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Mammillaria luethyi (photo by Karl Ravnaas)

Typically my first found was where I was looking the

least: on the Southern Promenade. It is virtually an empty
grassy space (a mowed lawn!) between the Islington Bay
Road and the sea, where only halophyte and nondescriptive species such as Sarcocornia quinqueflora,
Suaeda novae-zelandiae and Tetragonia spp. coexist
its just 20-30 metres wide and few hundred meters long
lawn strip in an area you are not really interested to see.
If you go east in the morning, you have some plans in
your mind, when you return you are mostly too tired and
happy that you didnt miss the last ferry so, theres no
point in watching closely every spot around the southern
wharf. However, in October 2015, on the way back from
Islington at the end of the day, I saw a wonderful flowering
Aloe maculata at the end of the lawn and I made few
steps on the lawn across, to take a picture. What a
surprise when I noticed the somewhat hidden flowers of
Disphyma australe!
Few scattered plants only, not even forming a continuous
mat, white flowering and having well turgid leaves
because of the very wet spring. The location was quite a
surprise no traces on the shore rocks, however, forming
a group of 5-6 metres length and 2-3 metres wide on a
very flat, sandy but rather tough soil, with serious traces
of sediments.

Eduart Zimer - Disphyma australe (Sol.

ex G.Forst.) N.E.Br. in Rangitoto
(Xerophilia 16 March 2016)
Rangitoto, on the Southern Promenade: D. australe with
pure white flower. (photo by Eduart Zimer)

Since I wanted to be able to enjoy my plants in as natural

light as possible, I therefore turned to HID (High Intensity
Discharge) bulbs, which come in 400-1000W ranges. The
most common types of HID light are HPS bulbs (HighPressure Sodium) and MH-bulbs (Metal Halide). In both
kinds, an arc of electric current passes between two
electrodes, which ignite a gas (sodium in HPS and a
mixture of mercury and metal halides in MH) that emits
light. While both kinds of bulbs emit light across the whole
spectrum, HPS bulbs emit relatively more light in the red
part of the spectrum, while MH bulbs emit relatively more
light in the blue part of the spectrum. Growers of some
kinds of plants often change between these two kinds for
the different growth phases. In growing cacti, MH bulbs
are preferable as there is no particular flowering phase to
observe, and since light predominantly emitted in the blue
part of the spectrum will lead to better and stronger

Karl Ravnaas - Growing cacti under

artificial light (Xerophilia 17 June

Mammillaria solisioides 1.5 years old, growing in 5 cm

pot. (photo by Karl Ravnaas)

Iremember purchasing my first Lithops 20 years ago, and

this plant caught my attention it seemed to be a very
strange thing that made me feel very excited, something
like a colourful exotic fungus. It was a small plant with a
single pair of leaves. I took it home and, unfortunately,
only lasted a week. It simply suddenly collapsed
overnight, forming a soft rotten dough which was
disappearing among the rocks of the substrate. A week
later I bought another and this time the plant survived for
a month before losing by sunburn. It took some time for
me to understand my growing mistakes and to achieve a
good cultivation for this interesting genus of beautiful
African plants. Key factors, such as excess moisture,
improper substrate, lack of air circulation or unsuitable
containers, were sparked off by several attempts to
cultivate Lithops, which ended in failure. But I did not give
up. In time, reading and watching pictures on the internet
regarding their habitat I have corrected my mistakes and
gradually I was watching, growing, propagating and
flowering these beauties, being rewarded with abundant
flowers and their beautiful colours. Using a good mineral
soil, abundant light and sporadic irrigation, cultivation was
lacking, in the end, any major complications. However, I
think it is important to consider the type of container and
the amount of substrate used.

Francisco Moreno - Growing Lithops

N.E.Br. in Mexico (Xerophilia 18
October 2016)
Lithops gracilidelineata mature capsule completely open
exposing the seeds. (photo by Francisco Moreno)

The story of the discovery of Mammillaria laui and its

subspecies is also very interesting, being found by
casually while looking for the mythical Rancho La Reja in
the quest of Mammillaria carmenae, the M. laui taxa (M.
laui ssp. laui, M. laui ssp. subducta and M. laui ssp.
dasycantha) remained unknown until late in the 1970s,
when discovered by Alfred Lau boys, and described later
by David Hunt in 1979 as three different forms of a single
species, status maintained also until 1985 (see Hunt,
1987). Interestingly, Reppenhagen (1991-1992) proposed
the separation of these plants in two different species and
a variety: M. laui and M. laui var. subducta and M.
dasyacantha as separate taxa. Hunt proposed later in
1997 (see Hunt 2006) the sub-specific status of the three
close related plants under Mammillaria laui, proposal that
I do prefer to use because is coherent with the distinct
altitudinal and ecological distribution of the populations
showing also proper taxonomical differences between
each other.

