Friday, February 1, 2013

Plant of the Day

Thanksgiving Cactus

There are two similar looking cacti known as Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti - the main differences lie in their anthers (Thanksgiving have yellow, Christmas have purple), their flowering times (occur during their respective holidays) and their leaflets.

The top is Thanksgiving, the bottom is Christmas

Thus, contrary to the labels, we actually have a Thanksgiving cactus belonging to Dr. Pattison in the greenhouse. It still has beautiful pink flowers that occur towards the winter time. The cactus can be easily propagated by breaking leaflet segments off and putting them into an appropriate growing mix. I took many cuttings of the cactus in the greenhouse and have produced quite a few clones of the original plant.

Despite being cacti, they are more akin to tropical plants and thrive in standard potting soil. I wanted to pollinate the two cacti we had in the greenhouse but a member took one of them home, so I attempted to self-pollinate the remaining cactus with no success. 

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