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[aroid-l] Synandrospadix

  • Subject: [aroid-l] Synandrospadix
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" leo1010@attglobal.net
  • Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002 21:52:44 -0400


After this year's plant sale of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA), held annually the 4th of July weekend at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, somebody on this list posted that they found a Synandrospadix vermitoxicus for sale at the Huntington booth.

I was at the Huntington on Saturday of this past weekend for the annual labor-day weekend Succulent Symposium, which this year covered succulent plants of Africa. After the daytime lectures and before dinner, Symposiasts are led to the plant sale growing area, fed chips, salsa, beer, and soft drinks to steel their resolve, and turned loose with boxes. The Huntington even has electric carts on hand to transport boxes to the parking area. I was forced to purchase several plants, among them the aforementioned Synandrospadix.

The label says:
Synandrospadix vermitoxicus
ex HBG 60297 Kimnach et al. 2809
Bolivia: Along Rio Mizque near Chujillas, 5700' in dry wash with Gymnocalycium pflanzii,
Neocardenasia, etc.

I saw at the symposium Myron Kimnach, editor of the CSSA Journal, former director of the Huntington Botanical Garden, and collector of the plant, and asked him about it. He had been on the trip with Seymour Linden, a well-known C&S collector, explorer, and personality, and board member of the CSSA.

He said the plant was in the middle of a dry, rocky and sandy wash, at the base of a large
Neocardenasia herzogii cactus, with a Gymnocalycium pflanzii cactus right next to it. There was no shade and it was very hot and sunny. The tuber was around 18 inches in diameter. He said there is a lot of water there sporadically in the summer, with some rain year-round, but much more in the summer. It loses its leaves when dormant. The flower is without smell.

Neocardenasia herzogii is a very fast-growing (3-4 feet per year here in Phoenix) and very large columnar cactus with only 6 ribs when younger, branching about 8' above the ground, and making 8" plus long spines up until it branches. Higher growth lacks spines. It is notable for forming short flowering branches at each upper areole (the felty pad from which come spines, flowers, and new growth on cacti) from which new flowers are produced each year, the flowering branches elongating with time in the manner of a Hoya. It tolerates frosts to the mid 20s F at least if the next day warms up over freezing a bit.

Gymnocalycium is a very popular genus among cactus growers and G. pflanzii is a very popular species. It has large white blooms repeatedly during the summer if watered and fed well.

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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