Dr. Leccinum J. Garca-Morales - On the

D.R.Hunt subsp. dasyacantha (D.R.Hunt)
D.R.Hunt and notes on the Mammillaria
laui D.R.Hunt complex (Xerophilia 19
December 2016)
A beautiful clump of Mammilaria laui ssp. dasyacantha
showing the contrasting pink flowers and soft long spines.
(photo by Dr. Leccinum J. Garca-Morales )

Echinocereus chaletii W.Rischer has not been recorded

yet in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, so I present this
series of photographs of this very similar plant under the
name of Echinocereus aff. chalettii. It is noteworthy that a
deeper research on the natural history if these plants is
needed, to fully understand and determine its taxonomic
status and its role in the ecosystem that it inhabits.
Populations seem to be stable and protected from illegal
collecting or destruction from humans, mainly due to the
fact that not many people are aware of the presence of
this cactus, nor its range; more, it grows on sharp steep
rocks which are difficult to access.
Echinocereus aff. chaletii is a species of cactus that can
be found deep inside the Sierra Madre Occidental in the
State of Chihuahua, Mxico, growing between the big
trees that are a part of this rich and vast ecosystem. This
species grows under the forest canopy or in direct
sunlight in the rocks that stick out the vegetation. Pines,
oaks, juniper, among other are the main woody trees that
are found in this region. All of them allowing in one way or
another, the survival of Echinocereus aff. chalettii.

aff. chaletii
Baborigame (Xerophilia 16 March
Echinocereus aff. chaletii, growing under full sun
on a stony slope.(photo by Ricardo Ramirez Chaparro )

At the present time the study of the wealth for the floristic
and phytogenetic ecosystems is vital in order to improve
the level of protection of our resources; its contribution to
the knowledge of the species that are susceptible to
disappear is of great importance for the conservation of
biodiversity. Although we are aware that there are
aggravating factors that disrupt the perpetuity of some
species, such as the introduction of exotic species,
overgrazing, urban sprawl, industrial concessions or
illegal extraction of specimens, which occur in extremely
important regions for the development of natural
populations, there is no certainty that really is taking the
subject of conservation by a right path.
The state of Chihuahua is located north of Mxico; its
territory consists of 24 million hectares, which has been
studied only about 5% (Melgoza et al., 2012). There have
been registered approximately 4,000 plant species of
which only 59 are registered in the Nom- 059SEMARNAT-2010 (Royo et al., 2014).
One of these species is Echinocereus palmeri Britton &
Rose which, unfortunately, is registered under the
Endangered Species status. Its habitat has been
reduced to such a degree that if immediate protection
measures are not implemented, the risk to disappear
completely is devastating.

Aaron Gonzlez Mrquez - Notes on

species at risk: Echinocereus palmeri
Britton & Rose (Xerophilia 17 June
Mrquez )



by Aaron


Aeonium haworthii originates from the island of Tenerife

where it naturally grows in rocky coastal areas and on
sea-facing cliffs that are exposed to extremely windy
conditions. The more windy, dry and exposed the position
is the shorter and more compact this species grows.
Aeonium haworthii in habitat is commonly found growing
as wide, short clumps of attractive rosettes. These plants
can range from green to blue-green with striking reddish
leaf margins. It can be very helpful to understand all this
habitat data as it can help evaluate a plants suitability to
your specific project on a vertical context. This species is
variable in habitat and in cultivation, where many hybrids
of this species are circulating and not all of them will be
suitable, but worth trying just the same. This species of
Aeonium is possibly the single most hardy and versatile
of all aeoniums, hence most hybrids of this species are
also likely to have better than average traits for vertical
garden suitability. A few forms and hybrids of A.haworthii
that I have tried have been successful, with only one
example found so far with negative traits. It pays to
experiment. Trials of the same plant type grown
from cuttings simultaneously in pots, in the garden
and in a wall planting showed obvious and marked
differences in growth rates, as well as mature sizes
reached. In shallow soils that were low on water
and nutrient content, plants grew to 10 cm or less
in height.

