Friday, July 26, 2013

More Baja Plants

I have previously written about my interest in Baja plants for the garden, but I did not cover all the species I have. So today I will describe the other Baja species in my garden, starting with Mammillaria cactus. I love all cacti but if I had to choose one genus that I love the most it would be the Mamms. Their diminutive size makes them great for either containers or any size garden. They can tuck underneath larger shrubs and be perfectly happy there. Like all cacti they are extremely heat and drought tolerant, but not very tolerant of cold or wetness. But above all, when they bloom the tiny flowers can be extravagantly beautiful. Below is one that is blooming right now, a Mammillaria blossfeldiana which is a Baja endemic found in the vicinity of Santa Rosalillita and on Cedros Island.

I took the above closeup shot early in the morning and there was still dew on the plants. This species stays very small, typically about 2 inches in height. It is reported to bloom in April and May in its native habitat, but here it is in my garden near the end of July.

Another Baja Mamm is fraileana which is found in the Cape region. It also has lovely pink flowers, but mine has not bloomed yet. It has been in this container less than a year.

Yet another Mamm in my garden is albicans which is found from Loreto to the northern Cape region, primarily along the coast. In the background is a Ferocactus viridescens which if found both north and south of the border.

Cochemiea is another genus of small cacti, and the entire genus is endemic to Baja. They used to be lumped together with Mammillaria but now they are considered distinct. Like the Mamms, they have very interesting, beautiful flowers. I have two of them and I'm anxious to see them bloom. Cochemiea halei (below) is a rare species found only on Magdalena and Santa Margarita Islands and a very few locations on the immediate coast of the adjacent peninsula. It is somewhat taller than other Cochemiea and has only straight spines.

Cochemiea poselgeri has a more sprawling habit and strongly hooked spines. It is common throughout much of Baja Sur. I have mine in a container with another Baja succulent, Euphorbia (Pedilanthus) lomelii, commonly known as Candelilla or Slipper Plant.

To finish up the cacti, I have a small specimen of Echinocereus maritimus var. maritimus which is a clumping or hedgehog cactus from the Ensenada area. It is reported to be the only species of Echinocereus in California or Baja that has yellow flowers. Although I've had mine for several years it has never bloomed. I'm hopeful that it will one of these years.

Moving away from the cacti, one of my other favorite genera is the Dudleyas in the Crassula family. I have a couple of Baja Dudleyas. First is Dudleya brittonii, endemic to the coast from the border south to the Ensenada area.

Below is a new acquisition, Dudleya Candida,closely related to brittonii but reported to be endemic to the Coronados Islands which are just south of the U.S. border. 

To wrap up the Baja natives, below is a plant that I know little about called Burroughsia fastigiata in the Verbena family. The Baja California Plant Field Guide ( Rebman and Roberts) does not mention it, but the SD Museum of Natural History web site says it is found in central Baja. So for it seems to be happy in my garden.

I am frankly more nuts about Baja plants than I am about California plants, especially the succulents. I plan to get more for planting in Fall.

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