February 8
Login Register Home
Gardening Blogs
Glossay of Terms Meaning of words and their reference
Plant Orders Orders of plant that can be browsed
Plant Families Plant families and you can also drill into the genus
Featured Links

Plant Genus of the family Cactaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Butia This genus of small to medium-sized palms consists of 8 species from subtropical and warm-temperate regions of eastern South America. It is one of the Cocos alliance of feather palms, characterized by the large spindle-shaped bract that wraps around the whole flowering panicle in bud, and the hard inner layer or ?stone? of the fruit with 3 pores at the base, as in a coconut shell. The fronds of butias arch gracefully out from the trunk, each consisting of 2 rows of thick narrow leaflets along either side of the frond midrib; toward the frond base the leaflets reduce to short stiff spikes. The stout trunk is clothed by old frond stalks, finally shed on old palms leaving a closely ringed gray surface. Sweet-scented cream to purplish flowers are borne on numerous stiff, springy spikes arising from a long central stalk, the whole flowering branch bursting out through a slit in the long woody bract shortly before the flowers open. Fruits are edible, sweet and juicy when ripe, with fine fibers in the flesh and a hard blackish stone enclosing the seed. In their native regions the fruit is eaten and may also be fermented to make a wine. CULTIVATION: They are widely grown as landscape subjects in warm-temperate climates, valued for their ability to grow in hot exposed environments such as city plazas without the foliage becoming scorched or tattered. Deeper-rooted than many palms, they tolerate dry topsoil, but are readily transplanted at any size. When trimming off old fronds, the bases should be cut at an even length to preserve the neat pattern they make on the trunk. Propagation is from seed, sown fresh after removing all fruit flesh; germination may take some months.
Bystropogon About 10 species of evergreen shrubs make up this genus in the mint family, occurring in the Canary Islands and Madeira. Allied to Origanum and Thymus, the genus is characterized by tiny flowers in much-branched clusters, with plume-like sepals that elongate at the fruiting stage, giving the whole tip of each branch a fuzzy appearance. As in other members of the family, stems are square in cross-section and leaves, arranged in opposite pairs, are aromatic when crushed. CULTIVATION: They make interesting ornamentals and the fruiting branches can be cut for either fresh or dried arrangements indoors. Mild, somewhat dry climates suit them best, but in cooler climates it should be possible to raise plants indoors in spring and plant them out for summer display. A sunny position and very well-drained soil are required. Propagate from cuttings or seed.
Opuntia This genus in the family of Cactaceae contains more than 200 species that grow throughout the Americas, from southern Canada to the most southerly part of South America. They range from high-altitude to temperate-region and tropical lowland species, and this vast range of habitats ensures there is a plant for every situation. They have stem segments that can be shaped like a cylinder, a club or a compressed pad, most with flat or barbed spines protruding from areoles, although some species are spineless. The flowers are cup- or funnel-shaped and appear in spring and summer, followed by prickly egg-shaped fruits. The spineless forms are cultivated for cattle feed and as a food source for the cochineal aphid, collected for its scarlet dye. Fortified or spiny forms may be grown as hedges and for the edible fruit that some species produce. On a small scale they are cultivated for the alkaloids, including mescalin, used in medicine. In parts of South Africa and Australia, introduced species have become invasive. Note that most species have bristles that can irritate the skin. CULTIVATION: Opuntias do not like having their roots confined. In colder climates, tender species are grown under glass, in the soil or in large containers. They need cactus compost if grown in pots. Those grown outdoors do best in sandy, humus-enriched, well-drained soil that is moderately fertile. Frost-hardy species need protection from too much winter wet and should be grown in full sun under glass, with the light filtered in hot summers. Feed regularly from spring to summer, and reduce or stop watering during winter months. Propagate in spring by sowing pre-soaked seed or by rooting stem segments.

Copyright © Yasna Inc. 2021. All Rights Reserved