Attila Kapitany Vertical Garden

Aeoniums (Xerophilia 18 October
Aeonium Tricolor, also commonly known as Aeonium
Kiwi in New Zealand. (photo by Attila Kapitany)

The natural wealth of Mexico is of great importance for

scientific research, and the conservation of these
ecosystems is fundamental, not only to preserve diversity,
but to ensure a place on the planet within the years to
come ... Art and science, together with the greatness of
humanity, are fundamental tools for evolving as a
species, as a society but also as individuals. This small
sample of prints is developed with the effort and
perseverance of Mexican artists to support the
dissemination of knowledge, in this regard Xerophilia
magazine is unique and its importance lies in being free
and looking to provide quality information to its readers,
collecting contributions of: biologists who study each
species and the environments where they live; field
explorers that with their cunning cross the deserts of the
planet to study the environment where these plants
inhabit; breeders who are responsible for reproducing and
preserving the species; activists who defend natural
resources and protect species from their dangerous
extinction. That is quite visible in the pages of the
magazine Xerophilia, the effort and selfless dedication of
people and professionals who share their experiences in
each of its areas, non-profit, and all this is fundamental in
generating consciousness.

Xerophilias graphic folder (Xerophilia

19 December 2016)
Print by Enrique P.M.

Mammillaria pectinifera F.A.C. Weber has always had a

reputation of being a difficult plant to grow or keep alive in
cultivation. In John Pilbeam's 1999 Mammillaria book on
page 214 we find some comments on the plant. "It is one
of the most difficult to grow in cultivation." A few
sentences later the reason is shown in the line saying:
"The addition of some limestone chippings in the potting
mixture (up to 50%) should help in cultivation, but in any
case an open mixture with plenty of grit of similar material
is essential." In England where Mr. Pilbeam lives a gritty
soil may be necessary for the roots to dry soon enough
but the adding of limestone is a no-no as far as I am
concerned. I have stated many times that alkaline
condition for growing is not good for the plants. The only
time the plants grow in habitat is when it rains for the rain
is acidic. As long as the water in the soil is still acidic the
plants take it on but as the bicarbonate in the soil
neutralizes the acidity the plants shut down again. On
page 215 is a photo of Mammillaria pectinifera in habitat.
There the plant is hardly showing above the limestone
soil and it looks like the plant is quite covered with lime
from the limestone. People try to emulate the conditions
in the deserts where the plants grow; hot houses for heat
and to protect the plants from winter rains and also to
keep the plants warm. Another thing they do is to add
lime to the soil mix or add limestone chips so the plants
can have all the lime like in habitat. But the one thing they
do not try to emulate is the acidic rain conditions and the
nitrogen in the rain water.

Elton Roberts Notes on Mammillaria

pectinifera F.A.C. Weber (Xerophilia 16
March 2016)
M. pectinifera, ring of flowering. (photo by Elton Roberts)

In this paper we indicate for the first time the presence in

Spain and Europe of the allochthonous Opuntia dillei
Griffiths. Griffiths (1909) also states: The species is most
closely related to Opuntia engelmanni, from which it
differs in rarity of its spines, which are very conspicuous
in this species. The fruits and seeds are also different. It
appears to be a rare species. I have seen what I suspect
is the same thing from one locality besides the type, both
on the Territory of New Mexico. In the type locality about
a dozen plants were found, all in situations inaccessible
to livestock. Under cultivation the species becomes much
more spiny than indicated above Britton & Rose (1919)
included this taxon within the synonymy of O. engelmannii
Salm-Dyck and indicate that it is related to O. cyclodes,
but has fewer spines (Britton & Rose, 1919). Pinkava
(2004) includes it as a synonym of O. engelmannii var.
engelmannii. Benson (1982) indicates that the hybrid
population dillei could have originated by hybridization
of the unarmed forms of O. ficus-indica with O.
phaeacantha var. discata or var. major. Shaw & al. (2016)
specify that it is a spineless form of O. orbiculata and
show us different photographs of this plant.

