June 26, 2023

crop in, crop up, crop out

binomial #023_
this is NOT plant trivia ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ ꕤ︎︎ 

did anyone ask for this?

  • greening rabbit
    • fleeing like a vine
      • corning down the garden
        • flow'ring up the mind
          • splitting windows ardent
            • verdant goodly
              cresting waves
              • greatly roiling
                sunset naves
                • under-watered
                  crescent moon
                  • dripping down
                    the richest rheum

no one asked for this.

There are many things to appreciate about plants besides those fancy leaves and flowers.

First, I caution you: this email's emphasis on appearance might make you think plants are decor. Houseplants are not decor. Decor is passive - if a plant is happy and well-cared for, it is an active participant in a space, producing oxygen, hosting booklice, fungus gnats, ants, and nematodes, etc.

Here are some nonstandard qualities that people like about domestic greening.
1. variegation
  • A variation in color
Variegation is a pretty obvious and common quality to like. While stress from cold, sun, or growth can cause plants to turn pink or red, variegation is a permanent non-green color. It can be many shades, like red, purple, yellow, orange, and white (the most common). If a plant is heavily variegated, it can lack photosynthetic potential and grow very slowly or not at all. This is why heavily variegated plants are grafted onto heathly green rootstock (more on grafts below).

 illustration: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii “variegata”
2. caudex a.k.a. “caudiciforms”
  • A large root or trunk
Caudiciforms are chubby little cuties. They usually store water in the exposed root/trunk. Callipygian horticulture.
 illustration: Stephania erecta
3. crested a.k.a. “fasciation”
  • Lateral growth at the tip of the plant, instead of normal vertical growth
Cresting can result in flat ribbed walls or brain-like undulations. Cresting can happen with many plants and their parts, even resulting in creepy cool elongated flowers. Cresting is just ok.

 illustration: Myrtillocactus geometrizans cristata
4. monstrose a.k.a. “monstruosa”
  • A disfigured growth form
The term "monstrose" is a little judgy. They're just a little blobby guys made of melted wax. Monstrose cultivars have fun names like "Mammillaria bocasana 'Fred'" and "Cereus forbesii monstrose 'Ming Thing.'"

 illustration: Trichocereus pachanoi monstrosa

5. spiralis
  • A spiral growth form
Not a fan of this one. I don't get it. 🌀❓

 illustration: Cereus forbesii cv. Spiralis
6a. graft
  • When two species are artifically joined via the vascular system
The plant at top is called the scion and the plant below is the rootstock. Grafting is usually done for practical reasons (grafting a difficult to grow species on top of an easy to grow plant, speeding up growth for a slow growing variety, etc) but I also think grafts can be pretty. They can look odd, like peyote grafted to pereskiopsis, but a well-done graft of two complementary plants is a beautiful thing to behold.

 illustration: Stenocereus hystrix grafted to Trichocerenus pachanoi
6b. chimera a.k.a. “Annhiliation type shit”
  • When grafted species merge and their cells intermingle but remain separate
I don't want to be judgmental (Every Plant Is An Altar!), but graft chimeras are absolutely unsettling and bonkers weird. A bright red, slow motion, cellular car crash.

 illustration: Myrtillocalycium (Gymnocalycium + Myrtillocactus) ‘polyp’ chimera
7. cephalium
  • A wooly structure at tip of some mature cacti
The cephalium is a pretty funky feature. It's a mass of bristles that the flowers form out of. I've see very satisfying videos of people plucking the ripe cactus fruits out of the cephalium with tweezers, like pimple popping but not gross. I hope that my little Melocactus forms a cephalium someday!

illustration: Melocactus matanzanus

so um.... what do you like about plants? (this link sends an email to me)

- casey

p.s. here are some two word phrases 

> nopen source
> graying out
> deer snort
> lovage ruffage
> wasabi coleus
> seed predator
> bindle berries
> fungi money
> spore change
> righteously convicted
> venom person