Saturday, February 28, 2009

Huernia hystrix

If my memory serve me well, this is one of the few succulents that i have from day 1. It is a plant have been around in Singapore for a very long time and yet rarely offered in nurseries.  Over the years, i have collected a couple of varieties, mainly Huernia hystrix v. hystrix but i like my original clone H. hystrix v. parvula best. Variety parvula is smaller compared to the type species in all its parts. And under my regime, it is also more free flowering compared to the various hystrix. For scale, the flower above is 3 cm across with similarly sized trailing stems. The type variety is widely distributed from south eastern Zimbabwee, through Mozambique to Transvaal, Swaziland and Natal provinces in South Africa, while parvula variety is restricted to few localities in Oribi Flats, Natal. It is one of the most resilient huernia in my collection, surviving neglect, under attrack by spider mites and weevils for longest period. They looked well enough that i overlooked those damned pests. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Nervilias

If you like to grow orchids that do not look anything like an orchid, try growing a selection of nervilias. They come in various sizes, shades, color, texture. They are small and fit very well into 3.5 to 4" pots. When they are resting, you can put stack them up under the bench or in the cellar.

At this point, i'm betting on the smallest being Nervilia crociformis based on its eastern origins.  However, think N. punctata is also a very strong contender based on the leaf.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nervilia plicata

This is probably one of the more common Nervilia in cultivation. It took me some time to figure out how to grow these terrestial orchids:
1. Pot in a light well draining and aerated mix. Light loam with some peat/humus and perlite/pumice is fine.
2. Water generously during the growing phase when new leaves appear.  Stolons and runners will also be produced. Small new white tubers start to form underground.
3. Reduce watering when the leaves start to brown or die back.  The underground tubers harden. Interconnecting stolons dry up.
4. Water once a week during dormancy.  The mix should be marginally moist. How much moisture can a 1-2 cm diameter tuber holds over 8-12 weeks?
5. With good care, you should be able to double or triple the corms each year.

The leaves are quite variable.  The photo above and below are those of the same clone growth in 2008 and 2009 respectively.  

It is a very widespread species with a range from Deccan, India all the way east to New Guinea and extends north to southwestern China and south to northern Australia. The recorded localities are concentrated in the tropical monsoon belt. So far, i have not come across it in habitat. It surely blends in with leaf litter in deciduous forest.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nervilia aragoana

Appears to be another form of N. aragoana. This comes from Taminbar Island towards the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago. The leaves are very close to Thai N. aragoana. With care and a bit of luck, would expect it to flower in the next growing season.

Below is a lush pot of a malaysian form 3 months after I wrote an entry. Check it out. (

Friday, February 13, 2009

Euphorbia iharanae

Another one having Euphorbia viguieri characteristics - rosette of large leaves on a fatten club like stem, cyathophylls are erect and cover the cyathias completely. It is not in my trusty Succulent and Xerophytic plants of Madagascar, Werner Rauh (1995).  The same author published it in Kakteen Sukk. 46(9): 221-223 (1995), probably too late to include it in his Madagascar Tomes. From entry on IUCN 2008 Red List, the description notes that it is found near Cap-Manambato (Iharana district) as a coastal cliff dweller. It is also not far from the locality of E. capmanombatoensis. I can see similarities here.  The marble markings and soft hairs on the leaves stand out.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Euphorbia viguieri

I have this plant for a very long time. It is one of the first few succulent in my collection.  It has survived well under neglect, a bit of overwatering and underpotted for the last couple of years.  The photo above is that of a young plant that has lodged itself in another pot of succulent and in time taken over. My parent clone is apparently self-fertile and it seeds readily.  The seed yield is exceptionally good and the seedlings are strong and vigorous. I see them appearing even in my lawn. The club-like single stem is more pronounced up to about 30 cm. Beyong that height, visually you would call it as having a thicken stem. For me, it is not totally deciduous and will retain its leaves given sufficient water.

E. viguieri is native to northwestern Madagascar from the northern most point of Windsor Castle down to Morondava on wide ranging soils: granitic, limestone and sand. That probably explains its adaptable disposition.