Daniel Guillot Ortiz, Joel Lod, Jordi

Lpez-Pujol, Carles Puche Rius
Opuntia dillei Griffiths first time
recorded as allochthonous in Spain
and Europe (Xerophilia 17 June 2016)
Opuntia dillei, Godella (Valencia, Spain) - (photo by
Daniel Guillot Ortiz)

The plants come from the Mexican state of

Zacatecas at an elevation of 2,300 m or just over
7,500 feet. I have found that the plants when kept
dry over the winter have taken temperatures down
to 15 0F [about -10 0C]. I give the plants lots of
light but still protect them from direct sunlight so
they do not burn. I am sure that the plants do not
run into temperatures of 125 0F in habitat. So they
need protection from direct sunlight. They do not
have many spines to protect the body so I try to
make sure that they have 40% shade from about
noon on for the rest of the day. I do not water them
in the winter and I give them my regular soil mix.
Back in those days I would buy two or three plants
so I could make seed. If I bought two or three
plants at that time, I do not remember. I am not
sure that I have seen a seed pod on the plants but
there must have been. I discovered that the plants
bloom very early in the year. Here where I live the
plants bloom around the end of January and on
into February; most years they are through
blooming by mid-March. As I said I do not
remember ever seeing a seed pod but it was not
long before seedlings were growing in pots up to
65 cm away from the plants.


Wohlschl. Rep 2207 (Xerophilia 18 October 2016)
Mammmillaria boelderiana in habitat in Pozo de Gambao
(photo by Grzegorz Matuszewski)

Between the 4th and 6th of November 2016 took

place a wellknown and much appreciated (and
awaited) biennial cactus and succulent show
organized by the Cactus and Succulent Society of
New Zealand Auckland branch. This event was
held, as always in the last few decades, in Mt
Albert War Memorial Hall on Great North Road,
where are we used to keep our monthly meetings
until last year. A large and welcoming hall, with
excellent light in good weather. This event has a
great tradition and is a cause of pride for many
local cactus and succulent collectors. More than a
few of those who have prepared and brought the
plants in this exhibition, are doing this for two or
even three decades now. Or maybe even more. It
is a source of real pride, even if very local,
supported by a handful of enthusiasts. It is actually
quite sad, because we mention the same people ...
few changes have been observed in the 12 years
since I passed through the tables of this exhibition
for the first time, back in 2004. The number of
exhibitors has decreasedover time, the number of
cacti as well (this issue was mentioned in my
article two years ago), now seemingly followed by
other groups of plants.

Eduart Zimer CSSNZ Auckland Show

2016 (Xerophilia 19 - December 2016)

Copiapoa tortarensis (a misnomer = C. cinerea ssp.

columna-alba).(photo by Eduart Zimer)


Xerophilia could not have been around without the kind support of all who sent us articles, photos, drawings, or
helped us with translations and advice for the four regular issues released in 2016 :

Aaron Gonzlez Mrquez, Mexico; Aldo Delladdio, Italy; Angelica Bracho, Mexico; Attila Kapitany, Australia; Aymeric de Barmon, France; Carles
Puche Rius, Spain; Carlos Bautista, Mexico; Chez Marabel, Mexico; Cristian Perez Badillo, Mexico; Daniel Guillot Ortiz, Spain; Daniel Schweich,
France; Derrick Rowe, New Zealand; Elton Roberts, United States; Emilio Laguna, Spain; Enrique P. M., Mexico; Eva Macas, Mexico; Fabin Font,
Argentina; Fernando Augusto Olvera Galarza, Mexico; Francisco Moreno, Mexico; Gabriela Gonzlez, Mexico; Gabriela Magdaleno, Mexico;
Grzegorz Matuszewski, Poland; Harald Grieb, United States; Igor D. Drb, Slovakia; Jesus Vilchez Rodriguez, Spain; Joel Lod, France; Jordi LpezPujol, Spain; Karl Ravnaas, Norway; Leccinum J. Garcia-Morales, Mexico; Leo Rodrguez, Mexico; Leonard Busch, Germany; Luis Antonio Arias
Medelln, Mexico; Manuel Cuevas, Mexico; Massimo Afferni, Italy; Marco Cristini, Italy; Mara Mizrahi, Mexico; Maricela Casas-Sols, Mexico; Noelene
Tomlinson, Australia; Pablo Alberto Salguero Quiles, Spain; Pablo Moya, Mexico; Paco Navz, Mexico; Peter Breslin, United States; Ralf Hillmann,
Switzerland; Ray Stephenson, United Kingdom; Ricardo Ramirez Chaparro, Mexico; Roberto Kiesling, Argentina; Roberto Rodrguez, Mexico; Stefan
Nitzschke, Germany; Thomas Linzen, Germany; Vasile Plcintar , Romania; Vanessa Mesquida, Spain; Victor Terrez, Mexico.