple of decades old, and it's gotten pretty large, maybe 3 feet from top of the crown to bottom of the cascading branches.  In nature it grows as an epiphyte generally sort of cascading down from the crotch of a tree. The oldest stems are about a half inch in diameter and woody.  The flowers aren't large, but when a cute little yellow flower is produced at the tip of nearly every one of the several hundred branches, it makes for quite a cheerful winter display.  This is another one of those plants that loves being outside for the summer although of late it has taken some effort to find something stout enough to bear the weight of this increasingly massive cactus.  Otherwise this is an easy plant to grow. 

1 comment:

mr_subjunctive said...

Hatiora salicornioides are, indeed, great indoor plants. I've only gotten blooms once, though, and not very many then. (My plant's been cut back a few times for cuttings, though, so I suppose it's fair if it's sulky. Maybe I'll try it outside this summer.)