Tag Archives: succulents

ALOE karasbergensis


Family: Asphodelaceae

Common names: Karasberg Aloe

Aloe karasbergensis is still for some heavily linked to the regular Aloe striata, and is still referred in publication as Aloe striata subsp. karasbergensis. For me it is quite different from the regular ‘striata’, and I have joined with the progressives to give it its only name. It is a plant that is native to Southern Africa and Namibia; and the ‘Karasberg’ refers to the Karas Mountain region, and in the Gariep Valley of the Richtersveld. I have noticed that ths plant is far rarer than I thought, and while visiting Gran Canaria I came across these specimens and was happy to enjoy. Have a look at the video.

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/T91FU1qiKrY

Aloe striata

I thought I will end with a photo of the traditional Aloe Striata for comparison, but for me the two plants are very different.

Winston James

In Pursuit of Agave Palmeri

This was my first Agave hunt in Arizona, and there was a lot of excitement building within me. This was a long way from my London home, but I did think the journey was worthwhile.The last time I visited Tucson, many years ago, I had hiked around the East Saguaro National Park, but that was non-specific following the tourist route, and dominated by the large Carnegiea Giganteas. This time was different, and definitely easier, as I was in tow with friends Martin, Greg and his mate, and all I had to do was to follow the leader. And yet, I almost missed it. The Palmeri Habitat was situated inside Base Fort Huachuca, a US military installation, fifteen miles from the Mexican border. It needed a personal ID to get in. Totally unaware of this, I had left my passport back at the hotel. It was left to a sweet talking member of our team to smooth the way.

It worked, and I was soon on my way in. Minutes inside the base, I caught my first glimpses via flower stalks, but they appeared not the way I expected. I expected cohesive groups of plants almost as in an extended family. These plants were not like that; they appeared to be stand alone efforts, as if declaring a state of independence, often surrounded by grass. And this pattern was largely followed in most areas that we visited.

At our first stop, I viewed many plants lying very low in the grass. My friend Ron was right about wearing boots, as you need them to protect your ankles from the innocent looking grass seeds which once stuck, become very difficult to remove. From the road, you can easily miss the more than curious collection of plants, and I suspect that most people do. When I left London, I had not a single plant in my collection, that is about to change. They were immensely attractive, suggesting a kind of stately elegance in spite of their smaller size. Also remarkable about their presence, was the variation of the plants. The message was loud and clear; you may belong to the same family, but you do not have to look the same.

Agave Palmeri  1Agave Palmeri 2Agave Palmeri 3Agave Palmeri 4Agave Palmeri 5Agave Palmeri 6Agave Palmeri 7Agave Palmeri 8Agave Palmeri 9


The Pereskia Collection

Pereskia are some of my favourite plants. At first glance, you would never guess that they belong to the Cactaceae group. But closer inspection will reveal some similarities, especially areoles and spines. Altogether there are around seventeen species, all needing a warm tropical climate to grow vigorously, and survive. The P. grandiflora is easily the most common, and regularly makes an appearance in botanical gardens. They will grow from a seed or cutting, and may produce blooms after two or three seasons. In tropical habitats, they are better off in the ground. But be careful, because they can easily grow in to trees, more than three metres tall.