Saturday, June 30, 2007

Let's Just Call It A Peanut Bloom

My Chamaelobivia x Fire Chief bloomed again today. This one is part of a potted cactus garden with seven different genera and/or species in the arrangement. The two single specimens I have of the C. x Fire Chief also bloomed this past week. None of them produced the numerous flowers of last year.

The C. x Fire Chief is one of the most popular of the peanut cactus hybrids and is readily available in any nursery, at least around Arizona. This hybrid produces several rounds of short-lived blooms that are about two inches across. They need light shade in summer in Phoenix, but other than watering when dry, they require no special care.

This hybrid has an interesting ancestry. It is a cultivar developed by Harry Johnson. From my understanding, it is a hybrid of an Echinopsis crossed with a Chamaecereus silvestrii. Usually it’s called the peanut cactus, which is the common name for Echinopsis chamaecereus, but it is more complex than the plain peanut cactus. The peanut cactus is also called Chamaecereus sylvestrii. At least that's what I have gathered.

It's really difficult and frustrating for me as a non-scientist--but a stickler for detail--to try to use the proper form when writing out plant names and having to worry about such things as epithets, hybrids, complex hybrids, varieties, botanical forms, cultivars, interspecific and intergeneric hybrids, along with all the different capitalization, italics, and abbreviation rules. Then there's the latest nomenclature to remember for specific genera newly grouped with another group, and on and on. Actually, it's more than difficult; it's a big pain in the ass!

Perhaps I'll just start calling my plants by their regional common names and stop worrying about form. I could sure save myself a lot of aggravation and work. After all, this is a blog, not a freaking scientific manuscript!

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