After week one

Updated June 14th, 2018

I borrowed my daughter's camera and took nice high-res photos. The above was taken just as the sun was coming up today.

The above is a high resolution view of the plant. You can really see the neat carrot-like foliage and the leaf bases that remain on the plant as spines. To give you an idea of the scale, the plant is about 2-3 inches (5-8cm) tall.

This photo was taken the night before with a flash and interior lighting.

And a closeup of the night picture. Not as sharp os as much detail as the day picture but the different lighting gives a different view.

So, due to massive interest (not really), this plant now has a catchier name - Hermione (after the Harry Potter character) and has a facebook fan page!

Plant 31189 - the project begins

March 28th, 2010

This project began with a dream. No, not a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - like that's going to happen. No, I dreamt of a wonderful tree that had smooth fat trunk and tiny leaves clustered along the edges of it's branches. I awoke only to realize that no such tree existed. Very dissapointing. I did however remember there was a plant I saw in a book once that looked like a miniature version. After a little internet sleuthing I tracked it down. It was a plant in the genus Sarcocaulon and here are a few websites with pictures of them:

Right then and there the Sarcocaulon Project was born. The goal of this project was to raise and breed Sarcocaulons and through artificial selection and perhaps hybridization expand their morphological diversity, producing, quite easily, the world's coolest life forms.

Certainly a lofty goal, but nothing wrong with that.

I looked around on the internet and found only one for sale, this one on a popular internet auction site:

This is Sarcocaulon herrei. I bid on it and won it and within a few days on March 22, 2010, it arrived and the project began in earnest.

When it arrived it was nice and dry and some of the soil ad come loose and was sticking to the leaves. I decided to water it, partly to get the soil particles off te leaves. This may have been a bad idea as with desert plants like this it's best to leave them dry for a few days to heal any woulnds the plant may have received in transit. Moisture, that leads to rot, is the number one killer of plants like these.

Six days later, the soil was still wet. This was very alarming, so I decided to take drastic measures and repot it in a smaller clay pot with dryer soil.

Here it is before I took it out of the pot. You can see how dark the soil is, as it is quite wet.

Here it is out of the pot. Dark wet soil. It seemed to have pretty good roots throughout the pot. I'm guessing where it originally grew in California the low humidity permitted it to dry quickly. Or maybe these plants don't really need it that dry. I don't want to risk it. I'd rather err on the side of too dry to start out. I have seen far too many members of Geraneaceae succumb to wet conditions down here.

Note the new pot is smaller, and is still wet on the rim. I just microwaved it for a minute to soewhat serilize it and then put it in water to cool it. There's still a little salt buildup but not bad.

I put a layer of coarse chicken grit in the bottom of the pot and put the root ball in the pot and then covered it with grit. The root ball was pretty big so it was a tight fit and I didn't need much grit. I had the grit left over from some rupiculous orchids I recently potted up. You can get this at any feed store. It's really just crushed quartz. Where these plants originally come from - the deserts of South Africa and Namibia, the rock there is mainly quartz, so hopefully the plant will feel at home.

Here she is all potted up. You can see the grit turns from white to grey where it is wet. I didn't water it - that's just water being wicked away by the grit.

Here is a before and after picture. You can see the pot is smaller and the plant is more exposed - higher up in the pot. Hopefully this will help keep the caudex dry and rot free. Now I'll let it sit and dry well, maybe a fortnight, we will see how it goes.

Also note the piece of paper I taped to the window to protect it from the midday sun while it gets acclimated. Eventually that will come down.

Also I took off some leaves that had broken in transit and were dying. Gives the plant a cleaner look too.

Also note the dead wasp. Mildly intersting.


Months after the above update, the project suffered a serious setback - the plant died. Most likely, it was the hot, humid weather that illicited the visit from the horticultural grim reaper. I will try again some day, when I move to a nicer climate...

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